“We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.” That’s how Congressman David Cicilline, quoting former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, concluded the Antitrust Subcommittee’s remarkable hearing with the CEOs of Apple, Facebook, Google, and Amazon. The first serious investigation into monopoly power since the landmark Microsoft case, the hearing made it impossible to deny the insidious power these four corporations have over our economy and democracy, as well as their role in perpetuating toxic systems of racial and class dominance.
The hearing also sent an unmistakable message: there is a growing desire to break with one of the most durable and damaging economic frameworks of the last 50 years: the 1970s-era, hands-off antitrust ideology that helped bestow these tech giants with such extraordinary power to begin with.
While it was once unthinkable to imagine that policymakers would move to break the power of Big Tech, it is now a question of when and how, not if.
As the Antitrust Subcommittee prepares its final plan of action, we hosted a conversation on September 1st at 2pm about why breaking up these dominant corporations is key to protecting workers, small businesses, communities, and democracy.
We heard from the experts and advocates that jump started the movement to take on big tech about the road ahead, what we can expect next in the fight against big tech, and why there is a growing opportunity to take on corporate power.