Why the Shock?: Australian Atrocities in Afghanistan

When brutal events take place, they are disbelieved; if they are acknowledged they are justified and rationalised as aberrations. Scapegoats are found, retribution targeted for reasons of moral expiation.

­­Viral Economics: Lessons from the Second Wave

It is worth pausing to ask: what do these weak points in pandemic control—hotel security, meatpacking, and aged care—have in common? The answer is obvious: underpaid, under-trained, undervalued and under-protected workers, all belonging to privatised, casualised industries where workers with few rights and fewer benefits are forced to choose between following the rules to a tee or putting tea on the table.

Reimagining Regional Relationships

A post-COVID, post-neoliberal ordering of these relationships needs a new shared imagination Melbourne’s second lockdown and the enforced separation of the city’s residents from those of regional Victoria and the rest of the world has proven a sobering time in which to reflect upon a complex relationship. Across Melbourne, lockdown has delivered a collective jolt to the senses, a striking realisation of how deeply integral mobility is, in its myriad forms, to our taken-for-granted sense…

A Frozen Conflict Melts: Nagorno-Karabakh and War in the South Caucasus

Empires can prove rather loose in dividing up territory. The Soviet Union, in leaving Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan in 1923, was setting the scene for future violent squabbles, not least because the initial decision in 1921 had favoured Armenia. The former autonomous oblast comprises the north-eastern flank of the Karabakh Range of the Lesser Caucasus, extending […]

Fracking on Trial in the Northern Territory

As carbon dioxide in our atmosphere pushes 410 parts per million, fuelling a dangerous climate emergency, the world simply cannot afford to let the Northern Territory become the fossil-fuel industry’s next fracking frontier.

Dust in the Wind: The Transformation of University Culture

As universities competed to attract student dollars, advertising, once unheard of, consumed progressively larger proportions of stressed budgets. It also adopted the play of illusion and conditioned reflex practised by its forerunners in more commercial quarters, trafficking in fatuous slogans like ‘Dream Large’, ‘I Believe’, and ‘Worldly’ (huh?).

Editorial, Arena no. 4: Post-Trump Fantasies

While an America oriented to international climate agreements will make an important contribution, ‘Me? A socialist?’ Biden is not very likely to understand or seek to basically reform the hyper-destructive forces of contemporary capitalism.

Kettling for COVID: Police and protest in Melbourne

…police forces everywhere have been militarising their equipment, procedures and general outlook. They have been taking on the strategies of special operations forces, influenced by discourses of terrorism, learning new and terrifying tactics…

Non-consensual reality: Conspiracy thinking, delusions and disputed truth

Feeding into this inchoate state of transgression is a cross-current of vectors: our knowledge of impending climate catastrophe, the disavowed madness of the economic system, the danger and transformative power of COVID-19, galloping I-centredness, social fragmentations, and more. This welter of concerns raises the deepest anxiety.

For Djab Wurrung trees and country

In nearly all cases where states require associations of traditional connection to be publicly performed in order to be recognised, the persons called upon and authorised to perform them have had their associations fractured by colonial dispossession.

The divided citizen: Robo-debt was just the beginning

What does a citizen look like in the eyes of the state when she is constructed from multiple databases and how does she respond to the resultant kaleidoscopic rendition of her?

Standing up Straighter against COVID-19?

The Morrison government plans to amend the Defence Act to make it easier to deploy the ADF domestically at times of national emergency.

Stay in your lane: the oxymoron of ‘authentic fiction’ (Part II)

In all of this worry about authenticity, authority and authorial/appropriated identities, there is one identity that regularly gets forgotten: that of the reader

Weaponising Human Rights: Can the Magnitsky Act deny due process?

The Australian parliament seems about to approve a ‘human rights’ law that would establish the ability to exert arbitrary state power over individuals in other countries who have been accused of human rights violations.

The Little Girl who stood up for Peace

Decades after its original run, Mafalda, the adored comic strip created by the late Argentinian cartoonist Quino, remains timely and potent.

War Without, Rot Within: The Collapse of Australian Party Politics

The central political fact of our time…is the total de-representation of whole sectors of the population from the polity, or from any notion of a social whole, on a staggering and unprecedented scale.