When you mention Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan together, people don’t expect to hear the word alliance. In fact, it would be hard to find two well-known people further apart on the political spectrum. Why then talk of alliances?

Ralph Nader controls a virtual empire of interconnected NGOs. Riding the post-Seattle upsurge in activism, one of these groups, Public Citizen has been at the forefront of education and lobbying efforts on “fair-trade” issues around the nation and in Congress.

During the intense lobbying efforts to derail Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PTR) status for China Mike Dolan (Deputy Field Director for Public Citizen) sent an e-mail to Public Citizen’s e-mail listserv entitled “Trade Patriot Buchanan.” Public Citizen coordinated lobbying activities with Buchanan and other right wing forces in a last ditch attempt to keep China out of the WTO.

Was this a one time deal? Actually no. At least 2 years B.S. (Before Seattle), chief Nader Lieutenant and Public Citizen Director Lori Wallach regularly appeared on trade discussion panels with Pat Choate, the 1996 Reform Party vice presidential nominee. It was Pat Choate who later orchestrated Buchanan’s jump from the Republican to the Reform party. In fact, Nader and Buchanan have worked together on ever significant trade issue of the 90s.

In a sense it goes deeper. One labor official commented. “What is Lori Wallach’s or Ralph Nader’s positive agenda for the global economy?” At times it seems to me to be not that different from Buchanan’s view.”

When confronted with these alliances, or the alliance between Public Citizen and South Carolina textile mogul Roger Miliken (who has financed such diverse fascist and conservative persons and groups as the John Birch Society, Newt Gingrich, Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley), Public Citizen officials like Wallach and Mike Dolan grow angry in their denials and avoidances. Mike Dolan fired off an angry e-mail on the issue to Chip Berlet, senior researcher at Political Research Associates that began with “What’s wrong with you people? Don’t you know who the enemy is?” when confronted on Nader and Public Citizen’s alliances with Buchanan and Miliken.

Pat Buchanan is not the only right-winger involved with the anti-globalization movement. Many overt rather than covert fascists are also hoping to ride the Seattle bandwagon to greater political power.

Which makes me ask the reader this “What’s your positive agenda for the global economy?” What are we doing as a movement? What are we hoping to change? Perhaps you take those last sentences with indignation, almost as a challenge. Perhaps you have a firm list in your mind of what you hope to change and how.

So why am I raising these question in the FREEP? Why am I tarring a man who appeared on the last cover of the FREEP with these accusations that have been documented by the New Republic, Political Research Associates and Anti-Globalization activists all over the country? I know that the readership of this paper pursues an anti-globalization agenda which does not narrowly define the goals of the movement or marginalize and attack large segments of the population, as Buchanan and other economic nationalists do. And I know you know who the enemy is. It is of fundamental importance that we remind Ralph Nader and those who work for him that this is not a minor issue, and that these alliances do not pursue our agendas.

We all want to build a new movement in this country that can bring about real change. We want to end the dominance of our lives by corporations. We want social and economic justice. The road to these goals does not lead through alliance with the far right against the neo-liberal middle. The communists tried to unite with Hitler against social democrats in Germany proclaiming “First Hitler, then Us!” In the end they were united with the social democrats in Dachau.

We can not build a movement around global “fair-trade” and simultaneously roll back all the gains of the labor, environmental, women’s, gay rights and civil rights movements. We cannot move forward toward social justice while we are allied with people who’s agenda includes such rollbacks. There are right-wingers who would ride our backs to power, hoping to use our strengths to scrap “free-trade” in favor of tariffs, all the while destroying everything we have gained in the last 100 years through hard struggle and sacrifice.

In a sense we need a new globalization, a globalization from below. This globalization will unite our struggles with those of people in other countries, who have not yet won the victories that we have here in America. We can not fight globalization from the perspective that it is bad for us.

We must fight globalization from the perspective that it is bad for 99.9% of the people that live on Earth. This means building an inclusive movement that is not based on economic nationalism and does not support known racists, sexists, and homophobic public figures like Pat Buchanan. If this is going to be our movement, then we have to hold our leaders accountable to an ideology which supports the struggle of all oppressed people, in this country and outside its borders. If Ralph Nader and the NGOs he represents are going to continue to work at the forefront of this movement, they must dissolve their alliances with Pat Buchanan and others like him.

Jerry Bellow is Columbus resident and member of Anti-Racist Action. When not asking tough questions, he is out chasing Klansmen or hunting jobs.