Swapping his comical roots for a swing at political campaigning, one name provokes controversy with everything he mentions – Russell Brand. Opinion on this man could not be more divided. Many enjoy his direct and honest tone, whilst others believe his erratic nature to be his downfall. One problem with Brand is that given his previous celebrity spotlight, fixed opinions often overlook his concepts. Despite continuously using words almost as long as his slick hair, we look at the emergence of this this new campaigning role and at what Brand is actually promoting.
Describing his political activism as a new formed “revolution”, he is now fighting for radical change that involves reducing international corporations and even abandoning the idea of the nation state – uh oh. An extract from his new book “The Revolution”, which I’m sure is just the thing you wanted filling your Christmas stocking, reads ‘our ultimate aim is to live in self-governing, fully autonomous, egalitarian communities’. Okay, this statement contains vague ideology, but let’s hear Russell out – what would this specifically mean? He draws on three very broad concepts.
- Rein in the power of big businesses
- Re-localise food and farming
- Prioritise life well-being over profit
His anti-capitalist viewpoint would evidently involve a complete overhaul to the system. It’s not difficult to understand why he has come under scrutiny from the top end of society, as he belligerently bashes capitalism and attempts to distribute their wealth as a means of well-being to all.
His most recent stint on “Question Time” saw him spend most of his time attacking UKIP leader Nigel Farage, rather than answering the questions actually put before him – however, despite his hairy chest being on display for all in the front row, many of his opinions swayed on the side of a slightly more positive reception. Brand stated that despite the economic hardship, the money is available it just isn’t being distributed equally. He drew attention once again to banker bonuses and wide open tax loopholes being legally exploited by big corporations, all at the same time as austerity cuts amongst the poorer population.
The main reason for the problem in his eyes is the system itself. With the general election fast-approaching this year, Brand exclaims that parliamentary politics is so ineffective it’s essentially dead. The future, he claims, is collectivised power – “the people have the wisdom, not the politicians”. A prime example, although small-scale, emerges on the back of his victorious ‘new era’ campaign with single mothers against the rising house prices in Hoxton. Notwithstanding accusations of hypocrisy due to his own rent worthy of £5,000 per month, the demonstrations and petitions to Downing Street saved 93 women from eviction.
What 2015 holds for Brand’s “revolution” remains to be seen, but expect to see more headlines concerning the witty comedian, and undoubtedly more videos of him with a towel wrapped round his head sitting on his sofa discussing the latest topical issues, uploaded from his “TREWS” (True News) YouTube channel. Come the general election in May, I wouldn’t be surprised if you found him pacing outside Parliament citing something close to Braveheart’s freedom speech.
Whether loved or hated, people find him engaging owing to the fact he argues thought-provoking questions; unafraid to say what is on many people’s minds and challenge powerful figures. Brand’s views, whether agreed with or not, certainly influence a reflection about your own. Do you think his radical left-wing approach is realistic and worthy of change in this direction, or are we better off with something nearer the status quo?
By Dre Efthymiou