With Joe Biden in the White House and Democrats controlling Congress and the Senate, Ralph Nader, the lifelong good-government crusader and consumer advocate, issues a stark warning to progressives: The Democratic Party is still not on the side of working Americans, no matter what politicians, media pundits and their corporate donors will have us think. The former Green Party presidential candidate has dedicated his life to putting pressure on America’s most powerful corporate and political leaders, and while some activists are ready to let the Biden administration get away with ecocide, expanded drone wars, and other forms of murder, Nader is prepared to do no such thing. His thorough and well-researched critiques, such as his recent piece on the Democrat-assisted corporate takeover of Medicare, are needed now more than ever as American media undergoes what Matt Taibbi calls a mass “sovietization” during the Biden honeymoon.
On this week’s installment of “Scheer Intelligence,” host Robert Scheer asks Nader, “What have you learned in these 60 years of being a consumer advocate and public intellectual?”
“One thing I’ve learned is that Democrats are on an infinite journey towards cowardliness,” responds Nader, “because now they’re getting credit for their $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, 100% financed on the shoulders of our children and grandchildren, without a single effort to [rescind] the Trump tax cuts that are at least $2 trillion over the ten years since they were passed in 2017.”
Nader points to the many “institutional taboos” that Democrats won’t speak of let alone challenge, such as tax cuts for corporations and the super-rich, as well as an outrageously bloated Pentagon budget. While the “Scheer Intelligence” guest says that Democrats may look better compared to “the cruelest, most vicious” Republicans, but they don’t address any of the significant problems impacting Americans every day and, at the same time, stifle dissent from the progressive wing of the party. He argues that all of this is part of the system that we now live in, thanks to both political parties selling out to corporate interests.
“Corporate capitalism is not capitalism,” argues Nader. “Capitalism is your ma-and-pa store on Main Street; corporate capitalism is basically corporate socialism because without socialism in Washington bailing out capitalism, capitalism would have collapsed a long time ago.”
But Nader goes even further from calling our current system corporate capitalism or socialism and labels it “corporate fascism” due to the fact that moneyed interests have strategic power over everything from our diets to our public lands. Scheer and Nader have a lively discussion about whether or not it is possible to challenge the powers that be in an age of corporate fascism. Scheer argues that it is impossible to truly effect change under the conditions of life in today’s America, in which the traditional proletariat is no longer able to organize due to the gigification of the economy at the same time powerful corporations such as Google and Facebook disguise their obscene profit-seeking under the cloaks of anti-racism, women’s rights and other worthy social issues. Nader, however, is more hopeful than Scheer about a power that people still have the opportunity to harness.
“Here’s the rub,” explains Nader. “It has never taken more than 1% active citizens scattered throughout the country representing [or building] the majority public opinion to change Congress on any number of agendas throughout history.”
The former presidential candidate calls for civic movements to take on the legislative branch, which to him is the most powerful part of the federal government, with a laser focus. Listen to the full conversation between Nader and Scheer as they discuss the many ways Democrats, such as Nancy Pelosi, along with Republicans, have willingly placed American democracy in corporate claws and time and again betrayed the interests of the very people who elected them.