Ralph Nader rallies against corporate power at Ted Mann

by Tatum Fjerstad

Littering his speech with attacks against the two mainstream presidential candidates, Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader expressed his disgust of corporations controlling the United States on Thursday night.

Speaking at Ted Mann Concert Hall, Nader tried to rally support for his presidential campaign when he spoke to an estimated crowd of 1,200.

He said that if he is elected president, he will focus on taking power out of the hands of corporations and give it to the masses.

“We need to focus on shifting power from the few to the many,” Nader said.

Nader was added to the Minnesota presidential ballot Tuesday after submitting more than 4,700 signatures to the state. Minnesota law requires 2,000 signatures.

Nader is on the ballot in 32 states.

On Thursday, Nader said the fight to get on these 32 ballots has been long and hard.

Nader also bashed the billion-dollar corporation Wal-Mart, owned by the Walton family. He said he didn’t know how the owners could sleep at night knowing how little they pay their employees.

Nader asked democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry to do something about the corporations that run the United States.

“When I talked to Kerry about corporate crime, he said we needed to do something,” Nader said, “but it says nothing on the crime page of his Web site about corporate crime.”

Student opinion on campus about Nader varies. University-DFL President Austin Miller said Nader is only running for president because he can.

“A lot of people think he has a large ego,” Miller said. “He wants to take advantage of the spotlight.”

He said he thinks Nader is hypocritical.

“He says he’s pro-choice but people are signing petitions and giving him support that are pro-life,” he said. “He’s for workers’ rights, but he’s preventing his workers from joining unions.”

Canyon Lalama, of Socialist Alternative, responded that Nader is on television a lot less than President George W. Bush or Kerry.

But Tony Richter, spokesman for College Republicans, said Nader is a man of conviction with his own belief system.

“He thinks others should live their lives by him,” Richter said. “He is not a good marketer of himself as a candidate for everyone.”

Nader compared himself with Kerry and Bush.

“They have become prisoners of the 200-year-old electoral college, winner-take-all, two-party dominant system,” Nader said.

Nader also asserted the differences between Bush and Kerry are slim.

“Bush and Kerry are two men in a boxing ring. Kerry is swinging and missing. Bush is swinging and socking himself,” he said.