Why the Russell Brand Interview Was Important and Why It Wasn't


There has been a great deal of back and forth for the last several days about Russell Brand and his ‘revolutionary’ interview with Jeremy Paxman. Brand did not really say anything new, or revolutionary. He didn’t say anything that hasn’t been said before by people who are smarter, better educated and more experienced in politics. He did however say some important things.

Brand talked about how the political system is rigged, how the underclass is becoming a permanent fixture and how political systems have become hopelessly corrupt. He talked about the reasons why revolution is necessary and why voting is fairly pointless under the current system. I’ve included the full interview below in case you haven’t seen it or would like to review.

Some people, including some very smart people, have talked about the interview as if it was the greatest thing anyone has ever said. Other very smart people have pointed out that when a multi millionaire says that “profit is a filthy word” it seems a bit disingenuous. I am, really, in neither camp.

As I’ve said, Brand didn’t say anything I haven’t already heard. He didn’t tell me anything that I don’t already know. However, if Russell Brand expressing himself the way he did, in that forum causes more people to think about the issues he raised, if it helps people who hadn’t previously thought about it to understand what is wrong and what we’re up against then it’s a good thing. Hell, if it made people vehemently disagree with him and think about why they disagree then it’s a good thing.

If there is a revolution, and that is the path we’re on, Russell Brand is not going to start it or lead it. Barack Obama is not going to either, nor is Justin Trudeau. A ‘leader’ that is ready for the challenge hasn’t emerged yet. When someone comes on the scene who talks about genuine political reform, getting all of the money out of politics, absolute separation of church and state, genuine, long term, realistic, scientifically based protection for the environment, a restoration of the social safety net, about the rapid implementation of a Basic Income Guarantee, the dismantling of the military-industrial complex and the prison-industrial complex, someone who talks about enhanced peace and security through education and anti-poverty programs and not war and if, and only if, that person has real political power, or a realistic chance of obtaining political power the we might have a leader for the revolution.

Until then though, we can’t sit on our hands. We have to do what we can whether that means voting, or petitions, or rallies, or boycotts or whatever else, we have to act where we can and let the powers that be know what it is we want. If we sit back and wait and do nothing else it won’t happen at all. However you take the Russell Brand interview, I hope no one came away with it thinking that doing nothing at all was a sound strategy or a worthwhile endeavor.

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