Nader and minorities.

sol dollinger soldoll at
Mon Oct 23 16:33:58 MDT 2000

Laura Flanders, writing In These Times, bemoans the small attendance of
minorities at the Ralph Nader meetings.  The problem is not with Nader who
has the most progressive program on all the minority issues. Flanders gives
as an example  NOW.  This organization abdicated a position of leadership in
not organizing the fight against the Clinton Welfare program. It passed the
usual resolution but never considered a break with its support of Clinton.

Why aren't more people of color at the Nader meetings? It is a good question
but Flanders should look elsewhere for an answer. She should look at the
unprincipled stand of Black and Latino leaders who have accepted every
indignity of the Clinton administration without a protest.

One of the most powerful groups in Congress is the Black Caucus.  They are
in a position to lead the country but are prevented from this by their
craven support of Gore and Clinton. Many Black leaders know better but
cannot break with the machine that provides small favors on bills and a few

 Black leadership, by  example is Maxine Waters, representing South Central
Los Angeles.  At the Shadow convention,  held with the convention meeting of
the Democratic Party in August, Waters, one of the most militant leaders,
before a predominately white audience excoriated the role of the CIA in
raising funds to support the war against the  Sandanistas by selling drugs
in South Central LA,  Waters was on the platform that evening at the
convention cozening up to Joe Lieberman who confided to her that now he is
in favor of affirmative action. She knew his record but these few words
catapulted her back into the Democratic Party.  Earlier in the day she told
the Shadow Convention she had reservations about the ticket.

Afro American opinion is shaped by the Black leaders, the Black newspapers
and the Black churches.  They are a solid  bastion of  middle class values.
The Clinton reform of welfare caused barely a ripple in the community. The
underclass is not represented in these institutions,  Blacks are not present
in large numbers at Nader meetings because their "leaders" tell them that
progress will be made by electing Gore.

Is the Latino effort any better? We just witnessed a month long strike of
the Bus drivers union.  The union had the support of the Bus  Machinists and
The County Federation of Labor. The Bus Drivers union is led by a Black and
though the majority are Afro Americans there is a large minority of Latinos.
It was a pleasure to see this leader rebuff every effort of the Board of
Supervisors plan to solve budget problems by setting up a two tier system in
the union with the part timers getting one half the wages of the regular
drivers. Unspoken was the understanding that a two tier system would spread
to other cities.

Miguel Contreras, President of the County Federation of Labor, promised full
support.  The demand of the Board of Supervisors, from the first day of the
strike, was the agreement to expand the part timers to 25% of the regular

One day, Jesse Jackson appeared on a black horse as a mediator.  After
several days of negotiations the president of the local announced a contract
that he would recommend to the membership .  The look on his face was just
like he had just swallowed a large dose of caster oil. Soon after the Board
of Supervisors appeared, smug and satisfied, and to confess they never
expected the union to agree to an increase of part timers.  Of the 4000
members, 800 will receive  half the hourly  wage of $11 and cents of a
regular driver.  There was a token hourly increase in wages that had been
promised even before the strike.

Jesse Jackson and Miguel Contreras proclaimed a great victory in The Los
Angeles Times. Victories like this demoralize the thinking members of the
minority communities.  These are just two leaders in their communities and
the example they set make progressive Black and Browns skeptical of

Nader's support in large meetings of 10,000 in Portland, Seattle and
Minneapolis; 15,000
at Madison Square Garden, 8,000 in Oakland and 6,000 at UCLA indicates that
something is afoot that we should encourage and participate in and not
create straw horses as Flanders has done with her article,

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