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8 November 2013
Monarchs were pretty ruthless in medieval times. Dissent could cost a courtier their head. However, there was one member of the sovereign’s entourage who was permitted to speak his mind freely and even to poke fun at the king himself. This was the court jester.
How appropriate it is then that the despotism of today’s ruling elite, the partitocracy, should be subjected to a withering onslaught not from a disgruntled denizen of the ivory tower but from a rank political outsider –and a comedian to boot!
Born in Essex, England, in 1975, Russell Brand – also an actor, radio host and author – has been making waves recently with a series of public diatribes against the small self-preening self-selecting log-rolling world of conventional conformist consensual party-political politics.
His latest outburst comes in an article he wrote for the London Guardian newspaper on 6 November 2013.
Here are some extracts:
“As long as the priorities of those in government remain the interests of big business, rather than the people they were elected to serve, the impact of voting is negligible….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 [the City of London, the financial district] 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….
People riot when dialogue fails, when they feel unrepresented and bored by the illusion, bilious with the piped in toxic belch wafted into their homes by the media [Brand is referring to rioting by the dispossessed, including some students, in London and elsewhere in August 2011; vicious sentences were subsequently dished out to the rioters by a judiciary hell-bent on punishing those members of the lower orders who had had the effrontery to cock a snook at the powers that be].
The reason these coalitions are so easily achieved is that the distinctions between the parties are insignificant [The present UK government, which has been in power since the last parliamentary election in May 2010, is a coalition between the Conservative (Tory) Party and the Liberal Democrat Party].
Some people say I’m a hypocrite because I’ve got money now. When I was poor and I complained about inequality people said I was bitter. Now I’m rich and complain about inequality they say I’m a hypocrite. I’m beginning to think they just don’t want inequality on the agenda because it is a real problem that needs to be addressed.
…we are living in a time of huge economic disparity and confronting ecological disaster. This disparity has always been, in cultures since expired, a warning sign of end of days. In Rome, Egypt and Easter Island the incubated ruling elites, who had forgotten that we are one interconnected people, destroyed their societies by not sharing. That is what’s happening now…
Most of the people who criticised me [for speaking out against the system] have a vested interest in the maintenance of the system. They say the system works. What they mean is ‘the system works for me’.
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.
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 inflence lies; not in the ballot box.
…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. These are deep and entrenched systemic wrongs that are unaddressed by party politics.
The symptoms of these wrongs are obvious, global and painful. Drone strikes on the innocent, a festering investment for future conflict. How many combatants are created each time an innocent person in a faraway land is silently ironed out from an Arizona call centre? The reality is we have more in common with the people we’re bombing than the people we’re bombing them for….
Can we really believe these problems can be altered within the system that created them? That depends on them? The system that we are invited to vote for? Of course not. That’s why I won’t vote. That’s why I support the growing revolution.
We can all contribute ideas as to how to change our world – schoolboys, squaddies, hippies, Muslims, Jews…loving our planet and each other is a duty, a beautiful obligation.
We could use the money accumulated by those who have too much…giant corporations…to fund a fairer society. The US government gave a trillion dollars to bail out the big five banks over the past year….How about…don’t give them that money. Use it to create one million jobs at fifty grand a year for people who teach, nurse or protect. These bailouts for elites over services for the many are institutionalised within the system. No party proposes changing it. American people that voted, voted for it. I’m not voting for that…It’s socialism for the rich and feudalism for the rest of us.
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.
If we all collude and collaborate together we can design a new system that makes the current one obsolete. The reality is there are alternatives. That is the terrifying truth that the media, government and big business work so hard to conceal…I believe in change. I don’t mind getting my hands dirty because my hands are dirty already. I don’t mind giving my life to this because I’m only alive because of the compassion and love of others. Men and women strong enough to defy this system and live according to higher laws. This is a journey we can all go on together, all of us. We can include everyone and fear no one. A system that serves the planet and the people. I’d vote for that.
And so say all of us!
Well said, Sir!
Verily, a secular equivalent of the Sermon on the Mount.
A masterpiece of silver-tongued advocacy on behalf of the wretched of the earth.
And a cry from the heart.
To be read and re-read.
Who would have thunk it? Coming from an ex-drug-addict stand-up comedian with a private life notorious for political incorrectness.
But then the spirit moves in mysterious ways.
You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts. For instance:
1. Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)
2. Partitocracy v. Democracy (20 July 2012)
3. The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)
4. Capitalism in practice (4 July 2012)
5.Ladder (21 June 2012)
6. A tale of two cities (1) (6 June 2012)
7. A tale of two cities (2) (7 June 2012)
8. Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)
Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.