Occupy the Sydney Writers' Festival with John Keane

14 May 2012

Will the Occupy movement change the world? Find out with Professor John Keane.
Will the Occupy movement change the world? Find out with Professor John Keane.

The internationally renowned democracy expert, Professor John Keane, will join a special Sydney Writers' Festival panel discussion on Thursday 17 May in the University of Sydney's Great Hall on the future of the Occupy movement.

Professor Keane founded the Centre for Democracy in London and now heads up the Sydney Democracy Initiative at the University of Sydney. His latest book is The Life and Death of Democracy. 

The Occupy Wall Street protest started as a sit-in at Zucotti Park near the financial district of New York City on 17 September, 2011, and galvanised thousands of people across the globe, from London to Sydney's Martin Place.

But many questions remain: what does this movement represent, what kind of changes does it want implemented and will it last? And how effective will it be in its mission to change the world?

Professor Simon Tormey, the Head of the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney, and the author of Making Sense of Tyranny: Interpretations of totalitarianism and anti-capitalism, will chair the discussion.

"The Sydney Writers' Festival event will be broad-ranging and offer perspectives from academics, activists and writers - signalling in turn that Occupy is a phenomenon that resonates well beyond the 'political class' and those who follow its fortunes.

"Occupy represents something much more visceral and immediate than an election - it asks us whether we are one of the 99 percent.

"Do we recognise ourselves in the claims it makes about the inequality produced by global capitalism? Do we sympathise? Do we feel driven to help or show solidarity?

"Or should we regard Occupy as yet another media spectacle reinforcing our sense of powerlessness in the face of overwhelming financial, state and police power? These are issues confronting everyone who cares about the direction contemporary society is taking."

Professor Keane will be joined on the panel by the Italian writer and Occupy supporter, Loretta Napoleoni, who wrote Maonomics: Rogue Economics and 10 Years That Shook the World. Also on the panel will be American writer Chad Harbach, author of the novel The Art of Fielding, and one of hundreds of writers to join Occupy Writers, a group of 3277 writers who support the Occupy Movement.

Professor Keane is also a participant in the University's What Matters community engagement campaign which brings together people from across the University's spectrum to talk about how their work has made a difference in the world. See Professor Keane's What Matters contribution now. 

Event details

What: Occupy SWF 

When: 8 to 9.30pm, Thursday 17 May

Where: The Great Hall, the Quadrangle, Camperdown Campus. See map and directions 

Cost: Free, no bookings required

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