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June 15, 2004

Nader is No Progressive Now

Read this interview with Nader in Pat Buchanan's American Conservative magazine.

I'm sorry-- while Ralph says some nice antiwar things, a lot of the interview is about immigration where he takes a pretty chauvinist view, playing to the anti-immigrant Right. Nader is for toughening enforcement of employer sanctions to enforce immigration laws and comes out squarely against legalization for immigrants already in the US:

This is very difficult because you are giving a green light to cross the border illegally. I donít like the idea of legalization because then the question is how do you prevent the next wave and the next?
While Nader doesn't want to punish them, he states his goal is to toughen immigration laws. In fact, he mouths the racism of the anti-immigration wing of the environmental movement:
We donít have the absorptive capacity for that many people. Over 32 million came in, in the í90s, which is the highest in American history...We have to control our immigration. We have to limit the number of people who come into this country illegally.
He even attacks the AFL-CIO for trying to organize immigrant workers:
The AFL-CIO has no objection to it [immigration] because they think they can organize the illegal workers because they have been so inept at organizing other workers.
Nader was once a hero to me, but his third party oddysey is either changing him or revealing views he kept quiet in the past.

Progressives have fought long and hard to get environmental and labor leaders allied with immigrant advocates. If Nader is going to take a more anti-immigrant line than George Bush, he is stepping over the line from misguided third party activist to nationalist chauvinist.

Any progressive who supports Nader now is just lining up as an enemy of other progressives, especially those who care about basic human rights of immigrants.

Posted by Nathan at June 15, 2004 09:12 AM