New Study Exposes Radical Movement Behind Net Neutrality

Published October 5, 2009

CHICAGO – President Barack Obama, the chairman of the FCC, and members of Congress say they support “network neutrality,” a regulatory regime they promise will ensure the Internet stays “open” and “free.”

But are they aware that the founders and leaders of the network neutrality movement see it as a way to expel “capitalists” from the Internet and foment socialist “revolution”?

A new study from The Heartland Institute reveals the radical agenda of the network neutrality movement. The author quotes the leading theorists of the movement:

  • “We are not required to agree with the Constitution or the Supreme Court,” and copyright law is “a radical right-wing assumption rather than a traditionally recognized one.” Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation.
  • The net neutrality movement is committed to “overthrowing the system of private property in ideas,” and it is time to “wrest from the bourgeoisie, by degrees, the shared patrimony of humankind.” Eben Moglen, author of The dotCommunist Manifesto.
  • “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 W. McChesney, founder and director, Free Press.

Telecom writer James G. Lakely, the policy study’ s author, concludes, “‘Neutralism’ is a strange and radical philosophy that stands in striking contrast to the innocuous-sounding Internet ‘freedom’ its advocates call for. Understanding the philosophy of neutralism helps explain why network neutrality would have consequences that are quite the opposite of what its proponents claim.”

The Heartland Institute is a 25-year-old nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank based in Chicago whose mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to public policy issues. It is the publisher of InfoTech & Telecom News, which reaches more than 25,000 readers a month. It also is the home of the Center on the Digital Economy, codirected by Lakely, a project that recommends how public policy can change to reflect the new realities of the digital era.

For further information about the study or to contact the author, James Lakely, contact Dan Miller ([email protected]) or Tammy Nash ([email protected]) at The Heartland Institute, or call 312/377-4000.

The full text of the study is available online at

An executive summary is available online at