Ralph Nader To Speak March 26 at Peru State College
“Social Justice and World Affairs“ is the theme of an appearance by Ralph Nader at Peru State College Monday, March 26.
Nader will speak at 7 p.m. in the College Theatre. His appearance is part of the college’s Distinguished Speaker Series.
Nader is a former Green Party candidate for president and consumer advocate. He has devoted his life to giving ordinary people the tools they need to defend themselves against corporate negligence and government indifference. With a tireless, selfless dedication, he continues to expose and remedy the dangers that threaten a free and safe society. For his efforts, Nader was honored by Time magazine as “One of the 100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century.” More recently, he was named “One of the 100 Most Influential Figures in American History” by The Atlantic.
The subject of the critically acclaimed documentary An Unreasonable Man, Nader wrote the introspective book The Seventeen Traditions. The book is about the earliest days of his own life. He revisits 17 key traditions he absorbed from his parents, siblings and the people in his community. He draws from them inspiring lessons for today’s society. Nader recently released his first novel, Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us. The book presents a “practical utopia.” It outlines the lasting improvements to society that America’s most powerful figures could achieve if they pooled their resources toward a singular goal.
Nader’s foray into public life began in 1965 when he took on the Goliath of the auto industry with his book Unsafe at Any Speed. That was a shocking exposé of the disregard carmakers held for the safety of their customers. The Senate hearing into Nader’s accusations and the resulting lifesaving motor vehicle safety laws catapulted Nader into the public sphere. Working with lawmakers, he was instrumental in creating the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Laws he helped draft and pass include the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Meat and Poultry Inspection Rules, the Air and Water Pollution Control Laws and the Freedom of Information Act.
Working to empower the average American, Nader has formed numerous citizen groups. Those included: the Center for Auto Safety, Public Citizen, the Pension Rights Center, the National Coalition for Universities in the Public Interest and the student Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) that operate in more than 20 states. In his latest citizen initiative, he is working with alumni classes, including his own at Princeton University and Harvard Law School, to expand their efforts beyond parties and reunions to community projects that systemically advance social justice.
Successfully predicting the current financial crisis years ago, Nader has outlined a 10-point plan for recovery. His plan involves sweeping reforms for the financial and housing markets, as well as increased public accountability for any institution seeking a bailout. Nader has also defended the integrity of public office by rallying against the laws allowing multinational corporations to make unlimited donations to political campaigns.
Believing that Republicans and Democrats are so close ideologically he calls them “tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum,” Nader organized the Green Party’s first presidential campaign in 1996 to challenge the “duopoly” of the two-party system. He received 700,000 votes on a limited campaign budget of $5,000. Nader ran again in 2000. He received 2.8 million votes. His goal is to build the foundation of a third political party and create a robust progressive political movement that rallies around issues rather than empty slogans and figureheads.
Among his best-selling books are Crashing the Party: How to Tell the Truth and Still Run for President; Winning the Insurance Game; Why Women Pay More and Getting the Best from Your Doctor. Other titles include Children First: A Parent’s Guide to Fighting Corporate Predators; No Contest: Corporate Lawyers and the Perversion of Justice in America and The Ralph Nader Reader. He also writes a weekly column, In the Public Interest, which runs in newspapers around the United States.
Both citizens and corporate audiences listen intently to what Nader has to say. Years after they graduate, college students tell him how his lecture changed their lives. His message is simple and compelling: “To go through life as a non-citizen would be to feel that there’s nothing you can do, that nobody’s listening, that you don’t matter. But to be a citizen is to enjoy the deep satisfaction of seeing the prevention of pain, misery and injustice.”
About the Speaker Series
Peru State officials established the Distinguished Speaker Series in the fall of 2010 as part of their commitment to student engagement and success. The intent of the series is to bring diverse, nationally and internationally recognized speakers to Southeast Nebraska to enrich the educational experience of Peru State students. The series also provides residents of surrounding communities opportunities to engage in interesting and relevant topics.
Speakers are encouraged to interact with the community in a variety of ways during their visits. Those include classroom discussions, guest lectures, meet and greet receptions and a keynote address. Previous guests included Frank Meeink, former skinhead; Minnijean Brown-Trickey, civil rights leader and Little Rock Nine member and Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.peru.edu/speakerseries.