I Support Nader

RECEIVED Fri., Oct. 8, 2004

Dear Editor,
   Nader's anti-war, pro-poor, pro-gay, pro-choice, pro-labor, anti-death penalty, pro-universal heath care candidacy attracts people who recognize the two-party system as a choice between two bought-and-sold, pro-war, anti-gay marriage, pro-corporate candidates. Relying on Democrats to make change from above has immobilized the left and moved the U.S. backward on abortion rights, affirmative action, poor people's rights, immigrant rights, and GLBT rights.
   History tells us that movements alone can win progressive reforms, pressuring even Nixon's administration to defend funding for social services and appoint justices to the court that handed down Roe v. Wade, and imposed a four-year moratorium on the death penalty. We held his feet to the fire just as we should the Democrats, who have taken for granted and betrayed us, over and over. Progressives' anti-democratic trashing of Nader turns a blind eye to the Democrats' record and impairs the building of a fighting alternative.
   The Clinton administration did things conservatives had only dreamed of (ending welfare, for one). Gay rights groups' support for the defender of straight marriage and don't-ask-don't-tell was appalling. But Clinton, Kerry, and their party can count on the progressive vote no matter what they do. Bush's agenda will not be stopped by a Kerry presidency because on the whole, it's a shared agenda.
   I'm not going to hold my nose and vote for a candidate who is against my full citizenship and who only privately opposes the death penalty while sentencing thousands more U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians to death. He is not on my side. As the famous socialist Eugene V. Debs said, "I'd rather vote for something I want, and not get it, than vote for something I don't want, and get it." Let's rebuild a left alternative rather than sending it to its historical graveyard: the Democratic Party.
Dana Cloud
International Socialist Organization
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