Original published at Democracy Now!
For years Russell Brand has been one of Britain's most popular comedians, but over the past 12 months he has also emerged as a leading voice of Britain's political left. He has taken part in anti-austerity protests, spoken at Occupy Wall Street protests and marched with the hacker collective Anonymous. A recovering addict himself, Brand has also become a leading critic of Britain's drug laws. He has just come out with a new book expanding on his critique of the political system. It is simply titled "Revolution."
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: Today, we're broadcasting from London, and we're joined by Russell Brand. Up until last year, Russell Brand was best known for being one of the most popular comedians here in Britain. His resume includes hosting the reality TV show Big Brother's Big Mouth, a stint as a BBC radio host and starring roles in the films St. Trinian's, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek. He also hosted the MTV Movie Awards.
But in recent years, Russell Brand has emerged as one of the most prominent voices of the British left. He has taken part in anti-austerity protests, spoken at Occupy Wall Street and marched with the hacker collective Anonymous. A recovering addict himself, Russell Brand has also become a leading critic of Britain's drug laws.
Last year, he guest-edited the New Statesman, a political and current affairs magazine here in Britain. The issue included cover art by Shepard Fairey and articles by Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, among many others.
He then appeared on BBC Newsnight in an interview with the well-known BBC host Jeremy Paxman. The video became a YouTube sensation.
JEREMY PAXMAN: Is it true you don't even vote?
RUSSELL BRAND: Yeah, no, I don't vote.
JEREMY PAXMAN: Well, how do you have any authority to talk about politics then?- Advertisement -
RUSSELL BRAND: Well, I don't get my authority from this pre-existing paradigm which is quite narrow and only serves a few people. I look elsewhere for alternatives that might be of service to humanity. Alternative means alternative political systems.
JEREMY PAXMAN: They being?
RUSSELL BRAND: Well, I've not invented it yet, Jeremy. I had to do a magazine last week. I've had a lot on my plate. But I say -- but here's the thing that you shouldn't do: shouldn't destroy the planet, shouldn't create massive economic disparity, shouldn't ignore the needs of the people. The burden of proof is on the people with the power, not people who like doing a magazine for a novelty.
JEREMY PAXMAN: How do you imagine that people get power?
RUSSELL BRAND: Well, I imagine there are sort of hierarchical systems that have been preserved through generations --