Arena Quarterly no. 14 features an extensive special section on AUKUS. Clinton Fernandes and Alison Broinowski reveal in their respective articles the true commitment that AUKUS binds us to in the projection of US power against China. They debunk comforting notions that AUKUS protects vital sea lanes and builds, without social cost, local defence industries, showing us the financial and ideological commitments Australia is making to the US war machine. Binoy Kampmark details the responses and consequences for our South-East Asian neighbours, especially of nuclearisation and the possibility of a regional arms race, while Guy Rundle asks big questions about the reforming of world power blocs and their likely racialist qualities. As with Fernandes, he asks why an independent Australian defence is not possible in an emergent multi-polar world. In a different register, Simon Cooper questions Western progressives’ willingness to militarise human rights and their adoption of certain ‘boutique’ nations as reflections of their own blinkered values. Marilyn Lake and David Lee offer very welcome historical perspectives, respectively on Australia’s foundational anti-Chinese policies and discourses, and how these may be playing out still, and on Labor’s movement since Curtin through Hawke and now Albanese away from relative defence independence and the party’s grassroots nuclear-free commitment.

We also publish two exceptional articles that can only open metropolitan eyes to the causes and effects of social and policing policy in Central Australia. They make the death of Kumanjayi Walker and recent ‘riots’ (uprisings?) among Aboriginal youth in Alice Springs explicable. Nick Cheesman presents the struggle in Myanmar in terms of the re-emergence of ‘the people’ as a revolutionary category. Meanwhile Richard King ponders the effects of contemporary body technologies on social relations and individual identity, Ali Alizadeh skewers the meaning of new horror movies as the horror of precarity and the proletarianisation that may befall us all, and Julie Stephens wonders about the ambiguities and vulnerabilities around sex and consent in her review of two books critical of ‘liberal’ consent culture.

Editorial: The New Washington Consensus

The United States will still be a civilisation in decline, except for the massive power of its capacity for surveillance, war and social terror, which may hold it together before e unum pluribus.


Arena Quarterly issue no. 14, 2023


Alison Caddick1
Wild Economics
Central banks, collapse and crypto
John Hinkson4
Have You Tried Not Being Poor?
Cognitive dissonance in twenty-first century social policy
Jay Coonan and Kristin O'Connell8
Criminalising youth in Alice Springs
Lora Chapman12
AUKUS commits us to futile wars; an independent defence is possible
Clinton Fernandes20
We are being AUKUStrated!
Alison Broinowski26
Can we escape the historical legacy of anti-Chinese racism?
Marilyn Lake29
Progressivism in the service of Western geopolitics
Simon Cooper33
How Asia views AUKUS
Binoy Kampmark38
Has Albanese completed or betrayed the Curtin tradition?
David Lee43
The Great White Fleet Returns
AUKUS, culture, ‘mega-race’ and the new world blocs
Guy Rundle49
How the new cultural technologies take us into the posthuman
Richard King54
Bodycam, fear and the unmaking of intercultural relations
Melinda Hinkson59
Barry Hill87
Where the People Are
Myanmar’s armed resistance and rehabilitation of ‘the People’ as political actor
Nick Cheeseman68
The Culture
Who’s (Not) Afraid of the Proletariat?
Return of the horror movie
Ali Alizadeh76
Review Essay
Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again by Katherine Angel and The Case Against the Sexual Revolution by Louise Perry
Julie Stephens82
Fate, Forbearance, Euthanasia
The Good Death Through Time by Caitlin Mahar
Grazyna Zajdow88
Impositions on the Poor
Who Cares? Life on Welfare in Australia by Eve Vincent
Linda Briskmark91
Political Evolutions
Dreamers and Schemers: A Political History of Australia by Frank Bongiorno
Geoff Robinson94

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