Peace and Freedom delegates nominated Nader on Saturday from a field of eight candidates that included Gloria La Riva and former Democratic Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney who oddly sought the Peace and Freedom nomination despite being the Green Party’s candidate for president. Previous Peace and Freedom presidential nominees include Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver and American Indian Leonoard Peltier, who is serving a life sentence for the 1975 murders of two FBI agents during a shootout at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
"We have got to stop talking to ourselves," says Wayne Collins who has been a member of the Peace and Freedom Party since its inception in 1968. "By nominating Nader and Gonzalez we have a fresh viewpoint we can talk to people about, we can reach other people."
At a Sunday night campaign rally at the College of Marin, Gonzalez warmed up the crowd of 200, which included actor Sean Penn, by bashing Barack Obama’s voting record on the re-authorization of the Patriot Act, immunity for telecommunications companies that spy on American citizens and class action reform that has made it harder for workers to bring wage-an-hour suits against mega companies like Wal-Mart.
Gonzalez challenged Obama’s vote to turn over public lands to multinational mining companies who make millions while paying next to nothing for mineral rights. “How is he going to “change” the culture of Washington if he can’t stand up to these corporations,” Gonzalez says taking a jab at Obama’s campaign theme.
Nader took the podium to a standing applause and broadened out the attack to include the entire Democratic Party, media pundits and, of course, corporations. He took aim at pervasive corporate influence that is spread through advertising and the American education system.
“We now grow up corporate. When you start looking at ads when you’re two, three, four years old, pretty soon the world is Madison Avenue,” Nader says. “Then in college it’s computer skills, computer skill, computer skills. What about civic skills? Young people think they live in a Democracy because they can vote for American Idol.”
The rally inspired several audience members to make a generous contributions to the campaign. Mishana Hosseinioun, 23, wrote out a check for the maximum amount of $4,600.
“The fact that my choice should require any justification makes the nature of the supposedly free and fair democratic process seem suspect, “Hosseninioun said after the rally. “We must make a pact with ourselves never to let fear dictate our political decisions and to always turn to our own good sense for civic inspiration.”
Nader is now on the ballot in 23 states and plans to be on the ballot in 45 by the end of September. In the 2000 presidential election, Nader, then a Green candidate, received 420,000 votes in California, which counted for about 15 percent of the Green Party’s national vote.