The British left weekly New Statesman has taken a chance on an up-and-coming rogue editor, but the actor-comedian and newly welcomed progressive-minded firebrand Russell Brand seems so far to be a brilliant and elegant choice.
Tapped to guest-edit the magazine’s ‘Revolution’ issue this week, Brand is making waves both for his feature-length essay on the topic but also with a televised interview that aired Wednesday night on the BBC with veteran Newsnight anchor Jeremy Paxman. In the ten-minute interview, the 38-year-old Brand points at the futility of voting in a corrupt democratic system determined to serve the interests of the ruling class and not only predicts, but guarantees, that the “disenfranchised, disillusioned underclass” created by the current economic and political system—both in the UK and worldwide—will rise up in popular revolution against the failings of the current corporate-controlled paradigm.
Paxman questioned why a comedian such as Brand, especially one who doesn’t vote, should be trusted to offer his views on the political system.
“I don’t get my authority from this preexisting paradigm which is quite narrow and only serves a few people,” Russell responded, himself questioning why voting or not voting in a corrupt lopsided system should provide moral or intellectual authority. “I look elsewhere for alternatives that might be of service to humanity.”
Additionally, he said: “It is not that I am not voting out of apathy. 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,” said Brand.
In response to Paxman asking if he saw any reason for hope, Brand jumped at the question “Yeah, totally. There’s going to be a revolution. It’s totally going to happen,” he said. “I ain’t got a flicker of doubt. This is the end—it’s time to wake up.”
The interview is worth a complete viewing:
Asked to outline the possible revolutionary scheme, Brand explained: “I think a socialistic egalitarian system based on 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. [British PM] 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.”
Further pressed for specifics on the mechanics of this post-revolutionary world, Brand called out Paxman for the ridiculousness of the demand. “Jeremy, don’t ask me to sit here—in a interview with you in a bloody hotel room—and devise a global utopian system.”
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