Russell Brand – Veto the Vote – Ingenious or Idiotic?
So Russell Brand gave a very stimulating (although short) interview to Jeremy Paxman last week and it has caused quite a stir on the social media sites, blog talk etc.
Camps seem divided between whether this was a powerful call to action motivating people into taking charge and moving forward or some egotistical self obsessed rant by an intelligent and quick witted performer who has spent a bit of time with the Dali Lama.
This interview was triggered by Brand recently being given guest editorial rights over the New Statesman, a political review magazine published in the UK.
This was not the first time Paxman has interviewed Brand but it was far more spicy. During this 10 or so minute interview, Paxman, sporting a beard for the first time in his professional career, lays straight into Brand by asking him who is he to edit a political magazine when fundamentally he doesn’t vote.
Brand explains the voting system is corrupted and gives the illusion of choice which actually just serves to maintain the illusion itself. Now this is where most people have the issue. There is a strong divide between the staunch believers in the democratic system, (as opposed to an obvious dictatorship), which comes with fighting for the vote and the more rebellious ‘occupy’ perspective suggesting that the vote itself doesn’t matter because the people who actually are pulling the strings of the politicians are the big industries, mainly power, arms and drugs (legal and illegal).
Brand’s call for people not to vote comes in strong contrast to the latest attempts in the UK to copy what America did with trying to inspire the 3 out of 4 people under 25 who don’t vote to start voting. In the States they called this campaign ‘Rock the Vote’. In the UK they’re calling it something equally cheesy in an attempt to get hip with the kids. So many political writers, coming from the old school belief that their vote has made any difference to any major issues in the past, have attacked what Brand said. Planned or not, Russell’s suggestion that there’s no point to voting, especially as a guest editor of a well respected political magazine, has caused a real tornado of debate, both in print and online.
You see there’s a phenomenon well know in psychological studies called Escalation of Commitment – this refers to the need to keep investing in something that you have already poured a lot of personal resources into. In other words, something you have a lot of investment in is likely to get more of your attention and more desire to defend it. It’s the same with gambling and diets. You’ve lost 300 what’s another 100? or you’ve eaten one biscuit what’s another 3? You keep going, not wanting to concede the loss. There are some who have romantic relationships in the same way. This is because the last thing anyone wants to be is wrong. Do you? No one wants to loose and argument and no one wants to admit that they have just spent the last 40 years of their life supporting something that was actually wrong! This is why change in any established tradition is difficult. Take the sciences for example. Anytime some ‘out there’ scientist comes along with a new theory they want to research the people who are deciding if they get the grant money are the people who have invested in the already established dogma that would be challenged by the confirmation of such work. So, consciously or not, they block it because they can’t think of anything worse than having to swallow that they’ve been wrong all this time. Or that worse they’ve been wasting their time, their lives. It comes down to a deep spiritual fear that there is actually no point to their lives. This, my friends, is another discussion.
So back to the point. Russell Brand has very cleverly stimulated large open scale debate and engaged those disenfranchised youth into the discussion. Far from the fears of the old school dogmatic writers in papers like the Independent (that are anything but) that Brand is spitting in the faces of suffragettes, minimum wage fighters or the blacks in South Africa, he is actually doing the opposite. He is saying in effect that we need to reach a turning point, a ‘I’ve had enough’ point in the consciousness of the population. It is exactly like what happened in WWII with the murders taking place in Germany and Poland. These things were going on for a while, but when the mass population got wind of the extend there was uproar. Currently we are being kept placid, just being given enough illusion or pseudo control over our environment to just keep us going. “Here little mousey, have a little bit more cheese to reward you, now get back on your wheel” Oh yes minimum wage, that’s a massive issue. No not really – not in the grand scheme of things – sure it needs to be looked at, as does the high speed rail link, but in all practical points it doesn’t really matter to the rich poor divide or the suppression of cleaner technologies in favour of more controllable non renewable resources. Water will be next you watch that space. Then we’ll see how much power we have when water becomes a commodity you have to pay highly for.
We’re being manipulated into believing we have any significant impact upon the policies of the government. When here is the UK we have the three main parties blanket funded by most of the same industries and they’re merging into what looks like down the middle views on most topics. None of these governing parties are going to question the established system that’s been in place since civilized societies took hold, namely that the rich are always in power and the poor (the majority) have little control. This is the system that must be radicalized. This is where the revolution must and will occur. Let us not take up arms but take up the keyboard, the pen and our speech to understand we have a role to play in removing this blame based victim culture where the rich pour money into the systems that maintain their power and we sit by helpless. Then convince ourselves that we have choice, ‘support them this way or support them that way’, either way we will be supporting the same system and the same inequalities! Think about it, would you give up power?
These placid masses that have been so easily controlled before are now armed with communication and organisation. They’re technologically advanced eco warriors, interested and invested in how we can live in harmony, not only with our planet but with our fellow brother and sister. They’re the birth of the star trek generation. We are them and they are us becoming more and more powerful with every attempt to suppress them. Take for example Rupert Sheldrake, who I was talking to yesterday. He gave a fantastic TEDx talk that was subsequently banned by the organisers because it talked about the failing of the current systems in science and how there is need for a revolution of integrated holistic medicine and research. The fools! Little did they know the very act of banning the talk made it go viral. In a matter of days the clip had been seen by thousands and then millions. The more this new wave of consciousness is suppressed the more it shall flourish. It’s not some new fad way of doing things, it is nature in it’s truest form, an acceptance of balance and love, with a deep understanding that even within the very basis of science and mathematics is this principle. We are all built upon it. We are already amongst you, infiltrating your ranks without even knowing it. In fact, you could be one of us without even knowing. Scratch that, you ARE one of us. The seedlings of understanding are already sprouting in the collective unconscious of the planet and are moving towards maturation. Bring it on Russell Brand, Jim Carey and Deepak Chopra.
So I agree, Veto the Vote so that we can more quickly find ourselves in such a state of desperation that we stop, ‘V for Vendetta’ style and say enough is enough. Freedom is on its way and it doesn’t look like another tripe drama made in Hollywood. We are all in this together – there is no US vs THEM, there is just US, and now comes the realisation of it Power to the people!
See Russell Brand’s New Statesman edited magazine print here: