2 comments on “Peter Camejo

  1. ah, Peter Camejo. I too had the “distinct” pleasure, along with comrade Brad, of being his driver before handing him off to others. He gave a great talk for us in Detroit that we organized in the Mexican neighborhood, and it was an incredible turn-out. I don’t know how much he liked the campaign trail – made him a little grouchy in my view – but he was a stalwart fighter and I can say he will be missed. Presente!

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  2. Unlike Barry Sheppard (and to a lesser extent, Louis Proyect), I am no fan of the SWP’s abandonment of class struggle politics and the transitional methodology that took place in the 60s and 70s when Camejo was in the leadership along with Jack Barnes and Sheppard. However small their contribution may have been, the SWP helped to ensure the far left’s descent into identity politics and single-issueism, alongside of the lesser-evilism that the CP pioneered and the ex-Maoists breathed new life into.

    However, I will remember Peter Camejo, above all else, as one of the most eloquent exponents of independent working class politics in this country that I have ever heard, especially now, when we are so desperately in need of them. Unlike the spineless “socialists” of the ISO, Camejo, in spite of his failing health, was willing to swim against the steam of “Obamamania” and make what-ever contributions he was able to in support of Ralph Nader’s independent campaign this year, regardless of what the mainstream middle-class radical milleau may have thought in its desperation to get rid of Bush and his stand-in, John McCain.

    As a CUNY student in 1976, I saw Camjeo wipe the floor with Michael Harrington, a social democrat, when the latter was urging a vote for the same Democratic party that was carrying out a program of structural adjustment on NYC during the so-called “fiscal crisis” of the middle ’70s, including the ending of free-tuition and open admissions at CUNY. The text of this debate was reprinted by Pathfinder Press in “The Lesser Evil,” a work that every “progressive” needs to read and re-read every time an election is on tap.

    During the 2004 elections, I heard Camejo many times savage the mainstream liberal-left’s support for John Kerry, who like Obama today, faulted Bush for not employing enough troops in imperialism’s “war on terror” and vowed to “get” Bin Laden. And this was coming from people who claimed to be “anti-war,” or in the case of another ex-Trotskyist, Tariq Ali, “anti-imperialist,” as well. I will never fotget Camejo’s response to Naomi Klein et al, who urged a vote for Kerry, by reminding them that the “lesser-evil” Democrats “killed a million people in Vietnam.”

    At a time when the left is more mired then ever in “lesser evilism,” a principled person like Peter Camejo will be missed more than ever by those of us who are still fighting for change rather than “hoping” for it.

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