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Tag: Manus Island

Thinking blackly beyond bio politics and bare life

Alexander Weheliye’s 2014 book, Habeas Viscus is a vital critique of two dominant accounts of the limits and contours of humanity: Michel Foucault’s biopolitics and Giorgio Agamben’s bare life. But beyond providing us with a much needed problematisation of these two theories, what they omit, and the Eurocentrisms they reproduce, this book offers much more. In fact, despite the book’s framing around the critique of bare life and biopolitics, Habeas Viscus in my reading is really a call to see race – and thus the concept of the human – otherwise and a rallying call for Black thought and its centrality for making sense of modernity. Alexander Weheliye, a professor of African-American studies, is primarily a cultural-literary theorist/philosopher. His points of reference and his lyrical, evocative but dense writing style are harder for sociologists to access. Nevertheless, his insistence on placing Black feminist thought at the heart of this theorization of race, the human and the ‘possibilities of other worlds’ (Weheliye 2014: 2) means that there is a lot that race critical students interested in the function of race but also the constant possibility of self-emancipation in the face of its structuring constraints can learn from his groundbreaking book.

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State Murder – Updated

This post has had to have been updated to another death of a young man – a victim of state racism leading directly to the neglect of his health and ultimately the loss of his life – on Nauru on May 11 2016. Rakib – from Bangladesh, died of multiple…

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Divestment protestors occupy Australian Council of Superannuation Investors Conference

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 14.23.07Reposting news of this very important action by Divest from Detention activists:

Text of pamphlet distributed at meeting of Australian Council of Superannuation investors annual conference, Melbourne, 10th May 2016.

This morning, 10th May 2016, the Divest from Detention network has targeted the annual conference of the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) in Melbourne:

Mandatory detention cannot be risk managed: close the camps
In August 2015, in the wake of HESTA’s decision to divest from Transfield, it was reported that ACSI was “seeking more information” on the situation in the Manus and Nauru detention camps. Just in case ACSI and its member funds haven’t noticed, people are still being raped, illegally detained, tortured and are still dying on Manus and Nauru, all on the dime of some of Australia’s largest super funds. Compensation for illegal detention on Manus Island is likely to run into the millions if not billions.

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Not Your Holocaust, Michael Pezzullo

Never againOn March 8 2016, Michael Pezzullo, Secretary of the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection, was moved to issue a press release. He felt compelled to defend the actions of his department against criticisms of what he called a ‘contentious area of public policy and administration’, the mandatory and indefinite detention of asylum seeker children. Critics on social media rushed to point out that the most telling part of Pezzullo’s statement was his comment that,

Recent comparisons of immigration detention centres to ‘gulags’; suggestions that detention involves a ‘public numbing and indifference’ similar to that allegedly experienced in Nazi Germany; and persistent suggestions that detention facilities are places of ‘torture’ are highly offensive, unwarranted and plainly wrong – and yet they continue to be made in some quarters

It was the use of the word ‘allegedly’ that raised the most ire; the statement had made it sound like the DIBP was denying the magnitude of the Holocaust. Pezzullo followed up with another release:

Any insinuation the Department denies the atrocities committed in Nazi Germany are both ridiculous and baseless… The term ‘allegedly’ was used to counter claims of ‘public numbing and indifference’ towards state abuses in Nazi Germany and the link to immigration detention in Australia. We reject the comparison to immigration detention as offensive and question this being made as a blanket statement – an allegation hence ‘allegedly’ – to describe the attitude of the German population at large during that terrible time.

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Alana Lentin