There is a Bugarrigarra story from north-west Australia about spirit children, the rayi, who emerge from the water to create future children in the minds of dreamers. Among other things, the story suggests that rights and obligations can be inherited as well as bestowed. The story is significant to Paddy Roe, a Nyigina man from Broome in Western Australia, whose authority and custodianship is linked to a vision of a pregnant stingray he experienced with his wife, Mary Pikalli. In part, the vision conveyed the future coming of children in his family.
Amid the repercussions of decades of ecological disaster invented or intensified by capitalist development and a historical rift between red and green movements in the West, Marxist ecology, emerging in the late nineties and early 2000s, recuperates Marx’s writing into ecological materialism, which can inform otherwise typically apolitical or liberal solutions to our concurrent climate catastrophes. It is from this standpoint that a Marxist intervention into ecopoetics can be articulated.
In July critics and teachers of Australian literature met in Nipaluna/Hobart to commemorate the thirty-year anniversary of the Mabo decision, and to trace its various afterlives in the novels, films, and poems of the settler-colony. Keynotes and papers contemplating the changing aesthetics and politics of Australian writing were punctuated by austere reminders of the decimation of an already exclusionary humanities sector.
Palestine student activists are being reprimanded for refusing to take on the coloniser’s truth at a time of supposed decolonising of academia. That is the situation we expect them to navigate without demanding accountability or critical scrutiny.