Remembering Peter Camejo

Peter Miguel Camejo, a civil rights leader, socially responsible investment pioneer, and magnanimo caballero for third party politics in the US, peacefully passed away early last Saturday morning at his home in Folsom, CA with his wife Morella at his side — only days after completing his autobiography.

The 68-year-old justice fighter had been battling a reoccurrence of lymphoma cancer, and his condition had rapidly deteriorated over the past few days.

Peter was a student leader, civil rights advocate, leader in the socially responsible investment industry with his own investment firm, Progressive Asset Management, Inc., and 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 used his eloquence, sharp wit, and barnstorming bravado to blaze a trail for 21st century third party politics in the US. He was a third party candidate for state and national office, making three gubernatorial runs in California as a Green, including one in the 2002 election when he earned 5.3 percent of the vote. In the 2003 recall election, he debated Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gray Davis, and in the 2004 Presidential election, he was my running mate on our Independent Ticket.

Among the many causes Peter forcefully championed were a living wage, healthcare for all, and making the US the world leader in renewable energy. He was also a passionate advocate for electoral reform, pressing for proportional representation and internal run-off voting (allows voters to rank their top choices) in an effort to overturn the “200-year-old dysfunctional money-dominated winner take-all system that disrespects the will of the people.”

Peter was a friend, colleague and politically courageous champion of the downtrodden and mistreated of the entire Western Hemisphere. Everyone who met Peter, talked with Peter, worked with Peter, or argued with Peter, will miss the passing of a great American.

Peter Camejo is survived by his wife Morella, his father Daniel, his daughter Alexandra, his son Victor, three brothers Antonio, Daniel, and Danny, and three grandchildren Andrew, Daniel, and Oliver.

When his autobiography (with the working title Northstar) is published, we will all be able to get a vivid sense of the great measure of Peter Camejo as a sentinel force for civil rights and civil liberties, and expander of democracy. His lifework will inspire the political and economic future for a long time.

PS: As Vijay Prashad notes, Camejo was a member of the 1960 Venezuelan Olympics team for yachting.

Ralph Nader is a leading consumer advocate, the author of Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State (2014), among many other books, and a four-time candidate for US President. Read other articles by Ralph, or visit Ralph's website.

3 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Binh said on September 19th, 2008 at 6:12am #

    P.S. He was a revolutionary Marxist and leading member of the Socialist Workers Party for decades, and was on then-Governor Reagan’s list of 10 most dangerous people in CA.

  2. Dogwood said on September 19th, 2008 at 8:16am #

    Ralph and Peter – what an exquisite, unbeatable team….

  3. Ron Robins said on September 20th, 2008 at 9:07am #

    Peter Camejo was a great pioneer in many ways. One of the things I share with him was his interest in ethical investing.

    I got interested in ethical investing some forty years ago as I believed that when we invest in a company we share in the responsibility for the activities of the company as well as participate in the outcomes of the company’s activities. Therefore anyone valuing their personal or spiritual growth has to take these things into account when investing.

    I also believe that if everyone does invest according to their personal values, then, since so many of core values are alike — and are supportive of higher ideals — that in the long run, only companies employing these higher values will truly prosper.

    For anyone interested I have a site that covers the latest global news and research on ethical investing. It’s at http://investingforthesoul.com/

    Best wishes, Ron Robins