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Nader Gathering Explores Potential of Left/Right Alliance

Seeking common ground with political rivals at DC event

Longtime progressive activist and consumer advocate Ralph Nader hosted a 'Left/Right' convergence in Washington, DC on Tuesday aimed at showcasing the ways in which those on opposite sides of numerous policy debates actually have much in common when it comes to key issues like "corporate-government autocracy," "crony capitalism," and others ignored by the elite "corporate center" of U.S. politics.

Following Nader's latest book, Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State, Tuesday's one-day conference will explore key areas where the progressive left and conservative right find agreement, including:

  • Civil liberties
  • The minimum wage
  • The commercialization of childhood
  • Corporate welfare
  • The imperial perpetuation of America’s wars
  • Trade policy
  • The unpunished crimes and misdeeds of Wall Street

The purpose, according to event organizers, "is to convene unlikely allies to tackle the bold ideas" presented at the gathering and "turn them operational."

A panelist for one of the event's sessions, anti-war and human rights activist Medea Benjamin offered snapshots from the conference via her Twitter account:

And just how unlikely was the scene? This tweet from the Institute for Public Accuracy's Sam Husseini shows Nader on the stage with arch right-winger, "drown-the-government-in-the-bathtub" Grover Norquist:

For a sense of the agenda, here is the complete list of the day's panels and the individuals representing perspectives from the right and left of each issue:

Opening remarks
Ralph Nader

Jim Hightower

Wall Street Crime and Misdeeds
Moderator: Russell Mokhiber, Editor, Corporate Crime Reporter
Bill Black, UMKC School of Law
Zachary Kitts, K&G Law Group, PLLC

Minimum Wage
Moderator: James Glassman
Ron Unz via Skype
Jim Hightower

Civil Liberties
Moderator: Marc Rotenberg, EPIC
Fred Smith, Competitive Enterprise Institute
Heidi Boghosian, National Lawyers Guild

Corporate Welfare
Moderator: Ryan Alexander, Taxpayers for Common Sense
Lisa Gilbert, Public Citizen
Greg LeRoy , Good Jobs First
Pete Sepp, National Taxpayers Union
James T. Bennett , George Mason University

Defense Budget
Moderator: Angela Canterbury, POGO
Daniel McCarthy, American Conservative
Chris Preble, Cato
Miriam Pemberton, Institute for Policy Studies (IPS)
Dan Smith, US PIRG.

Trade policy
Moderator: Ralph Nader
Lori Wallach, Global Trade Watch
Judson Phillips, Tea Party Nation

Moderator: Ralph Nader
Medea Benjamin, CODE PINK
Bruce Fein

Commercialization of Childhood
Moderator: Ralph Nader
Jim Metrock, Obligation, Inc.
Josh Golin, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood


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