by Bob Maschi; this article was originally published in Partisan issue no. 26, printed September 2008.

Ralph Nader emerged from Peace and Freedom's August convention as the party's presidential nominee. The long-time peoples' advocate vigorously pursued the nomination for several months, and a majority of delegates decided that he was best suited to represent the party through the November elections. In the balloting, Gloria La Riva followed with a strong second place finish. Brian Moore and Cynthia McKinney also received sizable support.

Ralph Nader's transformation from a staunch consumer advocate to the presidential nominee of the socialist-minded Peace and Freedom Party is a progression shared by many of this party's members. Early in his political career he worked (as a non-partisan) within the political system, advocating for consumer rights and product safety. He founded several important advocacy groups including Public Citizen and Public Interest Research Group and became a well-known opponent of nuclear power and multinational corporations.

Nader Takes a Sharp Left

Nader grew disillusioned with the two-party, corporate controlled political system, at one time stating that "The only difference between the Republican and Democratic parties is the velocities with which their knees hit the floor when corporations knock on their door." In 2000 and 2004 Nader made serious runs for the presidency, citing the lack of any effective opposition to the devastating policies of the wealthy and corporations.

The Peace and Freedom Party nomination guarantees Nader a spot on the 2008 ballot in California - the nation's most populous state. Since his selection, Nader supporters from across the country have been giving our party and its platform a fresh look. Hopes are high that this campaign will spark interest in our socialist/feminist views.

At press time, it's predicted that Nader will qualify for ballot status in 44 additional states. This is a situation that clearly concerns corporate America - as it should.

The mass media, which is being controlled by fewer and fewer and richer and richer corporate cliques, has generally ignored his campaign, instead focusing on the major-party candidates who only offer competing visions of a society dominated by the wealthy. Democrats and Republicans are already conspiring to exclude Nader, and other third-party candidates, from the presidential debates. Intelligent observers can expect even more efforts to sidestep the important messages of the Peace and Freedom Party and Ralph Nader.

Replace Cheney With Gonzalez!

The Peace and Freedom Party also endorsed Ralph Nader's vice presidential running mate, Matt Gonzalez. Gonzalez is past president of San Francisco's Board of Supervisors, and narrowly lost the 2003 race for mayor of San Francisco while being outspent by 8 to 1 - with Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Nancy Pelosi campaigning for his Democratic opponent.

While on the Board of Supervisors, Gonzalez earned a reputation for honesty and integrity. His accomplishments include ground-breaking election reform, protecting communities from big-box chain stores, and raising the minimum wage while instituting automatic cost of living adjustments. Thanks to his legislation, San Francisco's minimum wage is now the highest in the nation.

To read Matt Gonzalez's thoughtful, online critique of the Democrats' presidential nominee visit: The Obama Craze: Count Me Out at .

The Peace and Freedom Party is proud to have the Nader/Gonzales team at the top of its ticket. Across California, party members are meeting with Nader campaign volunteers and planning actions and outreach. In support of the nomination, many California voters are re-registering as Peace and Freedom Party members. The party expects to get its largest Presidential vote ever in November, and go on to organize toward a broad and effective multi-state campaign in 2010.

Bob Maschi is San Bernardino County Chair of the Peace and Freedom Party.

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