The Future of Democracy
In 2019, Turkish writer, commentator and novelist Ece Temelkuran published How to Lose a Country: The Seven Steps from Democracy to Dictatorship. Philip Pullman called Temelkuran ‘one of the most acute and perceptive analysts of the furtive growth of fascism’ and Margaret Atwood said How to Lose a Country is an ‘essential’ book.
Ece Temelkuran spoke about her work in Bristol when the book was first published and then was writer in residence in our Festival of the Future City (October 2019). Since publication there’s been the British general election which saw a landslide Conservative victory, the formal decision to leave the EU, continuing problems in former Warsaw Pact countries like Poland and Hungary, and Trump’s continuing assault on institutions – all of which have raised further questions about the state and future of democracy. On top of this, there’s the pandemic, the seizure of powers by governments, and some elections have had to be postponed. At the same time, the recent French elections saw significant victories for the Green Party; and the growth of Black Lives Matter and #MeToo have given voices – and seen action – for minorities and women.
In this discussion, we revisit Temelkuran’s original seven steps – create a movement; diminish the truth; slander and dehumanise opponents; dismantle judicial and political restraint; create your own loyal citizens; let them laugh at the horror; build the country you want – to assess where democracy is now, and – critically – what we do to create more and better democracy in the future. Ece Temelkuran is in conversation with Festival of Ideas director Andrew Kelly.
This is part of our Future of Democracy series which is taking place all year and will culminate in a constitutional convention, currently scheduled for November 2020.
How to Lose a Country: The Seven Steps from Democracy to Dictatorship is published by 4th Estate. Buy a copy from our bookseller partner Waterstones.
Image of Ece Temelkuran: Muhsin Akgun