(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)
"June 29, 2015
"Words don’t often fail me, but I’m lost for words (almost) to describe my contempt for the travesties of human beings that claim to represent us in Canberra. Their policies are becoming more overtly fascistic, terrifying in their range and vindictiveness. The following are defined as early warning signs: powerful nationalism, disdain for human rights, identification of scapegoats as a unifying cause, supremacy of the military, rampant sexism, controlled mass media, obsession with national security, close links between religion and government, protection of corporate power, suppression of labour, disdain for intellectuals and the arts, obsession with crime and punishment and rampant cronyism and corruption.
"Every time these creeps plummet to new depths, down they go again, even exploiting overseas terrorist outrages to gain some votes. Never asking how we got to such a deplorable situation, never questioning our collusion with Washington in its brutal global role, its destruction of Iraq, Libya and Syria, its support for repressive regimes around the world that imprison and torture their own citizens, and the murderous repression of its own poor.
"And then there’s our pitiful Labor opposition, run by timid lookalikes. Free speech? Out the window, along with compassion and equality. The Labor rot started in 1984 when four reactionary unions (DLP) rejoined the Victorian ALP and helped destroy a once strong and progressive branch, part of a wider drive to destabilise the entire labour movement.
"Some of us fought like hell to keep them out, but we were sold down the river by some of our former comrades along with the media where we were the baddies and the crooks were the goodies. In a last ditch stand I wrote a leaflet called Fight the Right about their dodgy US connections and impact on our hard-won policies. It was the beginning of Labor’s decline, part of a deeper malaise.
"James Petras writes about the rise of the ‘non leftist left in Southern Europe’ in the Information Clearing House, about the disappearance of traditional leftist parties and decline of trade unions, replaced by a fragmented ‘middle class radicalism’ angry at its loss of status, demanding ‘participatory democracy’ in the existing rotten system, when it’s capitalism that is causing environmental ruin, mass poverty, gross inequality, plutocracy, the police state and racial disparity and must be replaced.
"Close to the end of his life, Martin Luther King wrote: ‘the real issue to be faced’ beyond superficial matters was the radical reconstruction of society itself…and the United States will have to adopt a modified form of socialism.’ King’s final radical words have been erased from our history books, replaced by his much safer ‘I have a dream’ speech.
"Latin American revolutions, especially in Cuba, have inspired the entire planet, bringing hope to every corner of our earth. If left alone they would thrive, but the US Empire is once again on the offensive, getting ready to invade and destroy.
"Every left-wing government has been facing bizarre protests and subversive actions, destabilisation tactics clearly designed in far-away capitals, almost identical to those used against China, Russia, South Africa and other ‘rebellious nations’. Their fragility is obvious, with their elites committing treason and collaborating with the West against their own people as we have seen in Chile, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Honduras, Venezuela, Paraguay and Bolivia, to name just a few. Propaganda, disinformation and the spreading of confusion have been some of their most potent weapons. One of their dirtiest is the accusation of corruption made by corrupt pro-western politicians and individuals who misused hundreds of millions of dollars of the people’s money.
"The world has lost a courageous activist with the death of Ronnie Gilbert, an original member of the legendary folk group, the Weavers. While the great Pete Seeger was the most recognisable member of the group (Fred Hellerman and Lee Hays were the other two) it was Ronnie Gilbert who gave the Weavers its special style. Who can forget her version of Leadbelly’s Goodnight, Irene.
"Gilbert was born and raised in New York City into a working class family and listening to Paul Robeson gave her the inspiration to become a folk singer. Most who know about the Cold War and the ‘Red Scare’ is aware of what happened to the Weavers. Suspected of being too left-wing, Joseph McCarthy and his merchants of fear smeared them as ‘communists’ and had them blacklisted. Despite their hit songs they were banned from appearing on radio or television and their contract with Decca Records was abruptly cancelled.
"The Weavers went from being one of America’s most popular groups to being almost totally ostracised. They were forced to disband in 1953, but even with her career in ruins, Ronnie Gilbert went on to become a dedicated socialist activist, travelling to Cuba in 1961. During a Pete Seeger concert in California which he performed on a banjo, without any introduction he shouted out to her wishing her ‘good luck’. The audience cheered. How refreshing to see comrades like these stand up against powerful bullies and march in rallies to promote a cause. Vale Ronnie Gilbert.
"Speaking of gutsy people who stand up against powerful bullies, Julian Assange is still holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London surrounded by a ridiculous police cordon and living in one room for the ‘crime’ of telling unpalatable truths about government lies and the power of vested interests. He is a refugee under international law and should be given safe passage out of the UK. The Assange case amplifies many truths, one of which is the accelerating global totalitarianism of Washington regardless of who is president."