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Marxists in the age of Palmer: a genealogy of ‘anti-politics’
conference contributionposted on 2015-02-11, 00:00 authored by Geoffrey RobinsonGeoffrey Robinson
The decline of trust in Australian political institutions and the rise of anti-political sentiment, most dramatically represented by the phenomenon of Clive Palmer, has been largely perplexing to the Australian left whether in its labourist, green or revolutionary varieties. In recent years support for Labor and the Greens has fallen, union membership has continued to stagnate and the revolutionary left has failed to break out of its campus enclaves despite a global crisis of capitalism. This article provides a critical examination of a minority trend within the Australian left that seen the rise of ‘anti-politics’ as a positive development. Leading figures in this have been Tad Tietze, Elizabeth Humphrys, Marc Newmann and anonymous blogger The Piping Shriek. Their work has been critical of attempts to revive traditional institutions of the left and has argued that the organised left has become committed to a project of state management of individual behaviour. This line of argument represents a distinctive critique of politics that echoes themes espoused by John Anderson and Sydney libertarianism. This article applies Michel Foucault’s genealogical approach to explain the revival of libertarian themes on the left and their particular resonance within Sydney political culture.