Radical History Review
right to be counted during census collections and enabling the federal government to legislate on their behalf), the brutal frontier strategies of occupation could be considered in the past tense, aided by the temporal implications of the term “
colonial” now at large in contemporary Australian studies.
This essay seeks to disrupt this conﬁdent genealogy, or rather, to expose the contradiction at the heart of such archaizing maneuvers: namely, that the spatial management necessary for ongoing processes of “accumulation through disposses-sion” is as pernicious as ever.
As eventful and confronting as the spatial realign-ments on Australia’s frontiers were, bracketing the story of racial bifurcation within the conﬁnes of history prevents closer analysis of present- day displacement. As this essay reveals, there are disturbing parallels in the racial and class demarcations of Darwin and Alice Springs. Just as the early settlers of Darwin had a “determined resolve . . . to rid the town . . . of nude, loud, unwashed, diseased Aborigines congre-gating in large groups and practicing noisy ceremonies”
while protecting the poor indigenes from the vices of opium, alcohol, and prostitution, so too a similar concern to remediate visible social suffering while securing the interests of private capital underwrites the management of Indigenous mobility in the present day.In the following we take up the paradox that the structural and material violence of ongoing occupation has become so omnipresent and integrated it is invis-ible, its invisibility driven through multiple techniques of spatial discipline and the tactics of the would- be disciplined.To begin with, the everyday forms of racialized spatial control involved are so universal that they seem inevitable methods for managing dense cohabitation. After all, municipalities the world over enforce ordinances against loitering, public drinking, urination, disturbing the peace, or sheltering unlawfully. To these taken- for- granted forms of function policing are added further characteristics that are arguably unique to settler- Aboriginal relations in urbanized neoliberal Australia, characteristics that can be clustered under the term “codependency.” The expansion of Australia’s economic growth in a time of global ﬁnancial downturn is matched by an ongoing frenzy for what the remainders of the Indigenous estate may yet yield; servicing Aboriginal pathology accounts for a generous ﬁnancial loading to NT government coffers;
while Indigenous creativity and physical presence attract consumers to other wise isolated regions. In other words, the use of generic and therefore seemingly nonracialized antivagrancy laws that attempt to eliminate race as a public category masks an ongoing yet denied economic dependence of con-temporary settlers on Indigenous populations. Indigenous people are both loathed and desired: full erasure would contradict the promotion of (acceptable forms of) cultural distinction embedded within the political economy of the region. And aid-ing the invisibility of spatial control are multiple Aboriginal tactics for evasion and refuge in everyday life, where cultural adaptations to being “moved on” in urban spaces involve forms of contemporary nomadism in the city: from walking at a mea-