From "don't vote", Russell Brand now says "vote Labour/SNP/Green"

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Steven.'s picture
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May 4 2015 15:41
From "don't vote", Russell Brand now says "vote Labour/SNP/Green"

A couple of months ago he had modified his "don't vote" position to support a vote for Syriza in Greece, now it seems he is supporting voting for just about everyone. I'm surprised he didn't mention Plaid Cymru as well…

He seems like a quite confused individual…

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May 4 2015 16:11

Just commented on Ready Set Irony thread but probably more appropriate here.

What a complete and utter wanker. I made the mistake of commenting on one of his videos and getting in a long drawn out conversation with someone that justified capitalism with a sort of Darwinian argument. not a bad guy I don't think but I'll never get that time back.
I was really pleased when Brand did his Paxman thing but the 'Lidl Will Self' for all his analysis and talk of the working class just turns out to be yet another liberal wankstick.

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May 4 2015 19:32

I personally think that people should be able to organize together to gain greater control over their own lives. Voting in parliamentary elections has NOTHING to do with this AFAICS, why cannot otherwise sensible people understand this?

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May 4 2015 21:55

Looks like Russell Brand isn't the only one who has got very confused, now a Novara writer is in on it: http://wire.novaramedia.com/2015/05/9-anarchist-friendly-reasons-to-vote...

that's probably the worst article about an election I've ever seen

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May 4 2015 22:13

First "anarchist friendly" reason:

Quote:
But to get to the stage where we do not relinquish our power to govern our society, and where our communities do not need the police, and to get to a place where experiments like Occupy, a ‘post-bureaucratic society’, have become the norm, we could try make life a little easier for ourselves first.

Make life a little bit easier for ourselves by voting? That's a very strange argument.

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May 4 2015 22:25

Eh, no huge surprise. Brand's fundamental anti-voting argument was always that there wasn't anyone worth voting for. This was only a matter of time.

Now, what I think will be interesting is if all those people who were anti-Brand because of his anti-voting stance change their tune...

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May 4 2015 22:27
Agent of the Fifth International wrote:
First "anarchist friendly" reason:

Quote:
But to get to the stage where we do not relinquish our power to govern our society, and where our communities do not need the police, and to get to a place where experiments like Occupy, a ‘post-bureaucratic society’, have become the norm, we could try make life a little easier for ourselves first.

Make life a little bit easier for ourselves by voting? That's a very strange argument.

Well actually I feel that there is some truth to this. Im reading a book (recommended by H on this site) by Nelson Lichtenstein and he details the different treatment of Wal-Mart worker's rights based on whether there is a democratic or republican run government. He writes about how UFCW led class action lawsuits were brought against Wal-Mart during the George W Bush administration.

Quote:
But walmart circumvented the entire process by appealing straight to the newly installed bush administration. Just days before walmart was set to argue its case, Leonard Page, the union-friendly general counsel for the NLRB, took a phone call from the White House. He had thirty six hours to clear out his office. Page's more conservative successor decided against bringing a national complaint against wal mart

Lichtenstein also explains how walmart was forced to settle upwards of $500 million in class action lawsuits brought against it by employees who were owed pay for overtime, breals etc. under the obama administration

All that being said, the difference is minimal and when push comes to shove no matter what political party is in charge they will always side with capital if there is a crisis, but in the meantime to ignore the fact that life is generally slightly better under liberals than republicans is unfair. Obamacare gave millions of americans the freedom to quit their jobs and try to find one more palatable, or simply work part time according to Dean Baker.

But what we should criticize brand for is getting caught up in the media circus that surrounds elections. Elections have a minimal impact on society. Almost everything that oppresses us in our daily lives has nothing to do with this game between rich elite sectors of the society. We should not waste time choosing a position and instead focus all of our energies on empowering ourselves and our communities.

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May 5 2015 09:13
Steven. wrote:
Looks like Russell Brand isn't the only one who has got very confused, now Novara are in on it: http://wire.novaramedia.com/2015/05/9-anarchist-friendly-reasons-to-vote...

that's probably the worst article about an election I've ever seen

It's not really a case of Novara thinks - It's a (shit) article published on Novara Wire, I don't think it reflects on anyone beyond the editor of NW and the author.

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May 5 2015 09:16

Yeah, I realise I worded that post badly, I've now edited it

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May 5 2015 12:49
Fall Back wrote:
Steven. wrote:
Looks like Russell Brand isn't the only one who has got very confused, now Novara are in on it: http://wire.novaramedia.com/2015/05/9-anarchist-friendly-reasons-to-vote...

that's probably the worst article about an election I've ever seen

It's not really a case of Novara thinks - It's a (shit) article published on Novara Wire, I don't think it reflects on anyone beyond the editor of NW and the author.

With the above caveat, lol: http://wire.novaramedia.com/2015/05/4-reasons-working-class-radicals-sho...

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May 5 2015 14:14

Haters hatin on my post but i dont see no rebuttal

Anti War
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May 5 2015 14:24

Despite all her limitations, Sylvia Pankhurst said it all almost 100 years ago:


'It is contradictory and confusing to declare on the one hand that Parliament is useless and must be destroyed, and on the other hand to urge the workers to put us into Parliament'

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May 5 2015 14:31
Soapy wrote:
Haters hatin on my post but i dont see no rebuttal

I appreciate you gave an example (unlike the article, which just assumed it), but there's also the opposite tendency. To the extent a government is left wing (and Labour really isn't), it can often get away with things a right-wing government can't, due to its links to unions/social movements, which help to 'sell' the 'difficult decisions'.

Like, I'm not too bothered if individuals vote, but I do think trying to paint it as a radical necessity is part of the left's constriction of the political imagination. It's one thing despairing at the state of things and voting for the slightly less despicable piece of shit, it's another to knock up pissweak 'radical' and 'anarchist-friendly' alibis for shit leftism.

(fwiw, I neither upped nor downed, I abstained)

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May 5 2015 15:41
Joseph Kay wrote:
Soapy wrote:
Haters hatin on my post but i dont see no rebuttal

I appreciate you gave an example (unlike the article, which just assumed it), but there's also the opposite tendency. To the extent a government is left wing (and Labour really isn't), it can often get away with things a right-wing government can't, due to its links to unions/social movements, which help to 'sell' the 'difficult decisions'.

Like, I'm not too bothered if individuals vote, but I do think trying to paint it as a radical necessity is part of the left's constriction of the political imagination. It's one thing despairing at the state of things and voting for the slightly less despicable piece of shit, it's another to knock up pissweak 'radical' and 'anarchist-friendly' alibis for shit leftism.

(fwiw, I neither upped nor downed, I abstained)

Well yes I tend to agree. Obviously voting is not a necessity at all and in the grand scheme of things it really doesn't change much about the functioning of capitalism. But it really seems like it would be better for the US to have a democrat in the presidency and a democratically controlled congress than to have a republican president and a republican controlled congress. It is in the interests of all of us to have some of the worst excesses of capitalism put in check by the enforcement of the most basic laws concerning wages and hours. And yes of course Obamacare doesn't fix the health care system in the United States, but I don't see how anyone can deny that it would be very bad if a republican controlled government dismantled the law.

1. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has created a government sponsored health care program. Anyone can buy health care through the government now. This means that americans are under slightly less pressure to get a salaried job that will provide health insurance and also that americans have greater freedom to quit a job if they do not like it because they no longer live in fear of losing their health insurance coverage.

2. Under the ACA people (like me) are able to stay on their parent's health insurance plan until they turn 26.

3. With the ACA employers are forced to provide health insurance for their employees if they work 30+ hours a week instead of the previous law which set it to 40+ hours a week. Now this provision has not been enforced properly but I believe I read that it has to some extent forced employers to give more employee health insurance than they were doing before the ACA.

Now I don't know how anyone could sit here and tell me it wouldn't matter if the republicans, having control over both the executive and the legislature, rolled back these ameliorative policies.

All of this being said. Looking from a foreign policy perspective there is no difference whatsoever. It was a Clinton controlled government in the 1990s that enforced the horrors of the sanctions on Iraq which UNICEF estimates led to the deaths of 500,000 children. It was JFK who took some of the major steps towards the apocalyptic slaughter in Indochina (there's another 4 million dead). Everyone when confronted with these facts should I think come to the conclusion that the state needs to be abolished because it is a truly horrible abomination.

Speaking domestically the issue is that there are certain times in the history of capitalism when, no matter how liberal the government, there has been a crisis of some sort. This crisis may be the result of a strike by the capitalist class protesting the regulatory nature of the state, or it might be the result of the various crises caused by the contradictions inherent in economics (yes I read david harvey). During these crises, the state will always side with the capitalists. And it is during these crises that it becomes clear that capitalism is not sustainable. It is not possible to argue on the terrain of supporters of capitalism during crises like 2007-2008 because there is no solution other than to end capitalism and the state entirely.

Edit: I guess what is a little ironic about me using Wal-Mart as an example of how the democrats are slightly better than the republicans in that the democrat front runner Hilary Clinton was on the damn Wal Mart board of directors for years!

Edit #2: Sorry keep adding stuff. Also a notable accomplishment of the Obama administration was finally repealing the draconian 5 year mandatory minimum sentencing for possession of small amounts of crack.

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May 5 2015 16:53

Okay, I get the points being made about a slightly better deal under a certain administration, in fact as far as the NHS is concerned it could make a personal difference to me as I currently don't meet the criteria required for a new treatment that could potentially mean I could avoid a looming liver transplant and all the shit that comes with it.
All that said though, I am so violently opposed to the whole stinking business that I couldn't possibly entertain the idea of voting myself even for a second. I'll never actually know that under the Tories I wouldn't receive funding or if a Labour government got in and the NHS got a boost in funding it could also mean that they did something the Tories wouldn't that could have a horrific effect on others. I mean, anyone remember the Iraq war?
In conclusion then, bollocks to individualist self interest inspired voting. Bollocks to Russell Brand the class collaborator(?) and bollocks to the whole gut wrenchingly vile business of elections.
I still get the impression that there is some sort of Thatcherist throwback feeling amongst anarchists that the Tories are worse than Labour but to me that idea is completely out of sinc with our beliefs. I don't buy it for a second.

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May 5 2015 20:18

(Ok, it's off the topic of Russell Brand but I've just see there's an article in the The Spectator called I’m not voting on Thursday — but don’t you dare call me apathetic by Brendan O'Neill. I know nothing about O'Neill and I've only skim read the article because I'm lazy.)

Brendan O'Neill:

Quote:
This handwringing over public apathy sums up the political class’s contempt for the great unwashed. For apathy is no neutral term, merely meaning ‘switched-off’ or ‘otherwise engaged’. It is a stinging barb. To be apathetic is to be, in the words of the Oxford English Dictionary, ‘without feeling’.

http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/brendan-oneill/2015/05/im-not-voting-on-thu...

Also, The Observer had some student's photography project called "I won’t be voting because…" which mentions Brand.

Quote:
When Britain goes to the polls on Thursday, millions of people, young and old, will be doing as Russell Brand does and shunning the ballot box. Photographer Denise Felkin has made this ‘movement’ the focus of a project in which she profiles nine non-voters and asks them why they won’t be participating

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/may/03/i-wont-be-voting-bec...

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May 5 2015 20:39

rat wrote:

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I know nothing about O'Neill

You're lucky.

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May 5 2015 20:43

Brendan O'Neill once again demonstrating he's either a genius cunt troll, or has the least self awareness of any human ever.

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May 6 2015 20:18
Fall Back wrote:
Brendan O'Neill once again demonstrating he's either a genius cunt troll, or has the least self awareness of any human ever.

Seriously? After all this time you still don't understand that Spiked are the RCP in their full mercenary development? They say anything their neocon and Tory paymasters want them to say. If Brendan O'Connor is pushing the don't vote message, it's because someone in Tory head office has reckoned that the people most likely to be open to Brand's previous position, are predominantly not tory voters. Money has changed hands accordingly. O'Neil's politics are the politics of the biggest check book that allows him to vent his hatred of the left whilst making profit. SImple as.

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May 6 2015 21:21

I was specifically referring to the phrase "political class’s contempt for the great unwashed" coming from ~Brendan O'Neill~

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May 6 2015 21:29

I'm amazed to see so many bright young things posting on another Russell Brand thread! (And hoping I can bask in everyone's youth and vigour, I'll pitch in - I might end up living longer). I think some times it actually matters even to the committed non-voter what sort of background you come from; I don't mean class, rather tradition. So, for me I see no worth in voting in the wider picture, indeed on some levels accept that it bolsters the worse side of politics - that of cheerfully, willingly farming out your opinion; however, vote Labour in the face of a credible threat of seeing BNP as your councillor or MP (in some North East areas possibly a genuine threat circa 15 years ago)? Well, vote labour if you must but don't dance about it. Much of the low level end of things can mean one party wants to get rid, another jumps on the bandwagon of resisting - its realpolitik, as opposed to the cosy world of thinking we are aloof of the influence of thee politician clowns.
Tbh, when the alternative to parliamentary elections is barely on the radar, projecting ourselves as those forever seeking a contrary position doesn't explain anything.

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May 6 2015 22:01

There's an article about not voting on opendemocracy.net: I have to admit to knowing sweet f.a. about this lot.

Quote:
If you care about politics, don't vote.

Quote:
“Vote!” urge the party politics fans, waving their General Election sign-up sheets. But voting is the least effective way to create change.

Quote:
Refusing to vote is controversial. Voting is democracy in action, party politics fans argue, waving Facebook statuses and sign-up sheets. It's your major chance to make your voice heard. If you don't vote, you can't complain about the result. If you don't vote against the Conservatives, you are basically voting for them...

https://opendemocracy.net/transformation/ray-filar/dont-vote-political-c...

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May 7 2015 20:18
plasmatelly wrote:
I'm amazed to see so many bright young things posting on another Russell Brand thread! (And hoping I can bask in everyone's youth and vigour, I'll pitch in - I might end up living longer). .

Well everyone else is basking in Russell's glow...

A part of me wonders if voting for the least worst party, if it will improve conditions, is ok. Since I think we all agree that we're against immiserabilists who actually want people to suffer so they'll become revolutionary.

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May 7 2015 20:29
jef costello wrote:
A part of me wonders if voting for the least worst party, if it will improve conditions, is ok. Since I think we all agree that we're against immiserabilists who actually want people to suffer so they'll become revolutionary.

Do you think there is least worst party? Is there a party which doesn't advocate cuts and austerity?

Devrim

no1
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May 8 2015 14:38

After Miliband, Clegg and Farage, Russell Brand now quits too -
http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/russell-brand-resigns-politic...

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May 8 2015 21:14
no1 wrote:
After Miliband, Clegg and Farage, Russell Brand now quits too -
http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/russell-brand-resigns-politic...

Not really, he joked he was 'stepping down', but did say he didn't understand 'that world' which I assume means parliamentary politics and that he 'intuitively didn't like it' and was going to stay away from it and focus on communities and people taking part in direct action.

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May 8 2015 23:05

Yeah, haven't watched the video yet but looks like he has distanced himself from his comments in support of Miliband, saying he got "caught up" in the moment:
http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2015/may/08/russell-brand-stages-clim...

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May 9 2015 14:53

Well, he seems to have got carried away with the prospect of a Tory victory -- and the hope that a labour government would be more likely to be responsive to pressure from below (best not mention the Iraq anti-War march...). Understandable -- the Tories are evil and have made no attempt to deny they are going to attack the weakest in our society, go after the unions, etc.

His politics are developing, he is thinking things through, he is going to make mistakes -- I think actual anarchists should be more supportive of him. Dismissing him for not reaching all the right conclusions yet is just silly -- none of us are born anarchists.

In terms of his impact, well, given the venom he has produced in the mainstream media he is obviously saying something they don't like -- he is suggesting change is possible and it will come from below, by our own direct action. If this gets more people reading about anarchism, more people taking direct action, so much the better.

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May 9 2015 15:18
Anarcho wrote:
His politics are developing, he is thinking things through, he is going to make mistakes -- I think actual anarchists should be more supportive of him. Dismissing him for not reaching all the right conclusions yet is just silly -- none of us are born anarchists.

Yeah, I would tend to agree with this (apart from the 'be more supportive' as I'm not sure what that would mean exactly.. not sure a 'Defend Russell Brand' campaign is of particularly high priority right now! wink ).. he's definititely said some silly stuff, but tbh his politics seem like the politics of most dissillusioned lefties these days: protests are good, grassroots is good, politicians are bad, Labour Party are mostly bad but maybe we should vote for them coz the Tories are worse etc. Like, I know people with similar politics to Brand (sometimes worse tbh) and having a go at him as if he's a reformist scumbag always feels like the same criticisms that could be made at anyone who isn't a Full Communism communist..

Anarcho wrote:
In terms of his impact, well, given the venom he has produced in the mainstream media he is obviously saying something they don't like

Again, I agree. There are obviously things to criticise about Brand (mostly his sexism/behaviour with women) but it's interesting that these aren't what the mainstream media go with. It's always either a) he's 'ridiculously' left-wing (a criticism which also includes us) or b) he uses big words (which I think borders on anti-working class prejudice most of the time).. I actually feel like his backing Miliband at the elections was in part a reaction to the enormous amount of media pressure on him to stop being so 'ridiculous' and start using his platform for 'serious' politics..

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May 9 2015 17:39

Wish Brand would take a look at some of these threads on Libcom, think there is any way we could invite him if it would be worthwhile?

Also I never really paid any attention to brand before he started the trews thing, so don't really know about his sexism or attitude towards women, what was it he did and has he not maybe changed that behaviour?

capricorn
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May 10 2015 08:43

Makes you wonder why she spent so much of her political life campaigning for votes for women !