(The following letter from Australian anti-war and Latin American solidarity activist Joan Coxsedge—who is also a former member of the Victoria state parliament--originally appeared in an Australian-Cuban solidarity group’s newsletter)
"April 6, 2015
"Take time to smell the gumtrees and admire the abundance of gorgeous autumn colours. A good way to take your mind off the creeps and crawlers infesting the higher echelons of our society and the havoc wreaked by deregulation, privatisation, corporatisation and globalisation.
" Some of you might remember a very funny documentary by film-maker Bob Connolly called Rats in the Ranks about a group of NSW ALP members fighting to get elected to a local council quite shamelessly talking to the camera about their machinations. They look like babes in the wood compared with the treacherous behaviour of some current senior Laborites. Bob should make a sequel starring Martin Ferguson as King Rat who appeared on a Liberal Party TV/YouTube ad in the middle of the NSW election campaign attacking Labor for opposing the privatisation of electricity and then had the gall to describe Labor as ‘his party’. Co-starring with him as Liberal Party helpers were Labor’s hard men of the right, Paul Keating, Mark Latham, Michael Egan and Michael Costa (climate change denier who closed rail lines when he was Treasurer and now speaks for Murdoch), all of them Shorten backers. And shame on Labor for allowing George Brandis to get away with destroying even more of our freedoms with the pretence of improving our privacy. Total bull. We fought two world wars ostensibly to ‘save democracy’ and for ‘freedom of thought’ with the hope of making the world a better place, the same countries now busily killing off these hard-won freedoms.
"A modern form of fascism is on the march but you won’t hear it talked about or mentioned on the telly. But as I’m writing this on Easter Sunday it seems reasonable to quote from the scriptures. As Jesus told the people of Nazareth: a prophet is without honour in his own country, a dictum that applies to anyone trying to tell the truth about corruption in high places and dominance of giant corporations. Julian Assange is still holed up in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London like Edward Snowdon in Moscow, or is tortured and imprisoned like Bradley Manning in the US.
"Real journalists are becoming as scarce as hen’s teeth. Most have turned into something ignoble and different. Former New York Times editor Jill Abramson told a forum that for many years the press in general did not publish stories that upset the White House, justifying the failure by stating that ‘journalists are Americans too and I consider myself to be a patriot.’ So when US journalists lie for their government it’s because they’re patriotic! The same government that continues to invade, bomb and drone, killing, maiming and violently displacing millions of people is protected by a media where ‘big lies are delivered with the precision of a metronome’ (Pilger), lies endlessly regurgitated throughout the world.
"You can still read good stuff on the Internet, but for how long? Washington recently appointed former president of NBC News Andrew Lack to head the Broadcasting Board of Governors. His first official statement compared Russia Today, with the Islamic State and Boko Haram, part of a massive propaganda campaign to counter the revival of Russia. According to the latest polls, 62% of Americans now see Russia as the main threat. It gets worse. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, set up to protect our digital rights, reports that the about-to-be-signed Trans Pacific Partnership will have the power to impose prison sentences, massive fines and property seizures on Internet users who innocently violate vague language in the ‘trade’ agreement. Truth is indeed the enemy of the state.
"And while Abbott and his cohorts put their boots in (Christian) against those at the bottom of the heap, a few weeks ago rich developer Sam Tarascio opened his luxury penthouse to the Liberal Party’s benefit arm, Enterprise 500 Victoria, for a select few to raise money for our boofhead PM. A mere $5000 a pop! Developers like him build ridiculously huge houses and ridiculously tiny apartments, buggering up our city. Melbourne now has more housing density than Hong Kong. Something to think about.
"And while these capitalist hucksters amass great wealth, our earth’s ability to sustain life is failing with civilisation itself at stake. At the most we have about three decades to get CO2 emissions under control, with every day bringing fresh reports of climate change catastrophes. Governments must accept the moral challenge of abolishing the fossil fuel economy, with nuclear completely ruled out. But while the rest of the world is spending $270 billion on renewables, Australia’s contribution is a paltry $330 million.
"A different story for ‘defence’ which gets more than $1.5 trillion a year, along with huge subsidies to the powerful fossil fuel lobby. If there’s a quid in buggering up our earth, environmental vandals will do it, like the way they’re knocking us off by putting herbicides, antibiotics, hormones and pesticides in our food, feeding us chemicals that are banned in most other countries. Frankenstein food.
"In Obama’s first five years in office, he supported new agreements to export in excess of $169 billion of US arms, more than any White House Administration since WW2, with 60% going to the Middle East (it took 9,658 air strikes to overthrow Gaddafi and destroy Libya opening the way for barbarous fanatics to dig in). But war is America’s national pastime.
"And Obama has just issued an Exec.Order stating that Venezuela is an extraordinary and unusual threat to the national interest of the US, giving him the authority to launch military action at any time. Venezuela is not alone. 138 nations have openly sided with it against Obama’s decree. And how wonderful to see Fidel out and about again giving Obama a poke in the eye by public supporting the Venezuelan Ambassador.
"It’s about time we resurrected the Magna Carta. Chapter 13 states: ‘No free man shall be seized or imprisoned or stripped of rights or possessions or outlawed or exiled or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him or send others to do so, except for the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land’. So say all of us!"