"Democracy remains a great danger to those who have privilege and control. When you are part of the top 1% of the population that has as much income as the bottom 75% of the people, democracy is a permanent threat to your interests."
These are the words of Peter Camejo, probably one of the most persuasive living socialists today, in his famous 2004 "Avocado Declaration" which argued the case for a fiercely independent Green Party in the US that would be capable of attracting non-voters and disillusioned mainstream party supporters.
Camejo points out that on the Iraq war, the devastated environment and on a range of social justice issues, we are in a massive worldwide majority while our rulers are an "isolated minority".
This explains a lot about what we are witnessing today: blatantly manipulated and purchased election results; growing restrictions on civil liberties; the rich helped to become richer and the poor poorer; and the steady retreat from rule of law even in so-called democracies like the US and Australia.
It is sad but true: just think about the farce of David Hicks's "trial" by the US military commission at Guantanamo Bay. Even the use of torture to extract false confessions is justified by the political leaders of so-called "democracies".
"The reason given for these steps since September 2001 is the terrorist attack within the borders of the United States — an attack made by forces originally trained, armed and supported by the United States government", explained Camejo. "The so-called 'war on terrorism' does not exist. The US government has promoted, tolerated and been party to the use of terrorism all over the world. The US has even been found guilty of terrorism by the World Court.
"The terrorist attacks against US targets are important, but they need to be countered primarily in a social and political manner. A manner which is the opposite of that taken by the USA PATRIOT Act, and the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. On the contrary, by aggravating inequality, injustice, disrespecting the rule of law and its military interventions and occupation, the present policies of the US government add to the dangers faced by US citizens throughout the world and in the United States."
Camejo has run as Green Party candidate for governor of California in 2002, 2003 (the recall referendum) and 2006, winning hundreds of thousands of votes.
In 2004, he ran as Ralph Nader's vice-presidential candidate in the US presidential elections. The Nader and Camejo team were the only candidates which had a regular voice in the corporate media arguing to bring US troops home from Iraq. They came third in the election even though the Green Party national convention refused to endorse their campaign despite 4 to 1 support in the party and the backing of 83% of Green voters. Basically, some Green Party officials argued that a Green ticket would jeopardise the Democrat presidential campaign.
Camejo last visited Australia in 1994 to speak at the International Green Left Conference, which this paper sponsored. He is currently undergoing treatment for early stage lymphoma, but wrote to me in January that when he recovers he may consider another visit.
Last week, Camejo sent Green Left Weekly this short letter together with a generous donation:
"I think your paper deserves some sort of award for the excellent, factual, balanced and informative coverage you have provided on the new radicalisation sweeping Latin America. Your balanced coverage for progressives on Venezuela has been educational and inspiring. As a Venezuelan-American I congratulate you and have enclosed a one thousand dollar donation (of course in USA imperialist dollars) for your fund raiser. Thank you for your excellent work."
Can any of our other readers, especially some of the thousands in the US who read Green Left Weekly on the web, match, or better, Camejo's donation?
Last week, our supporters raised $4693 bringing the total raised for our fighting fund so far this year to $50,143. That's 20% of our target. If you can make a donation please give us a call on the toll-free line 1800 634 206 (calls from within Australia only), send in a cheque to PO Box 394, Broadway NSW 2007, or donate securely online (protected by SecurePay) at http://www.greenleft.org.au/fogl.htm).