Ralph Nader, the Green Party presidential candidate who drew the Portland-Vancouver area's largest crowd of the 2000 campaign, is coming back to kick off a new populist effort.
Nader's Aug. 4 speech at the Rose Garden in Portland will cap a day of political workshops plus appearances by movie star Danny Glover, singer-songwriter Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam and others, organizers said Tuesday.
Admission will be $10 for adults, $8 for students.
Democracy Rising was recently incorporated by Nader as a vehicle "to galvanize the progressive community," said Jason Kafoury of Portland, an organizer of the event. "It'll be an opportunity to learn more, to be trained in becoming a political activist for issues like transportation, alternatives to missile defense systems, alternative media, corporate welfare, race and gender inequalities and the war on drugs."
Kafoury's father, Greg, a Portland attorney and anti-gambling activist, was instrumental in organizing last August's Green Party rally at which some 10,000 paid to hear Nader speak at the Memorial Coliseum.
Stacy Malkan of Democracy Rising's national office in Washington, D.C., said the organization intends to establish a national following to promote many of the same causes Nader espoused in his presidential campaign. The Portland event will be the first major workshop and rally for Democracy Rising, she said.
"We have a lot of enthusiasm left over from the campaign," she said. "We want to direct that toward building a more effective citizens movement."
Kafoury said Aug. 4 workshops and rally "will be about local political issues that are being ignored or neglected by the two major parties. Unless we do something audacious, like pack a huge venue (for Nader), those issues won't get the national attention they deserve."
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