Ralph Nader, has fought tirelessly for 3 decades for the rights of consumers. He has been described as the living icon of consumer ethics. He has fought relentlessly to protect ordinary Americans from powerful corporations and to make government responsive, saving a great number of lives in the process.
Born in Winsted, CT in 1934, Nader graduated magna cum laude from Princeton in 1955, and from Harvard Law School in 1958. Nader came to the publicís attention in 1965 when his best-selling book - Unsafe at Any Speed - exposed unsafe cars such as General Motorsí dangerously defective Corvair. When GM went to extraordinary lengths to discredit Nader, Nader sued them for invasion of privacy. GM, having admitted wrongdoing before a Senate Committee, settled the case. With the money from the settlement, and the reputation for standing up to major corporations, Ralph Nader launched the modern consumer movement.
Consumer activists from across America came to Washington, D.C. to work with Ralph Nader. Naderís Raiders as they were to become known, successfully pushed for numerous laws to protect consumers, workers, taxpayers, and the environment, combating corporate abuse, and increasing citizen access to government. Nader built or stimulated a public interest movement consisting of dozens of organizations across America, with hundreds of citizen leaders working daily for a just society.
On issue after issue, year after year, Ralph Nader has identified and confronted the political and corporate elites. He has fought against insurance companies, automotive giants, global trade arrangements, corporate lobbyists to name a few. He is a champion of the citzen rights movement. He has authored, co-authored or sponsored many books, including - Action for a Change, Corporate Power in America, Taming the Giant Corporation, Verdicts on Lawyers, The Menace of Atomic Energy, Whoís Poisoning America, Winning the Insurance Game, and The Frugal Shopper. His lifelong integrity and tireless commitment to the public interest have made Ralph Nader one of the most admired and influential American citizens of his era. Ralph Nader is the Green Party canditate for the Presidency of the United States.
The following is an excert of the Acceptance Statement by Ralph Nader, for the Green Party nomination for the Presidency of the United States.
Denver, Colorado, June 25, 2000
- On behalf of all Americans who seek a new direction,who yearn for a new birth of freedom to build the just society, who see justice as the great work of human beings on Earth, who understand that community and human fulfillment are mutually reinforcing, who respect the urgent necessity to wage peace, to protect the environment, to end poverty and to preserve the value of the spirit for future generations, who wish to build a deep democracy by working hard for a regenerative progressive politics, as if people mattered ó to all these citizens and the Green vanguard, I welcome and am honored to accept the Green Party nomination for President of the United States.
The Green Party stands for a nation and a world that consciously advances the practice of deep democracy. A deep democracy facilitates peoples best efforts to achieve social justice, a sustainable and bountiful environment and an end to systemic bigotry and discrimination against law-abiding people merely because they are different.Green goals place community and self- reliance over dependency on ever larger absentee corporations and their media, their technology, their capital, and their politicians. Green goals aim at preserving the commonwealth of assets that the people of the United States already own so that the people, not big business, control what they own, and using these vast resources of the public lands, the public airwaves and trillions of worker pension dollars to achieve healthier environments, healthier communities and healthier people.
These goals are also conservative goals. Donít conservatives, in contrast to corporatists, want movement toward a safe environment, toward ending corporate welfare and the commercialization of childhood? Donít they too want a voice in shaping a clean environment rooted in the interests of the people? Donít they too want a fair and responsive marketplace, for their health needs and savings? Let us not in this campaign prejudge any voters, for Green values are majoritarian values, respecting all peoples and striving to give greater voice to all voters, workers, individual taxpayers and consumers. As with the right of free speech, we may not agree with others, but we will defend their right to free speech as strongly as we do for ourselves. Earlier this year, I decided to seek your nomination because obstacles blocking solutions to our societyís injustices and problems had to be overcome.
Feelings of powerlessness and the withdrawal of massive numbers of Americans from both civic and political arenas are deeply troubling. This situation had to be addressed by fresh political movement arising from the citizenryís labors and resources and dreams about what America could become at long last. The worsening concentration of global corporate power over our government has turned that government frequently against its own people, denying its people their sovereignty to shape their future. Again and again, the will of the people has been thwarted and the voice of the people to protest has been muted.
In the past, citizens who led and participated in this countryís social justice movements faced steep concentrations of power and overcame them. A brief look at American history is instructive today. Common themes occur from the Revolution of 1776 against King George IIIís empire to the anti-slavery drives and womenís suffrage movements of the 19th century, to the farmersí revolt against the large banks and railroads that began in 1887, and on to the trade union, civil rights, environmental and consumer protection initiatives of the 20th century, culminating in the demands for equity by Americans who are discriminated against due to their race, gender, tribal status, class, disability or sexual preference. All these movements took on excessive power, pressed for relinquishment or sharing of that power despite vigorous opposition by elements of the dominant business community. Many years were lost to the resolutions of these injustices before justice began to prevail and corporate power receded.
However, when citizens won, and Tory merchants, cotton slave holders and corporations were compelled to share that power with the people they oppressed or excluded, America was a better place for it. America became more beautiful. Moreover, the companies behaved better and prospered more.
Over the past twenty years we have seen the unfortunate resurgence of big business influence, generating its unique brand of wreckage, propaganda and ultimatums on American labor, consumers, taxpayers and most generically, American voters. Big business has been colliding with American democracy and democracy has been losing. The results of this democracy gap are everywhere to be observed by those who suffer these results and by those who employ peopleís yardsticks to measure the quality of the economy, not corporate yardsticks and their frameworks. What we must collectively understand about the prevalent inequalities is important because so many of these conditions have been normalized in our country.
Over the next four and one half months, this campaign must challenge the campaigns of the Bush and Gore duopoly in every locality by running with the people. When Americans go to work, wondering who will take care of their elderly parents or their children, irritated by the endless traffic jams, stifled by their lack of rights in the corporate workplace, ripped off by unscrupulous sellers and large companies, put on telephone hold for the longest times before you get an answer to a simple question? So much for this modern telecommunications age, beset by having to pay for health care you cannot afford or drug prices you shouldnít have to suffer, aghast at how little time your frenzied life leaves you for children, family, friends and community, overcome by the sheer ugliness of commercial strips and sprawls and incessantly saturating advertisements, repelled by the voyeurism of the mass media and the commercialization of childhood, upset at the rejection of the wisdoms of our elders and forebears, anxious over the ways your tax dollars are being misused, feeling that there needs to be more to life than the desperate rat race to make ends meet, then think about becoming a part of a progressive movement of Greens, of this citizensí campaign, to change the political economy so that healthy environments, healthy communities, and healthy people become its overwhelming reason for being.
Look at Europe. During the Fifties and Sixties, several European countries provided all their citizens with health care coverage, day care and other services for children, labor laws which facilitate the organization of trade unions, a statutory - social wage - for all workers, union and non-union, providing one month paid vacations, retention of pay while caring for sick family members, pensions and other services. In the year 2000 A.D., most workers in our country do not have these basic rights. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, the United States was ranked 37th among nations in the world regarding the quality of health care a country provides its people. This is not only embarrassing but also unacceptable. Western European countries provided for their people thirty to fifty years ago. Why canít we do it now in a period of economic boom? Itís possible. We can make a difference. Together we can chart a new course.
by American Green Party