Page One

Ralph Nader brings campaign to Bay Area

By Judith Scherr Daily Planet Staff
Monday October 23, 2000

OAKLAND – When Ralph Nadar took the stage Saturday night at Oakland’s Henry J. Kaiser Auditorium, the more than 7,000 people who filled the seats and sat in the aisles jumped to their feet. 

When he talked about George W. Bush as “nothing more than a corporation disguised as a human being,” the crowd went wild. 

Nadar was no less kind to Democrat Al Gore, whose politics, he argued, were identical to those of Bush, particularly concerning their support for the North America Free Trade Agreement, the World Trade Organization and belief in the death penalty. 

“The stronger we get, the more fearful they become,” said Cornell West, Harvard professor of Africa-American studies, who was among the luminaries who appeared at the rally in support for Nadar.  

The Oakland rally was one in a series of “superrallies” that have attracted thousands of people in Portland,Ore., Chicago, New York as well as others nationwide.  

In addition to west, the rally featured entertainers Patti Smith and Jello Biafra.  

Nadar pointed to the growing numbers of people who support his campaign, citing polls that say he has 8 percent support in Minnesota, 6-7 percent support in California, 9 percent in Connecticut and 17 percent in Alaska.  

With that support behind him, his condemnation of the system that refuses him entry into the presidential debates grows. Tuesday Nadar filed suit in state and federal courts against the debate sponsors, claiming violations of his civil rights.  

At a press conference that preceded Nadar’s speech to the rally, a Berkeley High School Jacket reporter was the first to pose a question. 

Nadar first questioned the youth’s membership in the local press corps, then responded to the question on his position on Proposition 38, the voucher initiative. “We won’t solve the problems by funding vouchers,” he said. 

When asked what he’d have said, if allowed to participate in the debates, Nadar responded that, on the tax question, he’d “raise taxes on stock transactions and crack down on tax loopholes.”  

On the question of immigration, he’d stop the “illegal” use of force against undocumented migrants, allow people to work short periods in the United States on contract, then return home, and stop support for “oligarchies” from which people flee. 

While Nadar campaigns furiously trying to capture every vote he can in order to get the 5 percent support nationally the Green Party needs to receive matching funds in four years, Democrats say it’s dangerous to vote for Nadar. If too many people throw their vote his way, Bush might win, the argument goes. And if Bush wins, he could stack the Supreme Court with his ilk and get rid of a woman’s right to choose. 

The Nadar camps’ reply could be seen in signs scattered around the auditorium: “Vote your hopes, not your fears.”