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The Good Fight: Declare Your Independence and Close the Democracy Gap
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The Good Fight: Declare Your Independence and Close the Democracy Gap

Published when Nader was running for President, this is his personal declaration of independence from both major parties, which he asserts have become similarly corrupted by corporate money and power. In a well-organized, readable and impassioned plea, Nader calls on the average American to reclaim a lost era when corporations were better controlled and less blatant in their power grab.

Nader has quite a series of axes to grind: he denounces the end of traditional usury laws; the growing trend of forfeiture provisions in installment contracts; credit card universal default schemes; adhesion consumer contracts; unconscionable tort “deform”; the tangled mess of privatized healthcare in the U.S. that promotes the health of no one but insurance execs and undermines the very economy that produces corporate profits; and other anti-consumer, pro-big business legal measures and predatory business practices that are turning the poor and America’s middle class into “contract serfs” with little or no remedy in the courts.

In traditional Marxist fashion, he asserts that modern America reflects “corporate socialism” where the ruling class—an international network of mutually supporting, grossly overpaid CEO’s, the wealthiest capitalist-owners, with those upper-echelon white-collar staff whom the corporations have invited to join the ranks of the privileged elite—enjoy the benefits of the very socialism and government favoritism that they indignantly deny the rest of the country. The working poor, on the other hand, Nader observes, are subjected to the privatization of poverty in an ideology of bootstrap individualism, while society as a whole is left to pay the bill—literally—of their corporate pollution, health-destroying products, and war-mongering oil-centered foreign business practices.

Straight out of the Progressive Era and New Deal, Nader’s views, though laudatory and largely discounted by today’s corporate mass media, are vulnerable at times to the same criticisms that are applied to other Progressives today. Blaming global poverty on the exactions of American multinational corporations, he presents no explanation for why this same global poverty existed centuries before NAFTA and the creation of the WTO. Blaming 9/11 on “blowback” from the global policies of American oil companies in propping up oil dictatorships and perpetuating poverty overseas, he offers no explanation for the fact that the perpetrators of 9/11 were middle-class citizens of the most comprehensive welfare state on the planet: Saudi Arabia, which offers free education and free health-care to all, and is flush with petro-dollars, as were the bank accounts of the perpetrators themselves.

At home, Nader blames the Bush administration for using 9/11 to erode constitutional civil rights that the New Deal and traditional Democrats supposedly defended. But the argument can equally be made that the Patriot Act completes an erosion of the U.S. Constitution that began with the American Civil War and was greatly accelerated by FDR himself, most clearly in his packing of the Supreme Court and the “switch in time that saved nine.” As with deficit spending, the Democrats have no better record than the Republicans. Lastly, his view of discrimination of women as a class is outdated and doctrinaire and ignores the modern co-opting of women by the corporate class and their recruitment into the ranks of corporate privilege while changing the overall balance of money, privilege, and power not one whit.

History and global politics aside, however, this book is a powerful, articulate, overdue, and unfortunately rare challenge to the growing supremacy of an increasingly internationalized modern corporate class, with its preference for the thin, the beautiful, the young, the healthy, the unmarried, and the childless (or at most two children) over the rest of humanity that has been left to drown in a system of privatized poverty justified by a fig-leaf legal regime of “personal responsibility.” A must-read for those who would like to see society made more humane and respectful of the nine-tenths of the world’s population who are not and can never be individual economic units. With the Republicans deaf to reform, maybe the Democrats will re-discover their roots—or perhaps third parties will become legal again, as Nader fervently hopes. —SiriusReviews.com.

Sirius Reviews

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