Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/788/17729
Russell Brand - reasons to be cheerful
Nancy Taaffe, Prospective TUSC candidate for 2014 council elections
Sometimes celebrities and popular figures reflect a mood in society at a particular moment without being fully conscious themselves of what they are expressing. They can be like weather vanes, responding unconsciously to events rather than answering questions and putting alternatives.
So it was when Russell Brand countered every sneering put-down by the pompous Jeremy Paxman in the now famous Newsnight interview calling for revolutionary change and an "egalitarian socialist society".
The Brand/Newsnight saga should give us in the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) reasons to be cheerful. Millions of people, particularly young people, watched the clip on YouTube and expressed approval. The sentiments expressed are precisely those we have struggled to get exposure for over five years of recession.
He described the deadlock in society and the bankruptcy of current political debate. But unlike TUSC he was given airtime to describe the political blockage at the top and the need to break the consensus.
The establishment and a number of celebrities lined up to condemn Russell Brand for confessing that he didn't vote. Comedian Robert Webb responded to Brand's move by rejoining the Labour Party. However Brand did not believe "not voting" was the answer. He condemned voting for Labour as a waste of time, much as left journalist Owen Jones ridicules voting for anything other than Labour as a waste of time.
Russell Brand's call for a clear and decisive break with all those that betrayed the working class and perpetuated the status quo has more boldness in it than all the lines written by people like Owen Jones. More importantly it chimes with people when it is given an airing.
The Italian working class last year voted in anti-politician comedian, Beppe Grillo as a reaction to the corrupt, greedy politicians who have presided over mass unemployment, economic destruction and political corruption. Russell Brand is on many levels ahead of Beppe Grillo as at least he mentioned the word "socialist".
TUSC should appeal to young people to act on Russell Brand's words and take their place in the lists being prepared to stand in 2014. TUSC aims to stand widely in these elections and we need thousands of people to download the forms on the website and register an interest in representing themselves in 2014.
In The Socialist 13 November 2013:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Socialist Party reviews