Camejo's last words in last night's debate

Eli Stephens elishastephens at
Fri Sep 26 08:39:27 MDT 2003

Jose wrote regarding my misstatement on California's population:

>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.

That was a blow below the belt to be sure. What it comes from is articles
like this (this one from last year, but it was very recently that a similar
article appeared which I can't find):
Santa Clara County's population dropped by 14,276 people between April 1,
2000 and July 1, 2001, according to figures released Monday by the U.S.
Census Bureau. That is more than any other county in the state.

Also losing population during the same time span were San Francisco, 6,010
fewer to 770,723, and San Mateo, which lost 5,141 to 702,020.
That is, my impression came from the reading articles about the Bay Area,
where I live, which IS losing population. Statewide, Jose MAY be right,
although the articles he cite don't prove it (and I can't find better
information at the moment). The assertion (e.g., by McClintock in the recent
debate, if I'm remembering correctly) isn't that the population isn't
increasing (i.e., births exceeding deaths), but that there is a net
emigration from California (i.e., more people leaving the state than moving
into the state). Again, I haven't been able to put my hands (or Googling
fingers) on anything this morning, but I *remember* reading (possibly I'm
MISremembering) that  that was the case.

Jose also wrote something more at the heart of our disagreement:

>I'm not sure how carefully Eli has thought through the question of how
>to do such a campaign [trying to win a hearing for independent political
>action], as distinct from running a propaganda socialist
>campaign aimed at attracting a few people to a given organization.

I have no objection to Camejo running such a campaign, my argument is with
the way he's doing it, in the very specific ways I've already mentioned -
taking on the war more aggressively instead of in one poorly formulated line
in his summary in SOME - not all - debates, noting  that the war was fought
for oil, capitalist profits, and imperialist domination leading to death and
misery not only for Iraqis but also for Californians, taking on the meaning
of the words "business-friendly" and what they mean for workers, pointing
out the connections between the capitalist recession and the problems of
California, pointing out that there still IS a recession for workers no
matter what the economists say, pointing out that the energy problems of
California were caused by rapacious corporations raping Californians, and
not just because Davis was incompetent and signed poor contracts, etc. And
yes, he can do all this without using the words "capitalism" or
"imperialism." Repeating "tax the rich" over and over, and even occasionally
mentioning single-payer health care is simply not enough, in my view.

For example, workers compensation is a big issue because the Republicans are
pushing it as the #1 cause for California's problems, "businesses fleeing
the state", etc. This is complete nonsense. Instead of taking this on, and
talking about why protecting workers from corporations who will take
everything from the workers they can if given the chance, all Camejo has to
say is that California tax rates are really low compared to neighboring
states. That is not my idea of any kind of progressive or socialist

None of these things in my opinion would turn Camejo's campaign into merely
a "propagandistic socialist campaign," I think they would make his campaign
a MORE EFFECTIVE campaign, giving him MORE support than he is currently
getting, and doing a BETTER job at educating workers to the need for
independent political action and in the way society needs to be run.

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