As the last preparations were being put in place for the corporate-sponsored, stage-managed “Democratic” National Convention (DNC), independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader spoke in Boston on July 23 about his left-wing challenge to the two-party status quo. Seven to eight hundred people crowded into two big lecture halls at Harvard University to hear his anti-war, anti-corporate message. Nader spoke out strongly against the corruption of the two-party system. He called George W. Bush “a giant corporation disguised as a human being residing in the White House.” Nader also warned that the Democrats are no alternative – their presidential nominee John Kerry is “for the war and wants to stay in Iraq, he’s for corporate globalization, and he voted for the Patriot Act.” Socialist Alternative members were the main organizers of the rally. We originally booked a single room with a 350-seat capacity. As the buzz about the rally grew, Harvard moved the meeting to a much larger room and even provided a second room with a live video feed! The turnout was excellent given that organizers had under a week to spread the word. In the end, the attendance was tremendous given that half the population of Boston had fled the city to escape the DNC and the avalanche of attacks from the corporate media and liberal Democrats. Rally organizers invited other speakers and used the event to help build local and international struggles. Jeff Booth – a Harvard worker, union member, and Socialist Alternative member – spoke about the Harvard No Layoffs Campaign. A local Green Party candidate for state representative, Carolina Johnson, spoke about her local electoral challenge to corporate politics. Patrick Ayers, a Socialist Alternative member and UMass-Boston student, spoke about using the Nader campaign to launch a new party that speaks “for the millions and not the millionaires.” John Harris of Chelsea Uniting against the War spoke about the Boston anti-war movement and the lies surrounding the invasion of Iraq. Fabio Arias, Vice President of the CUT, Colombia’s largest trade union federation, told of the struggle of working people in his country against neo-liberalism. Socialist Alternative not only helped organize the rally but also raised the need for an alternative to the capitalist system that lets corporations rule the world. We sold $164.50 in socialist literature, including over 100 copies of Justice and dozens of copies of our pamphlet, Support Nader’s Campaign for President: It’s Time to Break from the Two-Party System!
Socialist Alternative in the News The Washington Post, commenting on a Boston press conference that Ralph Nader held in May, quoted Socialist Alternative organizer Philip Locker. At the press conference, Locker handed Nader an open letter drafted by Socialist Alternative and distributed among Nader campaign activists urging Nader to reject the Reform Party ballot lines. “‘I’m very concerned that you are accepting their nomination,’ Philip Locker told Nader during a recent campaign tour of the Northeast. Locker, who is with a group called Socialist Alternative, said the Reform Party had anti-immigrant and racist policies. “Nader declared then that the Reform Party had ‘more benign views’ and in any case, his acceptance of the endorsement did not mean he supported the group’s views. The endorsement was simply a chance to compete in states such as Florida, he told Locker, unless you want to get 98,000 signatures for us'” (Washington Post, 7/10/04).