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Nader Rallly- A Harsh Critique

We need to hold public speakers to a higher standard. They need to be far more informative, inspiring, and they need to "push the envelope" beyond a simplistic, shallow, feel-good "anti-corporate-dominance" movement.
Look, I enjoyed the day on the whole, but this totally uncritical applauding of a group of celebrity-speakers who basically SUCKED is depressing. Ralph Nader is who he is and I won't criticize him here, but if I hear one more person say that Jello Biafra was cool I'm going to BARF! 1.Vile appeals to nationalism (giant US flag behind all the speakers). 2. feel-good, it's-gonna-be-easy shallow reformist actvism advocated (Hey Jello- me and 8,000 other people didn't pay ten bucks to hear you say we oughta do so little as to vote to take Pepsi ads out of government schools made of cinder block walls, flourescent lights and a techno-capitalist plot to socialize the next generation of colonizers ---or maybe those 8,000 people did...frightening.) 3. As has been alluded to above, it was an incredibly commercial event. Basically, though Nader was good (for a Green Party Presidential Candidate) all the other speakers were uninspiring, uninformative, uncreative and apparently incapable of radical, or at least indipendent thought. Jello was out-right reactionary, with constant references to "realistic goals" etc. (not that realistic goals are bad, but a rhetorical fixation on them, beside an annalysis that's totally shallow- is super suspicious.) As he said in this week's Portland Mercury "I might catch shit from the More-Radical-Than-Thou..." Ya, well you deserve it, you fake.

I remember seeing Jello in Eugene a few years ago and he had the attention of 300 people for 3.5 hours and talked nearly the entire time about how the corporate media is biased because of it's economic interests. Well NO SHIT, why don't you tell us something we don't allready know fer gawds sake. That night was an insult, intellectually and politically. Jello's P-town performance was at least as bad. I assume he'd never speak in front of a giant US flag in Eugene.

When are we going to start holding people who do public speaking to a higher standard than this? Anyone who's vaguely Leftist and articulate get's uncritical aproval, when a whole lot of criticism is really what they need.

Otherwise, loved the event, I met lots of cool, "real people" doing community activism. As an anarchist, I felt very welcome by the vast majority of participants - though an anti-statist perspective was totally shut out of the night-time event, (excluding Medea Benjamin's half assed attempt to make up for her post Seattle call for the entire Black Bloc to be arrested by saying in Portland that anarchists were on the list of groups that greens should form coalitions with. Wonder when the last time she talked to an anarchist was.) But I suppose that if we wanna get in good with a bunch of Holywood types, pay $2,500 to use a big screen TV and rent out the Rose Garden, THEN we can talk to 8,000 people. This event was about Democracy, Free Speech, and Ecological Sustainability- not Anarchism, silly!

Alternative Media gathering was terrific, some panels too.

Ugh, this is difficult. Overall, decent event though.
Sorry for the bitterness, I just feel like numerous species are going to go extinct, indigenous cultures are going to be destroyed, numerous people are going to be murdered and tortured by the international financial elite, I'm going to have to live in a techno-industrial hell ------TODAY, tommorow and for a few more years till we're all screwed-- and I'd like to do more about it than "make sure ALL coffee farmers are paid $1.26 per lb.!!" (Benjamin)

I believe that the industrial nation-state is inherently colonial. Frantz Fannon argues that there are two kinds of colonists, the "do-gooder" colonist who tries to go against the fundamental nature of colonialism (exploitation) and ends up just looking rediculous. Then there's the "honest" colonist, who knows the rules and takes what they can get for themselves. Everybody looks at them and thinks, well at least that makes some sense, that is how things are set up. Let's stop being "do-gooder" colonists, it makes us look rediculous and hardly does a damned thing.
Let's get rid of the whole system and fill our own needs for ourselves.

Marshall
Eugene's Anarchist Action Collective
www.cascadiamedia.org

homepage: homepage: http://www.cascadiamedia.org

What was said is not news to everyone. 07.Aug.2001 13:07

Earnst Miesner

Also this was not supposed to be a particularly radical event. My take on it is that it was a kick-off event to start a nation-wide Green Party affiliated movement to bring more democracy into American politics. That's what it was supposed to do and we will see how effective it becomes. I thought the speakers were a mix of inspiring and non-inspiring. I thought Medea Benjamin gave us a clear picture of the theft by California power companies, and can instill the importance of this to the public. Jello is a good public speaker and makes a good stage partner for Ralph Nader. Ralph knows every detail about every court case in the history of the US, but Jello can translate it into English. I agree that the event was not quite anarchistic enough for my taste, but these kind of events are very important as they bring together thousands of like minded people and encourage them to do more in their communities.

Nader Rally - my observations 07.Aug.2001 13:39

Deva drdartist3@home.com

I also did not care for the huge flag. I dont worship that flag myself. . .a big picture of the earth would have been cool. . .

and I personally am not interested in hearing rock stars and movie stars speak. They get enough time in front of the camera and audience already. . .give someone else a chance

the societies fascination with fame, riches, . . .with the elite just does nothing for me.

the people have the power tour, should put some regular people up there, otherwise it is perpetrating the same dynamic as already exists. The message is. . .the rock stars and movie stars have the power, and you get to pay your money to see em. . .

Also, I find it irritating to see various moderate organizations in some way claiming the surging anti-globalization/anti-capitalist movement as its own. There is a vibrant new energy there, and the core of it is not so moderate, it is more towards the radical.

I think if the Green Party, and the various people at the rally speaking on its behalf want to make some claim that way, then to be balanced about it, they also need to have a few radical-er speakers up there. Otherwise they are subtly feeding off of the movement, without giving representation to it.

In the interest of being fair to the Greens, I would also add that, I was pleased to see the local Green Party work together with the anarchist Liberation Collective to sponsor the first Genoa solidarity march to the Italian Consulate a couple weeks ago. . .and it is to the Greens credit that they allow Eugene's Anarchist Action Collective and other more radical orgs to come and participate in the Alternative Media Convergence and table at the rally. . .while covering the cost

This event was not for us 07.Aug.2001 15:11

Josh

As I became more and more radical, I found myself one day cursing Adbusters magazine for being too watered down and appealing to to broad a demographic.

"Josh," my friend said to me, "Adbusters isn't written for you. It's written for the people that have yet to get there."

Well, I think the same is true of this Nader event. Yeah, it was a bit tame for me too, yeah I could have done without the celebs and giant US flag... but it really wasn't supposed to be for me. It was supposed to be for Mr. and Mrs. Curious wondering what all this Nader stuff is about.

another bland parody of democracy 07.Aug.2001 15:28

#9

Ok so, the Nader event was and wasn't what people expected it to be. I volentered my time to support the whole mess. I don't feel like I wasted my time because I know that it brought in a whole lot of "norms" who wanted to ease the guilt that they feel for being capitalist-pig-dogs. This is what was good about the whole fiasco. The thing that was wrong is the same thing that is wrong with almost everything that is done in america (minus the free-thinkers and some anarchists) it was hollow. It was devoid of true merit. The whole event felt like something had died and everybody was there to prove that it hadn't. This is one of the largest hurdles to anyone who wants to make real changes in america. From politics to the common working man the problem is engrained... we are afraid to fight. We have been told since our earliest days that it is wrong to fight it is wrong to change things violently. We will hold the forefathers of this country in high regards and then make things up that we feel that they should have said or felt when this is not the case. This country was formed on thephilosophicla basis of democracy and the political basis of republicanism... the two are not compatable. we are hitting the right hand with the left and it is getting us nowhere. Everyone who cares has heard about all of the bad things that are happening to this planet nad they don't need to be reminded. They already know... The problem lies in the fact that nobody takes it any further than that. There are no revolutionaries in america there are no wars. And if there were the fighters would simply be excuted by the police or the military. Numbers will not help us, the enemy has too many bullets (or so we think) our leaders will not help us because once they gain power they become the enemy. What are we to do? what CAN we do? well, keep trying... that is all the advice that I can offer, and when society crumbles around us at least you can say that you were not part of the problem. The colapse of our current social mechanisms is inevitable and it dosen't matter one bit if there are "progressives" in the white house. We have forged a path of destruction and we shall eventually reap the rewards. So... go out and buy yourself a gun and some ammo, maybe a motorcycle or a bike, prepare yourself for a long hard life and kiss you children's futures goodbye. there is nothing that you can do but pick up the pieces after it all falls apart and hope that it happens sooner than later so that we can all get on with our lives.

Most Rock Stars Suck 07.Aug.2001 16:22

marco

I'll only speak to the music part of it.

Do you notice there's a mad scramble of "pop"
and "rock" musicians to try and get somewhere
they can sit? A little to the left, a little to
the right, but nowhere fast, really.

Pearl Jam and Patti Smith rush to the left,
while Ricki Martin and Ted Nugent go farther
right than Atila the Hun. And who's left in
the middle?

Well, Rage Against the Machine is breaking up.
Hmmm. Not sure if it has anything to do with
all this, or what. And who came out for Al Gore?
Britney Spears and Back Street Boys impersonators.

That's about it.

There ain't much left. Time was, the Little Stevens
and Bob Dylans of the world used the fact that they
were rock stars to kick some activist ass.

Now if you want my honest opinion, everyone's "sucking
the corporate dick."


a quick response 07.Aug.2001 17:33

marshall from aac aaceugene@hotmail.com

I disagree that more info and annalysis is not needed. I think that all of us should learn more about the workings of this fucked up world so that we are more effective in preventing it from being recreated when the status quo is challenged.

I'm also hesitant to see radicalization as a proccess of progressing from authoritarian-statist-liberalism towards anarchism. I'm not sure though.

Thanks a bunch everybody for responding so thoughtfully and quickly! I really do appreciate the work people did to put on the event. My friends from the Cascadia Media Collective also had a good time

Jello sux,

Marshall


...jello shots 07.Aug.2001 22:37

matchboy

i was unable to make it to the nader rally. i was more sad about missing the alternative media con.. but i just wanted to mention, that a lot of the kids who are involved in activism have first learned about social problems through music... bands like the Dead Kennedys... people like Jello Biafra... How many bands has he and other political punk bands like Subhumans, Crass, conflict, etc etc have influenced teenagers into thinking out of the box and giving them the energy to learn more?
don't forget your roots, and dont be high and mighty now that you're a hardcore activist.
we were all that kid with the headphones on thinking,"wow, does that shit really happen?"

this was how i got involved in any of this. "dont hate the media, become the media" - jello biafra

there are more intelligent people out there, but dont knock the guys who are there helping. if you were anyone well known you'd be up there, and someone else would be talking down about you in the same way.

3133t-ism sucks.

Uh Beavis...that sucked...heh heh heh 08.Aug.2001 17:11

Butthead

Yeah...where were the chicks? heh heh, heh heh

education si, semantcs peligroso 08.Aug.2001 23:17

A3M

Marshall, education is necessary. It isn't sufficient. It needs action. But action alone is a waste, unless it is the way to unite with one's passions, and thus to direcccct future actions And there again education.

About "going from--- to anarchism'..All just words, labels. What realities are implied? Those words were invented in the past. They carry past thoughts. The future is yet unnamed. We will name what we find there after the encounter. We live in the time of dreaming a new world. Old words get in the way. The distinctions can be made, but it is tedious and still imprecice to put terms on processes not yet famliar to the majority of earthlings.