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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.
peter_camejo_med.jpg
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.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Mame McQueen
( mame [at] thewomandirector.com ) Saturday Sep 13th, 2008 9:46 PM
To learn about Peter Camejo's adventures with Ralph Nader on the 2004 campaign, read the new book "What Was Ralph Nader Thinking?" available at http://thewomandirector.com
by Larry Cafiero
( larry.cafiero [at] gmail.com ) Sunday Sep 14th, 2008 12:21 AM
I have a minor correction, Dan: Peter was 68 and not 69, as you mention in your story. He was born on New Year's Eve 1939.

Also, I served from 2003 to 2006 as Liaison to the Secretary of State for the Green Party of California -- the equivalent to the state party chair as far as the state of California is concerned -- and during that time, it was an honor and a privilege to work with Peter Camejo. It was also an honor and privilege to run with Peter in 2006 as the Green Party's candidate for Insurance Commissioner.

Peter Camejo's passion for peace and social justice -- coupled with his eloquence and good nature -- were unparalleled by anyone I have ever encountered. His artesian depth of commitment to the causes we share can best serve as an example to inspire us to keep up this fight for justice in the world.

He will be missed.
by very sad today
Sunday Sep 14th, 2008 3:40 AM
Largely ignored by the establishment media, Peter was mentioned often at Indybay.org.

Here is a link from Indybay's archive Seach:

http://www.indybay.org/search/search_results.php?search=%22Peter+Camejo%22
by vst
Sunday Sep 14th, 2008 3:43 AM
Used to at one time-- what ever happened here at indybay?
by +
Sunday Sep 14th, 2008 10:05 AM
A better link is:
http://www.indybay.org/search/search_results.php?search=Camejo
Shalom Aleichem to Pete! He was an outstanding speaker with all the facts and arguments at his tongue tip. A tall tree in the forest has fallen. May a thousand flowers bloom to carry on! El pueblo unido jamas seran vencido! The people united will never be defeated! Hasta la victoria siempre!
by Stan Woods
Thursday Sep 18th, 2008 10:25 AM
Peter Camejo was a exceptionally effective speaker . During the Gov. Recall election i tried to get into the Candidates debate at Cal State Sacramento . I and hundreds of others were unsuccessful . So i went into a adjacent Student pub where a couple of hundred people, most of them students , were crammed in to watch the event on the widescreen TV's . I quickly noticed that many of the students were going back and forth between Russian and English and i then remembered that in the last 15 years tens of thousands of Russians and Byleorussians have moved into the Sac Metro area .
Anyway there was widespread hostile murmurs when Camejo was introduced as the Green candidate for Governor . A couple yelled out bi-lingual curses at the screen , roughly translated as Go away you Communist Mother fucker ! '' and caught up in the spirit a Latino Campus Republican shouted '' Go back to Russia ! in English and Spanish as Camejo appeared on the screen (.'' Oops That damm sure was the wrong right wing slogan for that crowd ! He quickly apologized as a couple of angry Russians started to get up )
As the debate went on the murmurs started to lessen . Camejo was so head over heels the intellectual superior to both the current Gov. and the lackluster Cruz Bustamante that some of the earlier hecklers started to nod a little in agreement .
When the issue of immigration came up his proposals were so more progressive and rational than the Republican and Democratic candidates that not only Latinos but many Russians and others were impressed and applauded Camejo.
After the debate ended and the crowd started to exit the same Campus Repubilican was grumbling about the shift of the crowd's sympathies and whined that '' No one said that Commmies aren't smart ! That's why they're so dangerous ! ''
Leaving aside the question of how to describe Peter's idelogy during his latter years that's a good tribute , albeit from an enemy .