I was somewhat solaced when I sat down inside and noticed the conspicuous absence of socialist newspapers in the young audiences hands, yet I couldn’t help but think back to 2000 when Nader and his then running mate LaDuke were drawing thousands to their rallies, and the crowds that came were mostly made up of progressives but included a cross section of the left, and a few from the right. Ah, the good old days, when we talked about the issues instead of ABB (Anybody But Bush.)
Things are different now. Waiting to pounce on Camejo by the front entrance were two Boston Constables and an accompanying NU security officer. According to Mike Richardson, Camejo’s National Ballot Access Coordinator, they were there to serve papers to Camejo for a lawsuit filed by democrats in Arkansas. Arkansas is one of the 14 states that has so far kept Nader/Camejo off the Ballot. Once Camejo accepted these papers and smilingly told the constables to “take care,” Camejo was officially off the ballot in that state.
The battle for the ballot in Arkansas is just one story in 50 around the country where bellicose democrats have attacked the Nader campaign's ability to be listed on the ballot, and although when you read on it sounds ridiculous, it isn’t the most egregious abuse of the political system the democrats have committed. Just today they were thrown off the ballot in Hawaii for being just 39 names short and in New Mexico a judge’s decision was invalidated when it was disclosed that she had just given a $1000 donation to the Kerry campaign, now three State Supreme Court Justices have refused to hear the case there. But last night it was Arkansas.
“Arkansas has some of the most obscure state laws on ballot access around,” says Richardson. Many challenges were brought against the Nader group there but their increasingly savvy legal team maneuvered through them until a small clause was noticed by the democrats. The clause states that a petition to be on the ballot must include language that indicates that they support Nader being placed on the ballot AND that they will vote for him. The latter condition is unique to Arkansas and well forgotten, because (and this is the kicker) the Nader campaign used a State supplied form for their petition! Richardson is positive that the Arkansas decision can be appealed, “we can challenge the validity of the law itself or counter that the state is at fault for providing us with a faulty form.”
While Camejo was signing off on these papers in the back of the room, the other speaker of the evening, Didrick Muhammad of United for a Fair Economy, coordinator of the Racial Wealth Divide Education Project, and former National Coordinator for the Al Sharpton Campaign, was fending off an attack. It became increasingly clear throughout the evening that members of the cult-like Larouche wing of the Democratic Party were strategically peppered throughout the room, and they were accusing Al Sharpton of some typically undecipherable offence. Understandably frustrated, Muhammad took the bait, “I am so sick of these little Larouche kids trying to break up our meetings, why don’t you hold your own events instead of trying to disrupt others?”
Shortly, Camejo took Muhammad’s place behind the podium and began to speak. If you’ve never heard him orate before, it is worth hearing him out whether you agree with his ideas or not. He is an imminently sensible reasoner with an excellent ability to chop complicated ideas down into concise, memorable points. Having been the green candidate for Governor up against “the Terminator” he expounded on the Greens massive successes in California over the last four years, and they are impressive. After winning 5.2% of the vote in the state and 17% in San Francisco, and participating in the most watched televised debate in a race other than presidential in history, Camejo and the Greens had a new notoriety in California. (Source: California Secretary of State)
That new recognition was put to use almost immediately in the San Francisco Mayoral race. The republicans had endorsed a candidate named Gavin Newsom, a right leaning democrat. He was unable to acquire 50% of the vote in the first election and under San Francisco’s code this called for a runoff. It was Gavin Newsom vs. the second biggest vote claimer, Matt Gonzalez of the Greens. Without the “spoiler effect” Gonzalez almost won the election, with 47% of the vote to Newsom’s 53%, a final difference of less than 15,000 votes.
Camejo used this example of the Green party’s power, sans spoiler, to show the need for electoral reforms such as Instant Runoff Voting, and to attack the democrats for blaming the greens for Bush’s win in 2000 instead of blaming themselves for not representing what Americans truly think. He also lambasted the democrats and the republicans for their uneven tax policies, their position on the war, their ignorance of the coming rise in oil prices, and their support of Iyad Allawi, former CIA operative and terrorist, now US appointed Prime Minister to Iraq.
During Camejo’s speech, several Larouchie’s spoke loud gibberish and were eventually forcibly removed by collective decision of the crowd (with the willing help of Indymedia). At the end of the rally they sung a song calling Nader a Nazi. Do I have to dispute this? Well, considering one young woman’s comment “Who’s Larouche?” I suppose I should take a stab at explaining this phenomenon. Lyndon Larouche is a strange and hard to decipher figure within the Democratic Party. He is called a fascist or a communist by the republicans, and a fascist or a populist pedagogue by the democrats yet he has powerful connections within both parties as well as governments around the world because of a well organized international network for spying and propaganda. Most recognize Larouchites as a Fascist organization with echoes of the Nazi party. His organization is currently recruiting heavily on college campuses throughout the country using techniques that could easily be considered brainwashing. Students beware! Do not give a Larouchie your contact info! You will be hounded relentlessly, encouraged to quit school, and pushed into recruiting new members and possibly taking money from little old ladies! (Not an exaggeration, read here.)
Camejo addressed the disruptive party directly by pointing out that this is precisely how the Democratic Party would act if they felt threatened by a potential rise in Green influence and support for an electoral system that would make third parties more viable. Nader himself is rumored to be arriving in the state on October 4th for a Rally and Fundraiser. Watch http://boston.indymedia.org for upcoming coverage.