The truth about Camejo' and Gonzalez' campaigns

Armand Diego causebellum at
Mon Sep 29 00:23:19 MDT 2003

Eli wrote

"Well, I hate to get into semantic arguments, everyone
on this list is certainly capable of forming their own
judgements. But "radical" is not a word I would use to
describe the campaign Camejo has been running. As far
as the "successes" of the campaign, polls (imperfect
though they are) indicate Camejo won't be doing any
better than in the last election, despite a HUGE
increase in exposure. I'd call that a qualified
success at best."

Since I'm active in both campaigns, Camejo for
Governor and Gonzalez for Mayor of San Francisco, as a
socialist and part of a socialist organization, I can
explain more in detail why your position is
nothingness in the realm of real life politics.

My organization, which is a revolutionary socialist
organization, got involved with the Gonzalez and
Camejo campaigns from the very beginning.  We support
both as incredible steps forward in the essential task
of breaking with the Democratic Party stranglehold of
youth, labor activists, communities of color and you
name it.

We campaign EVERY DAY. Seven days a week, 30 days a
month.  We do distribute the campaign literature of
both campaigns and our own produced newspaper and
leaflets and organize our own forums -- we also
participate in the forums organized by the campaigns
-- and we were able to reach -- really reach, not just
selling them a paper -- literally THOUSANDS of people.

Today, we had an antiwar rally and march.  We were
able to mobilize over 200 people supporting Camejo and
Gonzalez to march in a mobilization of 3,000 top. We
sold 500 papers, we made 145 new contacts and we
worked very well with the dozens and dozens of new,
young activists who are joining every week the Green
campaigns, particularly Gonzalez'

Today, we are talking the same day here, we
participated in a 300-strong African American
community meeting against police brutality (more than
60 of the neighbors came with a dozen of our members
active in the campaign.)  The organizers are now
endorsing Gonzalez and most likely will endorse Camejo
as well.  This is because the respect we built in the
community which started when we made inroads with the
Camejo and Gonzalez campaigns that are having an
impact no only among Latinos but also among African
Americans and Asians.

Hey, we are still on the same day... today, we
organized still another group, together with a section
of the Green Party that canvassed 1,100 working class
households, got over 100 telephone numbers, recruited
22 new volunteers for the campaigns, distributed 3,000
pieces of literature, sold 90 papers, got the
commitment of several neighborhood residents to set up
a campaign group.

My particular take on the vote is that Camejo could
end up getting around 7%, but even if he gets 4-5% is
a huge victory in terms of a situation in which the
ENTIRE MEDIA is polarizing between Davis and Arnold.
In that situation we are achieving four things, all of
them spectacular: a) We are encouraging a vast number
of people to break with the Democrats and the
Bi-Partisan political regime.

No all will at this time, but we are setting up the
path for that.  There is NO ANY OTHER GAME IN TOWN or
in the state to get this done that the electoral
campaigns of Camejo and Gonzalez; b) The registration
of the Greens is growing and the party itself is
recruiting hundreds of new activists.

They are raw, naive, whatever you want, but they are
giving the first step towards revolutionary politics:
breaking with the Democrats and fighting with them,
house to house so to speak; c) We are growing as
socialists and allies of the Greens and their
campaigns and D) We may very well have a shot at
winning the Mayoralty in San Francisco, wresting it
from the hands of local and state Democratic party

Now, we intend to carry on with this crazy schedule
and activities all through October 7 (State elections)
and November 4 (Mayoral Elections) and we would like
to end the campaign with a network of neighborhood
organizations politically independent of the
Democrats, most likely as Greens but where we already
earned our place as allies and hard workers (no one
works harder that socialists in these campaigns.)

Do we have differences with Camejo's and Gonzalez
campaigns in terms of what they say or what they don't
say?  Of course we do.  But we also have tons of
agreements and the fundamental one is that people is
more willing to break with the Democrats, raise class
issues, etc

We already organized a forum, standing only room at a
local theater, with Gonzalez and we had this
discussion, fraternal and engaging on stage.  We asked
questions, he answered them and then we followed up
and he answered again. We discussed police brutality,
labor issues, the right to vote for non-citizens,
progressive taxation, proportional representation for
elections, the war, the occupation, racism...

We ended the meeting as best friends with Greens and
socialists now campaigning together and we can tell
you the candidate is now raising some of the issues we
discussed that night...


"As far as the other issues, there is NO DOUBT about
the Huffington issue. At the beginning of the
campaign, Camejo and Huffington both said that if they

other had a chance to win they would withdraw. Since
it quickly became apparent that neither was going to
have that chance, it became a moot point, and later in
the campaign after a Green Party executive meeting
Camejo issued a definitive statement that he wasn't
withdrawing under any circumstances. But this very
definitely was "in play" at the beginning of
the campaign."

Yes.  And what that tells you? That the Greens were in
no mood to play the cozzy up with Arianna because
their instincts told them she wasn't very real. The
move from Camejo was intelligent, but the depository
of his non-sectarianism was not the real thing.
Arianna's main slogan in leaflets today is "Fix the
System, Vote Arianna" and "Save the soul of the
Democratic Party" and she did not make the point of
breaking with the bi-partisan political regime at any
of the forums, Camejo did.

Let me tell you something else. The recent California
Green Party convention, for the first time, saw a
sizable number of delegates demanding that Nader made
a couple moves before his name was put on the
California ballot, including the demand that he will
publicly register Green (he is now independent.)  This
was unthinkable couple of years ago.

"I wrote after one of the debates (the second, from
memory) that Peter had so many good things to say
about Bustamante you could get the impression he was
angling for a position in the Bustamante

This is a common mistake.  You think that a candidate,
to be principled, have to be angry and trash his/her
opponents on stage? That is the impression some people
get from Arianna in the last debate: a foodfighter.
Sure Camejo made many friendly gestures to Bustamante
-- he knows that 80% of the Latino community sees
dumping Davis and electing a son of immigrants
(Bustamante) as a pride and political movement towards
what they perceive as political representation.
Camejo was respectful of that relationship between the
Latino working class and Bustamante -- and correctly
so -- while at the same time criticize the democrats
and called for independence from the Democrats.

I work intensively in the Latino community and I can
tell you: it works.  Many thousands upon thousands of
Latino workers are planning to vote for Bustamante but
think Camejo is the real deal, the candidate that
really represents their interests.

I'm now coordinating one of the Marxist study groups
in Spanish in San Jose, in the Bay Area, with about 25
Latino workers. We met them in the present electoral
efforts.  Half of them are planning to vote or support
(some can't vote) for Camejo, the other half for
Bustamante.  Should I wait until they decide to break
with the Democrats completely to discuss Marxism with
them or was appropriate to mix them with the new
contacts who support Camejo and make that part of the
Marxist study group? and at the same time discussing
and getting them to register Greens as a first,
symbolic step?


"I never said he was going to support Bustamante. If
Fred thinks that it is important to "direct
your fire against the class that is running
California" (as I do), perhaps he should pass that
advice on to Camejo, who could do a lot more along
those lines than simply talking about "taxing the

What planet are you living on?  Not Planet California,
my friend.  Here, the whole political debate is
whether to build a California for big businesses, tax
exempt super-millonaires, or a working class
California based on progressive taxation of the
super-rich.  It is the class issue par excellence.  In
that sense, Arianna and Bustamant and to certain
degree Arnold are the center, Camejo the left and
McClintock the right.

"And as far as the war, it is again a fact that in
several of the debates he didn't mention it at all,
and when he has, it has been a perfunctory mention
at best."

Yes. it could have been better. Agree.  We mentioned
that to him, we are pushing him on that, but there is
no doubt that there are candidates who need to mention
it and others who could get away with it.  Arianna
needs to mention it as her background does not help
her a big deal.  Camejo? Every newspaper and TV
station and radio station made certain that most
Californians know that Camejo is antiwar, a former
red, a water-melon (Green outside, red inside) and
that he is anti-big business.

"Camejo did NOT speak at today's San Francisco
antiwar/antioccupation rally, nor did
the Green Party have any significant presence at all
(as compared to Kucinich's campaign, which had quite a
sizeable contingent)."

This is complete bull.  See above.  Others in this
board has seen the presence of Camejo and Gonzalez
campaigns at today's demo.  We were very active in
Dolores Park, the beginning and during the march and
we folded our effort at Civic Center when the rally
started and people started to leave. As to the
speakers, ask the organizers: they did not invite
Camejo or Gonzalez to speak.

Now, a last piece of info. In San Francisco, the
campaign for Camejo is underplayed because it was
intelligently decided to put all the eggs in Gonzalez
and maintain through that effort, most of the Camejo
campaign.  In fact, Camejo was late on purpose in San
Francisco and just now has sent few organizers for the
last leg of the campaign.  He correctly is campaigning
harder outside San Francisco.  That is why his
campaign did not advise through e-mail to go to the
demo.  The Gonzalezx campaig did, extensively.

Hopefully, this will give you an idea of the
opportunities for socialists in these campaigns from a
more practical point of view.  If you lieve in SF, get
involved.  There is plenty to do.



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