Archive: Arena Quarterly

Googling Earth

The continually streamed view from above continues to show us increasing human impact and environmental degradation and loss, telling a story of a larger contradiction—that despite Earth being our only home, we relate to it as an object and an abstraction…

Alan Roberts Prize: What if Ivan Illich Were Elected Mayor?

The winning essay for 2021 in Arena’s annual Alan Roberts Prize.

Australia’s Unfinished Timor Business

The following years of Indonesian occupation and violent subjection of the Timorese people were accompanied by a narrative of denial by the Australian government, aimed at protecting the Suharto regime from scrutiny and allowing the regime to continue its repression of East Timor largely unimpeded.

Paying for the Pandemic

On Australia’s present trajectory, the rich will be massively enriched, the well-off will be better off, and the costs of the pandemic will fall on the rest of the population. But the scope for radical change has rarely been greater.

The Bloody Trade

Can Australians trust bland assurances from the defence department that Australia’s ‘strict export controls’ prevent the illegal use or transfer of Australian weapons?

Identity Crisis: Radical Gender Theory and the Left

The idea that there is no significant relationship between sex and gender carries with it an assumption about human beings that should strike those on the material Left as a challenge to an idea of freedom without which ‘the Left’ as a political entity would never have come into being at all…

The Rules-Based Order

Military historians are well aware that Australian governments have not gone to war for sentimental reasons or because they were duped. The organising principle of Australian foreign policy is to remain on the winning side of a worldwide confrontation between the empire and the lands dominated by it. 

Editorial, Arena no. 7: The Biopolitics of COVID

The pandemic very likely is the result of development pressing into once wild places and disturbing achieved balances between nature and human settlement, development that has been fuelling worldwide consumption and a disconnection from nature at an ever-accelerating pace.

Dark Emu’s Critics

Whereas The Politics of Suffering, both essay and book, found a white audience willing to embrace his conservative view of Aboriginal people, Sutton’s promotion of Aboriginal permanence in this book has likely missed the contemporary zeitgeist.

Missing the Value of Care

The contemporary punitive turn in Australian social security features disinvestment from actual payments made to individuals...as well as investment in punitive mutual-obligation programs such as ParentsNext.

Care in the Time of COVID

Care has become visible in a new way during the COVID-19 crisis. Its availability and limits have become part of the stakes of the crisis.

Cybernetic Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics

China’s Social Credit System is a compelling manifestation of cybernetic capitalism—of how financial mechanisms interlock with other systems of social control, by combining mass surveillance, gamified corporate loyalty programs, and debt peonage.