Moral Low Ground


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.”

“I look elsewhere for alternatives that might be of service to humanity,” the actor, once known for his out-of-control drug use and his failed marriage to pop superstar Katy Perry, added.

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.

He continues:

“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.”


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  1. wildOctober 27, 2013 at 5:08 amReply

    Aye, this article & included video, is a brief, nearly off-hand description of Russel Brand’s version of revolution. Lovely.

    The further in depth ligation is now aptly stated at the New Statesman: it also includes a fun video, seeking further support…from you, worth the read I think.


    • Brett WilkinsOctober 27, 2013 at 9:43 amReplyAuthor

      Thanks for that; I didn’t know about the video!

  2. wildOctober 27, 2013 at 1:43 pmReply

    Oh that link is a much more in depth article (lengthy reading), but you have to hurry to read the thing before the next edition is printed (archived editions of New Statesman seem to require a subscription).


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