Delve into danger
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Nationalism is on the rise. Its champions mock international institutions and the multi-polar world they represent. Is this just an assertion of local identity? Is it simply an attempt by people to regain direct control of their lives? Or are people giving up on the messy politics of democracy – deciding that freedom has become too heavy a burden to bear in a world of uncertainty? Then the prospect of a strong state with a strong leader may become an overwhelmingly attractive. Arm them with the technologies of surveillance, propaganda and censorship, and do we see the beginnings of something more sinister?
Chaired by Fauziah Ibrahim, journalist with ABC News
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Pankaj Mishra is an author and essayist. His books include From the Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia, which became the first book by a non-Western writer to win Germany’s prestigious Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding. Age of Anger: A History of the Present (2017) is his most recent title. Mishra is a columnist for Bloomberg View, a contributing writer at The New York Times, and also writes literary and political essays for the New York Review of Books, The Guardian, The New Yorker, London Review of Books, among other American, British, and Indian publications. In 2009, he was nominated a Fellow of Britain's Royal Society of Literature, and in 2014, he received Yale University’s Windham-Campbell Literature Prize.
Angela Nagle writes for The Baffler, The Atlantic and Jacobin Magazine. She is the author of Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars From 4chan and Tumblr to Trump and the Alt Right, which was voted book of the year by Man Booker Prize-winning novelist George Saunders and praised by Slavoj Zizek, who said "Nobody is spared in Nagle’s razor-sharp critical probing.” Author Catherine Liu has described her as "one of the brightest lights in a new generation of left writers and thinkers who have declared their independence from intellectual conformity". Nagle has claimed her greatest influence is political thinker Christopher Lasch and was described by one critic as "an old leftist's idea of what a young leftist should be".
Dr Tim Soutphommasane is a human rights advocate and political philosopher. He was Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner from 2013 to 2018, and during that time twice led the successful defence of federal racial discrimination laws against repeal. He has held posts at the University of Sydney and Monash University, has been a columnist with The Age and The Australian, and has been a presenter on ABC Radio National. Tim is the author of four books: I’m Not Racist But… (2015), The Virtuous Citizen (2012), Don’t Go Back to Where You Came From (2012), and Reclaiming Patriotism (2009).