I’m not someone usually much interested in the utterances of seemingly superficial, hedonistic celebrities, but this week Russell Brand has created quite a stir and opened up mainstream political discourse in ways not normally given much media attention. In the few days since he guest edited New Statesman and was interviewed on TV by Paxman, his views have come in for some serious and very sympathetic consideration on various unlikely places, such as the Claverton Energy Group and at a 60th birthday party in rural Herefordshire.
In the New Statesman article Russell Brand cites one of my old heroes, Buckminster Fuller, saying ‘humanity now faces a choice: oblivion or utopia’. I would agree that ‘We’re inertly ambling towards oblivion’ and yes, we do need seriously need to ask the question ‘is utopia really an option?’ Russell Brand is very good at articulating the way many, perhaps most, people in the UK and around the world are disengaged from the political process. The banking crisis and subsequent quantitative easing and austerity have seen the biggest and fastest transfer of wealth in human history from the bottom 99% of the population to the top 1%. The three main political parties and the media in the main only represent the views and interests of the 1%. Levels of outrage and fury amongst the 99% are at ever greater levels. Contemporary capitalism is failing humanity’s basic existential requirement to ensure a healthy planet. Russell Brand is right to say the time for revolution is now. Our continued existence as a species may depend on it. Russell Brand is good on the need for utopian revolution, but clearly he has not thought through what that world might look like. That, at its core is what all my work over the last decade or so has been trying to articulate. I would dearly love Russell Brand’s access to the media!
The kind of revolution that both Russell Brand and I would like is not some old fashioned violent Marxist revolution but a peaceful one that starts from the individual human consciousness but also manifests politically. Quite what that utopian world would be like and how we might get there Russell Brand seemed unclear about, but is the topic of an essay I’m currently writing and hope to publish in a few months. Do please get in touch to pre-order your copies now! Russell Brand might even want to read it and maybe Paxman too!
Russell Brand in New Statesman http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/10/russell-brand-on-revolution
Comment on Brand in the Independent http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/russell-brand-is-far-from-trivial-on-newsnight-he-made-paxman-look-ridiculous-8901524.html
Radio 4’s Analysis programme on Quantitative Easing http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03dfpjt