Ralph Nader “Breaking Through Power” (TWO of TWO)

Part two of this program begins with a summary of Nader’s strategy for breaking through power: Congress, he said, is the center of power. We need to focus razor like on individual members. Organizing from the grassroots in each district we agree on specific demands that are supported widely – even nationally – and then presented in person to these members.

Nader suggests opening year round offices in each congressional district to represent the people full time. There would be about 2,000 people in these offices in each district, made up of volunteers and paid staff.

Nader’s plan also includes a small staff of full time lobbyists in Washington who will follow up on the local demands, including offering sample legislation. They monitor success and failure by members of Congress to obey the wishes of their constituents.

A third important element of direct democracy is the People’s Summons. Instead of patiently waiting for the Congress member to let the constituents know when he or she is available for coffee and questions in the district matters are reversed. This new grassroots democratic movement, via their local offices, comes up with concrete demands and sends a polite summons to the Congress member to appear at a town hall meeting organized by the constituents and to be prepared to answer questions and take direction.

In this second part of his talk Nader gives advice how to take back the media and he lists accomplishments by small groups and individuals who have over time made all the important gains in this country: the end of slavery, civil rights, labor rights, the vote for women, the populist farmers rebellion against the banks and railroads and more.

“Breaking Through Power – it’s easier than we think” was published in the Fall of 2016 in the Open Media Series by City Light Publishers. Nader credits City Lights editor Greg Ruggiero for having requested that he write this book as a tool for political action.

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