I admit, I clicked a link to a Gawker article that a friend of mine had posted on Facebook earlier today. But! It was for good reason.
I am a big fan of Russell Brand (he’s witty and splendidly learned) and to see him discuss politics is like a dream come true in many ways. In this video, Jeremy Paxman interviews Brand on the topic of his new role as guest editor of the New Statesman for the issue coming out October 24th. Instead of his new position, the conversation revolves around the grand change Brand sees for the order of the socioeconomic world, even calling for a complete upheaval of the present political system that oppresses the poor, working classes and rewards the aristocratic rich and powerful for this oppression.
Brand’s ideas are radical in a political sense, but I’d agree that they’re necessary if we wish to see a world of happy, healthy human beings in the next century. I’ll be keeping an eye on him and supporting him every step of the way.
You really ought to watch the entire interview, but for the lazy, some notable quotes:
But it’s not that I’m not voting out of apathy, but that I’m not voting out of absolute indifference, exhaustion and weariness from the lies, treachery, deceit of the political class that has been going on for generations now and which has now reached fever pitch, where you have a disenfranchised, disillusioned, despondent underclass that are not being represented by that political system, so voting is tacit complicity with that system and that’s not something I’m offering up.
Paxman: So you struck an attitude, what, before the age of 18? Brand: Well, I was busy being a drug addict at that point because I come from the kind of social conditions that are exacerbated by an indifferent system that really just administrates for large corporations and ignores the population that it was voted in to serve.
Paxman: You don’t believe in democracy. You want a revolution, don’t you? Brand: The planet is being destroyed, we are creating an underclass, we’re exploiting poor people all over the world and the genuine, legitimate problems of the people are not being addressed by our political class.
I think [it’s] a socialist-egalitarian system based on the massive redistribution of wealth. Heavy taxation of corporations and massive responsibility for energy companies and any companies exploiting the environment. I think the very concept of profit should be hugely reduced. David Cameron says “profit” isn’t a dirty word. I say “profit” is a filthy word, because wherever there is profit, there is also deficit and this system currently doesn’t address these ideas, and so why would anyone vote for it? Why would anyone be interested in it?
Firstly, I don’t mind if you take me seriously. I’m here just to draw attention to a few ideas. I just want to have a little bit of a laugh. I’m saying there are people with alternative ideas that are far better qualified than I am and far better qualified, more importantly, than the people that are currently doing that job, because they’re not attempting to solve these problems, they’re not. They’re attempting to placate the population. The measures that are currently being taken around climate change are indifferent, [and] will not solve the problem.
But what I’m saying is that within the existing paradigm the change is not dramatic enough, not radical enough. So you can well understand public disturbances and public dissatisfaction when there are not genuine changes and genuine alternatives being offered. I say when there is a genuine alternative, a genuine option, then vote for that. But until then, don’t bother. Why pretend? Why be complicit in this ridiculous illusion?
Paxman: I’m surprised you can be facetious when you’re that angry about it. Brand: Yeah, I am angry. I am angry, because for me it’s real, because for me it’s not just some peripheral thing that I turn up once in a while to a church [sic] for. For me, this is what I come from. This is what I care about. Paxman: Do you see any hope? Brand: Yeah, totally. There’s going to be a revolution. it’s totally going to happen. I ain’t got a flicker of doubt: this is the end, this is time to wake up. … So if we can engage that feeling [of indignation], instead of some moment of lachrymose sentimentality trotted out on the TV for people to pour over emotional porn, if we can engage that feeling, and change things, why wouldn’t we? Why is that naïve? Why is that not my right because I’m an actor?