[Marxism] Ralph Nader on the DP convention
lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Aug 2 09:43:49 MDT 2004
The Democratic Party-Party Is Over
by Ralph Nader, votenader.org
The Democratic Party-Party Convention is over, and its singular memory
will be its predictable banality and the commercialism that mostly
Historically, conventions were newsworthy because there was a struggle
over who would receive the nomination and what the Parties would stand
for in their platforms.
Today, there is a coronation for the nominee and inquiries about what
would be on the menus of the 250 parties that corporations and their
smooth-tongued lobbyists were throwing for their favorably-positioned
Inside the festooned Convention Center there were dozens of speeches -
all pre-viewed, sanitized and edited down to the last minute on
teleprompters by the standby Kerry censors. When Al Sharpton departed
from the script for a couple of minutes, you would have thought their
wedding cake was burning.
Fifteen thousand reporters spent five days looking for stories - any
stories - that qualified as news or soft features from the Party, its
4,000-plus delegates, and the swarm of corporate backslappers. It was
not difficult to describe the wine, whiskey, music, and obvious
temptations - in return for the implicit political favors - that the
drug, insurance, banking, chemical, oil, media, and computer companies
presented to the attending politicians.
For this business bacchanalia the taxpayers were required to pay the
Democratic party thirteen million dollars (and later the same amount for
the Republican Party Convention). A few years ago, Congress - namely the
two Parties - decided that these political Conventions were
"educational" in nature and worthy of your tax dollars.
Around, over, and under the Convention premises hovered a security army
of police, detectives, troops, and armed, airborne, and land-based
technology worthy of a Marine division. Thwarting a possible terrorist
attack was one reason for over tens of millions of dollars spent - the
other objective was to keep the people from protesting anywhere near the
Fleet Center Convention.
The people - voters, taxpayers, workers - were detained in a "free
speech zone" (catch the irony) that looked like an ad hoc concentration
camp encirclement. The intimidating zone was distant enough not to be
convenient to the electronic media placements. In a phrase, the
Democratic Party did what it does so regularly in Washington - it shut
out the people, who resigned themselves to social justice gatherings
elsewhere in Boston.
But the "people" should have been smarter. They should have had
contrasting parties held by dispossessed workers, defrauded consumers,
medical malpractice victims, fleeced taxpayers, small farmers, and
polluted communities with open invitations for the politicians to
attend. The media likes contrasts, especially when very few of these
Congressional delegates would have left their lavish business bashes to
greet the Americans they court and flatter only at election time - from
distant stages and 30 second television ads.
The Democratic Convention did have its amusing moments. Bill Clinton
didn’t charge his $200,000 per-speech fee for his speech to the
convention and the viewing public. The National Association of
Broadcasters - representing those television stations who use your
public airwaves free and decide 24 hours a day what is allowed to air on
our property - held a huge party for Congressman Ed Markey. Mr. Markey
started his Congressional career as a major outspoken critic of the
broadcasting industry. He has been much quieter in recent years.
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