Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Australian Anti-War Activist Joan Coxsedge's October 24, 2020 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.

"October 24, 2020

"Dear Comrades,

"This year has been bizarre, one that most of us would like to forget. Now starting to slowly unwind, thank god.

"Having said that, I believe the attacks on Daniel Andrews are disgraceful, which says more about the Liberals and their right-wing viciousness than it does about Andrews, a viciousness which extends into their policy-making decisions where universities, artists and workers are the enemy.  Part of class warfare intensifying as labour rights continue to be violated.  As someone said, the problem with political jokes is that they tend to get elected.

"I laugh when people talk about returning to ‘normalcy’. Normalcy brought us the Iraq War, the War on Terror, the War on Drugs, torture, assassination by drone, billionaires, homelessness, gutting of welfare, wiretaps, militarised police, fracking, and let loose a psychotic American Empire on the world, with us crawling along behind.

"And the Defence Legislation Amendment, already passed by the House of Reps, is about to pounce.  This latest repressive nightmare aims to regulate the call out of defence forces responding to natural disasters, a bill that fails to define ‘other emergencies’ but permits foreign armies and police forces to be brought in to ’help us’, doesn’t restrict their use of force and gives them high levels of immunity under our laws.

"`Emergencies’ could include industrial disputes, demonstrations, and other protest actions that are perfectly legal if we lived in a democracy. For good measure, the government has extended ASIO powers even more, where journalists, environmentalists and advocacy groups could face compulsory questioning and being fitted with tracking devices.


"‘Democracy’ is popular because of the illusion of choice and participation it provides, but when you live in a society like ours where most people’s knowledge of the world extends no further than sports, sitcoms, reality shows and celebrity gossip, it’s downright dangerous.  Until people are properly educated and informed, democracy is nothing more than a clever tool used by the ruling class to subjugate the rest of us.

" Noam Chomsky, who can’t get published in his own country, put it this way: ‘It is regrettably, no exaggeration to say that we are living in an era of irrationality, deception, confusion, anger, and unfocussed fear - an ominous combination, with few precedents. There has never been a time when it was so important to have a voice of sanity, insight, understanding of what is happening in the world…’

"In the 30s, the Germans thought they were free, ignoring the ever-widening gap between the government and the people. It took place so gradually, each step so small and inconsequential and disguised as a temporary emergency measure, that people failed to see what was going on beneath the surface.

"When the US entered WW2, the future head of the CIA, Allen Dulles, bemoaned that his country was fighting the wrong enemy. The Nazis, he explained, were pro-capitalist Aryan Christians, whereas the true enemy was godless communism and its resolute anti-capitalism.  After all, the US, only some 20 years earlier, had been part of a massive military intervention in the USSR when fourteen capitalist countries sought to ‘strangle the Bolshevik baby in its crib’.

"Dulles understood, like many of his Government colleagues, that what would later become known as the Cold War was actually the old war against communism - and has never stopped.

"The danger, as Orwell wrote, is in the language. The sterilisation of words where meanings are cleansed and honed down. Torture is what other people do, whereas ‘we’ use ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’. Propaganda is what others do, we ‘promote democracy’.

"Like war, we prefer ‘pre-emptive actions to defend ourselves’ and engage in ‘targeted strikes to remove threats’ instead of assassinations.  Bombing raids on Iraq, Libya and Syria were ‘humanitarian missions’. The double-talk is everywhere.

"People like Chavez and Castro who redistributed wealth to the poor were ‘corrupt’ while western politicians taking jobs on the boards of banks, pharmaceutical companies and arms manufacturers are trying to make the world a better place.

"A case of ‘tell the truth if you dare’, like Julian Assange who dared. And we’ve seen what’s happened to him. Tortured so that his pain and suffering acts as a warning to others in case they want to warn us that the people we elected are corrupt, dishonest killers.

"It’s hardly news that the 800 US military bases in more than 70 countries around the globe have played a fundamental role in turning the entire world into a bloody battlefield, a massive military presence unlike anything we’ve ever seen before but rarely acknowledged, and a major reason why the US has consistently been in a state of war or military invasion for almost every year of its existence.  Once, weapons were manufactured to fight wars.  Now wars are manufactured to sell weapons. 

"From George Orwell:  ‘The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.’   So speak out even louder, dear friends…

"Joan Coxsedge"


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