We can have a democratic society or we can have the concentration of great wealth in the hands of a few. We cannot have both.
--Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis (1856-1941)
Signs - for your
bike, house, car...
|On the Web
Free Air Time on PBS: Not for All Candidates, 10/25/00
Sign PBS Petition / Greens A Major Party Now
Will Gore Throw the Election to Bush?, by Robert W. McChesney, 10/26/00
Third Party, Mainstream Hopes, by Barbara Ehrenreich, 10/26/00
Why I'm Voting For Ralph, by Robert W. McChesney, 8/21/00
Moore Wants More Ralph, Michael Moore, 9/26/00
All of this increasing critique of corporate globalization -- we should always use the adjective -- comes from a long overdue pattern of research to discern the systems of control. Make no mistake about it. Although the shibboleths of free trade are tossed in front of an often misinformed media, the issue with the IMF and World Trade Organization and World Bank is governance. It's the governance systems for global corporations that we're really dealing with.
The fundamental issue we face is the autocratic systems of governance that undermine democracy, that subordinate human rights and the rights of people for decent standards of living and for decent standards of justice. This is what is at stake here: Challenging international systems of autocratic governance that serve, overwhelmingly, the interests of giant global corporations who dominate and seek to dominate everything in their path.
They want to dominate governments. They want to dominate the workplace. They want to dominate the marketplace. They want to dominate the universities by corporatizing them. They want to dominate the very concept of childhood with their brazen commercial exploitation of small children. They want to dominate the shaping of the environment. They want to control the genes of the natural world. They want to control the human genes. They want to control the seeds. They want to control the future.
We have to make sure that this relentless drive for control by the commercial instinct -- which every major religion in the world has warned us about for two thousand years -- should never be given excessive power. Because in its singular focus and drive and lack of respect for other values, it destroys these other values in a paroxysm of greed that implodes on itself.
Ralph Nader's indefatigable commitment to accept the responsibility to bequeath to future generations a society that we can be proud of and one that uplifts the rest of the world is a great beacon for others.
Inspired by the emphasis he has put on the year 2000 Corporate Presidential Campaign, we provide here some transcripts that call out the best within us to actively participate in shaping the directions and priorities of our society. Speaking on CSPAN on September 4th, Nader said the Green Party was winning in the sense of inspiring young people to become further involved in the governmental process. Likewise, this is one of the essential facts of what transpired in Seattle last November-December, at the World Bank/IMF meeting in Washington D.C. this April, at each of the duopoly's conventions this summer, as well as in many other gatherings from around the globe (see the list in Ending Corporate Governance & co-globalizing gaia's children upcoming events for some of these).
Bush and Gore Make Me Wanna Ralph:
A Letter from Michael Moore to the Non-Voters of America, July 19, 2000
Voting For Change, Devotion to a Long-Term, Life-Serving Vision, ratitor's corner: September Equinox
I'm sure the Green Party is going to have the best renewable energy policy of any party, even better than it had in prior years. And it will be a luminous contrast to the Clinton-Gore Administration who have pretty much ignored the need to reverse the Reagan-Bush years and stop subsidizing oil, gas, coal, and nuclear and start supporting the expansion of wind power and photovoltaics and solar, thermal, etc. It is interesting that Gore wrote about this in his book in 1992. No one knew more about it as an elected official than Gore. However he has not made a single statement on solar energy in over seven years in office. That's an example of someone who knows, but is unwilling to act because of who his pay-masters are in the political sphere.
Six Present-Day Speech Transcripts
TOP SIGNS PAST
- Ralph Nader: Challenging Autocratic Governance That Serves The Interests Of Global Corporations,
IFG World Bank/IMF Teach-In, Washington D.C., April 14, 2000
Giant projects funded on the western model do not work in third world countries. Poverty can be alleviated only by cottage-level projects. For example, look what happened in our country at its best -- and why don't we project that for models of economic development with proper indigenous inputs, of course. We had land reform -- it's called the Homestead Act of 1863. It broke up the potential for giant plantations as occurred in the south. What people in the third world need is land reform -- fundamental land reform. They need systems that encourages land used to grow food for needy and hungry people. Not to grow cash crops to be exported to the west to earn hard currency to pay debts to foreign banks.
The second is microcredit. The democratization of credit which occurred in our country with credit unions, agricultural credit banks, producer credit banks in the farm area. They don't need these giant loans to oligarchs and governments that misuse them and only entrenches the oligarchs and the dictatorial regimes. They need the democratization of credit. It goes right to people -- $200, $300, $100 like the Grameen Bank has shown -- which by the way, was not an IMF idea, was it?
- Winona LaDuke: Fighting Bad Guys
and Trying to Do The Right Thing: A Vision For Change
Santa Fe, New Mexico, August 28, 2000
The fact is that in the first World War, 95% of the people killed were combatants. Today in the wars going on in the world, 90% of those wars are fought with small guns and 90% of the people killed are non-combatants, that is women and children. That is people out there working the fields. That is people who are mowed down. I believe that we must have a foreign policy, which does not give or sell guns to people with human rights violations.
We must stand up righteously in the world. Anywhere you go if you are American or a person like me who lives on this continent and you go around the world and often hear these stories. I've been privileged. I went to the World Parliament of Religions. I went to the UN Conference on the Status of Women. You hear these stories and you just cry. You hear those stories and you say, "What could I do to help you?" They say `Change your government's policies. Change what your government does. Do not send us used clothes. Do not adopt our children. Change your government's policies.' That is the courage and the opportunity we have in the world.
We are the people who could change the fate of many people throughout this world by having the courage to change America. That is the vision that we have. Not only in this election, but each day of our lives. That is a vision that we share and that we work on each day of our lives. That is a vision that I'm committed to. To make that change for the future generations.
- Ralph Nader: Wasting Your Vote, Wasting Our Democracy,
Santa Cruz, California, August 23, 2000
Do you want to waste your vote? You can waste your vote by voting for two political parties that are wasting our democracy and the great opportunities of our country. If you want to waste your vote -- if you don't like the two party politics and their being beholden to corporate power, which has resulted in a sovereignty of corporations over the sovereignty of people in this country -- and you go to the polling booths and vote for either a Republican or a Democrat, you are basically saying, `We don't like where you going, but we're going to vote for you anyway.' What do you think they are going to say to you, implicitly? They are going to say, `You're a sucker.' They are going to say, `You have got no where to go. We're taking you for granted.' And therefore, you're taken. . . .
The We have plenty of these ideas and many, many more. But only if we strengthen the roots of our democracy by our mind, our spirit, and our resolve never to allow a brief, euphoric moment of civic enthusiasm to wither away. But to fuel a steadfast sense of determination, day-after-day, week-after-week, until we not only have a higher estimate of our own significance but until we say to future generations, `We are the generation that did not refuse to carry the cudgels and to assume the responsibility to bequeath to you a society that you can be proud of and one that uplifts the rest of the world.'
- Ralph Nader: Reclaiming Civic Power to Reverse
the Corporate Erosion of Civil Rights,
Speech to the NAACP, Baltimore, Maryland, July 11, 2000
We live now in an apartheid economy. It is an economy of such staggering inequities that mere words and statistics hardly can do it justice. It is an economy where one man, Bill Gates, has as much wealth as the combined wealth of the bottom 120 million Americans. . . . The 250 richest people in the world have the combined income of the bottom three billion people in the world. To give a further illustration, the top 1 percent of the richest people in our country have wealth -- financial wealth equal to the bottom 95 percent. . . .
The UN Development Program [reports that] for $40 billion a year, applied to the needy of the world, they can provide basic sanitation and drinking water safety, basic nutritional needs, basic health care and significant education for these children. That's $40 billion a year in the same world that spends $850 billion a year on military equipment.
This is, in a sense, a message of hope, is it not? It's a message that if we can get enough civic power to redirect some of the enormous tax dollars that go to corporate subsidies, giveaways, handouts, bailouts, and that go for the military machine driven by corporate profits of Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics and others, we could redirect some of these monies to accelerate at unheard of levels the well-being of the oppressed and the impoverished and the desperate people and children in this world. . . .
In education the tyranny of standardized testing is becoming the be-all and do-all for principals and teachers and school districts. It is distorting the whole curriculum. We first blew the top off standardized testing fraud in 1980 with a study on the Educational Testing Service. We found there was an invincible correlation between test scores and family income. We also found that these tests are straitjackets. They don't recognize multiple intelligences. They don't recognize the assets that people have that spell success in life. Do they measure determination? Do they measure stamina, creativity, idealism, wisdom, judgment, experience? They don't. Now they're becoming a yoke on our school system where school districts, principals, teachers all measured by test scores and guess who develops these tests? Corporate consulting firms who have their eye on the public school system of America in order to corporatize them.
- Ralph Nader: Acceptance Speech Statement
for Green Party 2000 Nomination for President,
Denver, Colorado, June 25, 2000
To the youth of America, I say, beware of being trivialized by the commercial culture that tempts you daily. I hear you saying often that you're not turned on to politics. The lessons of history are clear and portentous. If you do not turn on to politics, politics will turn on you. The fact that we have so many inequalities demonstrates this point. Democracy responds to hands-on participation. And to energized imagination. That's its essence. We need the young people of America to move into leadership positions to shape their future as part of this campaign for a just society. Let's prepare to take the politicians and the lobbyists on a tour of the People's America.
Two premises are basic to this political campaign. First, that a basic function of leadership is to generate more leaders, not more followers. Secondly, this political movement is first and foremost movement of thought, not of belief. There is nothing wrong with beliefs but it would be better to have them preceded by thought and followed by action. By debating, phoning, e-mailing, and marching during the next four months, we the people will grow a new political start, a green plant pushing up between the two fossil parties.
- Ralph Nader: The Central Contention of Politics
Should be the Distribution of Power,
Launching West Coast Tour, Campaign 2000, March 1, 2000
The central contention of politics should be the distribution of power. That is where a political campaign should be first and foremost. The most important question that a candidate can ask the people during the campaign is, "Do you want to be more powerful as a voter, citizen, consumer, worker, taxpayer, and small saver-investor? Or do you want to continue to be rolled and dominated and manipulated by the concentration of power and wealth in too few hands who then establish the supremacy of the political economy over the majority of the people in this country?"
That is really the question. Because if the people in this country do not want to be more powerful as they interact in the workplace, the marketplace, the environment, their communities, their legislatures, their courts, their executive branch agencies, the corporations, through the various stakeholder rights that they should be given, then no political leaders, no political parties are going to be able to do anything more than promise what they cannot deliver. That is the fundamental point: That even if you look at political candidates around the country and say, I think these candidates are well-intentioned, I think that they are sincere in their promises. If they win without the people being mobilized, if they happen to beat their opponent in the usual parade election style, they will not be able to deliver whether as Governor, Senator, Representative or President.
That's the key message to convey to people: If they want to stop this disconnect between enormous economic growth, corporate profits and stock market prices on the one hand, and a stagnation or a decline in the state of workers and others in the economy as the disparities of wealth become so enormous; if they want to stop that, if they want a rising tide lifting all boats instead of a rising tide lifting all yachts, then they have to strengthen themselves in those five key roles that they play in our political economy: Voter-citizen, worker, consumer, taxpayer, and small saver-investor.
It may surprise some people to learn that about 90% of all the congressional districts in the U.S. Congress are not competitive. That is, they are either dominated by the Republican or the Democratic incumbents and the opposing major political party doesn't even field a candidate in about 70 of these districts, in 1996. In many of the other districts just a nominal candidate runs; some accountant who wants to embellish his resume, throws his hat in the ring and spends a few bucks and gets 30% of the vote.
That is not a two-party system. That is basically a massively entrenched one-party system. None-of-the-above will tend to break that up. Because right now people in this country cannot go to the polls and vote `no'. They can only vote `yes' for some person on the ballot. If they can go to the ballot and vote for none-of-the-above and if none-of-the-above gets more votes than the other candidates on the ballot, it cancels the election for that ballot-line and orders new elections in 30 to 45 days with new candidates.
I think that will tend to bring more people out to the polls because they won't be able to say they are staying home in order to protest. Staying home in order to protest doesn't mean a hill of beans to entrenched politicians. They don't care if only 10% of the people vote. The fewer people who vote, the fewer people they can saturate with their political television ads. Instead of staying home, a binding none-of-the-above brings them out.
Signs - Print 'em and put 'em
on your bicycle, house, car . . .
Each of these signs measures 8½ by 11 inches. Each file is available in either PostScript or PDF format (there is no difference between them except in the way the data is stored and represented). Both formats are ideally suited for printing. If you aren't familiar with either, get the Adobe Acrobat Viewer from the Adobe website. This will let you view the PDF file and send it to your printer. Go to a copy place to laminate them. i've taped these to my car side-doors, back window and bicycle basket. -dave
I hope you'll go back so metabolized that you will multiply your efforts in church basements and union local halls and university auditoriums and through your e-mail, so that this time it is not just a surge. It's not just a movement. Not just a demonstration. It is a permanent transformation of the way we use our time and our knowledge and our estimate of our own significance. Estimate of our own significance.
You are in the top percent or two of people around the world in terms of health, education, and the ability to make a difference. That gives you a moral imperative to do so. You have even a higher responsibility to do so. We are blessed in this country. We have to make sure we stop the reverse slide that is occurring even here. We have to go back home and develop our own systems of influence, our own compelling networks, whether through the Internet or through person-to-person contact.
Past Speech Transcripts
SIGNS ON THE
- Plutocracy and the Citizen Agenda for '92 and beyond, 1/15/92
The unaccountability of government has gone to the point where the very use of the law is the instrument of illegality. The very use of the law is the instrument of illegality. The color of the law. And it has become so intricate, and so broad-based, that law schools don't even study it: government lawlessness. Not just Watergate.
- The Concord Principles--An Agenda For a New Initiatory Democracy,
. . . these tools for democracy have fairly common characteristics. They are universally accessible, can reduce government and other deficits, and are voluntary to use or band together around. It matters not whether people are Republicans, Democrats, or Independents. It matters only that Americans desire to secure and use these facilities or tools.
Without this reconstruction of our democracy through such facilities for informed civic participation, as noted above, even the most well-intentioned politicians campaigning for your vote cannot deliver, if elected. Nor can your worries about poverty, discrimination, joblessness, the troubled conditions of education, environment, street and suite crime, budget deficits, costly and inadequate health care, and energy boondoggles, to list a few, be addressed constructively and enduringly. Developing these democratic tools to strengthen citizens in their distinct roles as voters, taxpayers, consumers, workers, shareholders, and students should be very high on the list of any candidates commitments to you. Unless, that is, they just want your vote, but would rather not have you looking over their shoulder from a position of knowledge, strength and wisdom.
- The Decline of Democracy & The Concord Principles, 5/9/92
Let me assure you that as discouraged as some of you may be about the prospects of the world and the nation, remember: we are starting from a base of knowledge, technology, and constitutional rights that are far more enabling than many more unfortunate people abroad. We can develop the mechanisms, the new toolbox of democracy, so that it impacts our politics and our economy and our social culture in a way that will produce turnarounds and changes and progress much faster than many of you can envision. We can solarize our entire nation. We can solarize our entire nation with passive and active solar energy and energy efficiency. And replace those horrible environmental and geopolitical and deficit problems in the next generation alone.
And what we need to do is to conclude each day individually by saying, "we are never going to go through another day saying we don't count, saying you can't fight city hall, saying that we don't have time for our citizen duties." Because if we don't believe the pursuit of justice is really the pursuit of personal as well as social happiness, we have not learned the lessons of history.
Years ago the head of this big advertizing firm -- Foote, Cohen and Belding in New York -- wrote a book called The Trouble With Advertizing. He had a page saying that if he was in charge he would ban political advertizing on the media that is under five minutes. Because, as an expert advertizing specialist that he was, he didn't think that you can get across anything other than emotional imagery and that debased the political process. He came to this conclusion because he did work for the Nixon campaign earlier.--Ralph Nader, 1 March 2000, L.A. Press Club
On the Web
- The Moral Courage to Stand Against Injustice, Speech of Ralph Nader
(St. Francis Church, Sacramento, CA) October 17, 1996, Albion Monitor
- Ralph Nader Interviewed by David Barsamian, February 23, 2000
- votenader.org - Official site
- nader2000.org - information packed!
- www.beavoter.com - Register to vote online
- Center for Voting and Democracy inlucludes Voting Methods:
Organizations Founded by Ralph Nader
- Public Citizen
- Multinational Monitor
- The Center for the Study of Responsive Law
- Public Interest Research Groups