Anyone who only casually keeps up with political and current affairs will have come across the recent surge in Russell Brand’s name across media outlets and amongst political and social commentators. His blunt call for revolution and a complete boycott of the futile electoral process has captured the attention of the country, and indeed the world. The article he wrote following the Paxman interview contained some gems, of which below is one:
“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.”
I’ve been following the various opinion pieces that have been published in response to Brand’s heroic calling-out of the fraudulent political paradigm that we call ‘democracy’, and most of them, written by smug journalists or society’s elite, ignorantly dismiss his critique by unapologetically highlighting his troubled past, as if that somehow undermines and invalidates the very intelligent, articulate, and sophisticated arguments that he has passionately defended in his recent appearances and articles. In my mind, when people shamelessly delve into the realm of ad hominem attacks, it points to one thing: that they feel threatened. And rightly so. It is not so much that what Russell Brand has been saying is novel, because it isn’t. People long before him have been questioning the democracy contained within so-called liberal Western-style democratic systems. What is captivating about Brand’s calculated declarations is the fact that someone from the superficial world of celebrity is uttering words of meaning, of justice, and of revolution. And he’s right. We do need a revolution: a revolution of the mind. Brand is the perfect example of that very idea. We would do well to listen intently, instead of arrogantly dismissing him just because he’s Russell Brand.