My only exposure to Russell Brand was when he played the outlandish “Aldous Snow” in the 2008 comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall. His loud, obnoxious, ridiculous performance left me with a peculiar aftertaste, and I felt I’d had enough of the guy. But Jeremy Paxman’s interview—argument, really—with Russell Brand has totally updated my early impressions of the wild man. Brand makes some excellent points, and puts Paxman in his place.
Excerpts from Russell Brand / Jeremy Paxman Interview
Below are just some of quotes from Brand that I particularly liked, but do give entire interview a listen. It’s surprisingly powerful.
You don’t have to listen to my political point of view. But it’s not that I’m not voting out of apathy. I’m not voting out of absolute indifference and weariness and exhaustion from the lies, treachery, deceit of the political class that has been going on for generations now and which has now reached fever pitch where you have a disenfranchised, disillusioned, despondent underclass that are not being represented by that political system, so voting for it is tacit complicity with that system and that’s not something I’m offering up…
I was busy being a drug addict at that point, because I come from the kind of social conditions that are exacerbated by an indifferent system that really just administrates for large corporations and ignores the population that it was voted in to serve…
I’m saying I was part of a social and economic class that is underserved by the current political system and drug addiction is one of the problems it creates. When you have huge underserved, impoverished populations, people get drug problems, and also don’t feel like they want to engage with the current political system because they see that it doesn’t work for them. They see that it makes no difference. They see that they’re not served. I say that the apathy –
[What will the revolution be like?] Well, I think what it won’t be like is a huge disparity between rich and poor where 300 Americans have the same amount of wealth as the 85 million poorest Americans, where there is an exploited and underserved underclass that are being continually ignored, where welfare is slashed while Cameron and Osborne go to court to defend the rights of bankers to continue receiving their bonuses. That’s all I’m saying.
I think a socialist egalitarian system based on the massive redistribution of wealth, heavy taxation of corporations, and massive responsibility for energy companies and any companies exploiting the environment. I think they should be ta– I think the very concept of profit should be hugely reduced. David Cameron says profit isn’t a dirty word; I say profit is a filthy word. Because wherever there is profit there is also deficit. And this system currently doesn’t address these ideas. And so why would anyone vote for it? Why would anyone be interested in it?
This is what I noticed when I was in the Houses of Parliament: it’s decorated exactly the same as Eton, it’s decorated exactly the same as Oxford, so a certain type of people goes in there and thinks, “Oh, this makes me nervous,” and another type of people go in there and go, “This is how it should be.” And I think that’s got to change now. We can no longer have erroneous, duplicitous systems held in place unless it’s for the serv– only systems that serve the planet and serve the population of the planet can be allowed to survive. Not ones that serve elites, be they political or corporate elites, and this is what’s currently happening.