With millions of people paying much closer attention to politics during the election season, Socialist Alternative played a very active role in the Nader campaign. This gave us a concrete, unique platform to reach people with socialist ideas and get alternative ideas into the media more frequently than usual. The Nader campaign was the best way in the 2004 election to argue against voting for the “lesser evil” corporate party and to argue instead for building a party that represents the millions, not the millionaires.
We were the central organizers of rallies where Ralph Nader spoke in Boston, Seattle, and Minneapolis, each drawing 500 to 1000 people. In Seattle, Minneapolis, and Oberlin, Ohio, we were also some of the central organizers of meetings at which Peter Camejo, Nader’s vice-presidential candidate, spoke, each drawing over 80 people. On campuses across the country, we held Socialist Alternative meetings about the case for Nader attended by 221 people in total, with our largest turnout, 50 people, at the University of Washington.
We also participated in debates against the Democrats and Republicans at Tufts University, the University of Washington, Tacoma Community College, and the University of Minnesota, and in a Seattle community. In general, the audiences were quite receptive to our ideas. The boisterous audiences found the debates much more exciting than the artificial corporate debates between Bush and Kerry on national TV, from which Nader was unfairly excluded. Socialist Alternative member Ty Moore got the loudest applause of the night when, before a presidential debate watch at the University of Minnesota attended by 1000 students, he told the crowd, “These debates we are about to watch are a total farce. They are a theatrical gimmick, stage-managed by Corporate America to provide the illusion of genuine democracy.”
Forty-five new members have joined Socialist Alternative and become active as a result of our campus recruitment drive, our Nader campaign, and our interventions at the Republican National Convention and Million Worker March protests. Campaigning for Nader and against the war has helped us establish a presence in many communities throughout the country, and we look forward to helping build mass protests against the Bush agenda in the immediate future.