Poetry Outside Security

from: Alternatives: Social Transformation & Humane Governance - July-September 2000

by Anthony Burke

Abstract: Speculates that a certain kind of poetry provides a way of thinking past the dominant ontological assumptions and emotional promises of prevailing political discourses of security. Security in Sylvia Plath's poem `Daddy'; Greg Ryan's poems on capital and geopolitical power in the third world; Poetry outside security; Poem `Body Count in Natal'; Poem `Al-Husseini Mosque, Kerbala 1991'.

You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white
Barely daring to breathe or achoo ...
So daddy, I'm finally through.
The black telephone's off at the root
The voices just can't worm through ...
There's a stake in your fat black heart
And the villagers never liked you.
They are dancing and stamping on you.
They always knew it was you.
Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through.
--Sylvia Plath, "Daddy," 1962[1]

Can security be escaped? This article speculates that it can--that a certain kind of poetry provides a way of thinking past the dominant ontological assumptions and emotional promises of prevailing political discourses of security. While security is an idealist-state promise of perfect safety and "smoothness," it also reposes on a structure of fear, threat and "jaggedness" through its association with militarism, repression, and economic exploitation. The article argues that such poetry--which presses the limits of both textual form and psychic experience--could provide valuable clues to escaping the binary trap that orders either security or chaos, smoothness or jaggedness. By doing so, it can help liberate subjectivity from a powerful modern technology of the soul that binds state and subject into an intimate, but ultimately destructive, relation.

Security should be seen as such a technology of the soul, a political technology, in Michel Foucault's terms, that, at least since the eighteenth century, has used an ever-more-sophisticated play of metaphor, policy, and power to weave the subject, the nation, and the international system into a common space of pleasure, production, and war. In this guise, security is a guarantee of identity and being, a system of "governmental" power over subjects and populations, and a discursive, administrative, and technological relation between such subjects and a global space of conflict and opportunity.

By beginning with Sylvia Plath's most (in)famous poem, I want to present security as a malevolent, vampiric, indeed parental power that ought to be as much a source of revulsion and struggle as of comfort. The parental figure in security is obviously the state, but it is also the very complex "type of individualisation which is linked to the state."[2] So Plath's struggle, as ours, might be both against the figure of the father and her own psychic status of daughter; against her own historic investment of identity in the father, her abject binds of love and anger and submission, against her social, cultural, and familial structure of being. For what else is patriotism, but a psychic immersion in the myths and identity of the nation? What is consumption, but a psychic immersion in the pleasures of the commodity and the political, administrative and productive binds of the modern economy? What does security secure, in the words of countless policymakers, but "our" territorial integrity, our "prosperity" and our "way of life"--our being? How does security frame and police identity but in an outward spiral from subject, family, and state to an "anarchic" world it sees as at once turbulence, threat, and opportunity? And perhaps most importantly, to whom is security available? To those who are citizens, not aliens; to patriots, not subversives; to the docile and productive, not the recalcitrant or criminal?

Plath's poem "Daddy" is remarkable because it refuses to celebrate any of those things waiting, fearfully, to be secured. Rather, it is a wonderfully recalcitrant performance both of language and self, that we can read as an example of Foucault's challenge to "refuse what we are."[3] In the movement of its narrative and the force of its metaphor, the poem is an exorcism: a reclaiming of the past, of subjectivity and agency, from those who would suffocate her with the arrogance of a patriarchal law, with the pain of a desire always postponed, known only as lack and abjection, that promises as it denies, that is visible only as an absence that can never be closed over. And in her choice of subjectivity the poem would claim the impossible, to bring the Other to life with a scandalous speech that seeks not an escape but a passage through fear and loss--that scatters, burns, sears the past in the barely imaginable horror of its signifying moment; that makes us new but chills us to the bone as well:[4]

An engine, an engine
Chuffing me off like a Jew
A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.
I began to talk like a Jew.
I think I may well be a Jew.
I have always been scared of you,
With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.
And your neat mustache
and your Aryan eye, bright blue.
Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You--
Not God but a swastika,
So black no sky could squeak through.
Every woman adores a fascist,
the boot in the face, the brute
brute heart of a brute like you.

Whatever potential for refusal--even liberation--the poem offers, it obviously is a dangerous strategy, involving the entry into a space of fear and pain that must have been an element in her suicide in 1963. That the poem is also a highly stylized fiction--her father was neither a Nazi, nor she Jewish--also underlines the way in which the poem's metaphoric work was deliberately chosen, whatever its obvious psychic risks. But why? As a vehicle for an exploration of her unresolved grief--at her father's death when she was nine, or the disintegration of her marriage to Ted Hughes--this strategy seems outlandish. However I believe there was more going on. In her poem "Lady Lazarus" she repeats these metaphors ("my skin bright as a Nazi lampshade / My face a featureless, fine Jew linen"), while her poem "Mary's Song" cites the Holocaust, not as direct "personal" experience but as a historical and psychic atmosphere that constrains and saddens being:[5]

Gray birds obsess my heart,
Mouth ash, ash of eye ...
On the high
That emptied one man into space
The ovens glowed like the heavens, incandescent.
It is a heart, this holocaust I walk in.

As a model for agency, such risky strategies, which walk the edge of an abyss in which being dissolves completely, would seem less than wise. Yet if we site such work historically, we might understand it better. While Plath has long been read as a purely "confessional" poet, enacting her private traumas for a curious public audience ("The peanut-crunching crowd / Shoves in to see / Them unwrap me hand and foot"),[6] my wager is that such work can be read as an argument about (and with) culture--with a culture that, after Auschwitz and the two most destructive conflicts of human history, seemed unable to narrate its own failures. Horkheimer and Adorno wondered if the Holocaust had undermined the utopian claims of the European Enlightenment through its terrible culmination of "instrumental rationality"; Lyotard argued that Auschwitz produced "an immense fission affecting the unity of the great discourses of modernity."[7] This article, likewise, reads such poetry as a critique of the way in which a modern experience of security similarly disavows its own historical contradictions, the violence of its own realization. Thus, with this poetry comes a radical inversion, which at its best amounts to a trenchant critique of the current socioeconomic order, in which we are asked to bear what seems unbearable, and in which that which seems necessary and comforting in turn appears unbearable. However unlikely, this is a model for a politics: the smooth must reveal the presence of the jagged, and security the scars of its own history.

The Jagged and the Smooth

The movement of the poem "Daddy"--from the most private experience of subjectivity to the larger historical culture that contains and informs it--is an uncanny mirror of the double movement security makes as a technology. Security combines the techniques of self and societal management that Foucault termed "governmentality," with a transnational production and management of resources, populations, and space. This combination of governmentality and geopolitics employs a "political double-bind," which Foucault described as "the tricky combination in the same political structures of individualisation techniques and totalisation procedures."[8]

This double-bind is clear in the statements of key political leaders. Bill Clinton prefaced the 1997 National Security Strategy by saying that "protecting the security of our nation--our people, our territory and our way of life--is my foremost mission and constitutional duty." Dr. Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia says that "national security is inseparable from political stability, economic success and social harmony," while Australian Prime Minister John Howard believes that "the success or failure of a nation essentially begins in the homes of its people."[9] Similarly, security was a fundamental political technology during the entire tenure of the Indonesian New Order. In the doctrinal slide from national to regional "resilience," security links the compliance of citizens to the unity and prosperity of the nation, and thence to ideal systems of regional and international order.[10] While there are obvious local and historical differences, all of these societies see family values, education, and economic participation as essential to the creation of ideal subjects who will in turn enhance national and international structures of stability and prosperity. Likewise, while perhaps not believing in a triumphalist "end of history," the elites that they represent would see themselves participating in a common project of economic modernization, development, and prosperity.

These dreams, too, are an inheritance of the European Enlightenment, especially a liberal-utilitarian strand running from Locke, through Smith and Bentham, and inflected by Hegel's metaphysical reconciliation of the strong state with liberal political economy.[11] Yet this history falters on the same aporias that the Holocaust brings to the Enlightenment project: the prosperity of the United States and Australia underpinned by the destruction of indigenous societies; Malaysia's and Indonesia's by the destruction of domestic left-wing movements and the continuing suppression of indigenous people in Sarawak, Kalimantan, and West Papua; and all of them bound together by common membership and cooperation in a post-World War II geopolitical structure shadowed by the awesome destruction of Vietnam and Cambodia during fifty years of war. In what some would recognize as a movement of deconstruction, this article thus contrasts the smooth experience of life--consensual, pleasurable, and safe--that security has historically promised and enacted, with the jagged history that has enabled and underpinned its dreams of prosperity, order, and realization.

How can poetry talk about, or even resist, such powerful discursive constructs? I make no claim that poetry, as a form of writing and speaking, automatically constitutes a challenge to history and the technologies that have enabled it. Poets have been just as guilty as any other artists of lauding and enabling them.[12] What I do recognize, however, is that since the rise of cultural modernism, poetry has possessed the formal possibilities for a more daring, more socially critical and creative, work of metaphor and imagination. This work disrupts the subject positions of both author and reader and exposes and questions their social consequences. It links them with history and, at its most exciting, dissolves and reimagines the whole system of thought underpinning that structure of history and subjectivity. Its poetic signposts might be the works of Plath, Robert Lowell, or Gig Ryan, which while diverse have a common desire to take risks with form, voice, subjectivity, and world.[13] At its best, such work is held together by a marvelous tension: between the perfection of its form, the controlled manipulation of imagery and sound, applied to an unstable, volcanic material that might explode into pieces at any moment. It is a form of writing that explores what has been called limit-experience, experience outside experience, that ruptures our ideas of what seems tenable, real, truthful, or moral. In short, writing that skates the edges of being, hoping to find something on the other side.

These poetic concerns are central to interrogating the project of security. For at its most comprehensive and seductive, security is a promise of the very possibility of being--for the person, the state, and the larger structures of cultural and geopolitical order that sustain them. As Michael Dillon writes, security "impresses itself upon political thought as a self-evident condition for the very existence of life."[14] This "secure" project of being works by mobilizing forms of "governmentality" in combination with reason of state and a spatializing, post-seventeenth century imperial geopolitics. From Hobbes's account of the Leviathan as essential to securing both personal safety and the larger material possibility of industrial-capitalist modernity to Jeremy Bentham's vision of a secure modern political economy built on the acquisitive subject of work and consumption, security has named a promise of being that it held out as an unsurpassed ideal. Worse, this idealist identity, which links the individual, nation, and civilization, has always been constructed in terms of its violent hostility to, or incorporation of, the Other.[15]

The twentieth century has offered only darker combinations of such forces and desires in which "third world" subjects are caught in an ever-more-intense circulation of capital and geopolitical power and simultaneously bound into the subjective experience of secure modern citizens through the distancing (yet deceptively intimate) vectors of the global media. Gig Ryan's poem For Katrina (titled in ironic honor of a former Australian television personality), seeks to explore and intensify such contradictions:[16]

The sensitive newsreader cries in Ethiopia
and we admire
Emotion a delicacy that surprises us more than murder
Mrs Thatcher, we're with you
in your blitz pyjamas
We put the effects under a microscope
while the cause gets off
He steps out of his uniform and kills
Capitalism's extended hours reach out and embrace you
in a till of love
We forget his orders that want the country renovated

Another poem of Ryan's explores the same disjunction of media and reality, distance and responsibility. She seeks to break apart the smooth contours of a secure Western reality with irony and an antilyrical tone that subverts both the romantic aesthetic of much pore etry (celebrating the beautiful) and a technology of subjection in which reading is an activity of self-improvement and realization (and thus of self-government). Instead, her work cultivates more "jagged," upsetting edges. Thus, the mediated experience of the horror of modern Cambodian history is read, in "The Killing Fields," nominated, like this:[17]

The journo heroically watches the bomber planes dive
His mawkish face backtracks, sees headlines
that is, money...
Back home, he flips through the video
stalking news, his hands full of gore he didn't cause
Wisely he writes "the despicable Khmer Rouge"
the ditch of bones fired by fervour
for an "inhuman" ideology ...
He's artistic, uninvolved,
weeping for the source's loss. His big American heart throbs
and gets paid

The poem, which satirizes David Puttnam's Academy Award-winning The Killing Fields, asks its readers to go beyond a natural feeling of horror to question the film's more subtle political strategy, which again distances its audience from what it views and allows for too easy a set of moral conclusions. The poem questions an easy denunciation of the Other--the Khmer Rouge's brutal form of Maoism--with the subtext that this horror also had its causes in the virtually genocidal dimensions of the Vietnam War, whose expansion into Cambodia in 1973 was central to the Khmer Rouge's rise to power.[18] As any historian of Southeast Asia will know, within the logic of the "domino theory" the war in Indochina was deemed crucial to the security of the United States, Australia, Japan, and other Southeast Asian states, and thus its horror was central to a powerful image of economic and geopolitical identity.[19] What Ryan's poem condemns is an evasion of responsibility--the way in which the film assigns the authoritative reading of this history to the heroic subject of the Western observer who remains morally innocent. Yet to escape a security achieved through such history means recognizing that none of us is innocent.

The Smooth and the Jagged

Security also reposes on such an assumption of historical innocence, which leaves its structure of desire and belonging safe from disturbance and rupture. Security makes its appeal to subjectivity as a truth of the emotions and the body: what it promises, both in so-called developed Western states and rapidly modernizing Third World states like Indonesia, Malaysia, or China, is an emotional, tactile experience of smoothness. Smoothness captures the effacement of social conflicts in political discourses of consensus, national development, and prosperity; the ideal of movement captured in international travel, free trade, and porous flows of investment and profit; and the associated pleasures of subjectivity, of consumption and taste. Its model is an Americanism without contradictions--historical or imperial--that had already been exposed by Lowell:[20]

On Boyleston street, a commercial photograph
shows Hiroshima boiling
over a Mosler Safe, the "rock of ages"
that survived the blast. Space is nearer. ...
Everywhere, giant finned cars nose forward like fish;
a savage servility
slides by on grease.

Lowell contrasts a complacent 1950s consumer modernism with the slaughter of the American Civil War, while splintering the smooth historical forgetting of the modern U.S. identity (lauded by Life publisher Henry Luce in 1941 as the inspiration for a new "international moral order") amid irony and remembered horror.[21] Here the metaphoric power of the poem, its disturbing ability to unite disparate emotions and experiences, finds a way to expose and criticize a culture that so easily transforms one of the century's greatest moral enormities into witty advertising.

It is this kind of strategy, among others, that can rupture the smooth promises of Security. Jacques Derrida has powerfully revealed how the metaphysics that underpins such utopias at the same time incorporates, generates, and hinges on the values it pretends to supersede, control, or expel.[22] Security is a kind of metaphysics, and it, too, manufactures aporias and contradictions from both its conceptual structure and its very history. So in Asia we are told, for instance, to embrace "father of development" Suharto, while ignoring his regime's accelerating corruption and repression, along with the vast murder of 1965-1966 that brought him to power over the ashes of the Indonesian Communist Party. Australians were told that this murder--which saw as many as a million killed in six months--was one of the most beneficial strategic developments to affect them in recent history, in turn enabling the formation of ASEAN and the political, economic, and strategic cooperation that saw the rapid Southeast Asian growth rates of the 1980s and early 1990s.[23] It is in the same vein that some argue the virtually genocidal war in Indochina provided a "shield" for such development to take place, and thus another enabling tragedy insinuates itself into the economic fabric of our history.[24]

Only three years of terrible economic and political crisis in Asia have since dented the mythology, which nonetheless seems set to revive amid a new cycle of forgetting. Yet with her poem about the Indonesian killings, "1965," Gig Ryan wants us to remember, wants our "secure" reverie to be broken by the voices of their survivors:[25]

The river winding red and green with corpses
She told me
They stood them on the banks
and shot them ...
Blood and rotting, you could smell it
she told me, crying, rivery
out of earshot
We keep the books, the names, hope
in our heads
The blocked rivers trailing like glaciers
The Army's fear like a slowworm

We can be forgiven for feeling that the contained, pleasurable, progressive model of self that security offers us is deeply illusory; that however smooth its contours for elites and acquisitive middle classes, it in fact binds us to the jagged, in a profound, functional embrace. We start to see how central to its dreams of perfect, easy management, security's violent imaginary has been. In this way, the Orwellian paradox of security can be explained: while it promises safety, to ward off death, it generates fear and reposes upon death.

Poetry Outside Security

It is here that the whole question of the Outside begins to press in, both as a challenge to the way cultural totalities operate and as a series of valuable clues for individuals who want to escape security's blackmail of fear and pleasure, to focus instead on the possible connections between subjectivity, responsibility, and social transformation. For Foucault, in his 1968 essay on Blanchot, the Outside was above all a question of subjectivity: a subject cut loose from its metaphysical moorings, its interior certitudes, and its familiar boundaries, and turned instead to the social medium of language in which it sought its impossible unity.[26] If the subject is now turned to language in order to interrogate its very conditions of existence, it follows that the poem--in which the very form, structure, and possibility of language is at risk--could be crucial to this work. This "turning" needs to be an ethical one: an engagement with language that understands its undoubted social power and attempts an interrogation of its imbrication with the real in all its human, economic and political consequences. As Roland Bleiker suggests, "Poetry can be a way of coming to terms with history--of searching for more inclusive ways of looking at the constitution of things present and past. Poetry ... fulfils the task of a critical memory."[27]

Foucault felt that "the thought from outside" was a still mysterious thought, a "vague possibility ... sketched by Western culture on its margins." Its signposts--Nietzsche, Blanchot, Klossowski, Bataille--suggest that it was also a thought that worked to rupture the very moral, humanist, and normalizing discourses whose hold on identity Foucault sought to unlock and question. "When language arrives at its own edge," he wrote, "what it finds is not a positivity that contradicts it, but the void that will efface it. Into that void it must go . . . a pure outside where words endlessly unravel . . . the streaming and distress of a language that has always already begun." Fiction, he argued, was crucial to thinking the outside, but it would "no longer be a power that produces images and makes them shine, but rather a power that undoes them," that sees them "burst and scatter in the lightness of the unimaginable."[28] This is precisely what poets like Plath and Gig Ryan have done: cultivated a form of metaphor that dared to anticipate the unimagined, to startle us with it, to think what Thought could not. It is not a ready-made set of solutions they offer but a path to a reimagination of whatever discourses seduce and ensnare us. To this idea of the Outside, Foucault later added a powerful challenge to subjectivity, framed as a reversal of the liberal-progressive movement of being, not to discover what we are but to refuse what we are.[29] Can we do both at once: refuse our limits and imagine an unthought beyond them?

Here I would suggest the poem, or a particularly daring kind of poem, can provide us with glimpses of the Outside and its broader social and political possibilities. In Gig Ryan's work, modern poetry's subversion of form is given a concrete urgency that is at once everyday and surreal, that connects us with the glittering promises of the outside, the pathos and struggle of daily life, and the routine ethical betrayals of a geopolitics that pretends, again and again, to make us secure:[30]

Our clown Prime Minister jostles on the steps,
unable to dissemble,
unable not to be loved by Indonesia, France, Chile, China ...
He holds his broken minister in a camera grip
and weeps a tub
"Your women are beautiful," says the Yank
in relay with his Navy darkening the harbour

Ryan mocks the pretensions of statesmen, exposes their hypocrisy and delusions, but always returns to the struggling, human voices of the maimed and dispossessed. Constraint and hope work in ineluctable tension, with an astringent burst of anger finally thrown out as a direct challenge to action. Her dissonant, surreal use of language invokes a world that is both real and unthought; a startling and courageous work of metaphor in which the limits of being are remorselessly interrogated and rewritten.

Sylvia Plath's work, too, takes up the problem of subjectivity in just the terms envisaged by Foucault. More than anyone else, Plath used language and metaphor to deliberately place her own subjectivity at risk (perhaps she felt she had no choice), exploding its unity by dispersing it among the most difficult moral questions the West has had to face. The Holocaust functions in her work, not as some kind of delirious fantasy, but as a potent signifier corroding the complacent certitudes of an idealist Western identity. It is this quality that disturbs--its unsettling challenge to historical, authorial, and feminine models of subjectivity, which are at the same time crucial building blocks of social power. With its outrageous personas, its childlike rhythms, and its barely controlled rage, her work mocks attempts at discipline and normalization. And in "Daddy," by turning the parent into a systemic historical figure, and its exorcism into a broad cultural drama, she merges subject with metasubject--in a bitter parody of security's own strategy--and makes the question of liberation and escape into a general cultural problem that requires first a prolonged confrontation with horror. Even if it seems like bravado, the writing still strikes a powerful note of revelatory triumph:[31]

Herr God, Herr Lucifer
Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
and I eat men like air.

To ask the question of what the Holocaust--or any of this century's other terrible crimes--means for the certitudes of a modern liberal identity and its economic and geopolitical infrastructure is an absolutely essential political task at this time. As Gig Ryan suggests in her poem "1965," among others, such questions need to be asked of an Asia-Pacific modernity that effaces its history beneath the smooth promises of trade, cooperation, and prosperity. We need to ask what moral, ethical, and ontological lessons should be drawn from the enabling role that Western colonialism, the Indonesian massacres, the bombing of Hiroshima, the Indochina War, and Tiananmen Square have played in the development of the regional capitalist order. So jagged, such events resist recuperation. They demand a new path, a new thought.

However, I am not suggesting that there are easy ways to solve the problems this work poses. Rather, I want to liberate the question itself as an integral part of the slow, yet increasingly urgent, work of addressing its challenges. It is worth doing so because poetry helps us to acknowledge the jaggedness--the insecurity, corruption, and death--that is central to our structural, economic, and psychological reality. It helps us to acknowledge but not to reconcile: an acknowledgment that understands that, while at the roots of our culture there is something very wrong, this wrong is not so easy to escape, to thrust outside of ourselves and our responsibilities.

This is to refuse the kind of normalizing ethics of the pure, and the model of self it sustains, that we find in Hegel's phenomenology and classic liberal thought--a thought that cannot bring its nihilism into its center, to allow it to nestle there, to begin a simultaneously corrosive and ethical work of transformation. Rather, this ethics thrusts evil outside the self (which is only to fix it ever deeper in its interior) and ponders the negative only to expel and supersede it in its passage to the Ideal. At its worst, it sees evil only in the presence of the Other, which is never allowed an independent challenge to the certitude and security of the Same.[32] Yet this metaphysics still animates realist models of international relations, and continues to do so much terrible damage. In the search for a new ethic, we need to see evil as present within the Same: as generated by the drive for the Same and its remorseless suppression of difference. Pushing beyond security will involve jettisoning this egoistic fiction of identity at all its levels. It will replace a violent, technological, and exploitative relation to the Other with an ethical encounter with alterity--an encounter that recognizes economic and existential interdependence, problematizes them, and promotes a new politics of responsibility, justice, and mutual transformation.[33]

The work of the Same has always been performed by the technology of security, and held out the promise of identity, utopia, and culmination. This is the violent metaphysics that links the doctrine of the national interest with the shimmering promises of stability, security, and prosperity. Against this destructive appeal of liberal modernity, this poetry invites us to explore the paths opened by refusal, creativity, and responsibility. A refusal of the discursive, social, and linguistic limits to being, in the hope of finding room to move; creativity in searching for the unthought, and exploring its political and human potential; and responsibility in translating personal transformations into social ones, with an awareness of the ethical dilemmas involved in adjudicating wounds and differences, and in mobilizing the potent economic, political, and organizational machines that modernity has invented.

So in seeking to challenge and escape security, my appeal is to allow the question of the Outside, of this poetry, to exist for a little longer. To allow it, however disturbing an experience it may seem, to color our horizon, and to listen to its plea to readdress, in a more difficult and sober fashion, the basic ethical questions that must continue to preoccupy us. This is the promise of a poetry outside security.

1. Sylvia Plath, "Daddy," in Ariel (London: Faber & Faber, 1981), p. 54.
2. Paul Rabinow, ed., The Foucault Reader (New York: Pantheon), p. 22.
3. Ibid., p. 22.
4. Plath, note 1, p. 55.
5. Plath, "Mary's Song," Collected Poems (London: Faber & Faber, 1980), p. 257.
6. Plath, "Lady Lazarus," in Ariel, p. 16.
7. Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment (New York: Seabury, 1972); Jean Francois Lyotard, "The Sign of History," in D. Attridge, G. Bennington, and R. Young, eds., Post-structuralism and the Question of History (Cambridge University Press, 1989), p. 163.
8. Foucault Reader, note 2, p. 22.
9. John Howard, "The Australian Way," federation address on January 28, 1999; Clinton and Mahathir cited in Brigadier Mike Smith, Australia's National Security into the Twenty-First Century: Rethinking Strategic Direction (Canberra: Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ANU, 1997).
10. See the 1995 Indonesian Defence White Paper The Policy of the State Defence and Security of the Republic of Indonesia (Jakarta: Department of Defence and Security), p. 12. The paper argues that the department's primary geopolitical concept known as Wawasan Nusantara (the 'Archipelagic Principle') requires "the strengthening of national resilience, which is the integration of all forms of resilience existing in the political, economic, socio-cultural, security and defence fields. This resilience is aimed at guaranteeing national stability, which incorporates the stability in all these fields."
11. See John Locke, Two Treatises of Government (Cambridge University Press, 1967); Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black, 1863); Jeremy Bentham, "The Principles of Civil Life," in The Works of Jeremy Bentham ed. John Bowring (London: Simpkin, Marshall, 1837); G. W. F. Hegel, Philosophy of Right (London: Oxford University Press, 1967), Phenomenology of Spirit (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977), The Philosophy of History (New York: Prometheus, 1990).
12. See A. Alvarez's introduction to The New Poetry (Harmondsworth, U.K.: Penguin, 1962) for an argument along these lines. For celebrated work that remains captured by and perpetuates such technologies of security and national identity, see Les A. Murray's T. S. Eliot Prize-winning book Subhuman Redneck Poems (Potts Point, N.S.W.: Duffy & Snellgrove, 1996).
13. Plath, Collected Poems, note 6; Gig Ryan, The Division of Anger (Sydney: Transit Poetry, 1980), Excavation (Sydney: Pan Picador, 1990), and Pure and Applied (Brooklyn: Paper Bark Press, 1998); Robert Lowell, For The Union Dead (London: Faber & Faber, 1965). Other books I might group here include Ted Hughes, The Life and Songs of the Crow (London: Faber & Faber, 1972), and Alvarez, note 13.
14. Michael Dillon, Politics of Security: Towards a Political Philosophy of Continental Thought (London: Routledge, 1996), p. 13.
15. Locke, note 12, pp. 290, 305-319; Bentham, note 12, p. 307.
16. Ryan, "For Katrina," in Excavation, note 14, p. 20.
17. Ryan, "The Killing Fields, nominated," in Excavation, note 14, p. 26.
18. See the arguments of Ben Keirnan in How Pol Pot Came to Power (London: Verso, 1985), p. xii.
19. See Gregory Pemberton, All The Way: Australia's Road to Vietnam (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1987).
20. Lowell, note 14, p. 72.
21. Henry R. Luce, "The American Century," Life, February 17, 1941.
22. See Jacques Derrida, "Differance," Margins of Philosophy (.Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982).
23. For an account of the killings and their significance, see Robert Cribb, ed., The Indonesian Killings: Studies from Java and Bali (Clayton: Centre for Southeast Asian Studies, Monash University, 1991). For comments about the strategic importance of the Suharto regime, see Mark Ryan ed., Advancing Australia: The Speeches of Paul Keating, Prime Minister (Sydney: Big Picture, 1995).
24. See David Jenkins, "Lessons from the Scars," Sydney Morning Herald, April 29, 1995, p. 23; Greg Sheridan, "Why the Vietnam War Was Just and Winnable," The Australian, April 19, 1995.
25. Ryan, "1965," in Excavation, note 14, p. 8.
26. Michel Foucault, "The Thought from Outside," Foucault/Blanchot (New York: Zone, 1987), pp. 9-58.
27. Roland Bleiker, "Forget IR Theory," Alternatives, no. 22 (1997): 57-85.
28. Foucault, note 27, pp. 15-23.
29. Rabinow, introduction to Foucault Reader note 2, p. 22.
30. Ryan, "Disinformation," in Excavation, note 14, p. 64.
31. Plath, "Lady Lazarus," note 7, p. 244.
32. See G. W. F. Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit (Oxford: Clarendon, 1977).
33. This formulation is strongly influenced by William E. Connolly, The Ethos of Pluralization (Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 1995) and Jean-Francois Lyotard, The Differend: Phrases in Dispute (Manchester University Press, 1988), p. 13.

Memo: Anthony Burke is Senior Researcher, Department of the Senate, Australian Parliament, Canberra. E-mail: jetzone@ozemail.com.au

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