Russell Brand, Class Warrior
British actor Russell Brand appeared on BBC Newsnight earlier this week and delivered a scathing and eloquent indictment of the corporate-controlled ruling class and its failure to govern in the interests of the ’99 percent.’
It was the finest political rant by a Hollywood celebrity we’ve seen in quite some time.
When Newsnight host Jeremy Paxman asked Brand what makes him qualified to be a guest editor of the progressive political magazine New Statesman, Brand replied that he doesn’t derive “authority from this preexisting paradigm, which is quite narrow and only serves a few people.”
When Paxman presses Brand on his decision not to vote– he’s never cast a ballot in his life, the latter opines that change isn’t possible within the parameters of the existing system.
“Why vote?” asks Brand. “We know it’s not going to make any difference.”
“Stop voting. Stop pretending,” he implores.
“I am not not voting out of apathy,” Brand explains. “I am not voting out of absolute indifference and weariness and exhaustion from the lies, treachery and deceit of the political class that has been going on for generations.”
Brand repeatedly calls for a “revolution,” exasperating Paxman, who presses the actor to describe what kind of a system he’d replace the current one with. Here’s where Brand really starts to shine. He says he favors “a socialist egalitarian system based on the massive redistribution of wealth, heavy taxation of corporations and massive responsibility for energy companies and any company that’s exploiting the environment.”
“I think what it won’t be like is a huge disparity between rich and poor, where 300 Americans have the same amount of wealth as their 85 million poorest Americans, where there is an exploited underserved underclass being continually ignored, where welfare is slashed while Cameron and Osborne go to court to continue the right of bankers receiving bonuses,” he says.
“We can no longer have erroneous, duplicitous systems held in place… only systems that serve the planet and the population of the planet can be allowed to survive, not one that serve elites, whether they be political or corporate elites.”
“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 that when there is a genuine alternative, a genuine option, then vote for that. Until then, don’t bother. Why pretend? Why be complicit in this ridiculous illusion?”
Brand also praises the Occupy Wall Street movement.
“The Occupy Movement made a difference even if only in that it introduced to the popular lexicon the idea of the 1 percent versus the 99 percent. People for the first time in a generation are aware of the massive corporate and economic exploitation. These things are not nonsense and these subjects are not being addressed.”
Brand said that revolution, which he is sure will happen, could occur if society can harness the pervasive feeling of injustice and put it to use working for change.
“If we can engage that feeling instead of some moment of lachrymose sentimentality trotted out in the TV for people to pore over emotional porn, if we can engage that feeling and to change things, why wouldn’t we?” he said. “Why is that naïve; why is that not my right because I’m an actor? I mean, I’ve taken the right. I don’t need the right from you. I don’t need the right from anybody; I’m taking it.”
Tagged Jeremy Paxman, Russell Brand, Russell Brand BBC Newsnight, Russell Brand class warfare, Russell Brand class warrior, Russell Brand Jeremy Paxman, Russell Brand New Statesman, Russell Brand politics, Russell Brand revolution, Russell Brand socialist