'It perhaps takes a junkie, or a recovering junkie, or at the very least, an ex-junkie, to be able to speak with such clarity where normally there is only fudge and subterfuge. I missed Russell Brand's recent Paxman interview but I did catch up with his line of thinking via his follow-up Guardian article 6/11/13, and without over-egging it, it was hot stuff. Quite electric.


Little wonder there has been so many reverberations in the days immediately following. It's not often, in these long, bleak years of political reaction, where global capital reigns supreme and virtually unchallenged, that a shallow celebrity comic should come out so damningly against our phoney corporate democracy. Ok, George Monbiot puts it a little more precisely, a little more eloquently in his, It's business that really rules us now piece published in his weekly Guardian column 12/11/13, but there was a wonderful freshness and passion resonating from Brands article, all the more enjoyable given his previous back catalogue of mindless dumbed-down entertainment. I used to despise Brand as, to use his own term, a right twerp, but things can, under certain conditions, quickly turn into their opposite. Overnight, Brand has become a serious voice of criticism with respect to our sham democracy, and given his widespread popular notoriety, he will likely reach a far wider audience than the tireless and dedicated Monbiot (or Sporting Polemics for that matter) could ever hope to reach.

If there is one thing that I am relatively sure of these days, it is that any future revolutionary advance for we humans will need to be fully conscious of its purpose. Blind anger, no matter how heroic, will not be sufficient to dislodge global capital from its tenacious hold over our planet. It will be absolutely useless merely asking for a few extra crumbs, as our ever so tame trade unions and Labour style parties are prone to do. At this point in history we will need to demand the whole cake and to do so at a transnational level. There can be no more talk of national, sectional or partial solutions. It's far too late for Miliband type tinkering. Will Hutton style analysis is hopelessly inadequate. Wimpish sectional demands by national based Trades Unions are worthless. It ought to be obvious to even the most obtuse amongst us, that capital has long since outgrown its original national boundaries. Capital, as always, only obeys one logic  short term profit maximisation irrespective of local need or national priorities. Brand gets this absolutely;

I realised then that our treasured concepts of tribe and nation are not valued by those who govern except when it is to divide us from each other. They don't believe in Britain or America they believe in the dollar and the pound.

The hardest thing for we humans to do is to shed our tribal beliefs, be it religion, nation or race. But Capital, directed and managed by the point one percent has long discarded this petty tribalism and if we, the ninety nine point nine percent wish to expropriate our expropriators we had damn well better do the self-same thing. Brand impressed me particularly with his internationalist perspective.

The less privileged among us are already living in the apocalypse, the thousands of street sleepers in our country, the refugees and the exploited underclass across our planet daily confront what we would regard as the end of the world. No money, no home, no friends, no support, no hand of friendship reaching out, just acculturated and inculcated condemnation.

Brand develops this internationalist theme by referencing the endless wars that the military industrial & financial complex regularly drags us into for their own nefarious purposes. Brand cuts through the war on terror/ democracy bullshit and proclaims;

The reality is we have more in common with the people we're bombing than the people we're bombing them for.

Brand is equally disparaging of our fake domestic democracy, one where two million people come out onto the streets to oppose the illegal invasion of Iraq yet the government of the day takes it upon itself to align with one of the most murderous regimes in human history and carry on with the invasion regardless. Brand sees through it all with crystal clarity;

The people that govern us don't want an active population who are politically engaged, they want passive consumers distracted by the spectacle of which I accept I am part.

His personal honesty makes his polemic all the more poignant. Brand continues;

As long as the priorities of those in government remain big business, rather than the people they were elected to serve, the impact on voting is negligible .

Brand advocates not voting, though he is open minded enough to consider other options. Here is his rationale;

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.

Well there are good arguments to be made for and against a voting boycott but the crucial thing here is Brand's no nonsense understanding of who our mainstream political parties are serving. Tactics are open for debate, but the underlying analysis is what's key at the moment and Brand is not to be found wanting in this regard.

Brand ends on a buoyant and positive note.

If we all collude and collaborate together we can design a new system that makes the current one obsolete. 

Just ponder those few words for a moment. Someone who has emerged through our system and has benefited mightily from that system has the imagination to call for a new type of system, and the balls to suggest we make the existing one obsolete. That is a truly revolutionary sentiment, that if held by a handful of well-meaning souls will remain nothing but a pleasant and well-meaning thought, but one that if grasped by millions, becomes something a whole lot more. The Occupy Movement was a hint of that possible future because it too dared to dream of something more rational, more humane, and more equitable. Something Brand new the collective ownership of the means of production, and the rational and equitable distribution of all that we ingeniously produce. We collectively make the stuff, now we should collectively own it and collectively distribute it. That's just plain common sense to the ninety nine point nine percent of us.

Of course it all sounds so tantalisingly simple but its completion will likely be the most difficult task humanity, in its ten thousand year history of settled civilization, has ever attempted. Should we fail, we will probably all of us; corporate barons and their hangers on, toiling proletarians across the planet, and those many millions already destitute, all end up going down the proverbial plug-hole. Species extinction may not be the sole preserve of dinosaurs. Or as Mr Marx so prophetically put: it's either socialism or barbarism. And for countless millions, that barbarism has well and truly arrived



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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 23 May 2018 18:10 )