Thursday, October 16, 2008

Peter Camejo Memorial

Peter's Memorial will be on Sunday, November 23, 2:00 PM at International House in Berkeley, CA.

International House (I-House) is at the top of the UC Berkeley campus, 2299 Piedmont Avenue, Berkeley, California, 94720-2320. We are including a link to the I-House website, and later messages will have further details, including parking and directions. We just wanted to get the confirmed date, time and place out quickly for those of you making travel plans.

International House at UC Berkeley


Ralph Nader will be speaking at the Memorial.

Also other friends of Peter from different aspects of his life. Details to follow.



A number of people have asked us about the possibilities of socializing after the memorial. We have to be out of I-House by 5 PM. We are looking into finding a place where people who wanted to could gather afterwards.


We are still asking for photos of Peter

We haven't received any photos yet!

As part of the memorial meeting we are soliciting two things: photographs of Peter and hard-copy reminiscences (brief is fine!) to be put in a memory book for the family, which will also be available at the memorial and eventually perhaps be put online. Physical photographs will be scanned and returned.

Both the photographs and the reminiscences should be sent to Peter's brother Dan Ratner at

Dan Ratner
1350 Broadstone Pkwy
Apt 4413
Folsom, CA 95630

If you have high quality scans of photos, you can send them to Dan at

If you'd be willing to have these photos appear on the blog, please also send them to


Please visit the blog

Where we have links to interviews with Peter and the picture of the Abdul Ghaffar Khan Peace Award he just won.

The blog also has all the previous messages we sent out, as well as many comments from friends of Peter.


Claudette Bégin & Alex Chis
P.O. Box 2944
Fremont, CA 94536


Linda Loew said...

Remembering and celebrating the life of Peter Camejo:

A powerful voice of our generation, Peter Camejo will be greatly missed. At a time when we are suffering new daily assaults on our livelihoods and well-being, his was a voice of clarity and inspiration, of solidarity and hope. He could explain economic and social concepts that the rulers and most politicians manipulate to keep people confused and disoriented. With intelligence and wit he explained what was going on in the world in terms that motivated large numbers of people to mobilize in defense of our rights. He helped people to recognize and believe in their own power.
In December, 1970 I was one of hundreds of YSA contacts invited to attend the national conference in New York City. Peter Camejo gave a speech that I believe became famously known as “How to Make a Revolution in the United States.” Later published as a pamphlet, and widely circulated, it was a call to action, to get involved in the making of history. Shortly afterward, I joined the YSA, and soon after that, the SWP.
Even as a recognized leader, he was also a regular human being. Often times before speaking in front of large audiences he would experience a genuinely nervous episode and have to exert himself to get up and deliver the speech. I recall a speaking tour I helped organize in upstate New York. We talked about this during a speedy drive (he drove) up to Albany, NY from New York City in the early 70’s. However, once he took the podium, he was without peer.
As a persuasive orator and talented leader, he did not say “Trust in me and I’ll set you free.” Rather, he shone a light on the powerful potential of all of us together to rise up and demand justice. Let us hope that young activists today will emulate his example and build on his legacy.

Linda Loew, Chicago, IL
November, 2008

Guy Miller said...

Remembering and Celebrating the life of Peter Camejo:

When Peter came to Chicago in the late 1960s he was the person you wanted contacts of the YSA to hear. The efficient and capable day to day operation of the organization was impressive to new people, but when you needed someone to inspire, to talk revolution, Peter was your man.

The major TV talk show host of the era in Chicago was the Sun-Times columnist Irv Kupcinet whose late night talk-fest used a panel format around a coffee table. Kupcinet always wanted Peter on the show. There he confronted opponents across the political spectrum. He invariably made the right wingers look evil, the liberals look complicit and the ultra lefts look foolish. One self important liberal harrumphed to Peter; “Sir are you calling me a racist?” Peter answered “No, but if you want me to I will; you’re a racist.”

Nobody could cut through half truths, obfuscations and blather better than Peter Camejo.

Guy Miller,
Chicago, IL 60630

Lauren Sugerman said...

From Lauren Sugerman, Chicago:
from a recent letter:

Mom and Dad, (and friends and family)

This is a tribute to the candidate I first supported as a new voter in 1976, Peter Camejo.
You may remember I traveled the state of Ohio in support of his campaign. I was very excited, eager to share my views with complete strangers as well as many of you. Maybe you thought I was in school, since you were paying for that. (I was getting an education, even though my grades may not have reflected that, and well we all know I still don't have the paper.) Peter inspired my interest in socialism through political action (I was already committed to socialist ideas from grandpa, camp, Habonim, kibbutz life, maybe other family interests/history), passion for Latin America and its language, Spanish. These interests have transformed and defined my life.

Dad, last week, while we were talking on the phone, I learned of Peter's death while watching the Sunday morning Meet the Press or the ABC version. It went across the screen as part of "in Memoriam." Immediately, my agitation over the bailout plans were overshadowed by a sense of grief and sadness. It struck a deep chord unexpectedly, I had not known Peter was ill, or really even thought much about or understood the influence his life, belief and actions had on me. I did know that he had been working with the Green Party, was excited that he was on another national ticket with Nader several years ago, and was active in California politics over the last couple of years, but I didn't pay a lot of attention as many other things occupied my time.

Although I didn't know Peter personally, I met him during the campaign in 1976 and felt his warmth, charm and was moved by him, similar to the way Mayor Harold Washington engaged me here in Chicago during his campaign and governance. The attached/below is a long (love) letter written by a lifelong comrade of his. It is very touching, moving and has a lot of left history in it that may bore you, but also explains a lot of the positions I have held throughout my adult life about politics, although my formal and informal involvement in any party ended just after I moved to Chicago, in 1980. I am grateful and proud to have worked on behalf of Peter's campaign, learned from his community organizing skills and political ideas and ideals, and hope that his legacy lives on in activists here and throughout the world. Viva la revolucion! (And think about what Peter might say about this bailout plan, but don't worry-you'll hear from me soon), (unless you unsubscribe!) But I hope you are all telling Congress and all the candidates what you think! Meanwhile, I have extra monopoly money if you need some.

In solidarity, peace and love,


The accompanying remarks (above) were sent to me by Lauren Sugerman, who asked that I forward them for the memorial .
Lauren is currently the Executive Director of Chicago Women in Trades (CWIT.) CWIT is a nonprofit organization committed to improving women’s economic equity by increasing the number of women working in well-paid, skilled trade jobs traditionally held by men.
Lauren has been a long-time leader and activist in defense of women’s rights and in many other arenas. Her remarks speak for themselves.
One other note: the letter she refers to in her closing paragraph is one written by Barry Sheppard.
Linda Loew