Peter Camejo

Jose G. Perez jgperez at netzero.net
Wed Jul 9 15:23:18 MDT 2003


Eli Stephens wrote:

>>Maybe Jose heard different speeches than I did, but as far as I'm
concerned 
this is complete nonsense. Not only was Camejo not presenting
"socialist" 
ideas in his campaign, in some respects he barely qualified as a 
progressive.<<

Well, the speeches I head were a couple they had posted on their web
site. I did listen to them quite carefully at the time, because I
wondered what the character of Camejo's campaign would be. The first one
was at the acceptance of his nomination, that's what it sounds like. And
it starts out by talking about how he is going to be on a march
commemorating MLK the following Monday, and asking other members of the
greens to join them, and denouncing the Democrats and Republicans for
also not marching.

And he went on to say he would not only be the only gubernatorial
candidate to march the following Monday, he was also the only one who
had marched with MLK when MLK was alive. And at that time these two
parties were denying Black people the right to vote.

The rest of it was consistent with that. The central message was, people
need to break from these two parties that represent the corporations and
the rich. And that break isn't just a question of voting, but of action,
of protests and rallies and so on.

And he went on from there.

As for the Iraq war, the only thing I can say is I remember getting
emails from the campaign saying the most important event for the
campaign was that rally in San Francisco, at the end of October, that
was the most important thing their campaign was doing, promoting that
protest. At least one of them was signed by an ex SWPer. The letter even
used some of the stilted language of that earlier era ("our campaign is
doing this and that") that I sort of shook my head. If you watch the
professional bourgeois campaign managers, they have *the candidate*
speak in terms of "our campaign" and so on, but *everyone else* --even a
running mate-- speaks in terms of what the candidate --usually by first
name-- is doing, saying, etc. Because of that I remember the emails
quite distinctly, and I think their message was right on.

It is precisely the very strong political character of his campaign,
along with the very satisfying vote attracted, which shows his
effectiveness and gives him credibility among broader forces, that lead
me to think Camejo would be an ideal person to head the Green slate or,
hopefully, a broader Green/Left slate in 2004, as I've raised here and
in other places.

My understanding is that Camejo has said he is not in a position to
undertake that, but he has just announced he'll run in this weird
recall/election for governor in California that it appears WILL happen
this fall or next spring.

I agree with Peter that it is a great opportunity because it looks like
the Democrats' strategy will be not to field *any* candidates,
essentially trying to blackmail the voters by telling them, either you
let the current Gov continue, or we'll force you to accept the
Terminator or that multimillionaire who couldn't buy the governorship in
2002, even when running against Davis. And that means there is great
potential to shape a big part of the debate around the elections as one
between the proponents of working people having their own party and
open, undisguised defenders of corporate rule.

And from the first couple of interviews he has given, he seems right on
target. There's a huge budget deficit, which the Republicans and
Democrats want to use as a pretext for wiping out social services,
cutting back on education, etc.

Camejo is proposing instead of those cuts, to tax the rich, to up the
state income tax rate for the very top. I don't know if that's socialist
enough for you, but it is for me, cause I read it in the communist
manifesto, as the second of the immediate measures the communists
propose: "A heavy progressive or graduated income tax."

Maybe your idea of what a socialist campaign should be like is different
from mine.

Peter's seemed a-ok to me.

José




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