I knew Ralph Nader was coming to town but I had no idea I'd bump into him on my lunch break. While walking round Berkeley I stumbled across a 'don't privatize our post offices' protest, attended by mostly older campaigners who looked like they'd earned their stripes over the years.
I got chatting to a man who told me that former U.S presidential candidate Ralph Nader was due to address the crowd within minutes. Nader, an 80 year old author, activist and attorney, is best known for his consumer safety campaigning, particularly for the introduction of the seat belt, which has saved the lives of millions. He has inspired countless young activists over the years, and helped found numerous civil society organizations including Public Citizen. Read more about him here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Nader and www.nader.org
Nader showed that age is no barrier when it comes to passion and campaigning. In a real rabble rousing speech, he reminded the crowd that the proposed sale of the U.S postal service is a further part of the dismantling of U.S public infrastructure, that it is about the transfer of public wealth to private ownership. He told the crowd that the post office is a solid income generator for the government but is being prevented from realizing its full potential due to the restrictions that often favors private companies like FedEx and UPS. He said the post office is a “fundamental institution that binds the country together”
Nader spoke passionately about people power and stated that while the Occupy movement talks about the wealthy 1%, we need to understand that it is the other 1%, the people who are active for justice, that have always transformed things. He said that change is 'easier than we think' and we shouldn't give too much credit to the bullies. Both the issues around the sale of public assets, and the need for people power, are so relevant to what's going on back home in Ireland right now.
Below is a video I took of his speech using my phone. Feel free to share.
- More info on Ralph Nader's post office campaign
- Save Our Post Office Campaign
- National Save The Post Office Campaign
- Berkeley - Save The Berkeley Post Office Campaign
- Berkeley - Berkeley Post Office Defenders
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