[Marxism] Ralph Nader on the DP convention

Louis Proyect 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 
financed it.

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 
congressional bigwigs.

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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