On May 16th and 17th, Ralph Nader made campaign stops in Hartford and New Haven. During his visit to his home state, Mr. Nader re-iterated the goals of the Green Party and his campaign, including the need to create a political movement that will counter the power of global corporations. Comparing his campaign to 19th Century abolitionists, the progressive populists of the turn of the century and the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s, Nader emphatically called upon citizens to become more politically active in a struggle against corporate power.
Nader attracted more than 120 people to the Hartford Library in downtown Hartford. More than 300 people squeezed into the second floor of the Yale Co-Op bookstore in New Haven to hear him speak. Mr. Nader addressed a wide range of issues during his two days in Connecticut, from the Adriaen's Landing development in Hartford, a $500 million giveaway to developers and investors, to a similar taxpayer-funded project to build a huge shopping mall in New Haven. A common theme of his visits to Hartford and New Haven was eliminating "corporate welfare" - taxpayer giveaways to corporations. These projects illustrate the "ability of corporations to distort public policy in their favor" to the detriment of community priorities like "rebuilding our schools," he said. Ralph Nader and the Green Party were pivotal in resisting Connecticut Governor Rowland's bid to publicly finance the relocation of the New England Patriots to Hartford.
Mr. Nader also met with several members of the Inter-Denominational Alliance - a group of Hartford's leading clergy - to discuss issues that affect urban communities, the elderly and minorities. Among his comments with the ministers, Ralph Nader emphasized his commitment to urban revitalization and fighting race discrimination. The members of the religious organization voiced their concerns about several issues, the most urgent being police misconduct. In response, Ralph Nader called for organized citizen action, the creation of civilian review boards and a return to "community policing" with police officers living within the communities they patrol. In response to a question about affirmative action programs, Nader suggested that we should widen the terms of discussion. "Are we talking about affirmative action for white people?" he rhetorically asked. Nader clarified his remark by discussing the history of segregation and discrimination that reserved elite schools for whites and that still permeates our society from access to good schools to employment discrimination.
Ralph Nader also appeared as the guest of honor at a Hartford fundraiser for the Connecticut Green Party. At the event, which asked for small, voluntary donations from attendees, Mr. Nader promoted the creation of a viable political party not ensnared by corporate contributions or Political Action Committees. The Green Party and the Nader campaign refuse to accept PAC money, raising their resources from ordinary citizens' contributions of time and money.