The press blackout against Camejo
Jose G. Perez
jg_perez at bellsouth.net
Sat Nov 2 23:58:34 MST 2002
This is the flip side of the Pilger piece Philip Ferguson posted, which was
essentially about the nature of a key institution the ruling classes use to
legitimize their governments and impose their political and ideological
hegemony. And that is a two-party
It is the latest column by Mark Shields, the veteran "liberal" and "left
spokesperson" on countless talking head shows on the TV gasbag circuit. It
is about the California gubernatorial election, and focused on --as much
press commentary on this race nationally has been-- on how much the voters
despise the two major party candidates.
I won't post the whole thing here, it can be read in its complete glory on
the CNN web site here:
The heart of Shield's piece is this:
* * *
"In the judgment of Mark Di Camillo of California's Field Poll:
"'Voters do not like Gray Davis. But voters also do not see Bill Simon as a
viable alternative.' Since the summer, all major public polls have shown
Democrat Davis with a lead of from 7 to 11 points.
"This strange race could simultaneously repeal a couple of the iron rules of
American politics. First, everybody learns that an elected executive --
president, mayor or governor -- seeking re-election while burdened with a
negative job-rating from his constituents who also judge the state, country
or city to be 'seriously off on the wrong track' instead of 'headed in the
right direction' will be giving a tearful concession speech after the votes
"But analyst Mark Baldassare reports that even though his latest Public
Policy Institute of California poll shows 52 percent of likely voters rate
Gray Davis's job performance negatively and only 45 percent positively, and
while less than a majority believe California is headed in the right
direction, voters still prefer the Democratic governor over Republican Simon
by 41 percent to 31 percent."
* * *
I leave aside the validity of all such polls, which are baby simple to
manipulate and quite difficult --increasingly so-- to carry out with any
semblance of validity, especially because of the increasing refusal of
people to cooperate with the pollsters. The interesting question that arises
from the numbers is, where are the other 28% unaccounted for by Shields?
Most are still undecided, but a good number are going to vote for
"watermelon" (green on the outside, red on the inside) Latino candidate
Peter Miguel Camejo. Camejo, on the ballot for the green party, was drawing
up to 9% of the votes in earlier polls. Now that results are restricted to
those pollsters consider "likely voters" --as is traditionally done as
elections draw near-- his percentage is down to 5%. What it will be on
Tuesday no one knows -- but it will be 0%, if CNN and Mark Shields have
anything to say about it.
That's because the major media have put up a blockade against information on
Camejo's campaign getting out to the public. The blockade is not
air-tight -- smaller newspapers and TV stations in Califas are covering the
campaign -- but mention or time in the national media have been totally
You would think in a commentary piece on how dissatisfied millions of voters
in the nation's largest state are with the two major party offerings, and
the unusually strong response Camejo is getting (5-9 percent statewide)
despite lack of any advertising, that someone like Shileds would at least
MENTION that someone else is running.
But the truth is the old whores of the mainstream media faithfully follow
the tired armies of the Democrat and Republican apparatchiks. Any mention of
Camejo would further legitimize his candidacy and the main thing that it
represents politically, a break from the tweedle-dum, tweedle-dee choices of
the ruling two party system.
Working people cannot advance until they understand that their MAIN enemy in
the political arena is not the more reactionary Democritan or Republicrat
candidate, but rather the boss's TWO PARTY SYSTEM as a whole. And that even
when a well-meaning individual with progressive positions on a host of
issues sneaks into office on one of the ballot lines controlled by the
two-party cabal, when it makes a difference, BOTH Democrat and Republican
party establishments will gang up on that individual and drive them out, as
has happened to Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney in my own congressional
district. The lesson to be drawn from here defeat in the primary from
crossover white Republican voters is really quite simple: sister Cynthia's
heart may have be in the right place, but her ass was in the wrong party.
And because it was in the wrong party, a rare opportunity to use political
office as a tool to organize and mobilize working people has been wasted.
Coming out of McKinney's defeat, there are no structures, no offices, no
organizations to carry out the struggle. Activists in the Georgia 4th
Congressional District are now trying to begin putting together such
This, of course, remains a complete to electoral cretins like Julio, who
urges us to campaign for imperialist politicians we consider "more likely"
to oppose a war, as well as inveterate reformists like Manning Marable, who
is (as usual) pimping for the Democrat in the New York gubernatorial
election and with the all the more shameful swindle of an "independent" line
on the ballot.
But whatever the results he gets on Tuesday, Camejo and his campaigners will
have made a much greater contribution to the development of political class
consciousness among American workers than those urging us to once again, for
the umpteenth time since the New Deal three generations ago, are urging us
to waste out time promoting the ideological and political stranglehold of
the capitalists' two-party system.
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