Bill #43 Bring Ralph Nader to UC Merced
Ralph Nader is American's most renowned and effective crusader for the rights of consumers and the general public, a role that has repeatedly brought him into conflict with both business and government.
The young attorney became distressed by the indifference of American corporations to the global consequences of their actions, and he began to speak out against the abuse of corporate power. He first made headlines in 1965 with his book, Unsafe at Any Speed, which took the auto industry to task for producing unsafe vehicles. Nader became an American folk hero when executives of General Motors hired private detectives to harass him and then publicly apologized before a nationally televised Senate committee hearing.
The consumer advocate went on to create an organization of energetic young lawyers and researchers (often called "Nader's Raiders") who produced systematic exposés of industrial hazards, pollution, unsafe products, and governmental neglect of consumer safety laws. Nader is widely recognized as the founder of the consumers' rights movement. He played a key role in the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Freedom of Information Act and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. He has continued to work for consumer safety and for the reform of the political system through his group Public Citizen.
For many years, Ralph Nader has harshly criticized the two major political parties for preserving a campaign finance system that makes them both dependent on wealthy contributors. In 1996 he appeared on the ballot in some states as the Presidential candidate of the Green Party, but ran a largely symbolic campaign, making only a handful of public appearances to promote his candidacy. He made a more substantial effort in 2000, running nationwide as the candidate of the Green Party. He won nearly three million votes nationwide, close to three percent of the votes cast.