- The Guardian
- Issue #2071
Supporting Democracy – sometimes
Dear Comrade Editor,
I notice in your article about the Guatemala election (‘Victory in Guatemala’), the following sentence:
‘US Secretary of State Antony Blinken congratulated Arévalo, saying the US remains “concerned with continued actions by those who seek to undermine Guatemala’s democracy.” ’
I can only assume that butter didn’t melt in Blinken’s mouth when he said this. The US has a long record of undermining democracy when they don’t like the results. This year is the 70th anniversary of the coup in Chile which the US encouraged, and which led to thousands of deaths. More recently, the US seemed fine with the military takeover of Egypt, the Egyptians having made the mistake of electing a party the US and Israel weren’t crazy about.
Any statements made by US officials about democracy should come with the warning that ‘conditions apply’.
Women, peace, and protest
I’m writing to let you know about my new audio documentary, Women, Conscription, War, a 15-part series about Melbourne women who protested against the Vietnam War and national service. I started interviewing women for this project 5 years ago, and nearly 60 interviews (and many hours in the archives) later, I’m excited to have it out in the world.
I started the project as a high school history teacher, frustrated at the lack of easily available resources on the women who protested – and indeed on the dearth of resources about the protest movement itself. Jean McLean might be mentioned in the books I perused, and deservedly so, but looking at images from the May 1970 moratorium I could see that there were many, many women present. I wanted to know more about why women participated. As I got further into my research, I became fascinated by this important moment in political history: really the first time in modern Australian history when a cross-section of Australians – from all political persuasions, cutting across wealth and class – joined together to protest a government decision.
Creating this series has been an interesting process for me personally: I’m the daughter of a ‘nasho’ and Vietnam veteran, so I knew a bit about that side of things; my grandpa was a staunch union and Labor man, who marched in the moratorium while my dad was serving overseas. At the same time, I’m passionate about putting women back into the historical narrative, which is what I am aiming to do in this series, at least for Melbourne.
People who are interested can listen to episodes via the website (womenconscriptionwar.com), or via podcast apps. At a time when peace is very much on the agenda – as is public protest, particularly with regard to climate change – it’s important to reflect on how people in the past confronted these issues, and stayed the course for so many years.
[editor’s note: ‘nasho’, national serviceman, forced to join the armed forces]
Brisbane Voice Action
We had a great day in Brisbane and our yes banner was very popular. The no campaigner who the ABC presented as a voice against us who was engaging in aggressive acts against us did not get what they wanted.
Thousands marched across the Victoria Bridge and the carrying of the banner across the bridge was made lighter by the many volunteers who felt honoured to carry this banner forward.
Many yes supporters expressed the concern that should the No succeed then all of the democratic rights that the Australian Working people have won will be challenged by the Howard/Abbott/Dutton/Morrison/Hansen/Price cabal.
We all know that the extreme right agenda being backed by Sky News shows that Murdoch and his gang are behind this.
Under the Trump-like agenda we are being driven to war and the anti-people anti-democratic anti-worker front will set on the workers to continue wage theft and other crimes against the people.
I have received tremendous support while handing out our leaflet and the new improved version is well received.
[editor’s note: for more on the Party’s position on the Voice and other resources, ‘Yes to the Voice to Parliament’]