[Marxism] "now I know in part"

Brian Shannon Brian_Shannon at verizon.net
Sun Aug 15 19:59:15 MDT 2004

Sooner or later, in almost every campaign, the radical candidates get 
their day at a public meeting. There is usually only one, only a 
hundred or so people may come, and the media coverage, particularly for 
the minor candidates, is nominal, even when, as usual, they make the 
strongest presentation.

In Berkeley in 1967, that meeting was held at the high school. Almost 
all the candidates were present including the mayoral candidates 
Republican Wallace Johnson, antiwar activist and Movement for a New 
America* candidate Jerry Rubin, and Socialist Workers Party candidate 
Peter Camejo, along with several candidates for City Council.

There was a question from the audience. The woman asked what our 
position was on the marina. A long pause; I must have expected Peter to 
answer. Finally I said that we were opposed to it because it would only 
benefit contractors and wealthy boat owners. She seemed satisfied. 
After the meeting, Camejo said that he had never heard about the 
marina. How did I know about it? I replied that I had never heard about 
it either, but since it was a marina, it obviously wasn't being 
proposed for the benefit of the working class citizens of Berkeley.

Perhaps it slipped beneath Peter's usually very astute radar because a 
marina was part of his natural world.

By the way, Peter makes a reference to being physically fit and 
something about being a long-distance runner. Actually, there is a 
(very) little truth there. Aside from his nautical skills, I believe 
that he was a fair half-miler in high school, somewhere between 2 
minutes flat and 2:10. About equal to Woody Allen.

Peter Miguel Camejo: socially responsible investor, political activist,
California gubernatorial candidate
...and Olympian!
by Jürgen "Rommel" Vsych**

Peter competed in the 1960 Games in Italy. "My dad and I represented 
Venezuela in yachting. He steered, I was crewing. They were Star Class, 
22' boats, and made only for racing. You hang from the boat 
continuously - they're very uncomfortable! You had to be in very good 
shape. You control the shape of the mast; you get a curve on it to 
maximize speed."

"Everyone assumed the Italians would know where the wind shifted and 
where to go, so everyone followed the Italians. The Russians were 
expected to come in last; they came in last in the 1956 Olympics. Well, 
the Russians won, because they had a little piece of paper that worked 
like a timer - they were rolling it, and they were charting the wind as 
they raced. I know this because I climbed in their boat between races 
and saw it! I talked to the Russians (they spoke English) and realized 
that these guys had figured out the shifts of the wind during the day. 
With just one-percent change, it can completely change what happens in 
a race."

"So, in the last race, we followed the Russians. When we got the first 
buoy, we were in second place, right behind the Russians. You get 
medals every day, so I was really excited - here I was, going to get a 
medal! You do two rounds. We went back to the starting point, and we 
were neck-and-neck with the Russians. But then the Russians went in a 
different direction. I kept thinking, 'Well, they're so smart, we 
should follow them!

' What had happened, though, is that they had so many points, they had 
already won the Olympics - and they were told by the commissar to go in 
a different direction so they could get better pictures for the Russian 
media!" Peter howls at the memory. "So my dad and I were in all the 
Russian t.v. and newspaper photos, because we were right behind them! 
They were waving at us madly not to follow them, but I couldn't figure 
out what they were doing! We came in 15th, and afterwards, I thought, 
'My God, if we had gone the other way, we would have come in first, we 
would have won a medal for that day, and Venezuela would have moved way 
up!' - but they forgot to tell us they were ordered to go by the main 
photo boat. We placed in the middle, like 23rd or something."

"Everyone who goes to the Olympics gets a participatory medal. As a 
20-year-old student at M.I.T., it was very effective to wear my Olympic 
medal and jacket as far as dating girls! I remember strutting around 
Harvard, too. Of course, I never said I was in sailing, because that 
just sounded so uncool; I would say, 'I'm a long distance runner!' The 
only sad thing is my medal was stolen from me."

"It was an incredible experience to be at the Olympics and to be 
present with all those people from around the world."
* Only Jerry Rubin, one of the outstanding self-promoters of the 1960s 
and 1970s, could have called his Berkeley campaign committee the 
Movement for a New America. Later, when he became a national antiwar 
leader, he promoted the Youth International Party or Yippies. Irony was 
helpless before Rubin.
** Is this writer's nickname really Rommel? And his last name Vsych? 
Perhaps a pseudonym is in order here.


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