Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The Hutt Recommends: Revolution

Revolution by Russell Brand
(Politics is cool, yo.)

Let me start by saying that I've never really taken to Russell Brand as a comedian, with the specific exception of when he appears working in tandem with Noel Fielding, but despite my aversion to his stand-ups I have observed that he has on occasion put forth a few thought-provoking sentiments in interviews and that had me curious.
   I stumbled upon Revolution on audio, read by Brand himself, as I anchored in a well-known bay in the depths of the internet. Having listened to a lot of books of varying quality in the last few years I figured that Brand's particular kind of insanity compacted into 9 hours of audio files wouldn't infuriate me more than some of Heinlein's more sexist scifi (of which I haven't bothered to finish a few because of said sexism). Normally, I just listen to books on my way to and from work and I rarely find myself trying to find excuses to go for a walk or take a detour in order to keep listening for "just a few more minutes...".
   I can happily announce to you that with Revolution, I did just this.

   I studied Politics at university and am familiar with most of the ideas Brand brings forth, anarcho-syndicalism seemingly being at the forefront, which certainly makes it easier to take in and understand what basis of ideas Brand works from. This book requires more reading, obviously, as Brand's grand ideas are all snippets of other people's grand ideas. It lacks depth in ideology but as I read it, it's supposed to - you're meant to finish the book and go "hey, here's a great idea to read more about and possibly incorporate in my everyday life". Revolution starts with individuals and ends with societies; it starts with civil disobedience at the face of inequality and ends with the subversion of an unjust system.
   What Brand lacks is what most leftist ideologies lack these days - a grand theory. A utopia and a way of reaching it (but please do tell me when you find a comprehensive handbook to building coherent alternative societies). On the left we cry for equality and justice but have no viable ideas of how we could practically build that kind of society. We say we want to include everyone, but say nothing of how we are to do that or proceed from there. I think this is why right-wing parties have gained so many followers lately - they have an idea of how to hands-on "solve" our societal problems and even though their ideas are terribly short-sighted, fear-mongering and is kicking the wrong people in the face, people can see solutions. Scared and desperate people are easy to manipulate with populist propaganda hiding a more sinister ideology.

   Corporations is who we should be kicking in the face.
   Capitalism is what we should oust from our lives.
   We should be building community instead of undermining it.
   Brand gives us the choice between Capitalism or the Planet, and he's right.

   All in all, yes, Revolution has that Hollywood yoga pants vibe; a celebrity with a history of living it big trying to convince others less fortunate that changing the societies in which we live is as easy as pie even though we might not have the monetary funds that makes it so easy for Brand himself to make his ideas heard.
   However, Brand is in his own way very charming and rather funny and Revolution is well worth a read. If you like that sort of thing.

No comments:

Post a Comment