The Green Party of the United States has yet to see the national election successes of its counterparts in Europe, Canada and Australia but it remains a growing force in American politics. Also take a look at Democracy Chronicles’ Third Party Central as well.
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American physician specializing in internal medicine, and was the nominee of the Green Party for President of the United States in the 2012 election. Stein was a candidate for Governor of Massachusetts in the 2002 and the 2010 gubernatorial elections. Jill Stein was endorsed for President in 2012 by Noam Chomsky, a linguist, author and activist.
Consumer advocate, lawyer, author, and has been named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential Americans in the Twentieth Century. For over four decades Ralph Nader has exposed problems and organized millions of citizens into more than 100 public interest groups to advocate for solutions. His efforts have helped to create a framework of laws, regulatory agencies, and federal standards that have improved the quality of life for two generations of Americans.
His groups were instrumental in enacting the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the Safe Drinking Water Act. In the past decade, Nader has dedicated himself to putting people back in charge of America’s democracy, launching three major presidential campaigns. Because of Ralph Nader we drive safer cars, eat healthier food, breathe better air, drink cleaner water, and work in safer environments.
the early years
Ralph Nader was born in Winsted, Connecticut on February 27, 1934, to Rose and Nathra Nader, immigrants from Lebanon. Ralph’s family owned and operated the Highland Arms, a restaurant and gathering place for members of their small community. Nader and his three siblings grew up in an environment where current events and politics were discussed both around the dinner table and with customers at the family restaurant. There, it was said, for a nickel you would get a cup of coffee and ten minutes of politics.
Nader’s career as a public advocate started at the age of 31 with an article titled “The Safe Car You Can’t Buy,” which along with his subsequent book, “Unsafe at Any Speed,” documented safety defects in U.S. cars and criticized the automobile industry’s safety practices, specifically targeting the Corvair. Helped by testimony from the CEO of General Motors that the company had hired a private detective to investigate Nader’s private life, the book became a best seller.
Nader subsequently sued GM for invasion of privacy and received $425,000 in an out-of-court settlement. He invested and used the money as a de facto philanthropic fund for his projects aimed at strengthening civil society. Nader’s research on auto safety and his lobbying in Washington helped push Congress to pass the 1966 National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. He also lobbied for the 1967 Wholesome Meat Act, which called for federal inspections of beef and poultry and imposed standards on slaughterhouses, the 1967 Freedom of Information Act and the 1970 Clean Air Act.
After working for 40 years on behalf of the health, safety and economic well being of the American people, Nader took stock of the situation: “I don’t like citizen groups being shut out by both parties in this city — corporate occupied territory — not having a chance to improve their country.” Never one to be stymied, Nader responded to the declining influence of civil society over elected representatives by entering the electoral arena himself, and is now on his third major presidential campaign aimed at reinvigorating America’s democracy, in the best traditions of the suffragettes, labor party, and abolitionists of the 19th and early 20th century.
When asked in 2004 if he was worried about his legacy being tarnished from the hurly burly of presidential politics, Nader responded: “Who cares about my legacy? My legacy is established. They’re not going to tear seatbelts out of cars. I look to the future. That’s the important thing.” In an era when politicians sell us rhetoric and then sell out our principles, Nader stands out as one politician that can be counted on to never sell out.
There can be no daily democracy without daily citizenship toward ‘a new birth of freedom.’ — Ralph Nader
Bollier, David. Citizen Action and Other Big Ideas: A History of Ralph Nader and the Modern Consumer Movement. CNN.com, America Votes 2004, Candidates Profile. Nader, Ralph. The Seventeen Traditions. Nader, Ralph. The Ralph Nader Reader. Shaker, Genevieve, Ralph Nader: Ally of the American Citizen-Consumer.
David Cobb was the Presidential nominee of the United States Green Party in 2004. He has consulted and lectured for the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy as well as the Center for Voting and Democracy, and is a national expert on the corporate personhood issue. He was one of the lead organizers of the Green Party of Texas and ran for the office of Attorney General in Texas in 1992. He now lives in Eureka, California. David Cobb has been on the Board of Directors since the founding of the Green Institute in 2002.See David Cobb’s article, A New Populist Uprising, in the Progressive Populist.
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