Ralph Nader and the Green Dream

Ralph Nader and the Green Dream
Posted by FoM on July 28, 2000 at 17:07:57 PT
By Stacy Malkan 
Source: Summit Free Press
The birth of a radical political movement was celebrated in Colorado last month as consumer activist Ralph Nader accepted the nomination to become the Green Party candidate for President of the United States. About 1,000 Green Party delegates and spectators waving signs and throwing confetti cheered wildly as Nader accepted the nomination June 25 at the Denver Renaissance Hotel and agreed to champion Green values in an all-out national campaign. 
Nader called for universal health care coverage, campaign finance reform, stronger environmental and job safety laws, and an end to corporate welfare. He also wants to end the war on drugs in its current form and legalize industrial hemp. Nader's speech culminated the three-day Green Party National Nominating Convention, the first major national convention of the growing third party that now has 79 elected Greens in 19 states - including recently elected Breckenridge Town Councilman Jim Lamb. Delegates representing 38 states, including Colorado, convened in Denver to ratify the Green Party platform and choose among three candidates for the presidential nomination. Nader easily beat contenders Jello Biafra, the former lead singer for the punk rock band Dead Kennedys who said his purpose in running was to attract attention to the Green Party, and Stephen Gaskin, a human rights activist who founded a Tennessee commune. The Green Party, which began organizing as a grassroots political movement in the U.S. in 1984 and has been building momentum across the nation over the last few years, ratified a platform at the convention with the themes of economic justice, environmental sustainability, human rights, health care and democracy. Throughout the weekend, these issues were addressed by speakers such as radio commentator Jim Hightower, anti-nuclear activist Helen Caldicott, Columbia University Professor Dr. Manning Marable and lesbian activist Ann Northrup. Labor union activist Tony Mazzocchi spoke to a central theme in the Nader campaign: a new partnership between labor unions and environmentalists. The so-called "blue/green alliance" is a growing political coalition of blue-collar workers with concerns about labor issues and greens concerned about the environment - two traditionally divergent groups that found common ground during the WTO protests in Seattle. The Green Party, often associated with environmental issues, also takes a strong stance on labor issues with a platform advocating a living wage, the right to unionize, workplace safety, lifelong education and fair trade. The California Nurses Association, the largest nurses' union in the U.S., has officially thrown its support to Nader, and several other union groups are reportedly considering endorsing his candidacy. Mazzocchi called for universal health care in the form of a single payer national health insurance system, an idea supported by Nader. Caldicott suggested the money for health care could come from the third of a trillion dollars currently being spent to produce nuclear weapons in the U.S. Winona LaDuke, an Ojibwe activist from the White Earth Reservation who is Nader's vice presidential running mate, calls for the reallocation of the federal budget to meet human needs. LaDuke cited the $289 million currently being spent in military aid to Columbia - one of the most violent nations in the world - as one example of money that could be better spent on human needs. LaDuke also supports adding what she calls the "Seventh Generation Amendment" to the U.S. Constitution, which would mandate the preservation of all commonly owned public property and require that public-policy deliberations include consideration of the impacts to people who will live here seven generations from now. In the Words of Ralph Nader: After three days of hearing about how Ralph Nader's relentless consumer activism over the last 30 years has saved millions of American lives and is chiefly responsible for the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Freedom of Information Act; and after hearing impassioned Nader endorsements from prominent human-rights activists -- including a nearly-in-tears Helen Caldicott who solemnly proclaimed: "There is one man who can save the world and that is Ralph Nader." -- it was time to hear from the man himself. But first: the lights dim and a wall-size TV screen erupts to life with images of Nader testifying before Congress, appearing on national news shows and hosting Saturday Night Live -- all part of an MTV-style video designed to pump up the crowd, and presumably prove this will be a savvy campaign much different from Nader's 1996 bid for the presidency. Back then, Nader agreed to let the Green Party put his name on the ballot, but he raised only $5,000 and rarely campaigned. This time around, Nader has already raised $1 million and is shooting for $5 million in what he promises will be a serious campaign effort. He has already campaigned in all 50 states, the only presidential candidate yet to do so. "Green values are the majoritarian values," Nader said, kicking off his acceptance speech. The movement is "a fresh green plant pushing up between the two fossil parties that are built on, driven by and fueled by business cash," he said. Nader said the theme of his campaign will be the shift of power away from the top 1 percent of wealthiest Americans, who earn more than the bottom 95 percent of Americans combined. "We can have a democratic society or we can have the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few. We can't have both," Nader said. Nader suggests using "people's yardsticks" instead of "corporate yardsticks" to measure economic health. In the midst of the current economic expansion, 20 percent of children live in dire poverty, 10 million people have minimum-wage paying jobs and 47 million people don't have health insurance. The benefits of the current economy have instead accrued to the top three percent of wealthy Americans. "It's time to put the injustices on the table," Nader said. "Over the next four and a half months, this campaign must challenge the campaigns of the Bush/Gore duopoly in ever locality." Nader called for an end to corporate welfare -- a main theme of the campaign. "Over the last 20 years, corporations have been very demanding on government, and they've gotten most of what they demand," Nader said, including debt forgiveness, tax shelters, bail outs, gifts of natural resources and non-enforcement of worker safety and environmental laws. He used as one example how the New York Stock exchange got millions of dollars from the government for a new building after threatening to move to New Jersey. He also sharply criticized the use of public funds for sports stadiums. "Tax money should be used for serious issues affecting human beings, not for corporate entertainment," he said, likening publically-financed sports stadiums to "the coliseums in Rome with one difference: They let the spectators in for free." Nader also called for a national debate on corporations and their rights as persons under current U.S. law. On the drug issue, Nader asked of the Drug Enforcement Agency: "What standard of failure would you apply before we can go back to the table (to discuss drug policy)?" He also recounted his visit to the country's only legal crop of hemp currently growing in Hawaii, calling it "a bizarre medieval experience" to see "a fraction of an acre of hemp surrounded by a barbed wire fence." He promised that, if elected, he would petition the DEA to take hemp off the scheduled drug list. Nader concluded his acceptance speech by calling on young people and senior citizens to get involved in the campaign, and by expressing his hope that thousands of Green candidates will run in state and local elections in the coming years. "Who among you will say that the people of this world will plan the future of his world, not the corporations and their corrupt governments?" Nader asked. Following the convention, Nader headed to California to continue campaigning. He is currently on the ballot in 20 states, including Colorado, and plans to be on the ballot in at least 48 states in the November election. Direct Link To Above Article: Denver, ColoradoPubdate: July 7, 2000Copyright 2000 Summit Free Press, Inc.Related Articles & Web Sites:Green Party Green Party Drug War Platfrom' Choice for President: Nader DEA Should Get Out of Regulating Hemp
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Comment #6 posted by haggis on December 18, 2001 at 12:45:46 PT:
Green does not =communism
Green=communism? do some reserch my friends....the greens are for the people not corporates. What do communist governments do for saftey and enviromental issues? look againmy friend. the greens are into spending on the people not for giving tax breaks to companies who turn huge profits. Whats better poor people with health care or G.E. not paying taxes? open your eyes my friend, communism= controling what people do and what they can say and whats available to them, greens are for protecting and providing the people their basic rights, such as saftey, and a clean enviroment,
And as well where to u get this notion that the private sector doesnt force? lookat all the adds my friend, Take a look at your shoes and other labels on your clothes? are u a consious consumer? I bet with your right wing attitude u are wearing a sleak pair of NIKE shoes? how about your "private sector" paying off dictatorships in excahnge for "forced" child labour? this country may have abolished slavery over one hundred years ago, but they fully support it with trade laws allowing to see slavery made goods sold hear at inflated prices. would you build cars for $39 a day? not a chance but alot of us buy cars that are made by people who do. and for this quote "The Greens are all about the government taking care of everything. We know what happens with that!" yes we do my friend. look at it now? could it get worse, 47 million with out health care?? come on man dont be ignorant to the real things that matter.
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Comment #5 posted by SHANE on July 25, 2001 at 13:36:38 PT:
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Comment #4 posted by SHANE on July 25, 2001 at 13:32:00 PT:
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Comment #3 posted by String on July 29, 2000 at 16:07:16 PT
I hear your words, but I reject the use of the word "communisim" as a scarecrow the same way as I reject the use of the word "addict".Laissez faire is a concept that cuts both ways. Not only should buisness be free from interference from the government, but government should also be free from interference from business. Let the free market reign, yes. But at the same time, shouldn't the people have the ultimate say in matters where health and livelyhood are at stake?The Supreme Court granted corporations the same rights as "persons" under the 14th amendment in 1886. The effectively gave them the same rights to life liberty and pursuit that people have (had). To me this is blatently wrong. The Constitution is not a "living document" open to interpretation. It is a roadmap that should be followed as closely as possible to arrive at the destination it was meant to lead us to.People have rights, because people have souls, people have conscience, people have compassion.Corporations have bottom lines and profit margins. And now, because of their wealth, they have control of our government. The WoD is a direct result of corporate influence having more weight than voter influence.Was it not Harry Anslinger in cohoots with DuPont and the Hearst Newspaper empire that saw a threat to their profits and effectively squashed the fledgling hemp industry?Is it not the influence of pharmacutical and distillery industries that perpetuates this fraud to this day?This is an issue that only the Greens have raised and it is so fundamental to the a healthy capitalist/democratic society.
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Comment #2 posted by Happy on July 29, 2000 at 15:29:57 PT
Whoa brother:Bickering or combined forces?
There may be things that Libertarians and Greens agree on. Push these ideas. The Green and the Lib's and the Reformers need a voice, and combined it is greater.Alone NONE have any say, and against each other none has any chance. Why not combine conventions, host seperate debates for all the up and coming parties, block democrats and republicans?Focus not on how much we differ, but what we have in common.Independant
Legalize Michigan
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Comment #1 posted by ecj on July 29, 2000 at 13:18:39 PT
All of us who realize that the war on drugs is a failure and a threat to our FREEDOM had better realize that under the Green party government would be much more oppresive and larger than it is now. You see, even though their intentions might be good, government has one BIG adavantage that the free, private sector doesn't,'FORCE'. Under government you must comply or they will force you to, i.e. drug laws, firearms laws, etc. The Greens are all about the government taking care of everything. We know what happens with that! A vote for the Green Party is like voting in the Chinese Communist party. More government oppression will never recognize or protect our liberties, no matter how much optimisim they may say they have. Government=FORCE! Vote Libertarian and win a FREE country.
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