I do not have personal knowledge of the facts regarding an “alliance” between Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan on trade issues. Since I don’t have anything to offer on the facts of this matter, I won’t try to dispute whether such an alleged alliance actually existed. Even if the “alliance” Mr. Bellow alleges did exist, I offer some thoughts to balance the issue.

Seattle was over a year ago. Since then, Mr. Nader and the Green Party mounted the most-effective third-party campaign for President in the 2000 Campaign. This effort successfully marginalized Mr. Buchanan’s own efforts and prevented him from gaining any kind of media attention for this race. This was the most important anti-Buchanan action of the past year. If Mr. Bellow doubts Ralph Nader’s credentials on “inclusiveness” he should read Nader’s speech to the NAACP from earlier this year - it was an incredible moment.

Mr. Bellow’s rhetoric is a tad much. First of all, to claim that Nader “controls” a vast network of NGO’s is laughable. Ralph Nader may have as many faults as any other human being but he is not a controlling personality. His message is to urge others to become leaders. If anything, he could use a bit more ego in demanding control -- he’d be a better presidential candidate that way.

Secondly, Bellow paints a rhetorical picture that this “alliance” is the first step that will lead us to some future Dachau. Maybe its just me, but anyone who raises the specter of Nazi Germany to support their argument against Nader’s anti-globalization efforts is really going too far. Get off your high horse, Mr. Bellow, and make an argument that is relevant to the situation.

I have heard others voice this same concern about a Far Left-Far Right alliance against the corporate juggernaut of global “free trade.” As I said before, personally, I have no knowledge of this sort of thing. The people I’ve met in the Green Party who worked on the Nader Campaign are all people of integrity who share a commitment to tearing down the barriers that separate us from a healthy relationship with one another and with nature. This is not easy work. At times it seems we are battling with the entire structure of American Government as well as the largest and wealthiest organizations and people on the planet.

Perhaps Mr. Nader and others erred in working with people who hold reprehensible beliefs about sexual orientation, race or nationalism who just happen to share concern about the global “free trade” movement. In this very uneven power struggle I can understand how such an error could occur. In the heat of battle, the argument that “any enemy of my enemy is my friend” can be persuasive. Since Mr. Bellow seems fond of World War II analogies I will use one of my own. It is worthwhile to remember that Hitler would not have been defeated without the heroic efforts of the Soviet Union on the Eastern Front. Even Franklin D. Roosevelt felt it necessary to build an alliance with Josef Stalin to defeat Hitler.

At the end of the day, though, it is fair to highlight the negative side of such alliances. I thank Mr. Bellow for staying true to his beliefs and shining light on this matter from his perspective. It should make all of us remember that even our great leaders like Ralph Nader are not infallible. The heart of democracy is providing power to the people. It is through the process of open debate that we move forward. We must continue to view the actions of others, and ourselves, with a critical eye.

Paul Dumouchelle is the Treasurer of the Green Party of Ohio.