·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

News & Politics

Ralph Nader Encourages Us to Break Through the Power.

— May 28, 2016

Ralph Nader encourages us to break through the power, and he believes we can do it.

For more than fifty years, Ralph Nader has been a man on a mission. It was fifty years ago that the consumer advocate and erstwhile presidential candidate published his groundbreaking book, Unsafe at Any Speed. This, Nader celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the book with a large four-day conference called “Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think.” The conference, held in Washington, D.C. from May 23-26, included talks by activists, public advocates, experts and authors. The event was streamed live by The Real News Network.

In an interview with Scott Harris of Between the Lines, Nader outlined his objectives for the conference: “One, I’d like these groups to get more visibility and support from around the country. They don’t brag very much. Number two, I’d like in an election year to have this be a re-assertion of the civil society without which we don’t get good politics. We get terrible politics.”

The third aim of the conference, Nader said, involves media. He hopes to form a group of “voices which will go and challenge the commercial media and cable monopolies for not allowing enough serious content.” He stressed the point that media outlets are held in public trust. “We own the public airwaves. We’re the landlord. The TV, radio stations are the tenants…There’s no labor channel? No consumer channel? No student channel?”

Nader could be accused here of affecting a naivete about media in America, but he insists that as a public our expectations have been too low. “You have to raise them because if we don’t raise the expectation levels, we don’t heed [what] was said so many years ago by the great abolitionist when he said, ‘Power concedes nothing without a demand.’”

That demand, Nader insists, would be easier to generate than most people think.

“Let’s say 1 percent of people in every Congressional district organized at the level of a hobby.” He estimates that 2,000 such hobbyists in each district would be able to open district offices staffed by two or three people.

“You’d get almost every progressive agenda item changed within thirty months,” Nader says, including tax reform, Medicare for all, better corporate crime prosecution, and investments in public works.

Among the speakers at the conference, in addition to Nader himself, were Dennis Kucinich, Phil Donahue and Chris Hedges, as well as 82 others over the four-day event.

Sources: Breaking Through “Ralph Nader Sponsors Four Days of Civic Mobilization” “Ralph Nader’s Democracy Crusade”

Photo source:

Join the conversation!