Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Australian Anti-War Activist Joan Coxsedge's November 1, 2016 Letter

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  

“November 1, 2016

“Dear Comrades,

“I can’t think of a better beginning than pinching a few lines from Leunig: ‘How nice it is to sit and see the bombs exploding on TV. The war, the smoke, the refugees While we sip our herbal teas; The special death squad on patrol The building with the gaping hole The wailing wounded and the dead It must be almost time for bed. Time to put an end to war It’s what remote controls are for. Peace at last at any price Oh it’s nice, it’s nice, it’s nice.’

“Leunig’s response to our indifference to horror matched by our indifference to wholesale corruption and nastiness. While rich foreigners with money (usually ill-gotten) can fly in and stay in, the door has been slammed shut against the most desperate and while the world’s CO2 levels surge past a terrifying 400ppm, Turnbull lickspittles are planning to ban legal challenges to the big polluters.

“Dodgy Family First MP Bob Day whose dodgy company Home Australia has been liquidated has resigned - again - from the Senate after initially planning to stick around to vote for the government’s anti-union building industry and same sex marriage bills. Day had put out a handbook called The Sales Doctor about ‘trust’ between salesmen and customers while rooking hundreds of families who ‘trusted’ him. If it wasn’t so awful it would be funny, although sometimes you just can’t help laughing.

“One of the more incongruous sights at the Melbourne Cup, pardon me, Emirates Melbourne Cup, was the National Anthem sung by an Asian woman in Asian dress! A dreary song. I much prefer Waltzing Matilda.

“But no worries. George Brandis is still the Attorney-General, Joe Hockey’s snout remains deep in the trough, asinine Barnaby Joyce continues to embarrass and crooked developers (are there any others?) are hit with a wet lettuce leaf when their outrages are more outrageous than usual.

“And let’s not forget Turnbull’s seriously stupid former Trade Minister Robb who signed dud trade deals and now has a job with one of his Chinese principals. Sickening.

“Like the outrageous assaults on health workers. Almost every hour they are bitten, spat at, punched, abused or threatened while trying to care for patients. Same nasty stats for ambos and fire fighters.

“In the bigger scheme of things, Americans are shortly going to the polls, surely the most bizarre campaign in living memory. A freak show.

“Trump is loathed by Washington’s power-brokers, not because of his obnoxious behavior and opinions, but because in his more lucid moments he’s expressed reservations about going to war with Russia, whereas Clinton has form, lots of it, and is strongly supported by Wall Street Oligarchs and the mega-banks. She backed the Iraqi bloodbath, threatened to obliterate Iran, colluded in the destruction of Libya and has currently pledged to support a No Fly Zone in Syria, with the prospect of provoking war with Russia.

“Trump is an oddball adolescent in an old body, but at least he’s not a neocon or intent on regime change in countries that resist US domination, unlike his rival. The fact that he’s unhinged doesn’t mean his message contains no significant truths, that many communities have been devastated by neoliberal globalization where manufacture has gone belly-up leaving behind poverty and despair and growing inequality. “Many Trump supporters say they ‘just want to shake things up.’ They’ve certainly done that.

“In yet another strange twist, the FBI is now scouring through some 650,000 emails on Clinton aide husband’s laptop allegedly related to a private server used by Hillary Clinton as part of a separate ‘sexting’ probe.

“Without any evidence, Clinton has accused Russia of supporting Trump and hacking her emails. WikiLeaks tells us something else again, that what she says in private to the rich and powerful is the complete opposite of what she says to mug punters.

“If, as I suspect, Clinton wins the election, we will be assailed by a full symphony about her ascension being ‘a giant step forward for women’. Tell that to the Iraqi, Libyan and Syrian women whose lives have been destroyed by her policies. And ask desperate Palestinian women why she ardently supports Israel and ignores their plight, women forced to live under military rule, where Israel controls everything. Who can work and who cannot, who can travel and who cannot, who can visit and who cannot and who ends up in jail and who does not. With every breath, these women and their families breathe in occupation.

“But Israel is a US ally like Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s most repressive, where there is no freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, no political parties, no unions, where dissent is treated as treason, where you can be beheaded for insulting Islam, for insulting the King, for being an atheist or a homosexual. 158 executions last year. Women are segregated and not only forced to fully cover themselves in public, but they’re not allowed to drive, are banned from most jobs and need a male guardian from birth to death.

“Saudi Arabia has become by far the biggest purchaser of US weapons, $115 billion worth of deals under Obama alone, currently being deployed against poverty-stricken Yemen, attacking its power and water purification plants, its schools and factories.

“After all that, we need another touch of Leunig, even though he’s very unhappy with our world: ‘It is Spring And man has ruined everything; Everything he touches, Everything that falls into his clutches, Politicians clutch at lies and get elected. I’m not represented or dejected. What are leaders for? They all believe in war; The mess of lies. Power is a curse. The lies they tell themselves are worse. I am represented by a bird. That builds a nest and has not heard The rotten lies. It sings and represents me as it flies.’


“Joan Coxsedge, “

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