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In their own words...Why does the left want "net neutrality" regulation of the Internet?


Posted by Christopher Butler on Monday, November 2nd, 2009, 9:40 AM PERMALINK


Marxist Robert McChesney founded the leftist group “Free Press” in 2002 to press for socialist reforms of the Internet, and a heavy regulatory hand on the ownership of other media. Free Press agitates for the so-called “fairness doctrine”, forcing equal time for the left to respond to conservative commentary on talk radio, and set-asides for community organizers on local broadcast stations.

Since long before the founding of Free Press, Robert McChesney has been editor of the most widely circulated Marxist/ Communist magazine in the United States, “Monthly Review.” The University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) professor is current director of the Monthly Review Foundation, the tax-exempt parent of the Marxist publication.
 
Why is this noteworthy? After all, it’s tough to throw a rock in a university quad without hitting a Marxist professor. The reason is the unprecedented access Free Press enjoys with the Obama White House and Obama appointee Julius Genachowski’s Federal Communications Commission.
 
The former communications director for Free Press (Jen Howard) was one of Genachowski’s first hires as his own press liaison. Free Press’s full-time lobbying operation has been called by The Washington Post a leading driver of the so-called “network neutrality” effort that is calling for government intervention in the Internet. On the surface, advocates for government regulation of the Internet seem to be worried about simple issues of fairness, but even a cursory examination of the leaders behind the movement shows that this is the long wedge of an effort to nationalize the “means of mental production,” as if it were a 1917 coal plant in Kiev.*
 
“What we want to have in the U.S. and in every society is an Internet that is not private property, but a public utility. We want an Internet where you don’t have to have a password and that you don’t pay a penny to use. It is your right to use the Internet.”
 
Robert McChesney, Free Press
 
”[W]e have a long way to go. At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies. We are not at that point yet. But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.
 
Robert McChesney, Free Press
 
*Media Capitalism, the State and 21st Century Media Democracy Struggles; An interview with Robert McChesney, “The Bullet” Socialist Project E-Bulletin, No. 24, August 9, 2009.
 
“Instead of waiting for the revolution to happen, we learned that unless you make significant changes in the media, it will be vastly more difficult to have a revolution. While the media is not the single most important issue in the world, it is one of the core issues that any successful Left project needs to integrate into its strategic program.”
 
Robert McChesney, Free Press
 
”[T]here is no real answer but to remove brick by brick the capitalist system itself, rebuilding the entire society on socialist principles.”
 
Robert McChesney, Free Press
 
“We need to do whatever we can to limit capitalist propaganda, regulate it, minimize it, and perhaps even eliminate it.
 
Robert McChesney, Free Press
 
”We are at a very early stage in the process. ... We are moving ahead toward a new kind of journalism. ... The result of such democratization will, in my view, be a marked shift to the political Left.”
 
Robert McChesney, Free Press
 
 “Only government can implement policies and subsidies to provide an institutional framework for quality journalism."
 
Robert McChesney and John Nichols, founders of Free Press
 
“In The German Ideology, Marx said the following about the media: ‘The class which has the means of material production at its disposal has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas.’ Since Marx’s time, ‘the means of mental production’ in society have expanded into a globalizing capitalist media and cultural industry that encompasses both print and electronic mediums, news and entertainment.”
 
Tanner Mirrlees, associate of Robert McChesney and author of “Communication and Culture.”
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