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.
"July 28, 2019
"Hope you’re all OK and surviving the chilly weather. It’s hard to believe that we’ve passed the half-year mark. I reckon someone ‘up there’ is fiddling around with our time machine, or maybe it’s just that the older you get the quicker its gets and when you look around at our shitty little world, perhaps that’s a good thing. Especially when you look at what passes for leaders.
“In our worst nightmare we couldn’t invent Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, an unhinged crook and a weird Tory toff. At least Ukraine had the good sense to elect a professional comedian, not just a couple of dangerous clowns.
“Regardless of who inhabits the White House, Pine Gap and North West Cape will always implicate us directly in America’s war machine. A nasty thought, when only last week at a press conference with Pakistan PM Imram Khan, Trump spoke ‘casually’ of reviewing plans to ‘wipe Afghanistan off the face of the earth’, a blasé reference to hypothetical mass murder. But it wasn’t offhand. Such a policy of total destruction could only apply to Iran with the potential for nuclear weapons being used far from hypothetical.
“Reporters who dismiss his endless stream of hyperbole forget that this man is the commander in chief of the greatest military force in all time. Take a look at its history. Since the United States was founded in 1776, it has been at war for 214 out of its 235 years of existence. In other words, there were only 21 years when it wasn’t waging war.
“To put it into perspective, since 1776 there is a 91% chance that America was involved in some conflict, with not one US leader qualifying as a peacetime president. The US has never gone for a decade without fighting a war. The only time it had a five-year lull was during its isolationist period of the Great Depression. So we shouldn’t be surprised at the current outbreak of belligerence. It’s what passes for ‘normal’ in today’s crackpot society.
“In the latter half of the 20th century, two visionary books cast shadows over our future. One was George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, with its horrifying vision of a brutal, mind-controlling totalitarian state that gave us Big Brother and thought crime and newspeak, along with the memory hole, torture palace called the Ministry of Love and the unpleasant spectacle of a boot grinding into our faces. The other was Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, published in 1932, that offered a different and softer form of totalitarianism, one of conformity achieved through engineered and hypnotic persuasion, of endless consumption that keeps the wheels of production turning, and of officially enforced promiscuity that eliminates sexual frustration. A pre-ordained caste system ranged from a highly intelligent managerial class to a sub-group of dim-witted serfs programmed to love menial work and soma, a drug conferring instant bliss.
"During the Cold War (one) Nineteen Eighty-Four had the edge, but when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, shopping took off and there were already soma-type drugs circulating throughout our society. Promiscuity took a whack from AIDS, but on balance we seemed to be destined for a trivial, drug-enhanced spend-o-rama with Brave New World out in front. And then we had the attack on New York’s twin towers in 2001 and thought crime and the grinding boot could not be eliminated so easily, along with the Ministry of Love.
“But Brave New World hasn’t gone away. Shopping malls stretch as far as the eye can see and there are ‘believers’ prattling on about the gene-rich and gene-poor - Huxley’s alphas and epsilons - busily engaged in a world of genetically modified babies, boundless consumption, casual sex and drugs. I think we’re edging towards a combination of the two.
“Whatever your definition, we live in a political jungle, in an out-of-control, corrupt, brutal system that is run by and for powerful corporates, turning what most still think of as a democracy into a charade. Our votes conceal the reality that our so-called leaders are not there to represent us, but to promote the interests of large crooked global elites.
“Take a gander at the election of Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn who is ‘clean’ but whose treatment is shameful. A handful of MPs nominated him to give the impression that the ballot was fair and open, not expecting him to win after the odious Tony Blair and his gang had done everything they could to remake Labor by eradicating any vestige of socialism, and who were furious when he won. Since Corbyn’s victory, the attacks have become even more virulent in an attempt to stop him from ever becoming prime minister. Like America’s attacks on Cuba.
“For almost 60 years, Cuba has successfully defended its revolution against a steady onslaught of US aggression, but Trump has upped the ante by blacklisting Cuba for ‘using its international medical program for human trafficking’, accusing it of ‘not doing enough’ to stop it.
“Trump should be frog-marched out of the White House and put into a padded cell. Political and economic events are telling us that justice is losing and greed is winning. Humanity has been asleep at the wheel or, more accurately, in an induced coma, for far too long. Is it too late for change? I hope not.
“WikiLeaks pushed everything forward, but we need to do a great deal more. Do we have enough journalists willing to stick their necks out and tell the hidden stories to a wide enough audience? The lawyers willing to suss out the evidence and build a case? I’m not holding my breath.
“The British Foreign Office has just banned two Russian outlets, Russia Today and Sputnik, from attending a Global Conference on Media Freedom to be held in London. It takes a special brand of hypocrisy and gall for a government that tortures journalists, bans inconvenient voices and slanders alternative media to advocate for freedom of the press.