Letter to Ralph Nader from California Activists

This is the text of a letter sent to Ralph Nader by 47 California activists urging Nader to consider appearing on the Green Party of California's presidential primary ballot.

November 10, 1995

Ralph Nader
P.O. Box 19367
Washington, DC  20036

Dear Ralph Nader,

We, the undersigned members of the Green Party of California and of kindred groups throughout California, are writing to ask you to consider appearing on, the Green Party of California primary ballot in 1996 for nomination to the office of the Presidency of the United States.

Your long history of activism, your connection to various social movements, your widespread public visibility, your reputation for integrity, and your ability to speak to issues of democracy, citizen empowerment, social justice and corporate welfare and abuse all make you the right candidate for the green/progressive/populist movement as it reaches toward an important coalition at this significant moment in our nation's history.

Your opposition to running for President of the United States or any other public office is also well known.  But conditions this year are exceptional, and warrant a reconsideration of your position.  

If you run, your candidacy would respond to a growing public demand for an alternative electoral choice and for greater integrity in national politics. It would help catalyze a coalition for social change and facilitate the coming together of various social movements to become a coherent electoral force.  It would provide the opportunity to present urgent policy choices to the nation that will otherwise not be heard. And it would significantly influence the country's political direction at a time when the nation is undergoing major political realignment.  

Your appearance in the California primary would be an essential first step towards reaching these goals.  Because winning California is so crucial for President Clinton, your appearance on the California primary ballot would in and of itself put enormous pressure on Clinton to veto various pieces of unacceptable legislation coming before him in the next several months, and perhaps make solid commitments regarding his next term on such issues as future judicial appointments.  Not only would this be desirable in itself, but the leverage it would demonstrate would increase the political capital of your overall candidacy, should it develop into a national one.  

Your candidacy could also become national. But we are not asking you to commit to running nationally at this time, nor to appear on California's 1996 General Election Ballot.  Rather, the announcement of your appearance on the California primary election ballot will spur grassroots organizing around the country that will determine whether sufficient support exists to make your candidacy nationally viable.  

As Greens and kindred activists, we recognize that your campaign will be most successful if it is a major coalition effort.  We are eager for the Green Party to play an important role in building that coalition, beginning with providing its primary ballot line to test your candidacy, without further obligation on your part.  

What is the next step? The Green Party of California has an internal process to determine candidates for its 1996 presidential primary.  Its Coordinating Committee meets November 18th.  If the Green Party determines that it wishes to place someone's name on its primary ballot, it must communicate this to the Secretary of State no later than November 27th. Therefore, time is of the essence.  Ideally your decision would be announced later this week, when you visit California.  

We hope that you will take this letter as evidence of the broad support your candidacy would receive from the Green movement in California.  We also hope that as soon as possible, and in any event well before November 18th, you will communicate to the Green Party of California's Campaigns & Candidates Working Group, your willingness to allow your name to be placed on the Green Party of California's primary ballot, if the party's internal processes sufficiently demonstrate that the party's members desire that you do so.  

We look forward to your response with great enthusiasm and hope,


*Organizations listed for identification purposes only

Cynthia Anderson-Barker, Los Angeles
President, Los Angeles Chapter, National Lawyers' Guild
Member, Green Party of California

Lois Arkin, Los Angeles
Executive Director, Los Angeles Eco-Village/Cooperative Resources and Services Project

Professor Robert Benson, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles
National Executive Board, National Lawyers' Guild
Founder, Southern California Coalition for NO NAFTA
Member, Green Party of California

Claudette Begin, Union City
Reproductive Rights Co-Chair, Oakland/East Bay National Organization for Women
Member, Green Party of California

Medea Benjamin, San Francisco
Executive Director, Global Exchange

Carl Boggs, West Los Angeles
Political Columnist, Los Angeles Village View
Visiting Professor of Sociology, UCLA
author, "Social Movements & Political Power"

Robin Brooks, Santa Cruz
Professor Emeritus of History, San Jose State University
Member, Coordinating Committee, Green Party of California

David Brower, San Francisco
President, Earth Island Action Group
Member, Green Party of California

Rita Burgos, Community Organizer
Martin Hernandez, Transportation Coordinator
Eric Mann, Executive Director
Chris Mathis, Community Organizer
Labor/Community Strategy Center, Los Angeles

Patrick Caddell, Los Angeles
Political strategist

California Peace Action, San Francisco

Ernest Callenbach, Berkeley
Author, "Ecotopia" and "Ecotopia Emerging"
Member, Green Party of California

Tom Camarella, Los Angeles
Union of American Physicians & Dentists

Peter Camejo, Oakland
Chair/CEO, Progressive Assets Management
Member, Green Party of California

Mike Feinstein, Santa Monica
Co-host, "Green Perspectives", KPFK Pacifica radio, Los Angeles
Author, "Sixteen Weeks with European Greens"
Member, Green Party of California

Yvonne Flores, Los Angeles
President, Mexican American Bar Association

Claire Greensfelder, Berkeley
Executive Director, Plutonium Free Future Womens' Network - USA
Member, Green Party of California

Randy Hayes, San Francisco
Executive Director, Rainforest Action Network

Steven Hill, San Francisco
West Coast Director, Center for Voting & Democracy
Member, Green Party of California

Tamar Hurwitz, Santa Monica
Southern California Executive Director, Rainforest Action Network

Ted Hayes, Los Angeles
Homeless advocate
Founder & Executive Director, Justiceville

Greg Jan, Oakland
President, Ohana Asian Cultural Center
Member, National Executive Committee, Common Agenda Coalition
Member, Coordinating Committee, Green Party of California

Yuki Kidokoro, Venice
Director, UCLA Environmental Coalition

Jay Levin, Los Angeles
Founder, Planet Central TV
Founder, Los Angeles Weekly

Lauren Linder, Los Angeles
Co-coordinator, Los Angeles Earth First!
Member, Green Party of California

Gretchen Mackler, Oakland
Member, California Teachers Association State Council
President, Alameda Education Association

Ross Mirkarimi, San Francisco
Campaign Manager, Terence Hallinan for San Francisco District Attorney
Campaign Manager, San Francisco Nuclear Free Zone Campaign (1990)

Jerry Rubin, Santa Monica
Executive Director, Alliance for Survival/Los Angeles
Member, Green Party of California

Michael Parenti, Berkeley
Author, "Democracy for the Few", "Against Empire"

Jonathan Parfrey, Los Angeles
Southern California Executive Director, Physicians for Social Responsibility

Nancy Pearlman, Los Angeles
Director, Ecology Center of Southern California
Director, "Econews Television" & "Environmental Directions" Radio
Member, Green Party of California

Carlos Porras, Whittier
Southern California Executive Director, Citizens for a Better Environment

Nanette Pratini, Riverside
Co-Coordinator, Campaigns & Candidates Working Group, Green Party of California

Wilson Riles, Jr., Oakland
Executive Director, Pacific-Mountain Regional Office, American Friends Service Committee
Former member, Oakland City Council

Ramona Ripston, Los Angeles
Southern California President, American Civil Liberties Union

Denise Robb, Los Angeles
Executive Director, Southern California Americans for Democratic Actions

Martin Schlageter, Los Angeles
Executive Director, Friends of the Los Angeles River
Member, Green Party of California

Celia Scott, Santa Cruz
Member, Santa Cruz City council, 1994-present

Peter Scott, Santa Cruz
Vice-chair, Santa Cruz Regional Group, Sierra Club

David Minton Silva, Santa Cruz
Regional Coordinator, We the People, Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay/Salinas Valley
Treasurer, SEIU Local 610

Norman Solomon, Oakland
Nationally Syndicated Columnist
Author, "Through the Media Looking Glass", "False Hope:  The Politics of Illusion in the Clinton Era"

Dona Spring, Berkeley
Member, Berkeley City Council 1992-present
Member, Green Party of California

Don White, Los Angeles
Coordinating Committee, Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador/Los Angeles
United Teachers of Los Angeles/National Education Association
Member, Green Party of California

Melanie Williams, Arcata
Lecturer, Department of Political Science, Humboldt State University
Member, Humboldt County Commission on the Status of Women
Member, Green Party of California