Camejo's last words in last night's debate

Jose G. Perez jgperez at
Fri Sep 26 08:00:13 MDT 2003

I think Eli is right in saying we often see the same things but
interpret them differently. I think our contrasting reactions to
Camejo's appearances reflect this. I think what Camejo is doing is very
important: he is trying to win a hearing for independent political
action in the electoral arena from a section of the masses. 

I'm not sure how carefully Eli has thought through the question of how
to do such a campaign, as distinct from running a propaganda socialist
campaign aimed at attracting a few people to a given organization.

That Camejo is getting a hearing and a good response is suggested
indirectly by the polls, especially the couple of Field polls that have
been done that ask about whether people have heard of a candidate and
whether they have a favorable impression of him. 

Camejo's name recognition and positive reaction ratings have increased
significantly in the most recent Field poll. Some 12% of those polled
had a favorable impression of him, compared to 6% a month earlier. This
survey was done mostly before the first debate. And remember these are
Field Polls of "likely voters" which are 73% percent Anglo and only 14%
Latino (California's population is roughly 48% white and 36% Latino). Of
the 1014 people contacted for the poll, only 505 respondents are

Of course, the corporate press and polling outfits justify this turning
of the majority of the state's Latino population into unpersons by
saying they're doing a poll about electoral outcomes. What we should
note is that sympathy with Camejo is likely to be higher precisely among
those who "don't count."

This idea that one Anglo counts for two or three Latinos is also
reflected in a myth that Peter exposed during the debate, and which has
become such a mantra among the benighted press corps of the state that
even Eli has bought into it. And that is that people are leaving the
state of California. It just ain't so. 

Many WHITE people, Anglos, *are* "fleeing" the state, but the population
of the state continue to explode.

Eli writes:

"A similar one was his [Peter Camejo's] statement on population. Someone
else pointed out that people are leaving California and indeed, the most
recent data showed that California had a net population contraction last
year. Peter replied that 'people are pouring into California.' What on
earth was he talking about?" 

My guess is that Peter probably doesn't rely on newspaper reports, so he
was talking about something like this:

Sex, Race and Hispanic or Latino Origin July 1, 2002
July 1, 2002  July 1, 2001     April 1, 2000
35,116,033    34,600,463       33,871,648

(From: Table 5. California Population Estimates by Sex, Race and
Hispanic or Latino Origin: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2002, Census Bureau
current population estimates, accessible from this page: 

Then again maybe he was relying on the official state, not national
statistics, done by the Department of Finance Demographic Research Unit:

*  *  *

California’s Annual Population Growth Exceeds Half A Million For Fourth

CONTACT:  Anita Gore
(916) 323-0648
Dan Sheya (city estimates); Melanie Martindale (state & county
(916) 323-4086

SACRAMENTO—California’s population increased 591,000 in the year 2002,
to total 35,591,000 on January 1, 2003, according to annual city and
county population data released today by the Department of Finance.  The
new data reflect a 1.7-percent population increase for the year.  High
levels of natural increase and net immigration, the perennial engines of
population change, have continued to propel the state’s growth.

The data do reflect a decrease in the amount and pace of the state’s
increase compared to the prior calendar year, when California added an
estimated 633,000 people, and grew at a 1.8-percent rate.  Both natural
increase and net migration declined slightly.  Though this is the third
year net migration has exceeded natural increase as a source of
population change, its share of growth declined from 53 to 51 percent.

*  *  *

I think Eli's misapprehension comes from the same place that the 69% of
the U.S. population that *currently* believe Saddam was involved in the
9/11 terrorist attacks: statements by ultrarightist politicians
reiterated ad nauseam by Republican-controlled corporate media. 

The Washington Post poll that figures comes from makes for interesting
reading: 7 out of 10 is a *low* figure for disinformation on Saddam.
Only 12% thought it wasn't likely "at all" that Saddam had been
involved; only 6% had the same response to a question about Saddam
helping al Qaeda.

The write up on the Post's poll is here:

This is the data:

Bourgeois "freedom of the press" is the freedom to denigrate, slander
and lie, and that is ALL it is. 

[By the way, Eli, I think Camejo's exposing the myth of the declining
California population might make good fodder for your blog.]

I do agree with Eli, though, that Camejo would be well served by
providing more details on how the current tax system favors the rich,
including taking 30 seconds or so in one of these debates to explain it.

Whether there will be any *more* debates is questionable. The two
remaining are the League of Women Voters and an LA Times-CNN sponsored

Both of those set their invitation thresholds to *exclude* Camejo (and,
as it turns out, Huffington, too). Unfortunately for them, the well
established precedent in this campaign is that there are five major
candidates, and anyways I doubt muchly either the League of Women Voters
or CNN, both of which are dominated by Republicans (the head of AOL Time
Warner, Dick Parsons, is a long-time Republican operative in New York),
are interested in doing an event without Republican favorite Arnold
Schwarzenegger. And Arnold ain't going. Not unless he can have  answers
prepared in advance, since he is just a ventriloquist's dummy for the
Pete Wilson crowd.

I suspect both the League and CNN will bail out in short order. The LA
Times will have an interesting decision on whether to proceed and on
what basis: as "the" California newspaper, it obviously would want to
have the last "definitive" debate, the last one before the voting.


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