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From green_avenger@my-deja.com Fri Nov 3 14:40:25 2000
Date: Thu, 2 Nov 2000 22:01:39 -0600 (CST)
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Article: 108335
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Nader's Record

From green_avenger@my-deja.com,
2 November 2000

Ralph Nader is by all accounts a very smart man, his humorless, hair-shirt personality aside. But he's only interested in one issue: the growth of corporate power and its corrupting influence on democracy. He has little interest in, or commitment to, social issues.

For his entire career, Nader had little or nothing to say about abortion, gay civil rights, affirmative action, or race relations. Despite grassroots Green efforts to help defeat the anti-affirmative action "California Civil Rights Initiative" in California, Nader would not take a stand.

When Phil Donahue asked Nader about abortion, he dismissed the entire issue as "too much private stuff." His only detectable involvement in women's issues during the last forty years were his efforts to include women on juries in the 50s and 60s--an issue long-since decided.

He dismissed concerns over gay civil rights as "gonadal politics."

Nader talks like a big friend of labor, but his actions tell a different story. In the early 1970s, he treated unionized airline and trucking workers as beneficiaries of government-sanctioned monopolies and pushed the successful drive for deregulation of these industries, with disastrous effects on workers later in the decade.

Closer to home, Nader squashed efforts to unionize workers at his publication, Multinational Monitor, through a vicious campaign of heavy- handed tactics and intimidation. After staffers alleged unfair labor practices and filed papers with the National Labor Relations Board asking for union recognition, Nader changed the office locks (within 24 hours), "gave" the magazine to his closest aides as a free gift, and fired the entire staff, none of whom were ever rehired.

When the fired workers filed unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB, Nadar's aides retaliated with a $1.2 million civil suit, charging that the ex-staffers were trying to "destroy their business." A settlement was reached in which the complaint and suit were both dropped, but from that point on, the Monitor has been a scab publication.

Until this election year, Nader obviously did not want to be associated with Greens. He refused membership in the Greens and disavowed the party's platforms; he even refused an interview with the national newsletter of the Greens, the quarterly tabloid, Green Politics.

Even after embracing the Greens as a vehicle for his political ambitions, it's not clear that a majority of mainstream Greens even wanted him on the ballot. In state after state, the Nader campaign compromised the integrity of local Greens in its grim determination to be on as many state ballots as possible. Wherever the local Greens resisted the Nader juggernaut, ambitious individuals were recruited to launch a Green petition drive of their own.

To cite just two examples: Nadar told Ohio Greens that organizers from California would bring a petition drive to their state if they declined to do so. When Greens in Texas opposed a statewide Nader drive, Greens across the country received repeated "emergency" fundraising appeals over the Internet to send campaign organizers there over the objections of the Texas Greens.

In 1996, former Monitor staffer Doug Henwood summed up Nader this way: "Ralph Nader may look like a democrat, smell like a populist, and sound like a socialist--but deep down he's a frightened, petit bourgeois moralizer without a political compass, more concerned with his image than the movement he claims to lead: in short, an opportunist, a liberal hack. And a scab."

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