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Ralph Nader, Cindy Sheehan, Matt Gonzalez and several hundred more attend memorial for Peter Camejo

Kat Murti reports in the Daily Californian:

Big-name liberal activists-including Ralph Nader and Cindy Sheehan-celebrated the lifelong activism of late UC Berkeley alumnus Peter Camejo Sunday at the International House.

Camejo, who ran as Nader’s vice president in 2004 and was seen by many to be a major figure of the American left, died of lymphoma, a type of cancer, on Sept. 13. He was 68.

Progressive activists and friends from around the world said Camejo was willing to take risks other politicians would not in order to support underrepresented communities.

“He was always reading, thinking, talking with people. He believed in intellectual tension,” Nader said to a crowd of more than 400.

Camejo first became known for his activism in Berkeley when he rallied students around progressive causes as a member of the Socialist Workers Party in the 1960s. At the time, then-Governor Ronald Reagan called him one of the 10 most dangerous men in California.

“He stood up for civil rights, and he stood up for civil liberties,” said Carl Finamore, a friend and fellow activist at the time. “Peter was for challenging authority on all levels.”

Camejo’s reputation for rule-breaking, however, led to him being expelled from UC Berkeley for improperly using a bull-horn during the Free Speech Movement. He was only a few credits short of a degree, friends said.

Despite not having a degree, Camejo went on to represent progressive politics in a number of state and national elections, including runs for the governor’s seat in California in 2002, 2003 and 2006. He also ran for president with the Socialist Workers Party in 1976.

“He firmly believed that we would rally the American people around just causes,” said Camejo’s brother Antonio.

Friends said they were always impressed by Camejo’s drive and dedication. Many said his passion for change inspired others to pursue what they thought was right, no matter the consequences.

“His public philosophy was not an ideology. It was not dogmatic. It was a broad sense of what he felt was right and wrong,” Nader said. “To know Peter was never to know him completely. He never specialized. There was always more.”

KTVU has the following quotes:

“It didn’t matter if you shined shoes or were the AIG CEO — he knew how to talk to you about politics and move you a bit,” said Matt Gonzalez, the 2008 vice presidential candidate.

“There’s no one that I know who fought such a multitude of fights against all kinds of injustices in the Western Hemisphere, US and California,” said Ralph Nader.

Their article adds that Camejo was a co-founder of the Green Party in California.

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  1. Catholic Trotskyist Catholic Trotskyist November 24, 2008

    I was planning to be there and was hoping to make a speech about Camejo’s strong committment to Catholic Trotskyism, but an important unforseen circumstance prevented this.

  2. Mike Indiana Mike Indiana November 24, 2008

    Anyone know who the other of governor Ronald Reagan’s 10 most dangerous men in California are?

    As for Camejo’s death this is a sad day for third parties in particularly the Green Party. As I see things there is no one currently in the California Green Party who can fill his shoes (outside of maybe Matt Gonzalez) as the parties California gubernatorial candidate. Camejo’s death will unfortunately surly negatively impact the Greens for several years to come even if Camejo would not have been healthy enough to run in 2010 he could have served as an elder statesman for the party, sharing the accumulated wisdom of 40+ years of activism.

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