Ending the ‘criminal class’

Type
Article
Category
Inequality

So while we may see the violence at Don Dale as an awful aberration, it is actually part of a system of inherent violence conducted by the state. Rather than solving crime, the prison system perpetuates it, creating a permanent ‘criminal class’.

Screen shot of Don Dale
beach
Type
Article
Category
Dignity
Identity
Racism
Sexism
The law

No longer afraid to come out of the locker: going berko for burkinis

Most of the debates about Muslim women’s modes of dress have rested on their ability to conform to narrow ideas of what being Australian looks like or means. Such debates merely lead to the dead ends of assimilation and exclusion. In light of that, it is worth reflecting on the history of the burkini and its importance as a cultural signifier.

don dale
Type
Polemic
Category
The law

The illusion of deterrence

Long ago the High Court made clear that one objective stands above all others: deterrence. I can’t stress how important this word is, how many people it has locked up, how many lives it has destroyed, how much money it is costing us, how crowded it is keeping our prisons, and how poorly it is understood.

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Type
Polemic
Category
Land rights
Racism

On opposition to Helen Clark’s UN bid

I was thirteen years old when Helen Clark pinched my land. She told the country my family were ‘haters and wreckers’. I suppose this is another way of saying, it’s personal. Clark, New Zealand’s second-longest-serving Labour Prime Minister and apparently Australia’s choice for the next United Nations Secretary-General, is at the centre of a national tantrum after Marama Fox, the co-leader of the centrist Māori Party, told media that her party ‘cannot support [Clark’s] nomination [for Secretary-General]’.

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Type
Article
Category
Gender
Writing

The gender politics of translation

The issue of gender disparity in translated works has been taken up in the US by Meytal Radzinski, who for the past three years has run the Women in Translation project, following in the footsteps of VIDA. So far, results have shown that the industry has made little progress, with recent findings attesting that male-authored translated works are still comfortably in the majority. The gender hierarchy is clearest when considering the gender combination of author and translator.

bob-brown
Type
Article
Category
Politics

A good hard right hook at the Greens

This is what the dispute between Brown and Rhiannon is about: should the party moderate and modernise to be the most effective progressive electoral force, or should it retain the characteristics of an activist party that unites parliamentary action with protest politics on the streets? In other words, what kind of party are the Greens, and what is their ultimate purpose?

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Type
Article
Category
Activism
Debate
Politics

Toward a left-wing theory of a post-Brexit world

The Conservatives have not ruled as the Nasty Party, but as the compassionate helping hands whose dedication to austerity is to fulfil its redemptive promise of a utopian society in which everybody pays back their debts. Where Thatcher used austerity policies to divide and rule, today’s Tories instead utilise them to actualise ordinary Britons’ full capitalist potential and even their inner happiness.

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Type
Article
Category
History
Racism
Surveillance

The racialised amnesia of #CensusFail

But the tracking of lives through government documentation, in particular Aboriginal lives and the lives of other racialised people, has a long history. Despite Keane’s alarm, this kind of surveillance is not a novel breach of privacy. Certain lives and populations have been subject to tracking and surveillance since the beginnings of colonisation in this country; such scrutiny has been a key tactic of various Australian governments.

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Type
Reflection
Category
History
Labour rights

Rethinking ‘Real Aussies’: our history of migrant labour

Today, the history of the cameleers (or ‘Afghans’ as they were known then, though they came from an area that stretched from Afghanistan to what is now the most north-western part of India) is mostly used as a liberal lesson about multiculturalism. That is, the cameleers’ contribution to the federation’s economy becomes the premise for an enlarged, more inclusive nationalism.

climate-emergency
Type
Article
Category
Activism

How I became an activist at the age of 70

When we arrive in Sydney’s Martin Place it’s sunny but windy. We’re here to prepare for a rally. Truckloads of men are jackhammering in the space we’ve booked and we haven’t a clue what to do next. It’s a whole new experience. I’m 70 and it’s the first protest I’ve ever organised.

Man-drinking-VB
Type
Article
Category
Labour rights

A hard-earned thirst needs a decent paycheck

CUB employees are just one of many groups working under large multinationals – in this case, UK-based SAB Miller – who claim they are being exploited and cut off from entitlements through contracting and subcontracting agreements. As the unions involved in the current dispute point out, the lot of workers doesn’t exactly come off as fair when SAB Miller have an operating income of around $4.4 billion, and its CEO Alan Clarke receives a multimillion-dollar annual payout.

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Type
Article
Category
Reading
Sexism
Writing

Not all bushy testicles and war

But I’d argue that literary sexism (in subject, setting, and theme) maintains a particularly tenacious grip here because of our exceedingly masculinised history, as identified by Marilyn Lake, and its connection to nation-building – a tradition forged in polar opposition to Britain and its feminine associations, including, of course, its rich literary heritage of women writers. And yet, despite the seemingly intractable bias our ‘macho’ history exerts on questions of literary merit, I hope I am not being too optimistic in reading a heartening shift in recently shortlisted books by women.

Sissy Specek as Carrie
Type
Article
Category
Culture
Misogyny

Bloody girls: on periods and poverty

The excitement over Yuanhui’s comments was kind of a brutal reminder of how present yet hidden menstruating is for people like me, who bleed on a monthly basis.

On the one hand, there is the inescapability of my body, the ever presence of my period: it is on or just over or waiting to happen. I’m always acutely aware of this thing that is occurring inside me – and then there is this weird hiding of that fact.

strangerthings
Type
Article

How Stranger Things turns nostalgia upside down

In spite of the sentimentality inspired by Stranger Things, this series doesn’t so much remind people of an era they lived in but instead of the era they escaped to. Adulthood is the Upside Down to the innocence and richness of our youth, and Stranger Things is our wormhole to freedom.

Clarke 222
Type
Essay
Category
History
Racism

The current inhabitants of the island

Jamaica is a beautiful place, the book announced. It explained that it was almost always some mild kind of summer. Everything that grew there – mango, banana, sugarcane – was rich and sweet, and the fields were lush and green. The brown-black soil was almost like compost, not the kind of sandy dirt or terracotta clay you reached after half a foot or so of digging in our veggie garden at home.