US: elections – Ralph Nader Seattle rally a big success

Socialist Alternative plays key role in organising event


Ralph Nader Seattle rally a big success

Ralph Nader made a stop on the campaign trail in Seattle on 5 April to rally support for his left-wing independent presidential campaign. Approximately 500 people attended the successful rally – an impressive turnout given that the rally took place in the middle of a workday and the limited time organisers had to publicise the rally.

Nader criticised the quagmire Bush has gotten the U.S. into in Iraq, and the Democratic Party’s failure to challenge Bush’s policies. He asked: “What are we, just passive creatures? Just people who sit and watch TV, and wring our hands and say, ’Oh, we can’t do anything about this’ and we go to the nice bistros here in Seattle, sit around with people who are like-minded, while we rationalise our own futility while we’re told by war-mongering Democrats to lay off because they’re not as bad as war-mongering Republicans?”

“Stack up the similarities and stack up the needs of the American people, and we simply cannot stand for a party that flunks, but doesn’t flunk as badly as the other party,” Nader told the cheering crowd. 

The Seattle rally was organised by the national ‘Nader for President’ 2004 campaign, Socialist Alternative (CWI), the ‘University of Washington Students for Nader’, local Nader supporters, and ‘People for Fair Trade’.

The rally received extensive coverage in the Seattle corporate media, with stories in Seattle daily newspapers, the Associated Press, and all the main local TV news. The University of Washington Daily newspaper (which has a circulation of approximately 20,000 a day) also covered the rally.  Even the British Guardian ran a major article on the rally. Socialist Alternative members were quoted extensively in articles about the rally.

The rally came hot on the heels of the main cover page story that The Stranger published, which viciously attacked Socialist Alternative for supporting Ralph Nader’s decision to run an insurgent presidential campaign against the two corporate-dominated political parties.  The Stranger is a liberal “alternative” Seattle weekly newspaper with a circulation of 92,000.

Socialist Alternative successfully pushed for the Nader election rally to help build support for important mass struggles that are going on in the streets and in workplaces. Speakers were brought in to promote the anti-war movement, the fight for same-sex marriage rights, the Pizza Hut workers’ unionisation drive, and the battle against education privatisation. Greg Beiter, the Socialist Alternative and UW Students for Nader speaker, exposed the Democrats’ presumptive presidential candidate, John Kerry, for voting for most of Bush’s key policies as a Senator. Greg went on to call for a new party that would stand up for the millions not the millionaires.

Socialist Alternative was the most organised and visible political force at the rally. Socialist Alternative members sold 73 copies of our pamphlets explaining why people should vote for Nader, as well as 28 copies of the Justice newspaper, and we raised $23 in literature sales. Organising the rally helped to significantly raise the profile and authority of Socialist Alternative among Seattle activists.

Overall, the rally was an excellent start to the Nader campaign in Seattle.  It has put the campaign on the map in the city and opened the potential for the creation of a vibrant local Nader campaign.

Socialist Alternative pamphlet (opens in new window).

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