Deakin University

File(s) under permanent embargo

Marxists in the age of Palmer: a genealogy of ‘anti-politics’

conference contribution
posted 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.



Labour History. Conference (14th: 2015, Melbourne, Vic)


Australian Society for the Study of Labor History


Melbourne, Vic.

Place of publication

Melbourne, Vic.

Start date


End date




Publication classification

E2.1 Full written paper - non-refereed / Abstract reviewed; X Not reportable

Copyright notice

2015, Australian Society for the Study of Labor History

Title of proceedings

Conference Abstracts of the 14th Biennial Labour History Conference: Fighting Against War: Peace Activism in the Twentieth Century

Usage metrics

    Research Publications


    No categories selected