Paxman versus Brand on Voting and Revolution

[Great interview in which the interviewee turns things around on the power of the BBC interviewer. Great to see a young man’s passion, a call to not vote and thereby encourage the corporate politicians, and to see his certainty about the coming revolution. Brand is a working class comedian, actor and recovering junkie. There’s also a great essay of his on many of the same themes at the Common Dreams website, here:]

~ by Peter Lach-Newinsky on October 26, 2013.

8 Responses to “Paxman versus Brand on Voting and Revolution”

  1. “To genuinely make a difference, we must become different; make the tiny, longitudinal shift. Meditate, direct our love indiscriminately and our condemnation exclusively at those with power. Revolt in whatever way we want, with the spontaneity of the London rioters, with the certainty and willingness to die of religious fundamentalists or with the twinkling mischief of the trickster. We should include everyone, judging no one, without harming anyone. The Agricultural Revolution took thousands of years, the Industrial Revolution took hundreds of years, the Technological Revolution took tens, the Spiritual Revolution has come and we have only an instant to act.” Russell Brand (New Statesman,24/10/2013

  2. I thought it was quite an eye opener! Brand is a well known comedian with a witty way with words- but this took Paxman apart. It showed The System as a dysfunctional unrepresentative voice disconnected from any link with any notional “People”. Paxo spends so much time inside that bubble he’s subsumed into its value system and couldn’t take Brand’s point a a departure for a novel view, which might shake that embedded system which most voters feel so dis-connected from. One ends up voting- if one can be bothered at all- for the Least Worst option. That’s surely not Democracy in the 21st Century. Brand has millions of followers on twitter- if he stood as an MP though, as non-partisan he’s automatically isolated and could change nothing. The system is set up to serve itself, lifetime politicians who sometimes have never worked outside- unless they’ve inherited wealth or are lawyers. Ordinary people are excluded from ever climbling the ladder
    Sorry to go on but I was struck by Brand’s passion- there’s a wide feeling of frustration at the system being continually milked by those in the know -e.g. all the rows we have had over claims for expenses- but it’s those inside the system who alone really connect with the ‘levers of power’. Look how they protected The Bankers from any punishment despite all their wrongdoings, LIBOR, manipulation of various markets etc etc and ordinary people suffer cuts in living standards all the while whereas The Rich Boys simply get even richer.

    • Thanks Nick. Yep, down with the ‘lesser evil’ voting, it still just encourages them and legitimises the whole rotten system. If Brand impressed you, you might also like to look at his great essay on much the same themes at the Common Dreams website: I’ll post a link under the video.

  3. Thanks for posting Peter. Terrific stuff from Brand. Speaking his mind, and with such eloquence. I fear, however, ‘the revolution’ is a going to be a good deal harder than what he expects. Like just about everyone he has yet to realise (not blaming him) that this revolution will require a challenge to rich world affluence. Still, more power to him!

  4. The essay seems to be the one he wrote in this week’s New Statesman.
    I suppose I think of Krishnamurti and even D H Lawrence- change has to come from individuals firstly, which is why one’s efforts are always out-manoeuvred by the Power Possessors. They have been consolidating their grip on everything material since William 1st from Normandy. His namesake is waiting to inherit more wealth than I can even imagine: And he’s totally secure from any wailing from us inheriting the wilderness of exclusion. He’s not bred to SHARE any of his inheritance is he? He’s surrounded by a phalanx tending every need, who themselves get rewards, honours, drips of wealth doled out to them for “Doing the Right Thing” for Her & Her family.
    If one has more than a fair share then others must have less. Simple. But it’s just the way it is & Russell letting off some steam- after all he’s well in with the hierarchy isn’t he? Maybe they see him as a harmless court jester

  5. I saw Andy Murray getting an award recently from Prince William. It struck me forcibly, at the time, how unbalanced the situation was. Andy has earned the position by hours, months, years of sweat and rigorous effort. Prince W has merely been born into a situation by accident. What right had he, personally, to stand above Andy and give him an award such as that. Firstly what did it signify apart from the relative position in the social hierarchy, Wm3 is in line to inherit all merely because he’s in a line from Wm1 who came here in 1066 and took the country from the inhabitants, made them all his servants and then parcelled out pieces to his supporteers in his recent battle at Hastings. Which could easily have gone the other way if Harold’s army hadn’t been so tired from their long march from Stamford Hill.

    Of course, Wm had his own problems with legitimacy from day 1, him being a bastard; maybe he asked for divine help- “God stand up for bastards” and He did perhaps answer him…maybe that explains his attitude making a strong point and accepting no doubt or dissent- Divine Ruler with absolute power. Domesday Book was a real achievement to codify & legitimise all in his name.

    Those Robber Barons have kept hold of the reins of power. As others before Russell B have pointed out, voting for those who you never selected is a meaningless activity which maintains the status quo by offering the illusion of choice; just as the mockery under communism did.
    A recent article about how little has really changed: How few people own most of every country’s wealth applies too…

    Maybe what Russell needs to do is to tap into the William Blake ‘Albion’ background a little more.

  6. Rather than “lesser of two evils” I advocated voting for the greater ( in our case here in the US Mitt Romney). Boy did I hear it! Such outrage from those who don’t believe the system produces just results but still insist it is legitimate.

    If Brand inspired other figures from popular culture to start using some radical language it will have been a valuable intervention. We’ll see.

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