Magazine of the Socialist Party in Australia

TV Review: Brand new revolution?

Russell Brand has not covered himself in glory throughout his career so far: from the extreme womanising and sexist attitudes, the presenting of rubbish TV shows to the just plain annoying.

So when I saw the Russell Brand v Paxman interview (BBC Newsnight) doing the rounds on various social media sites I was extremely sceptical.

By Suzanne Beishon, Socialist Party

Watching however, I was open-mouthed. In between the quick jibes and quite cleverly worked silliness, Brand unleashed an absolutely damning indictment of capitalism and the inequality and misery it means for millions. And, in the face of Paxman’s crude interviewing, a call for revolution.

Paxman was reduced to weakly trying to undermine Brand for his never having voted, pour scorn on belief in revolution and question his right to even having an opinion on politics at all.

Brand tore Paxman’s lines of argument apart, explaining how the present system leaves the majority of the population disengaged through a lack of real representation, and the inevitability of an eventual explosion of anger against the capitalist system.

Millions have viewed the interview online. The New Statesman edition that Brand edited and contains his 4,500-word passionate editorial on revolution is flying off the shelves.

It’s clear his anger and feisty way of putting forward the idea of an alternative has really captured people’s attention (whatever they may think about his well-acknowledged attitudes on other issues). People’s experience of capitalism means increasing numbers are open to these ideas.

Paxman kept insisting that Brand was not qualified to comment on politics. This is what the government does too, in trying to make us feel we don’t have the right to a voice or a say.

Paxman was left utterly exposed as the capitalist media pawn that he is, left speechless by the quick-witted comedian who seems to be moving in the right direction.