|Tariq Ali: Speaking on the failure of representative democracy.|
In Sydney this weekend Naomi Klein will be one of many speakers at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas. Why can't we have a similar event here?
THIS WEEKEND (September 5 and 6) Sydney will be hosting the Festival of Dangerous Ideas. Despite the calibre of its speakers, such as Naomi Klein, Tariq Ali, Laurie Penny and Paul Krugman, it will receive the usual level of coverage from the corporate media here - in other words, zero coverage. After all it has more important fish to fry - like All Black team selections and flags.
All up there will be 22 solo sessions and 10 panel discussions
Now in its seventh year, The Festival of Dangerous Ideas is run by the Sydney Opera House and The Ethics Centre. It is not doctrinaire event but invites thinkers, writers, film makers and activists of widely different opinions from both within Australia and around the world to speak on some of the pressing issues of the day.
The first address in 2009 was given by the late Christopher Hitchens who spoke on the topic "Religion Poisons Everything'.
This year one of the highlights is sure to be Naomi Klein who will be addressing the question 'Is capitalism at war with our planet?'
Also worth hearing would be Tariq Ali speaking on 'The Twilight of Democracy'. He will be answering the question that is also relevant to politics in this country - 'What's the point of elections if the result is always a victory for the extreme centre?'
AC Grayling's talk sounds interesting - 'Will it take a revolution to really educate?'
We could well do with a similar event here. Such an event would be both stimulating and inspiring and would bring progressive ideas to the attention of the general public in a way that the blogosphere, for example, can't. Who knows what might grow out of such an occasion?
There are an increasing number of people looking for new ideas and a new politics and they aren't going to find it in the local blogosphere, where the left wing's 'big idea' has mostly been reduced to voting for a right wing Labour Party in 2017. Which is about exciting as a bowl of cold porridge.
And, since the left has effectively been blocked from the corporate media, then events like the Festival of Dangerous Ideas take on a wider significance.