How Peter Camejo refuses to attack the Democrats and Republicans

Jose G. Perez jg_perez at
Thu Jul 10 16:19:45 MDT 2003

Eli writes:

>>But most of what you cited, Jose, was Camejo's criticism of Gray
Davis, NOT of the Democratic party AS A PARTY.... Neither Davis nor
Simon would be marching in the MLK parade, nor had marched with MLK
himself. But there are certainly plenty of Democrats nationwide who do
the former, and at least some (John Lewis) who did the latter as
well.... Corporate control of the Democrat and Republican parties was a
central theme of the Ralph Nader campaign. It was NOT a central theme of
the Peter Camejo campaign.<<

Eli, I don't know what to say except that you just view things in a
completely different way than I do.

Camejo was extremely and totally explicit about the two parties, he
says, their guys aren't marching on Monday, they didn't do so when Dr.
King was alive, they're the two parties that were disenfranchising
Blacks (the sort of thing Dr. King was marching against, but he didn't
need to explain that), and they haven't even bothered to apologize for
denying Blacks their rights, trampling the constitution and making a
mockery of the oaths of office all their politicians took as they did

Like every good popular speaker, Camejo does not deal here in terms of
generalizations; he talks very specifically and very concretely but to
communicate a message: these are the parties of racism. It is not
necessary, in fact, it is downright harmful and counterproductive to
turn popular agitation into a pastoral homily where the preacher tells
the story and then tells the audience what the moral is, what the
generalization is.

As for Nader, etc., to the extent he would have sacrificed that kind of
rap to denounce "corporate control", the message would have been weaker,
not stronger, less political, more economist, narrower. This was
precisely one of the strengths of Peter's campaign, that he didn't
reduce his discourse to Nader's level.

Denouncing the corporations has been the stock in trade of every
political dissident and demagogue in the United States for more than a
century, both of the left and the right. It is of course popular and
should be done. As for *how* to do it, I *much* prefer Michael Moore to
Ralph Nader. Frankly, I think the man boring, pompous and humorless, not
at all oriented towards the popular movements, completely lacking in the
common touch. It is testimony to the strength on the part of the most
advanced layers of working people to break with the two party system
that the Greens got as many votes as they did with this bloody owl as
their standard bearer.

But the central theme of a campaign to promote working class political
independence needs to be different. Not corporate control, but the
resistance to it, the myriad movements and forms and demands working
people have brought forth to battle "corporate control" is what the
campaign needs to be about.


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