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Getting All the World to Strike in Raleigh: Lessig Calls for Campaign Against N.C. Muni Broadband Bill

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, May 20 2011

Photo credit: Graeme Pow

Famed law professor and activist Larry Lessig is harnessing his new Rootstrikers brand to go after something close to his online audience's heart -- a bill in North Carolina passed by the state legislature that hampers the build-out of municipal broadband networks. Lessig is asking for supporters' tweets, emails, and calls in favor of Governor Bev Purdue's veto of H129.

In case your Thoreau is -- tsk, tsk -- a bit lacking, the name Rootstrikers comes from a line of the 19th century thinker's that advocates for acting at deep, originating levels. "There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil," he wrote, "to one who is striking at the root."

Thoreau's founding vision is particularly fitting when it comes to municipal broadband. The battles in the U.S. over what roles communities and citizens should have in networking themselves together often happen at the state and local levels. Big telecom companies devote a lot of attention, for example, to shaping state and local policies to their liking. And so by the time that things get to Washington, the idea that communications is only for big telecom companies can look a lot like conventional wisdom. Lessig is hoping that, through creative online and offline campaigning, a national audience can help change things before they even leave Raleigh.