Connecting the dots

by Sebastian Benthall

SOPA is backed by a large industry coalition led presumably by the industries that on-line piracy hurts most, including Hollywood and the RIAA. These industries have tremendous influence over Congress because of their campaign contributions, despite the fact that the education sector and human rights organizations oppose the bill.

Campaign finance reform is a hot political topic right now, but mostly only among the netroots and those that get their political news through the Internet. The Internet has allowed grassroots activists to get national attention despite the lack of coverage by traditional media through, for example, viral video. And the Internet has offered an alternative means of nominating a presidential candidate and allowing them to appear on the ballot.

If SOPA passes, the value of the Internet as a platform for political organizing will be greatly diminished. And the political influence of those industries who are fighting for SOPA will be secure.

Is it possible that SOPA is being pushed through Congress to deliberately destroy the Internet, in order to break the one platform that has potential to truly change politics?

Would Congress rather destroy the Internet than adapt to a new technology that makes a united and informed citizenry, politically represented by those that honor its rights and values, possible?

Would it smash the greatest engine of innovation the United States has ever seen in order to enshrine powers whose time has come and past?

Perhaps, SOPA is more than an assault on the Internet. Maybe it’s an assault on what’s left of democracy in our once great nation.