William S. Lear rael at
Wed Jun 10 08:20:02 PDT 1998

On Tue, June 9, 1998 at 18:19:06 (-0400) Doug Henwood writes:
>I'm listening to a speech by Ralph Nader. My god. He's going on about
>utility bills, utility bill stuffers from consumer groups, bounce check
>fees, $200 million in drinking water technology cut from some budget or
>other. Awful stuff. Does anyone get inspired by this? No wonder the tort
>lawyers love him.

What was the audience? I saw him on C-Span and thought he was quite good. As I remember, he vigorously attacked the domination of politics by business, the erosion of working wages, the general assault on welfare, the bogus crime & drug war, gave some modest practical examples of civic participation, and though it wasn't a fire-breathing class analysis of current problems, it was refreshing and, well, a bit inspiring to me.

What's wrong with him kvetching about the thousands of little slices of life that the powerful are taking out of us at every opportunity? The web of domination and control is finely spun, and I don't see too much wrong with picking out the smaller threads along with a few of the larger ones.

I do agree though that his lack of understanding of exploitation and alienation (inter alia) leaves him a bit vulnerable to some simplistic solutions (be a better consumer, don't challenge the fundamental problem of capitalism itself).


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