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Ralph Nader and the Antiwar Movement

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Freedom is participation in power. -Cicero

One week ago, Ralph Nader announced officially on Meet the Press that he would be running for office. Interestingly, he chose to address his candidacy without really calling to attention the fact that he is running for the Green Party nomination. Whether he becomes the Green Party presidential candidate after the Green Party convention in the summer or not, Ralph Nader and his fellow supporters from the Green Party will have it exceptionally rough during this election.

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It’s not like they haven’t been met with issues before. The system has always been stacked against them. Draconian ballot access laws, exclusion from debates, and political bigotry all are expected by the Nader campaign and the Green Party.

There are also the widespread myths and allegations that Nader threw the election to George W. Bush in 2000 or that Nader cost Gore the election in 2000 by siphoning votes away from him.

And now as the Iraq War rages on, Nader will have to deal with the antiwar movement’s opposition to participating in this election.

Yesterday, I attended a meeting where stalwart anti-war anti-occupation Americans spoke out angrily at Nader for not clearly articulating. I wonder how deep this sentiment runs within the anti-war movement.

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If you go to OntheIssues.org you can find this quote on Ralph Nader from the Green Party:

Q: Briefly describe Nader's position on the following issue: Middle East Policy, including Iraq.

A: On Iraq, Ralph Nader supports the rapid and responsible withdrawal of US military forces, civilian military contractors, and US corporate interests fro Iraq. Ralph Nader has put a major focus of his time and energy into the Stop the War Campaign of Democracy Rising, which provides grassroots antiwar activists across the country with fact sheets, information, and tools they need to be effective.

Source: Green Party 2008 Presidential Candidate Questionnaire Feb 3, 2008

Is supporting Democracy Rising not enough to prove he is against the war and occupation of Iraq? Is writing numerous articles calling for people to be a movement against this spoiled system not enough to show Nader is against this "war on terror"?

Nader has characterized the Bush administration in ways that Hope and Hill would never characterize Bush. On Nader’s blog on Democracy Rising, you can find phrases like “the rogue regime of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney”, descriptions of Bush that characterize him as the “obstinate, messianic militarist in the White House”, and statements that say “Presidential outlawry did not start with Mr. Bush. It has been building up for a long time going from the episodic to institutionalized forms.”

Nader Speaks at a Fundraiser

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I wonder how any antiwar movement member could possibly watch the first seven minutes of this above video and not think the movement owes Nader for what he is doing to spur antiwar sentiment in America.

But, as I spend more and more time with the antiwar movement because I do not care to put time and resources into the Obama or Hillary campaign, I learn more and more about how they view our democratic society or lack thereof.

The movement in Chicago has almost universally decided that incorporating politicians into the antiwar events that they organize for is a bad idea. For the March 19th/20th rallies to mark the unfortunate fifth anniversary of this illegal war and occupation of Iraq, the organizers collectively chose to demand that people be out in the streets challenging the powers that be and the corrupt, broken, and rigged imperialist system that allows this war to rage on instead of calling attention to choices like Nader that will show up on the ballot in Illinois.

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for OpEdNews.com

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