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Ramsey Clark/”Progressive” vs. “Liberal” Redux

Ralph talks to legendary progressive lawyer and former U.S. Attorney General,Ramsey Clark, about the conflicts in the Middle East.  And we continue our discussion about the difference between “progressives” and “liberals” and why the distinction is important.  Plus more listener questions!

Ramsey Clark is an American lawyer, who was Attorney General of the United States during the Johnson Administration.  As Attorney General he was known for his vigorous opposition to the death penalty his aggressive support of civil liberties and civil rights and his dedication in enforcing antitrust provisions.  In addition to enforcing school desegregation in the South in the Justice Department under Robert Kennedy, Mr. Clark supervised the drafting of the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.  Since leaving public office Ramsey Clark has led many progressive activism campaigns, including opposition to the War on Terror and he has offered legal defense to controversial figures such as Charles Taylor of Liberia, Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein and Lyndon LaRouche.  He is the founder of The International Action Center, which is committed to building broad-based grassroots actions opposing U.S. wars abroad while fighting racism and economic exploitation of workers at home. He is the author of The Fire This Time: U.S. War Crimes in the Gulf. And is the subject of a documentary entitled Ramsey Clark: A Life of Principal.

“The most important thing to observe (in Yemen) is the human tragedy that’s not inherent in the circumstances.  This is caused by the deliberate action of governments that have goals that don’t give sufficient concern to the wellbeing of the human beings involved.  Unless there’s a change in the direction, there’s going to be a continuing human tragedy, a growing human tragedy that will be a stain on our conscience, not to mention the bodies and lives of those that are afflicted.”  Ramsey Clark former US Attorney General and humanitarian lawyer


  1. Roxanna H. Marinak says:

    Great Program, You are always an Inspiration Ralph! I am beginning to really see how Democracy does not work in a vacuum.
    It is so important to be involved in both seeking out information and participating. Don’t expect Democracy to run own it’s own.

  2. MARIE RAMIREZ says:


  3. Marc says:

    Steve is correct in his assessment of the term “liberal”, this assessment of it being pro-business at the expense of the citizenry goes back at least 150 years ago. I’ve recently finished Capital Vol 1, and am about 20 pages into Vol 2, and Karl Marx regularly takes stabs at liberals. Cherry-picked phrases include, and these are from Vol 1 alone:

    • Sarcastically called Czarist Russia “the liberator of the world”, then proceeded to write “Thus Russia conquered with one blow the magnates of the Danubian provinces, and the applause of liberal cretins throughout Europe.”

    • “Parliament decreed that after March 1st, 1834, no child under 11, after March 1st 1835, no child under 12, and after March 1st, 1836, no child under 13 was to work more than eight hours in a factory. This “liberalism,” so full of consideration for “capital,…”

    • Called Belgium “the paradise of Continental Liberalism”.

    • “But now comes that revival of trade which the mildly liberal Mr. Forster, the negro’s friend, recently crowed over with so much grace.”

    • “Meanwhile, they [laborers] become degraded, they fall ill, one and all, whilst the mildly liberal Forster, M.P., sheds tears over the blessings of Free Trade, and the profits of the eminent men of Bradford who deal in worsted.”

    • Called Lord John Russell the “tomtit of Liberalism.”

    So as we can see, and as I’ve discovered, ‘liberalism’ has always been sneered at by the forefathers of the true left.

    I think the term for me largely means phony left, as here in America they are all too consumed with identity politics, multiculturalism and electoral inclusion but never address gulfs in economic disparity and incomes. It’s all race, sex, sexual orientation, you name it but never class. Ever. Paul Street has long criticized America’s so-called “left” for failing to address class and economics but relishes in wallowing in identity politics.

    Indeed, historically the term liberalism, much to the applause of today’s conservatives, carries negative connotations due to its free-wheeling, free-trading dogma, and deservedly so.

    And yes, the Democratic Establishment is co-opting the word “progressive”. Personally I wish we’d just come totally out and say we’re socialists (if progressives and socialists are the same essential thing), so long as economic discussions and solutions take precedent over political ones I’m fine with it.

    Illustrative difference between what a liberal thinks and what a socialist thinks of Nader’s point about the minimum wage hitting single mothers the hardest. The liberal will say “but it hits women of color hardest”. Perhaps, the socialist will then say ” show me the meaningful difference among 1) the single black mother in the projects raising two kids by herself, 2) the single white mother in the trailer park raising two kids by herself, and 3) the single Native mother on the reservation raising two kids by herself.” Not much, not really.

  4. James Lesley Jones says:

    Regarding Palestine and European state support for Palestinian State. Which will commit troops to enforce U. N. resolutions. Kosovo massacres and European would only send in air support.

  5. Barbara Wilson says:

    Dear Mr. Nader:
    I so enjoy hearing you speak about our world in such an enlightening way. I had the pleasure of meeting you at Barnes and Noble in 2015. I bought two copies of “Unstoppable” one for me and one for my friend, Wayne, who has since passed away. We both love hearing you and reading your books.
    You were kind enough to sign them. I will treasure mine always.
    I found the radio station you can be found on – WPKN in Bridgeport, Ct. 89.5
    Thank you
    Thank you for being such a life long true advocate for all of us. You are a hero for sure.
    Barbara Wilson

  6. Thank You for your informative program and very satisfying interview with Mr. Ramsey. I learn a lot from Mr. Nader and his guests on his excellent radio programs. Thanks again to Mr. Nader, Mr. Ramsey, the Radio Hour host and to all who help them shine their light for us. Highly motivating, encouraging. Thanks.

  7. Noah Wheeler says:

    How can I watch Citizen Clark…A Life of Principle?