Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Australian Anti-War Activist Joan Coxsedge's November 27, 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 27, 2016

“Dear Comrades,

“I am devastated, like all of you.

“We knew Fidel had to die someday but hoped he wouldn’t.

“But what a history! What an inspiration and what guts. And what achievements in health and education, all free from the cradle to the grave. Cuba became a world leader in cancer research and sent humanitarian missions to 68 countries, trained more than 1800 doctors under a free scholarship scheme, hundreds of them in East Timor, and treated free of charge some 26,000 victims of the Chernobyl disaster, most of them children. Fidel ‘liberated’ large tracts of land to small farmers, did away with private beaches, closed casinos, halved rents and outlawed racial discrimination, and became a world leader in environmentally sound policies.

“Fidel and his revolutionary band had to start from scratch, slowly building a new society, with eleven presidents in a row using every dirty trick in the book to bring them down, including invasions, bombings, biological warfare, an illegal blockade that has cost Cuba more than 89 billion dollars - 80% of which involved food and medicines - and had 638 goes at bumping off Fidel. Washington failed.

“Fidel Castro became one of the most notable political figures of the 20th century. His Revolution created the Cuban nation, transforming a small Caribbean island into a player on the world stage. Under his leadership Cubans ‘stood tall’ against the most powerful nation on earth and gave them back their pride and dignity. Close to all Third World leaders, Fidel was the only political figure apart from Nelson Mandela welcomed by a younger generation of activists.

“Commercialized Christmas has landed on our doorsteps even earlier than usual and Donald Trump has landed on the world stage. As someone said, it will get worse before it gets worse. And when the US gets a cold we get double pneumonia.

“In 2016, the US presented the public with the two most detested candidates in history. No wonder more than 40% of voters declined to vote. In the wash-up, the moneyed thug beat the natural born killer who believes that a dousing of cruise tomahawk missiles on recalcitrant countries was good diplomacy, a continuation of her pact with husband Bill. The duo advanced their way through the political jungle by speaking Left and acting Right, leaving a legacy of mass incarceration, perpetual war and regime change. From Christopher Hitchens: ‘She and her husband haven’t met a foreign political donor they don’t like and haven’t taken from.’

“Washington isn’t about to be ruled by Nazis (yet) - although fascist tendencies are certainly present - but by Reactionary Republicans, which is quite bad enough. I hope that the hysterical opposition will not stuff up the few Trump positives, the desire to do business with Putin rather than foment war and putting an end to the loathsome TPPI trade deal, if he can get away with it.

“The entire election campaign focused on personal attacks rather than dealing with serious political issues like the underclass who live in towns ravaged by de-industrialization with banks and stores boarded up, factories closed down and all the decent jobs long gone. Many work up to 70 hours a week at three minimum-wage jobs. Or they have no jobs at all, fueling alcoholism, drug addiction, suicides, racism and the poison of white supremacy.

“And now we’re being assailed by ‘fake news’ or ‘post truth’ where false stories are being deliberately planted throughout our media, as if the bastards don’t lie enough. Facebook and Google are already agreeing to ‘filter out content’. Censorship?

“Peter Koenig writes about a serious issue I don’t recall reading about: ‘A few weeks ago’, he said, the UN kicked Russia out of its Human Rights Commission. The first time in history that a member of the UN Security Council was voted out.’

“Russia’s crime? ‘Bombing hospitals and civilians in Syria and supporting the atrocities of the Assad regime’, when it is the US, NATO and Washington’s Gulf puppets responsible for the devastation in the Middle East.

“And on November 15, a UN special committee condemned Russia’s ‘temporary occupation of Crimea’, a motion carried by 73 to 23 with 76 abstentions that will inevitably be adopted by the 193-member assembly. Most know the truth that the US instigated the coup d’etat in Ukraine, but won’t say a word.

“And then last Thursday I received an email from ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver outlining Turnbull’s latest vicious onslaught on the trade union movement. At 2am the government sneakily rammed through the Registered Organizations Bill, setting up yet another costly commission to further bugger up the work of the trade union movement. Headed by god knows who, our unions will be subjected to a restrictive regime of regulations and fines that could bankrupt ordinary union volunteers just for downing tools if their workplace is unsafe.

“Human history, as Karl Marx said, is defined by class struggle, but today’s psychopathic rulers have been clever by fusing the two major parties into a single corporate entity that has seized control of the whole box and dice, the parliaments, the judiciary, universities, finance and almost all forms of communication, with every facet of our lives controlled by the corporates.

“There is no way you can fight these forces with petitions, rallies and the polling booth when even the few tepid avenues open to us have been whittled down. ‘Democracy’ as it’s defined today, is a sham that cannot be regulated, reformed or corrected. The only way forward is to become part of a genuine socialist movement to stand up to and demolish the corporate state before it demolishes us and our fragile world.

“Vale Fidel! Hasta Siempre Dear Comandante! Viva Cuba!

“Joan Coxsedge” 

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