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Peter Camejo, Candidate And Activist, Passes Away
by Dan Bacher
Saturday Sep 13th, 2008 3:04 PM
Peter Camejo, an advocate for the poor and oppressed in the U.S. and throughout the world, passed away this morning at his home in Folsom.
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peter_camejo_med.jpg

Peter Camejo Passes Away

by Dan Bacher

Peter Camejo, Green Party gubernatorial and vice-presidential candidate and longtime progressive political activist, passed away this morning in Folsom, California at the age of 68 after a long battle with cancer.

"It is with great sadness and regret that I have to inform you that Peter Camejo died this morning," according to a statement from The Camejo Family. "Peter decided that he would be more comfortable at home, and the doctors agreed. Arrangements were made, and ultimately Peter returned home yesterday. Peter’s health had declined rapidly over the last two days due to the aggressiveness of his cancer and the strength of the drugs used to combat his disease. His wife was at his side when he passed peacefully this morning."

Camejo, the son of a Venezuelan businessman and a veteran of the anti-war movement and numerous battles for social justice and human rights, was one of the best political debaters I've ever seen. Most recently, he became a nationally known socially responsible investment planner.

He could easily demolish any right wing opponent with his well-reasoned arguments based on his in-depth knowledge of the issues. I've never seen anybody in a debate that knew economics like he did.

He was a vociferous opponent of the Patriot Act and other attacks on our civil liberties and rights. Camejo was a leader in the Free Speech Movement in the 1960s at UC Berkeley.

"I really think the Patriot Act violates our Constitution," said Camejo. "It was, it is, an illegal act. The Congress, the Senate and the president cannot change the Constitution."

He was also a great advocate of the need for third parties in a country dominated by two parties controlled by the rich corporate elite. Camejo was a fierce fighter for fair election laws and practices in the U.S.

"I was the candidate the first time a Green or any progressive third party has ever been in a national televised debate," he stated. "I was in five of them. And the response from the public was overwhelming."

Camejo was the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) presidential candidate in 1976. "He was a leader of the SWP during the years they were among the leaders of the antiwar movement, as a result of their broad-based approach to coalition-building," according to Third Party Watch (http://thirdpartywatch.com). "This approach was unusual among Marxist parties, known for a more sectarian focus on multiple issues. Some years later, Camejo rejected doctrinaire Marxism, but always considered himself a socialist."

Camejo was the Green Party candidate for California Governor three times, in 2002, 2003 and 2006. In 2002, he received 5.3% of the vote and outpolled the Republican candidate in San Francisco. In the 2003 recall election, he placed 4th out of a field of 135 candidates. In 2004 he ran for Vice President as Ralph Nader’s running mate.

Mike Wyman, 2006 Green Party candidate for Attorney General, praised Camejo for his leadership role in the Green Party and the environmental justice movement.

"The Green Party of California is honored to have had Peter carry our standard in the recall and two gubernatorial elections, and to work with him as a national progressive candidate for the vice presidency with Ralph Nader," said Wyman. "We join with the Camejo family in their grief and mourn for the passing of a truly unique and exemplary individual. He will be sorely missed by us all. Peter Camejo was a man of great passion and boundless compassion for the poor, uninsured workers and for immigrant workers in their struggle for justice and legalization. He became a leader in the environmental justice movement and helped organized communities of color around environmental issues that affected them directly."

"Peter was a friend, colleague and politically courageous champion of the downtrodden and mistreated of the entire Western Hemisphere," said Ralph Nader. "Everyone who met Peter, talked with Peter, worked with Peter, or argued with Peter, will miss the passing of a great American."

Camejo was born in the U.S. and grew up in Venezuela. He was on the 1960 Venezuelan Olympics team.

He was an author of books on investment and history including Racism, Revolution, Reaction, 1861-1877, The Rise and Fall of Radical Reconstruction, California Under Corporate Rule, and his recent book, The SRI Advantage: Why Socially Responsible Investing Has Outperformed Financially.

Peter is survived by his wife Morella, his daughter Alexandra, his son Victor, three brothers Antonio, Daniel, and Danny, and three grandchildren Andrew, Daniel and Oliver.

Arrangements and memorial services will be announced at a later date.

Camejo's leadership role in progressive movements will be greatly missed by all of those fighting against the criminal cabal that now rules this country, a regime that has murdered hundreds of thousands of innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan while looting and destroying the U.S. economy.