Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Break with the Two Parties of War and Big Business - Vote Nader!

Aug 26, 2008 By Philip Locker
Ordinary Americans have been “shut out of their government by two major parties that, in varying degrees, have turned Washington into corporate-occupied territory,” declared Ralph Nader (USA Today, 3/5/08).

In sharp contrast to Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, Nader is running an insurgent campaign for President as an independent to challenge the corporate stranglehold over U.S. society. Socialist Alternative is strongly supporting Nader’s antiwar, pro-worker campaign, as we did in 2000 and 2004.

Barack Obama has built his campaign around an image and rhetoric of change. However there is little substance behind this image (see pg. 3-4). Despite populist posturing, Obama is tied by a million strings to the political establishment and their big business policies.

If Obama is elected, those who believe – or hope – he will deliver real change will be bitterly disappointed. Further, Obama’s failure to campaign around concrete policies that would benefit working people, rather than vague promises of change, has even put into question his ability to defeat McCain, who should be easy to beat.

Ralph Nader’s campaign, in contrast, will reach millions of people with a radical anti-corporate platform that would dramatically improve the lives of workers and young people:

  • Withdraw ALL U.S. troops and corporations from Iraq
  • Establish a universal single-payer healthcare system
  • Create millions of living wage jobs through public works programs
  • Slash the massive military budget
  • Repeal the Patriot Act and the FISA bill
  • Expand workers’ rights and repeal the Taft-Hartley Act
  • Scrap harmful nuclear power – Invest in clean, renewable energy
  • Abolish the racist death penalty
  • End the failed, racist War on Drugs
Nader’s main strengths are his firm opposition to the Republicans and Democrats as two parties of big business, and his stand against the idea that the Democrats should be supported as a “lesser evil.”

Nader’s campaign will give a voice to an important minority of workers and youth who are searching for a left-wing alternative to the rotten right-wing consensus of corporate politics.

He has consistently received 4 – 6% in polls, though his actual vote could be squeezed by enthusiasm for Obama, especially if the race remains close, as well as the numerous undemocratic obstacles to ballot access.

Nader is not a socialist, but rather a left-wing populist. He mistakenly believes it is sufficient to reform capitalism by exerting more democratic control over big corporations. We believe real change requires a fundamental overturn of the whole capitalist system by the working-class majority of the population (see pg. 8-9).

Nader's main weakness, however, is his unwillingness to use his campaigns as a launching pad for building an on-going political alternative. Nevertheless, his campaign points in the direction of what is needed: a mass party that fights big business and gives a political voice to the disenfranchised working class and oppressed.

All those who want to fight for real change should join us in supporting the Nader campaign. At the same time, we need to build a movement that continues to fight beyond November 4 to address the root cause of society’s problems – the global capitalist system. Join us in the fight to change the system!

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