Peter Camejo: Watermelon through and through

On this day 82 years ago, Peter Miguel Camejo was born to Elvia Guanche and Dr. Daniel Camejo Octavio. While hailing from New York, he frequently visited his parent’s home country of Venezuela, competing for them in the 1960 Olympics with his dad. Afterwards he entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and later the University of California where begun to get involved with student activism, which inevitably got him expelled for “using an unauthorized microphone.” Then governor Ronald Reagan also dubbed Camejo one of the ten most dangerous men in California because “he was present at all antiwar demonstrations.” Camejo would soon attempt to translate his activism to elected office.

Camejo joined the Socialist Workers Party, a Trotskyist turned Castroist political party that was one of the primary groups of the New Left during the 60s and 70s.  He sought the office of Berkley Mayor in 1967 running against another prominent antiwar activist Jerry Rubin. However his more notable run was for President in the year 1976, where he was able to make the Socialist Workers Party the largest Left-Wing Party in the election. However Camejo would have an issue with the Socialist Workers Party’s “Turn to Industry” policy, where the party told its members to work in blue collar jobs in order to become members of the Proletariat. That divide would end up leading to Camejo’s expulsion from the SWP in 1980. While one Left-Wing Party turned him away, he would end up using that time to help create another.

In 1990, Camejo would help create the California Green Party, one of the earliest affiliates of the Green Party. He would end up becoming their torchbearer for three Gubernatorial runs in 2002, 2003 (recall election), and 2006. The first one being his most notable one not only due to him getting 5.3% and the creation of a term that would become synonymous with him when he referred to himself as a Watermelon, “green on the outside but red on the inside”. While Camejo would later refer to himself by another fruit based metaphor, referring to himself as an Avocado “Green on the outside and Green on the inside.” He would become prevalent in the 2004 Green Party debate in regards to strategy. Camejo was a supporter of Nader wanting to push a 50 State Strategy, and would run as an alternative ballot line to have the Greens support Nader in 2004, however when that did not pan out, he would later continue to support Nader’s Presidential Bid as his running mate. Afterwards and aging Camejo would move to the background of the discourse before passing away of lymphoma on September 13th 2008.

Camejo is not as well known outside of his specific sect of Leftism, but he still has an important role nonetheless.

34 thoughts on “Peter Camejo: Watermelon through and through

  1. Traditionalist

    He did not create the term watermelon as a reference to communists using pollution, and later the boogeyman of anthropomorphic climate change, as a wedge issue. I remember using the term as far back as 1969, and I’m pretty sure I read or heard it somewhere even back then; I doubt I was the first to invent it independently. I’ll refrain from mentioning here the derivative of that which I came up for the Cynthia McKinney green party candidacy, as even saying that Jesus is the reason for the season earns a dreaded crossout here.

    With all due respect to Ronald Reagan, whom I admired as Governor and proudly voted for in three Presidential primaries and two general elections, open communists are not the most dangerous men in any state. It’s the sneaky ones who burrow into positions of power and influence while concealing their true communist nature that you really have to watch out for. Out in the open communists play their role too, but it’s a decidedly subsidiary one – something this particular termite seems to have figured out much too late in life as he tried to unconvincingly remake himself as an “avocado.”

  2. Andy

    When I first looked at the title of this article, I assumed it was written by a non-leftist using the term “watermelon” as a pejorative against Peter Camejo, but the article turns what is generally used as a pejorative into a term of endearment. This is like how some black people use the “N” word, where they take the word and flip it into something generally positive, although I have heard black people call other black people the “N” word in a negative manner as well. This is much like white people and the term “redneck.” as it can be used as a negative or a positive depending upon who is using it and how they are using it.

  3. Traditionalist

    Perhaps he was the first to use it as a non-pejorative. I doubt it, but I don’t remember whether or when I’ve read commies admitting to their “watermelon” tactics. I do, however, remember those of us who see communists as our enemies pointing out that they were behind the so called environmental movement since at least 1969, if not before. Does that give you a clue, or are you still laughing at your own cluelessness?

  4. Traditionalist

    Specifically, I remember first referring to watermelon environmentalists in those words no later than 1969. I don’t believe I came up with it on my own back then, either. I may have picked it up in a John Birch Society publication, but honestly I can’t remember when or where I first read or heard it.

  5. Traditionalist

    “Science author Petr Beckmann used “watermelon” in January 1990 and is believed by some to have coined the term. The “watermelon” epithet is used by people who believe that the “greens” (environmentalists) have a “red” (communist) philosophy inside their movement that is against capitalist business and for the redistribution of wealth. ”

    Source: https://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/watermelon_green_on_the_outside_red_on_the_inside

    I can attest he wasn’t the first to use it either, but if you don’t wish to take my word for it, there’s proof that termite Camejo certainly did not create the term/reference in 2002.

  6. Traditionalist

    Andy,

    “This is much like white people and the term “redneck.” as it can be used as a negative or a positive depending upon who is using it and how they are using it.”

    A red neck is simply what a White man gets from working outdoors (at least, unless he wears his hair like a woman in service of the communist sex/gender confusion agenda). It’s not either negative or positive, but simply descriptive. Unlike the reverse situation with the less “politically correct” form of “negro,” someone who isn’t White is unlikely to find themselves censored, cancelled, beaten, killed, etc, if they use the term redneck. Whites who have never spent a day working outdoors in their lives aren’t particularly likely to get in any sort of trouble if they use the term redneck, either.

    I’ll grant that “redneck” can be used by some people as a putdown and by others with pride, but it isn’t analogous to a term that you and many others have so much trouble with that you must not say even as a reference to something other people say. I would have no such issue with using it myself, but I don’t know what this site allows – after all, saying Jesus is the reason for the season on Christmas eve earned a crossout here (in fairness, perhaps that’s why you didn’t spell it out either). I don’t think anyone, black or otherwise, uses the so-called “N word” neutrally, even though it’s merely an Anglo-Celtic variant of the Spanish and Portuguese words for the color black and even, albeit with only one G rather than two, the name of an African country bordered by Libya to the northeast, Chad to the east, Nigeria to the south, Benin and Burkina Faso to the southwest, Mali to the west, and Algeria to the northwest (I hope I don’t earn another crossout for spelling Nigeria all the way out).

    No one calls redneck the “R word” or hesitates to spell it out, do they?

  7. Traditionalist

    Mr. Whitfield, excellent point. Let’s all click our heels three times and repeat “real socialism has not yet been tried” or perhaps “it’s all the USA’s fault.”

  8. Traditionalist

    Incidentally, have you all considered why the communist color is red? It’s actually because they have a fetish for mass murder – as in shedding as much human blood as possible. They certainly lived up to their promise over the past century, giving them a bit of a public relations problem, at least with more people than they would like. That makes it harder for them to put themselves in a position to kill even more, thus the need for a new guise – “green.”

    It’s actually the perfect cover for them. Not only does it sound friendly – harmless fields of grass and picturesque forests, et al – but it actually gives them an opportunity to elevate the scale of their mass murder to a higher level than back when their hammer and sickle supposedly represented advancing industry and agriculture. Of course, given their human blood fetish, it would be more reasonable to suppose that hammers and sickles actually represented a couple of different ways to kill people – cutting and bludgeoning. As for green? Don’t forget that soylent green is people. Deindustrialization would actually kill billions, which is something that the reds of the past century could only aspire to, not actually achieve. it’s a trick so diabolical that only history’s most accomplished mass murderers could have thought of it.

  9. Sammy H

    Red is the color of evil you are right. Communists and a republicans both embrace RED as their flag

  10. Traditionalist

    Sammy,

    Communists are the ones who decided to associate themselves with the color red, and have openly said that it’s because red represents revolution. Why would red represent revolution, unless it’s because revolutions shed a lot of blood?

    The decision to associate Republicans with the color red, on the other hand, originated with television networks which are not particularly friendly to Republicans. See https://polidata.org/elections/red_states_blues_de27a.pdf regarding blue being traditionally identified with Republicans, and red with Democrats, prior to 2000.

    In the days following the 2000 election, whose outcome was unclear for some time after election day, major media outlets began conforming to the Republican=red, Democrat=blue color scheme. The electoral map was continually in view, and conformity made for easy and instant viewer comprehension. As a result of this eventual and near-universal color-coding, the terms “red states” and “blue states” entered popular use in the weeks following the 2000 presidential election. After the results were final with the Republican George W. Bush winning, journalists stuck with the color scheme.

    All our subsequent references to “team red” and “team blue” originate from that election. Thus, media outlets which are generally hostile to Republicans picked the color red for them. Communists freely chose the color red, and explained why they chose it, of their own volition.

    It’s true, however, that Republicans have not by and large thought through who associated them with red or why, and whether those who did should be seen as people who have their best interests at heart. They have now come to embrace that color identification, without considering its context or origin. That’s stupid on the part of Republicans, whereas the communist reason for associating with red is evil.

  11. Traditionalist

    wiki:

    The choice of colors in this divide may appear counter-intuitive to non-American observers, as in most countries, red is associated with socialist, communist, or social democratic parties, while blue is associated with conservative parties. For example, the major center-right conservative parties in Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Italy, Spain and France all use blue or its shades (whether officially or unofficially) whereas the major socialist, communist, or social democratic parties in each country are associated with red. If the U.S. followed such a pattern, blue would be used for the Republicans and red for the Democrats.

  12. J.D.

    The term “watermelon” is used in the early 1980′ s James Woods film “Salvador”. Major Max, candidate of the right wing Arena Party refers to his opponents by slicing a watermelon open. Pointing to the cross section he says “Christian Democrat green on the outside, Moscow red on the inside.”

    Not a bad movie.

  13. Sammy H

    Republicans and Communists are both anti-democracy scum who love violence. Red States are dumber, poorer and less healthy. They mooch off rest of country while lecturing about self reliance and freedom. That’s the truth.

  14. Traditionalist

    Until you got to the part about self reliance and freedom, I could have sworn you were talking about our disgraceful inner cities.

  15. Gene Berkman

    Peter Camejo spent many years promoting socialism – in the Socialist Workers Party, in the Fourth International, and in his own North Star Network, formed after his purge by Jack Barnes & crew from the SWP.

    Coincident with his involvement with the Green Party, he became an investment broker, promoting socially responsible investing. He wrote a book on the subject of socially responsible investing.

    Socially responsible investing involved investing only in companies that acted ethically toward workers and the communities in which they operated, were environmentally responsible, were not involved in military contracting etc. He stressed that socially responsible investing was more profitable – not just that it was equitable and ethical.

  16. Andy

    “Gene Berkman
    January 1, 2022 at 17:45
    Peter Camejo spent many years promoting socialism – in the Socialist Workers Party, in the Fourth International, and in his own North Star Network, formed after his purge by Jack Barnes & crew from the SWP.

    Coincident with his involvement with the Green Party, he became an investment broker, promoting socially responsible investing. He wrote a book on the subject of socially responsible investing.

    Socially responsible investing involved investing only in companies that acted ethically toward workers and the communities in which they operated, were environmentally responsible, were not involved in military contracting etc. He stressed that socially responsible investing was more profitable – not just that it was equitable and ethical.”

    If he were alive I’d probably disagree with him on a lot of political issues, probably the majority of them, but I don’t see anything inherently wrong with promoting socially responsible investing, so long as it does not include any coercion.

  17. Andy

    “Gene Berkman
    January 1, 2022 at 17:45
    Peter Camejo spent many years promoting socialism – in the Socialist Workers Party, in the Fourth International, and in his own North Star Network, formed after his purge by Jack Barnes & crew from the SWP.”

    Here’s a very interesting story about Peter Camejo which I posted about here a long time ago. I don’t feel like searching for links to the articles, so I’ll just do a quick rehash now.

    Back in 1976 Peter Camejo was the presidential candidate for some left wing minor political party. I am not sure if it was the Socialist Party, or something else. Anyway, there was a lawsuit about something on his campaign, and in the course of a lawsuit, a Freedom of Information Act request was done after the campaign was over, which revealed that 1 out of 6 people who worked on his campaign, which included his campaign staff, plus his volunteer campaign coordinators across the country, WERE GOVERNEMNT PLANTS. Yes, that’s right, 1 out of 6 people that worked on his presidential campaign were undercover government agents/confidential informants.

    This kind of makes you wonder about other minor parties and independent candidates, including the Libertarian Party.

    It has come out that there have been undercover government agents/confidential informants, and government spying, which has gone on in major party campaigns as well.

  18. Richard Winger

    The Socialist Workers Party was on the federal government’s “subversive list”. Leaders of the Socialist Workers Party were imprisoned during World War II. The FBI infiltrated them, along with the Communist Party, so it is true that a rather large proportion of the members of the SWP up until the mid-1970’s were government informants. In the aftermath of Watergate and passage of the Freedom of Information Act, spying on left-wing parties, especially those that did not actually promote violence, became very unpopular. The Socialist Workers Party sued the federal government in federal court and won a large amount of money to compensate for all the past federal harm done to the party.

  19. Nathan Norman

    FBI infiltration is worse now than ever. Look at how the FBI infiltrated groups and planned the supposed kidnapping attempt of Governess Witless Witmore. I think 7 of the 12 conspirators were FBI informants.

  20. Andy

    FBI Agent Who Entrapped Michigan “Militia” in Progressive Sting Op Sentenced to 2 Days For Vicious Wife-Beating

    vhttps://bigleaguepolitics.com/fbi-agent-who-entrapped-michigan-militia-in-progressive-sting-op-sentenced-to-2-days-for-vicious-wife-beating/

  21. Andy

    “Nathan Norman
    January 1, 2022 at 22:37
    Look at the staged January 6 capitol riot. The people who cut the fence and directed protesters to enter the capitol were not prosecuted.

    See the Revolver News story https://www.revolver.news/2021/12/damning-new-details-massive-web-unindicted-operators-january-6/

    Ask Republicnt Liz Cheney why she refuses to investigate Ray Epps.”

    Oh yeah, the 1/6 event at the Capitol in DC was a government manipulated event. They had government plants posing as Trump supporters leading people into the White House, and the Capitol Police were ordered to let people enter. There are even phontos of the Capitol police literally holding the door open for the protestors.

    I am still waiting for the Libertarian National Committee to issue a retraction to the lame, bootlicking press release they put out about the 1/6 incident, which was likely the work of former disgraced LNC Chairman, Joe Bishop-Henchman.

  22. Traditionalist

    A lot of people were justifiably angry on 6 January last year, watching our Congress and the Vice President ratify a Chinese Communist coup aided and abetted by domestic traitors to install a Chinese Communist puppet regime figureheaded by a drooling idiot who lost his mind some time ago. Nathan and Andy know more than I do about agents provocateur who were involved that day, so I’ll defer to their expertise on that.

  23. Traditionalist

    A lot of people were justifiably angry on 6 January last year, watching our Congress and the Vice President ratify a Chinese Communist coup aided and abetted by domestic traitors to install a Chinese Communist puppet regime figureheaded by a drooling idiot who lost his mind some time ago. Nathan and Andy know more than I do about agents provocateur who were involved that day, so I’ll defer to their expertise on that.

  24. Jared

    Sammy: “Red States are dumber, poorer and less healthy. They mooch off rest of country while lecturing about self reliance and freedom. That’s the truth.”

    Much of that is the lingering effects of Reconstruction. For many years the South was punished severely and its agricultural produce exploited for the enrichment of Northern industrialists who were no fans of free trade.

    Progressive pro-democracy rhetoric is about as substantive as conservative pro-freedom rhetoric. It’s a rallying tool. Democrats’ suppression of third parties to their left is as bad as anything the Republicans do to discourage voting among minorities that swing heavily Democratic. Despite lopsided media narratives, both parties routinely engage in partisan and incumbent-protective gerrymandering.

  25. Andy

    There were good reasons for there to have been a real insurrection on January 6th, but reality is that it was a government manipulated incident.

  26. Ed Johnson

    The Rocky mountain states, Midwest, Plain states and Alaska are mostly Republican states in recent decades. Are they more violent, dumber, poorer, and less healthy than the Northeast and West Coast? Are they mooching off the Northeast and West Coast states?

  27. Gene Berkman

    Andy mentions the report that 1 out of 6 people on Peter Camejo’s campaign staff was a government agent. He worries that the government might infiltrate the Libertarian Party to a similar extent.

    That is not likely. What Libertarian candidate has 6 people on his staff?

  28. Ed Johnson

    The most recent example of an LP candidate with 6 or more on staff that I know of would have been a her, not a him.

  29. Andy

    There have been plenty of Libertarian Party campaigns with more than 6 people on staff, and I am talking paid staff and volunteers. Also, I was talking about the LP in general, not just candidates for political offices.

  30. Ed Johnson

    JD,

    The Christian Democrats in El Salvador were not an environmentalisy-centered party, but they did use green as their color. The watermelon slicing stunt was used in real life by ARENA’s actual candidate, Roberto D’Aubisson, and was popular at their rallies.

  31. J.D.

    Right Ed, I was just referencing the movie. Most people have little exposure to Central American politics. I couldn’t have begun to debate the Christian Democrats positions. I would assume though that the environment was not top on their list of policies while ten’s of thousands of dissidents were being executed.

    It does show the watermelon reference was alive well before Camejo used it to describe himself. Although, the Salvadoran reference is clearly derogatory.

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