(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)
“May 24, 2015,
“We’re almost halfway through the year. Unbelievable. Someone must be fiddling with the clocks. Why not, they’re fiddling with everything else, especially our minds. We’ve got the ‘War on Drugs’, the War on Terror’, ‘The War on Unions’ and the ‘War on People’, the ordinary people, the battlers and anyone vaguely to the left of Ivan the Terrible, trying to keep everyone on edge, so everyone’s a little afraid of exactly what isn’t clear, but always needing more draconian laws for ‘protection’.I’m far more afraid of the bastards telling us we should be afraid, the gutless wonders who preen and ponce and then run for cover when confronted with their real bosses.
“And what a nasty, miserable budget concocted by this bunch of corrupt, brain-dead morons, stealing money (our money) from a huge range of small community groups, to give to the chosen. Brandis wants his own little Arts fiefdom, decimating the Australia Arts Council, claiming it’s only losing 15% of budget funding when 50% is closer to the mark
“But where is the public outrage to this appalling government? Why aren’t Australians jumping up and down about the more than $9bn the government is shelling out for three dud US missile destroyers when it could have bought nine from Spain that have already been built for $3bn, saving $6bn? In any case, the money should be spent on health and education.
“‘Misspoken’ said Abbott after US Sec. of Defence David Shear let the cat out of the bag when he said B-1 bombers would ‘move’ to Australia, meaning they will be based here. ‘Team Australia’. What a laugh. Powerful vested interests manifest themselves in many ways, one is through lobbying, full-on, insidious well-funded lobbying by outfits like the Minerals Council of Australia. More than a 1000 lobbyists, part-time and full-time but all very secretive, infest the halls of Canberra challenging government policy and subverting democracy, while the public service is being seriously downgraded and ultra-right think tanks like the Institute of Public Affairs get tax breaks, getting the bulk of its funding from god knows where.
“Obama, the first black US president, is shaping up to be one of the most devious presidents in modern times and that’s really saying something when you look at his predecessors. A recent Obama quote: ‘We have to make sure America writes the rules of the global economy and we should do it today while our economy is in a position of global strength. If we don’t write the rules for trade around the world, guess what, China will. And they’ll write the rules in a way that gives Chinese businesses the upper hand.’ It explains why Obama is forcefully pressing the case for the toxic, authoritarian Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), his final gift to the global elite, a corporate giveaway, which if you look at the details will take us one more step on the road to Armageddon.
“As I’ve said so often, the TPP will reduce wages, deepen inequality, undermine sovereignty and further damage our already damaged environment. Even leading corporate Democrats like the Clintons who championed TPP’s forerunner NAFTA, are keeping their distance on this one, but sadly there are enough Democrats combining with a unanimous Republican bloc to pass the TPP legislation.
“Another Obama legacy is his version of health insurance, a scheme much loved by giant pharmaceutical companies and big insurance, a bill that was drafted by the Republican Heritage Foundation, replacing the popular alternative Medicare for All.
“And then there’s his current push for the huge climate-destroying oil giant Royal Dutch/Shell oil to start drilling for fossil fuels in the beautiful pristine Arctic Ocean, a critical habitat for rare species. A dismal end to a dismal presidency.
“A few weeks ago, Russia celebrated the Allied victory over Nazism without the presence of Obama or other western leaders, demeaning the extraordinary sacrifice of the Russian people made seven decades ago. A boycott that is part of a clumsy attempt to belittle Russia and to present an anti-Putin, anti-Russian alternative version. If it wasn’t for the Red Army’s victories against the German invaders, particularly the crucial Battle for Stalingrad in 1943-1944, the prospects for victory would have been almost impossible.
“But good things are happening in Argentina. Last August workers arrived at their factory and found a note at the gate telling them the company had closed down and was moving abroad to take advantage of a cheaper and more docile workforce. The workers moved swiftly, gave the factory a new name, finished a job worth $500,000 and enrolled in the national registry of cooperatives, joining many others doing similar things, while the women opened a daycare centre in the factory to look after the children. When the police tried to evict the workers, popular support from the community - public hospital staff stated they would not provide medical treatment if police were injured in the standoff - forced the cops to pull their heads in. Nationalisation under workers’ control. Something worth fighting for.
“ Viva socialism!