Russell Brand, Booky Wook Author and Shagger of the Year, Continues To Water the Seed of Revolution
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Russell Brand, Booky Wook Author and Shagger of the Year, Continues To Water the Seed of Revolution

By Dustin Rowles | Miscellaneous | November 6, 2013 | Comments ()


Russell Brand wrote a very lengthy and very passionate piece for The Guardian yesterday, following up on his interview with Jeremy Paxman last week essentially reiterating many of the points he made in that interview, and expanding upon them. It’s a sharp, knowledgeable article that once again demonstrates why we should never underestimate the intelligence of Russell Brand, who — like David Letterman this week — is navigating a minefield. Why should we listen to a rich white man complain about the excesses of other wealthy white men? Isn’t that hypocritical? On the other hand, who is going to listen to a poor person without the bully pulpit of fame?

The entire article is so great that it’s hard to choose which paragraphs to pull from, but here’s a few of Brand’s points for the TL;DR crowd:

On why we shouldn’t vote:

The only reason to vote is if the vote represents power or change. I don’t think it does. I fervently believe that we deserve more from our democratic system than the few derisory tit-bits tossed from the carousel of the mighty, when they hop a few inches left or right. The lazily duplicitous servants of The City expect us to gratefully participate in what amounts to little more than a political hokey cokey where every four years we get to choose what colour tie the liar who leads us wears.

On addressing the “hypocrisy” argument:

Obviously there has been some criticism of my outburst, I’ve not been universally applauded as a cross between Jack Sparrow and Spartacus (which is what I’m going for) but they’ve been oddly personal and I think irrelevant to the argument. I try not to read about myself as the mean stuff is hurtful and the good stuff hard to believe, but my mates always give me the gist of what’s going on, the bastards. Some people say I’m a hypocrite because I’ve got money now. When I was poor and I complained about inequality people said I was bitter, now I’m rich and I complain about inequality they say I’m a hypocrite. I’m beginning to think they just don’t want inequality on the agenda because it is a real problem that needs to be addressed. It’s easy to attack me, I’m a right twerp, I’m a junkie and a cheeky monkey, I accept it, but that doesn’t detract from the incontrovertible fact that we are living in a time of huge economic disparity and confronting ecological disaster.

On why he might be wrong about the “not voting” strategy:

My friend’s 15-year-old son wrote an essay for his politics class after he read my New Statesman piece. He didn’t agree with everything I said, he prefers the idea of spoiling ballots to not voting “to show we do care” maybe he’s right, I don’t know. The reason not voting could be effective is that if we starve them of our consent we could force them to acknowledge that they operate on behalf of The City and Wall Street; that the financing of political parties and lobbying is where the true influence lies; not in the ballot box. However, this 15-year-old is quite smart and it’s quite possible that my opinions are a result of decades of drug abuse.

On the idea that we are living in a socialist society, only all the wealth is being distributed among the top class:

Here’s one for blighty; Philip Green, the bloke who owns Top Shop didn’t pay any income tax on a £1.2bn dividend in 2005. None. Unless he paid himself a salary that year, in addition to the £1.2bn dividend, the largest in corporate history, then the people who clean Top Shop paid more income tax than he did. That’s for two reasons - firstly because he said that all of his £1.2bn earnings belong to his missus, who was registered in Monaco and secondly because he’s an arsehole. The money he’s nicked through legal loopholes would pay the annual salary for 20,000 NHS nurses. It’s not illegal; it’s systemic, British people who voted, voted for it. I’m not voting for that.

Why don’t you try not paying taxes and see how quickly a lump of bird gets thrown in your face. It’s socialism for corporate elites and feudalism for the rest of us. Those suggestions did not come from me; no the mind that gave the planet Booky Wook and Ponderland didn’t just add an economically viable wealth distribution system to the laudable list of accolades, to place next to my Shagger Of The Year awards.

Read the entire piece here. You may disagree with some of his points, but there is no denying the man’s passion. And wouldn’t it be fascinating to look back at 2013 in 20 years and and laud the former drug addict turned sex monkey turned Katy Perry’s husband for planting the seed of a revolution?

(Hate Tip: koko temur)

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Strand

    I'm Australian so if I don't vote, I get fined. That's a nice sentiment Russell but if that revolution you want so much actually happens, I suspect the peanut gallery would throw you in the bear pit along with everyone else.

  • Uriah_Creep

    I'm Australian so if I don't vote, I get fined.

    Wait, what?

  • Strand

    Voting is compulsory in Australia. It's why you can't afford to be apathetic. If 100% of the population votes, even weekend warrior crazies will be heard. It also means the sane half of the country needs to go out on election day to offset it. Thankfully, Australia as a whole is fiercely secular and tends toward social liberalism. Even our god-fearing baby boomers would march to keep the church out of schools, and keep medicare.

  • Uriah_Creep

    Thanks for teaching me something I didn't know. I did some research after your post and learned about the possible fines for non-voters, which I find fascinating. If they adopted that strategy in Canada, I suspect they'd make enough money on fines to repave every road and fund every capital project on the books. The political system here is not nearly as crazy as in the States, but there is a widespread feeling that the people running are all losers. It's a hard feeling to argue with.

  • Strand

    This is a pretty snarky primer from the last election covering most of our parties, if you're interested.


    Because both majors are so moderate it hurts, people vote for the party they hate less, which is usually the loser last time since the incumbent always falls short of their hopelessly optimistic promises. Australian politics is as fickle as shit and our fringe parties unambitiously pander to apathetic, single issue voters (sex, fishing and online piracy).

  • pisswizard

    I fervently hope that you haven't spoken too soon.

    The Australia my godless hippie parents loved so much (free university educations under Whitlam that they dropped out of because they were too stoned, etc) sometimes seems to be marching steadily rightward and godward. I worry that Abbot is just a symptom of a systemic disease....

  • Strand

    Funnily, I personally know the Abbott family and while he's the most conservative PM we've had in a while, he's still moderate on pretty much every issue but immigration and giving sloppy blowjobs to the mining industry.

    He can't really touch abortion, medicare or religion in public schools without committing career suicide, no matter how much he wants to... Which is more than I can say for our poor friends across the pond, where these are still somehow issues in 2013.

  • "it’s quite possible that my opinions are a result of decades of drug abuse." That's what I've always chalked it up to.

  • abell

    Nope. The trend I've noticed from history is that the thinkers and activists calling for revolution are pretty much never those who consummate the revolution, and, even if they are, they practically never retain control. More than anything else, revolutions give power to thugs. Stalin follows Lenin follows Marx. Napoleon follows Robespierre follows Rousseau. Mao. Just Mao. I am not satisfied with where we are, but, I cannot believe that where we are would be improved by giving rise to a Mao. Betting our lives, culture, and prosperity on a Glorious Revolution is dangerously naive to the point of negligent.

  • astounded

    But what is the other option? Remain in stasis while the corporations in collusion with our bought and paid-for governments give away our human rights and gradually reduce us to those battery pods in the Matrix? There must be a way to remind the corporate overlords that the current system only works while we acquiesce to it. And they do know that. Remember the overwhelming amount of brute physical force against the Occupy movement? They are nervous... and it's showing. Unfortunately in most countries it is becoming impossible to have civilised protests, without being cordoned off by the police in full riot gear. And counterintuitively, since it is intended to fill me with fear,nothing pisses me off more than the sight of the heavily armed police force staring blankly at the protesters (who are paying their salaries thru taxes), ready to attack them coldly and efficiently while the guys who had cooked the whole stinking stew pull the strings and turn us on each other. .Generally while paying almost no taxes at all. Brand may be seen as a fool, but I really think he's on to something...

  • Parsnip

    I like what he has to say, he brings discourse which is desperately needed.

  • zeke_the_pig

    Especially coming from someone who might reach people typically not reached when such subjects are broached.

  • zeke_the_pig

    He was given every possible incentive to not realise; to not speak out. And yet - going by everything he's said in the past few weeks - he has and he is.
    Good on you, Russell, mate. Keep at it.

  • Dustin, it's been nice knowing you. I'm sure the NSA loves your last paragraph.

  • Guest

    I can only see Nigella Lawson when I look at him, unfortunately.

  • petitesuissesse

    He has as much right as anyone else to speak his mind. Maybe a bit is getting lost in translation. Is he talking about UK politics? I believe people in the UK are considered "subjects" not "citizens." In the US, things are bit different. Voting in presidential elections may not be such a big deal (electoral college), but voting for DA, Controller, Judges...that actually has an affect on your daily life. It's one of the many ways that citizens can speak their minds en masse, protest is another. I agree that a lot of shit is fucked up. I just don't see how disenfranchising yourself is going to help. Lots of poor people already don't vote. He's not exactly espousing anything new.

  • Emm82

    We are classed as subjects, but only to the monarchy who currently don't really use much power these days except to open parliament. I do agree on your points though - espousing about not voting is nothing new,and after the last general election, too many voters (myself included) were betrayed by the Lib Dems - hence the ConDem parliament. We are able to vote in local elections though, and most do but unfortunately Local politicians tend not to canvas very much, so we don't tend to know what the issues are being tackled, or if they even are. I still don't know who my Local MP is! Sorry about the rant, I'll stop now. :)

  • petitesuissesse

    If that's a rant, I'm ready to move to the UK! Thanks for clearing that up with a totally non-rant.

  • Emm82

    Haha, Thanks! Reading it back it wasn't a rant, but really could have been if coffee was involved! Now the EDL, they get me ranting, unfortunately, as long as in 1st world countries people are sleeping rough, starving & freezing as so often happens to the elderly in the UK in winter, not to mention the way mental health care and those in need of it are handled. Revolution wont help those people, the ones who really need it,as tempting a dream as it is.

  • logan

    Yeah, what he/she said!

  • John G.

    "The City expect us to gratefully participate in what amounts to little more than a political hokey cokey where every four years we get to choose what colour tie the liar who leads us wears."

    I vote for red tie, not blue tie, oh nevermind, both ties are the same.

  • zeke_the_pig

    Left ball; right ball - in the end it's the same old bag of bollocks anyway. We need new testicles.

  • Jiffylush

    Richard Dreyfus is the man.

  • the dude

    He is clearly too smart for Katy Perry, I imagine that's why they broke up

  • logan

    Yeah i'm sure the boning other women had nothing to do with it.

  • koko temur

    Or the fact she is a big party girl, and he is recovering drug addict.

  • Aaron Schulz

    I like him throwing in his years of drug abuse to give him self a convenient out if need be

  • emmalita

    I'm not sure how he's giving himself a convenient out. He did abuse drugs for years. He did go through treatment and is sober. It's one of his formative experiences. He speaks eloquently about addiction and treatment.

  • Aaron Schulz

    By saying maybe its just the years of drug abuse hes cracking the window to say hes just a comedian and former addict to cover his ass in a possible PR debacle when some jackass kid blames him for his jackass behavior or when hes called out to argue his points against someone that is taking him seriously.

    Up until now hes just bamboozled, and quite eloquently I might add, random interviewers for treating him like eurotrash, and more power to him, he should. I have no problem with his message, its mostly reasonable. My problem is, and maybe its because I am too cynical, i feel like throwing that out in the middle of his argument seems like an exit strategy. He already said he thought he might be wrong, he didnt need to add that last part.

  • emmalita

    That's an entirely reasonable and thoughtful point. I think he's maturing away from his jackass persona and maybe not always gracefully. I didn't find Brand all that interesting until I read his thoughtful piece on Amy Winehouse. In the past few months, he seems more comfortable being himself and not a buffoon.

  • zeke_the_pig

    And about everything else.

  • Bert_McGurt

    Don't sell yourself short Russell - opinions developed after decades of drug abuse will get you elected mayor in some cities!

  • Guest

    'Hate tip' or 'hat tip'?

  • koko temur

    I'll take it!

  • emmalita

    I totally bolluxed that. I was trying to edit to indicate I was addressing Dustin, but somehow deleted it and now here it is an un-editable. I can't even blame a lack of coffee, just my natural gracelessness and my iPad.

  • Bert_McGurt

    Commenting from an iPad IS much more difficult than it should be.

  • koko temur

    I dont care much for revolution. I was born in soviet union, in a city where remains of labour camps were visible from my window. Where my parents made friends with writers and painters that refused to go back to "mainland" decades after they were allowed, out of protest. (it wasnt an island, were we lived. Just remote, and percieved as one by the outcasts).

    Revolution leads to misery, in my experience. To terror by new elites. I dont agree with him on most points. But i love him to bits for making "infamous political essay" a thing. For not being afraid to get his hands dirty and to be mocked. For starting a conversation. Any conversation will do, but this one i particulary enjoy.

  • Revolution is a horrible thing, but the West also has had its share. The US Revolutionary War and the Civil War (another version of revolution in our republic), were horrible and bloody.

    Having said that, I would be inclined to agree with you about our current 'appetite' for the business end of social change. It's why we are complicit in our drone warfare policy and NSA snooping. What's most interesting is that the cracks in that cultural decadence (e.g., we've got ours, let them eat cake) are starting to show and in a big way. The questions of what happens next are tricky, and are exacerbated by our horribly undemocratic actions in the past few decades. The gerrymandering, giving corporations equal status in our politics, devaluing of legitimate exercise of government, erosion of our social contract, abdication of responsibility on education, intergenerational warfare being waged on the young by the old all make social change as ENVISIONED by the US founders very unlikely. So what do we do? Well, we are the best armed populace in the history of populaces. The sadness that brings is overwhelming, because it does suggest a high probability of 'terror by new rulers' as all revolutions experience. The Walking Dead, indeed.

  • Gauephat

    People who like to preach revolution in the West always seem to be those who have never experienced violence.

  • When students are reading the history books in 200 years time, they'll all marvel at the Russell Brand political essays on display at the Russell Brand Museum (which will have a wing devoted to Katy Perry's boobs).

  • NateMan

    Two wings; gotta give each mammary its due.

  • e jerry powell

    Fair enough.

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