Russell Brand, revolution and pragmatism

Russell Brand,  revolution and pragmatism

Today Russell Brand has made the news as he openly calls for revolution. Many comrades have been quick to criticise his statements for vagueness, but does it really matter if his statements didn't go far enough?

Russell Brand has long been a somewhat leftist friendly celebrity who is no stranger for causing some mild controversy. From preaching for a more humane, rehabilitative, caring response to drug addiction to performing hilarious critiques of the media with his appearances on MSNBC and the GQ awards, many people have rallied behind him and perhaps been made to stop and think about certain issues they thought they were sure on.

Though it seems for many anarchists and those on the far left in general, his efforts are hypocritical, in effective and not extreme enough to be worth getting behind. It is my opinion that in light of the state of the movement, if one can be said to exist in a meaningful way at all, these points are at least moot, and mostly counterproductive.

The fact of the matter is that Russell Brand is a celebrity with a huge public following, regular appearances in the media that reaches and influences the public in its millions. He thus has an enormous opportunity to effortlessly sway opinion in a way that we will perhaps never have. And it costs us nothing. He is not in a tiny under resourced political organization that's size dictates its biggest victory to be confined to the realm of distributing agitational propaganda; propaganda which is seen by the already converted, bar a few small gains against individuals bosses in mostly non unionised workplaces.

It hence makes absolutely no sense to only be seen as negative and cynical towards an open call for revolution and a condemnation of government, representative democracy and environmental damage. Yes, in the interview with Paxman he is tactically un clear about what his notion of revolution entails specifically and materially. This is probably because he honestly doesn’t know, but that is fine. Also, as he says the onus is not on him to do so as an individual. Of course Brand is not an anarchist. Of course he is not espousing these ideas from the position of being a proletarian. He is not being radicalised by a life of precarity and fear living on zero hour contracts, or being constantly threatened by benefit sanctions in lieu of finding non-existent jobs or creating them himself. But not only is he plainly aware of this, that isn't really the most important thing at hand.

The reality of our situation as radicals at the moment is that we are isolated and often alienated from the working class, a class we are a part of and a class that we ultimately aim to liberate as members of it ourselves. Our victories are small, our presence is largely misunderstood, limited or even non-existent. This is a truth we must confront if we want the next spontaneous expression of rage towards the status quo to be class conscious, organised, targeted and ultimately politically consequential. If not, it will manifest as it did in the riots of 2011 in the mass theft of consumer goods and wrecking our own communities resulting in imprisonment, repression and being labelled as apolitical thugs; equally condemned by the state and fellow working class people blindly succumbing to calls for draconian and reactionary measures, frenzied by a moral panic engineered by our oppressors.

To put it simply, we need to take what we can get when we are not winning the fight against capitalism in anyway at the moment. I am not calling to strive to become celebrities and to sway public opinion by means of trying to gain access to a platform that will always be against us, no matter how much it tries to simulate a debate and the illusion of alternative available via the ballot box. I don’t want anarchists to try and spread our message by getting spots on political TV shows like Question Time or Newsnight or by writing for publications like The New Statesmen.

We cannot compete with the media and we can’t hope to operate for our own interests using its apparatus which is designed by, and is a tool of those we wish to overthrow. We will never make anarchism a popular ideology by going on the news and whining about the great injustice of words like ‘anarchy’ and ‘communism’ being falsely re associated with notions of chaos and horrific totalitarianism. We can’t hope to become famous and influence public opinion in the way Brand can, or at least aspires to.

But we can influence public opinion by communicating with people on a level, fight by fight, struggle by struggle, conversation by conversation, not closed meeting by closed meeting, not TUC march by TUC march or bookfair by bookfair. And specifically with regards to Russell Brand and others like him, we can do this alongside by using this topical event as an opportunity to talk about our views, an action which does not imply we 100% endorse everything he has ever done or will do.

Posted By

Croy
Oct 24 2013 14:16

Share

Attached files

Comments

Serge Forward
Oct 28 2013 11:53

Thanks Malva. It's appreciated red n black star violet black star pink black star red star red n black star

Croy
Oct 28 2013 13:36

5 pages of comments, a massive mixed response and a ban hammer. DIDN'T I COME BACK WITH A FUCKING BANG.

Picket
Oct 28 2013 15:29

The Brand interview has today given me an opportunity to discuss this stuff with "non-activists", on another forum. I didn't raise the topic, I took posts about his interview as an opportunity to say that many activists have a lot of criticisms of Brand, and I pointed them to this discussion here to get an idea what some activists think about it all. I pointed out that the comments are more enlightening in terms of critique than the blog post itself. Hopefully someone will click through and get a better idea of how these activists see this stuff.

I didn't even raise the notion of "activists", one of the forum members said that "no doubt grass-roots activists are trying to raise ideas like Brand". So it was completely natural to point here.

Surely that can't be a bad thing? Or have I done the wrong thing? I'm not an expert at this stuff, I just do what seems possible to me.

futility index
Oct 28 2013 20:53

commieprincess - Right on the money about not getting an apology. The idea that you should get one for being asked to support your argument is fucking ridiculous. If I controversially called out a public figure for being racist I wouldn't throw my toys out the pram if someone challenged what I had to say or expect my status as a member of an oppressed group to carry any rhetorical weight. Also, ballsack. lol.

Quote:
Maybe you've picked up that women's attractiveness is discussed really quite a lot. And perhaps you've picked up (but this is the really advanced stuff) that men's really isn't as much?

How much its discussed is irrelevant. I'd say the majority of discussion on female attractiveness comes from women in any case. I don't see a lot of men marking out circles of shame or writing articles about lena dunham's thighs. Still wouldn't matter, because from infancy *both* men and women judge other humans on attractiveness and respond differently according to that judgement. Thats a scientific fact, and despite human nature being a dirty word for anarchos thats what it is. Do radical feminists think there is some alchemical property of THE MEDIA that turns a thought sexist when it hits a page or screen? If not then how the fuck is admitting in print that you did something everyone does semi-conciously in anyway sexist?

fingers malone
Oct 28 2013 21:04

Why are you being massively dismissive of commie princess? Seriously, think about it, why?

Tyrion
Oct 28 2013 21:17
futility index wrote:
commieprincess - Right on the money about not getting an apology. The idea that you should get one for being asked to support your argument is fucking ridiculous. If I controversially called out a public figure for being racist I wouldn't throw my toys out the pram if someone challenged what I had to say or expect my status as a member of an oppressed group to carry any rhetorical weight. Also, ballsack. lol.

Quote:
Maybe you've picked up that women's attractiveness is discussed really quite a lot. And perhaps you've picked up (but this is the really advanced stuff) that men's really isn't as much?

How much its discussed is irrelevant. I'd say the majority of discussion on female attractiveness comes from women in any case. I don't see a lot of men marking out circles of shame or writing articles about lena dunham's thighs. Still wouldn't matter, because from infancy *both* men and women judge other humans on attractiveness and respond differently according to that judgement. Thats a scientific fact, and despite human nature being a dirty word for anarchos thats what it is. Do radical feminists think there is some alchemical property of THE MEDIA that turns a thought sexist when it hits a page or screen? If not then how the fuck is admitting in print that you did something everyone does semi-conciously in anyway sexist?

Really awful post, all around.

Noah Fence
Oct 28 2013 21:19

Just when this thread was getting civilised again...

futility index
Oct 28 2013 21:44

Its an argument. She tries to dismiss mine, I try to dismiss hers. I haven't got personal like she did either, so whats the problem?

Steven.
Oct 28 2013 21:50

Futility index, first of all there is absolutely no need for that kind of rudeness. Be polite on here.

futility index wrote:
commieprincess - Right on the money about not getting an apology. The idea that you should get one for being asked to support your argument is fucking ridiculous.

you may not apologise here, but you were wrong, as CP did point out a bunch of mentions of women in the article which were sexist and which you did not notice.

Quote:
Quote:
Maybe you've picked up that women's attractiveness is discussed really quite a lot. And perhaps you've picked up (but this is the really advanced stuff) that men's really isn't as much?

How much its discussed is irrelevant. I'd say the majority of discussion on female attractiveness comes from women in any case.

I'm sorry, but this is irrelevant. And this doesn't mean that patriarchy is not to blame - patriarchal values are absorbed by everyone, men and women. In the same way that racist ideas permeate the whole of society, including racially oppressed groups. And of course, in this case the discussion of female attractiveness was from a man.

Quote:
Still wouldn't matter, because from infancy *both* men and women judge other humans on attractiveness and respond differently according to that judgement. Thats a scientific fact, and despite human nature being a dirty word for anarchos thats what it is

this may well be the case - but it doesn't mean it's appropriate to someone to bang on about it in an article preaching egalitarianism and revolution! And you will notice that this is not just people judging other humans by their attractiveness. Every mention of women in his article is about their appearance or their status as sex objects - not in a particularly extreme or degrading way, mind, but it's still there. And not a single mention of the men is.

Chilli Sauce
Oct 28 2013 22:54

Jesus fucking Christmas, Futility Index, there was so much wrong with that post. Steven's covered it pretty well already, but your impressive level of dickheadedness warrants further response:

Quote:
controversially

Controversially? Man, it takes serious effort to ignore Brand's sexism. I don't think there's another poster on this thread who'd claim Brand isn't sexist. The conversation has been on the balance between his bad politics/his sexism and his emotion and public spotlight. But, of course he's said sexist things, that's a given. To claim otherwise is madness.

Not to mention that commie's already quoted from the article at length. I mean, your argument seems to be that women aren't mentioned much at all, only as part of a "crap metaphor". Even if that was true (it's not), think about what you're saying. It's still basically an argument in favor of Brand's sexism.

Quote:
ballsack. lol.

And, as long as we're going all ad hominem, I assume what you're trying to imply is that using a term like this is somehow contradictory? Sounds pretty similar to arguments coming from the right. How come black people can use the N-word? How dare a feminist use male genetalia as an insult? Don't they know it's like as bad as the c-word? lol roll eyes

Quote:
I'd say the majority of discussion on female attractiveness comes from women in any case.

In terms of institutional promotion of sexism, you're utterly batshit wrong. But that aside, you are aware that a large percentage of feminist literature is concerned with how men and women both internalize patriarchal norms?

In all seriousness, have you read any feminist critique? At all?

Croy
Oct 28 2013 23:52
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Quote:
ballsack. lol.

And, as long as we're going all ad hominem, I assume what you're trying to imply is that using a term like this is somehow contradictory?

No I think they are saying ballsack is a really funnily bad insult.

Steven.
Oct 28 2013 23:31

Good feminist response to his interview/article here:
http://www.salon.com/2013/10/25/i_dont_stand_with_russell_brand_and_neit...

futility index
Oct 29 2013 03:56
Quote:
Controversially? Man, it takes serious effort to ignore Brand's sexism. I don't think there's another poster on this thread who'd claim Brand isn't sexist.

I don't claim to be an expert on Brand and I'm not a fan of his comedy. I haven't talked about whether his sexist in his other work. The question of whether the NS article is sexist is pretty obviously controversial here and thats clearly what I'm talking about.

Quote:
Not to mention that commie's already quoted from the article at length. I mean, your argument seems to be that women aren't mentioned much at all, only as part of a "crap metaphor". Even if that was true (it's not), think about what you're saying. It's still basically an argument in favor of Brand's sexism.

No, its not. I don't agree that his statements were sexist. I addressed the initial sentence already. As for the rest of commie's quotes, I don't even know where to start. Maybe you'd call it content analysis, I'd call it confirmation bias.

Quote:
And, as long as we're going all ad hominem, I assume what you're trying to imply is that using a term like this is somehow contradictory?

Nope, just found it to be an amusingly childish insult. Nice rant though. The fact that a grown-ass man can't bring himself to write the word 'nigger' in full says a lot about the kind of PC alternate reality some of you exist in.

Quote:
In terms of institutional promotion of sexism, you're utterly batshit wrong. But that aside, you are aware that a large percentage of feminist literature is concerned with how men and women both internalize patriarchal norms? In all seriousness, have you read any feminist critique? At all?

I am aware of it and I disregard it, along with most other 'false consciousness' theories. And if I'm so batshit wrong then go ahead and prove it.

Quote:
Futility index, first of all there is absolutely no need for that kind of rudeness. Be polite on here.

I can be condescended to and insulted, but calling someones ideas 'fucking ridiculous' is overstepping. Right.

Quote:
this may well be the case - but it doesn't mean it's appropriate to someone to bang on about it in an article preaching egalitarianism and revolution! And you will notice that this is not just people judging other humans by their attractiveness. Every mention of women in his article is about their appearance or their status as sex objects - not in a particularly extreme or degrading way, mind, but it's still there. And not a single mention of the men is.

So is mentioning a woman's appearance sexist inherently? Or is it the frequency? Does the context and intent of the comments even matter? Women are sex objects for hetro males, and vice versa. The idea that making reference to that diminishes either the reader or authors understanding of women's person-hood is nonsense. Out of all the previously apolitical people on my facebook feed who shared and enthused about Brand's video, the majority were women. So I'd question whether anyone outside the anarchist scene really gives a shit about 'appropriateness' in the way libcom's radical feminists and their allies do.

commieprincess
Oct 29 2013 09:10
futility index wrote:
I don't claim to be an expert on Brand and I'm not a fan of his comedy. I haven't talked about whether his sexist in his other work. The question of whether the NS article is sexist is pretty obviously controversial here and thats clearly what I'm talking about.

Actually it's completely not controversial - you seem to be the only one who is adamant it's not sexist.

futility index wrote:
As for the rest of commie's quotes, I don't even know where to start. Maybe you'd call it content analysis, I'd call it confirmation bias

Rather than actually address the quotes I provided and explain how there's supposedly no possible way that they're sexist, you just make massive assumptions about me based on (interestingly enough) no evidence.

futility index wrote:
Nope, just found it to be an amusingly childish insult.

Ah women, with their childish tantrums. You know what's childish? Stubbornly refusing to acknowledge the legitimacy of something which is plainly and clearly laid out for you in black and white. I'm not sure if it's because it makes you feel inadequate or threatened or what. But it's pretty pathetic either way.

futility index wrote:
The fact that a grown-ass man can't bring himself to write the word 'nigger' in full says a lot about the kind of PC alternate reality some of you exist in.

Ah, racist and sexist in one, neat, bite-size package. Firstly, what, it takes a MAN with BALLS and a BALLSACK to use big racist words? People who show some level of racial sensitivity are not really "grown-ass men"? Oh, but of course you didn't mean it in a racist or sexist way - you just didn't care if it made a whole ton of people feel like shit so that you could make a point about being a big man.

futility index wrote:
I can be condescended to and insulted

Yeah, cos you entered this debate with good, honest intentions. It's not like you wrote some half-arsed, shitty, dismissive, sexist post to begin with.

As for your last paragraph, I guess I'm not going to waste my energy explaining this whole thing called feminism to you - there's really quite a few sources which can curb your ignorance if you're interested. Just to say, about your female friends who shared the interview - I liked the interview on facebook, I also watch TV, read books, listen to music which has explicitly sexist content. It's impossible not to. I fucking loved the interview. I just don't really like sexism.

My only point, which seems to be so upsetting and threatening to you, is that when we get excited about Brands egalitarian ideas, we should just perhaps mention that he is sexist, and he needs to work on that.

Futility, we all reproduce sexism. I do it, you most certainly do it (and seem to basque in the joy you get from being disparaging towards women, and spelling out the full n word), everyone does it. All it takes is a simple bit of self-reflection, instead of being defensive, and I promise you it's better than the sense of self satisfaction you get from making other people feel like shit because of things they have no control over (like race, gender etc)

commieprincess
Oct 29 2013 09:14

Oh and I'm not a radical feminist.

Noah Fence
Oct 29 2013 09:17
futility index wrote:
Its an argument. She tries to dismiss mine, I try to dismiss hers. I haven't got personal like she did either, so whats the problem?

My post was supposed to indicate an exasperated 'I know where this is going' rather than a criticism of your post. That said, I almost totally disagree with you.
I don't like plain insults on the forums whoever they come from and I piss myself off when I do it and would rather I hadn't called Batswill a jerk.

I watched the vid about racism and was a bit surprised by Brands contradictory attitudes between racism and sexism but all in all thought that he seems like one of the good guys. So I then checked out some of his stand up - fucking hell, he is hilarious! And smart, and sensitive, and insightful, and endearing. But Jesus, he is so sexist it defies belief. It's like he has a fucking disease! It's so incongruous in the light of his overall personality and attitudes.
Surely, at some point he will realise this and address it? His addiction recovery program is all about looking at your behaviour and attitudes and amending them where they cause harm to yourself and others. This shit takes years - I found recovery in the same program and its an ongoing process, the amount of time he has been clean may be years but is not long when turning round a life's worth of thinking.
I also read the article linked by Steven which I thought was fair and balanced but overall by position changed one bit - I didn't for a moment think of myself a 'standing with Russell Brand'. I was just glad that an idea had escaped from the underground and received a bit of daylight.

Arbeiten
Oct 29 2013 09:18

I thought CP was fairly good at giving Brand a fair hearing, he said some good things, but he is also a bastard*. Struggling to see exactly why futility index is getting so heated up over this one.

* Phoning the grand-dad of the stripper that time, sexually harassing that woman on the film set (her workplace). Pretty shit behaviour by anyone's measure.

Chilli Sauce
Oct 29 2013 09:28

Say what you will about Russell Brand, he certainly has the ability to bring libcom sexists out of the woodwork. That said, post-by-post, Futility, I'm beginning to wonder more and more what you're actually doing on libcom. Luckily, I think you're steadily working your way towards a ban.

Anyway, I just want to address the main strawman in your argument. Everyone here agrees it's good if Brand opens up some space to talk about revolutionary politics. And, that's even true if it opens up the space for you to have those discussions with women.

However, just because some women also found the interview enlightening, it doesn't somehow means Brand's not a sexist. Likewise, if we're going to be consistent as anarchists, we need to call out patriarchy and misogyny when we see it.

I mean, seriously man, there's nothing wrong with saying, 'Yeah, he said some good things. But he said some inconsistent things politically and he's also said some really sexist things'.

None of this particularly seems that complicated to me and certainly doesn't justify your elaborate strawmen or your bizarre, macho use of the N-word.

RedEd
Oct 29 2013 10:01

delete

Steven.
Oct 29 2013 10:46
Arbeiten wrote:

* Phoning the grand-dad of the stripper that time, sexually harassing that woman on the film set (her workplace). Pretty shit behaviour by anyone's measure.

on this point, the story about sexually harassing a woman on the film set was made up by The Sun:
http://tabloid-watch.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/billy-connolly-denies-claims...

but he has done stuff like make prank phone call to a hotline live on stage when police were looking for a sex attacker:
http://www.contactmusic.com/news/russell-brand-apologises-after-sex-atta...

and I am personally aware of his past douchey behaviour towards women - he asked an ex of mine for her number before we went out, which she gave him. Then he sent her a text a few days later at like 2 AM saying "come over for sex, text me your address and I'll send a car". Which tempting offer she somehow declined…

Anyway, another excellent post from CP above.

Chilli, I don't think you need to start questioning what people are doing on libcom or talking about banning. CP was rude to FI in her initial post - although I think there was justification for this, so futility responding in kind is understandable but he's going well over the top.

Futility index, responding to some of your points above:

Quote:
I don't claim to be an expert on Brand and I'm not a fan of his comedy. I haven't talked about whether his sexist in his other work. The question of whether the NS article is sexist is pretty obviously controversial here and thats clearly what I'm talking about.

I don't think the idea the New Statesman article is sexist is "controversial" as you are the only one who has claimed it is not.

I didn't say that it was massively misogynist or anything, just that it was about as sexist as an average person. But when you are trying to be an egalitarian revolutionary this is not okay.

Regarding the N word, lots of people find it offensive. And there is no point needlessly causing offence to people who may have already suffered racial abuse or discrimination. It's neither inherently grown-up or manly to needlessly cause offence to people.

Quote:
Quote:

In terms of institutional promotion of sexism, you're utterly batshit wrong. But that aside, you are aware that a large percentage of feminist literature is concerned with how men and women both internalize patriarchal norms? In all seriousness, have you read any feminist critique? At all?

I am aware of it and I disregard it, along with most other 'false consciousness' theories. And if I'm so batshit wrong then go ahead and prove it.

so a you now saying you disagree that women internalise patriarchal norms as well as men? This seems to contradict with what you said above about women making judgements about other women's appearance.

Rather than spuriously demanding people "prove" things, I think it's pretty self-evident that women internalise patriarchy as much as men. For example, in the US the majority of women are anti-abortion.

Quote:
Quote:

Quote:

this may well be the case - but it doesn't mean it's appropriate to someone to bang on about it in an article preaching egalitarianism and revolution! And you will notice that this is not just people judging other humans by their attractiveness. Every mention of women in his article is about their appearance or their status as sex objects - not in a particularly extreme or degrading way, mind, but it's still there. And not a single mention of the men is.

So is mentioning a woman's appearance sexist inherently? Or is it the frequency? Does the context and intent of the comments even matter? Women are sex objects for hetro males, and vice versa.

If you can't see how women in this society are used as sex objects more than men then I suggest having a look at these images advertising unisex clothing:

http://www.businessinsider.com/american-apparels-unisex-ads-2013-5?op=1

Or this video where they reverse gender roles in advertising to show how ridiculous they are:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=HaB2b1w52yE#t=163

I don't think there is anything inherently sexist about mentioning women's appearance (indeed, I have even done so in some of my writing, like this). But if almost every reference to women is sexualised, and not a single reference to men is, then that is problematic. I mean come on board you think giving out a leaflet about a strike or whatever with reference to "fit birds" on it? You could quibble over minutiae over whether it was technically sexist or not, but either way it's totally unnecessary.

Anyway if the tone on this thread does not become more conciliatory and less aggressive we're going to have to lock it start deleting stuff. So please be polite even if you disagree with each other.

Quote:
The idea that making reference to that diminishes either the reader or authors understanding of women's person-hood is nonsense. Out of all the previously apolitical people on my facebook feed who shared and enthused about Brand's video, the majority were women. So I'd question whether anyone outside the anarchist scene really gives a shit about 'appropriateness' in the way libcom's radical feminists and their allies do.

Like I also said above, a lot of my friends on social media who shared this were women. But then, a couple of my female friends on Facebook are big supporters of Julian Assange, and don't care at all about the rape allegations.

That doesn't mean this isn't problematic, or that we shouldn't try to challenge this.

commieprincess
Oct 29 2013 11:25

Steven, great post.

Can I just say, I realise I'm partly responsible for this getting snappy and unpleasant, but I'm just sick of being polite and restrained towards people like this. I'm sick of people behaving like this, completely getting away with it and having a little victory wank. I'm sick of so called anarchists having no respect for female comrades.

My initial post was met with a barrage of people demanding I "prove" Brand's sexism, implying my reading of the article was hysterical feminist madness etc. I'm not sure why anyone thinks that's ok.

I don't think my snappiness or my use of the word "ballsack" justifies futility's response and even if I'd been really deeply personal and insulting, I just don't think anything can justify the level of sexism displayed here.

Anyway, for my own mental well being, I'm going to duck out of this one.

RedEd
Oct 29 2013 12:03

Alright, there is something very wrong going on here. The level of casual sexism in this thread has been really high and a female comrade no longer wishes to post in it because of this. That is not ok. We can do better than this Libcom!

snipfool
Oct 29 2013 12:32
RedEd wrote:
Alright, there is something very wrong going on here. The level of casual sexism in this thread has been really high and a female comrade no longer wishes to post in it because of this. That is not ok. We can do better than this Libcom!

I agree. We shouldn't be content with just putting our up/down votes in the right places.

Ramona
Oct 29 2013 14:25

Just wanted to step in quickly and say I agree entirely with both commieprincess and Steven's posts on this thread, and the article Steven linked to is really good.

And commieprincess I share your frustration about having to deal with this level of dismissiveness:

futility index wrote:
Quote:
In all seriousness, have you read any feminist critique? At all?

I am aware of it and I disregard it

As for the NS article and whether talking about women like that is sexist or not (it is), we're on old familiar harmless banter territory here, hanging out with harmless banter's mate, ironic sexism. It's tedious, and it's what a huge amount of Russell Brand's persona seems to be built on, have loads of fun pretending to be a sexist pigdog then say something about a continental philosopher and hey presto, it's ok, he was just kidding! It's an act! But when your act is essentially you indulging yourself in performance of sexist fantasy, and knowing that people who indulge in sexism for real aren't exactly vilified in mainstream culture, you're not really doing anything clever or edgy, you're just being a sexist with a pretty lame get out clause. [/killjoy]

Noah Fence
Oct 29 2013 14:38
Quote:
It's tedious, and it's what a huge amount of Russell Brand's persona seems to be built on, have loads of fun pretending to be a sexist pigdog then say something about a continental philosopher and hey presto, it's ok, he was just kidding! It's an act!

I haven't seen much of him but I'm not sure if this is true. I got the impression that in this department the guy is simply a moron - for example, in the Naziboy vid his comments about black women. WTF!!! Still, maybe I just haven't seen enough.

Croy
Oct 29 2013 14:44

Alright I have seen this going on long enough and I going to have call bullshit on a couple people and speak up. I am defending NO ONE completely, from either side. I am going to quote from Stevens post because its the most accurate summary of what has been going on recently in the thread.

Steven. wrote:
on this point, the story about sexually harassing a woman on the film set was made up by The Sun:
http://tabloid-watch.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/billy-connolly-denies-claims...

This is why I think Futility asking Commie for evidence and to back up her claims was a perfectly legitimate question. Asking some one to back up their claims is a neutral process of reason when trying to make decisions, regardless on what your questioning, trying to say them asking this is somehow evidence of sexism and non willingness to admit its presence because they asked a question is really quite bad.

Steven. wrote:
I don't think the idea the New Statesman article is sexist is "controversial" as you are the only one who has claimed it is not.

All this talk of saying that no one has questioned or to put it in more emotionally charged, argument provoking terms, denied sexism in the article is quite simply false. If you read earlier I clearly said to commie that I don't think anything he said in there was sexist. Like I said before, they were mostly, in my opinion, jokes that were ironic and more mocking of his shallowness than an attack on the women. This is an interpretation . It seems to have been implied here that I should automatically retract my interpretation and feel bad about it purely because women that might be affected by the perceived sexism has interpreted the same article to be sexist. This does not make me feel at all comfortable. An attitude of "I feel offended as a woman because I think its sexist so I shouldn't even have to give evidence because it makes me feel bad" is not a helpful attitude that will make me tempted to look again and re evaluate my thoughts, all that attitude says to me is "this is not up for discussion and I will not try and help you to see things my way". And finally, when I talked about perceived sexism, I am not using this word to try and belittle others views. I am not saying people are wrong for thinking the NS article is sexist. I am just saying, thinking its sexist is still ultimately an opinion derived from personal interpretation of a piece of text. With all the above I am talking about the article only, not the other actions of RB in person.

Steven. wrote:
Anyway if the tone on this thread does not become more conciliatory and less aggressive we're going to have to lock it start deleting stuff. So please be polite even if you disagree with each other.

This. I am really glad this blog and the resulting discussion has stirred shit up here. I would hate for all this debate to be lost.

snipfool
Oct 29 2013 16:15

Unfortunately using Brand's comments to start a conversation on revolution isn't always neatly distinct from addressing the dodgy sexist views he and his admirers have. It felt some people were sharing the video on Facebook primarily because they admire him as the edgy lad who shagged Katy Perry. Early comments were 'I agree with what he says!' but attempts to get a discussion going on what alternative revolutionary methods we had quickly dissolved into comments like 'I'd do anything he told me to, cos he had Katy Perry... He must teach us.'

flaneur
Oct 29 2013 17:41
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
Ultimately I'm not entirely sure what we should be doing about Brand's sexism, we can hardly get him to engage in an accountability process, ban him from attending meetings or events or generally refuse to have anything to do with him. We can't even deny him a platform so short of writing things like this or pre-fixing every mention of his name with sexist I can't see what we should do.

I'm not suggesting sexism should be tolerated for one moment but how is any of that going to challenge it? As Steven said, sexism is rife amongst 'normal' men and the things Russell Brand says seem tame compared to the disgusting shite I've heard come out of people's mouths. For that to change, we're going to have to think up other ideas than ostracising.

I don't have all the answers but I've always liked the story of the Lesbian and Gay Miners' Strike Group;

Quote:
David Donovan, a South Wales miner, said "You have worn our badge, "Coal not Dole", and you know what harassment means, as we do. Now we will pin your badge on us, we will support you. It won't change overnight, but now 140,000 miners know that there are other causes and other problems. We know about blacks, and gays, and nuclear disarmament. And we will never be the same."

As the Southampton group remarked in their response to our survey, "Our best personal experiences were meeting miners who came to the city from Abercynon. After coming down here repeatedly and meeting politically active socialists, seeing them collect money, food and clothing and generally working in support of the strikers, their attitudes were forced to change just by their own experiences, because they know we are just ordinary people, and people who support their struggle.

Noah Fence
Oct 29 2013 17:54
Quote:
Early comments were 'I agree with what he says!' but attempts to get a discussion going on what alternative revolutionary methods we had quickly dissolved into comments like 'I'd do anything he told me to, cos he had Katy Perry... He must teach us.'

I didn't get that response or anything like it from anyone that I spoke to. In fact, apart from the initial mention of his performance with Paxo and one female friend saying he was 'a bit of a fucking lech' my conversations(about half a dozen) got straight to the meat of the topic.
Looks like I've just found yet another justification for my complete avoidance of Facebook.

Fleur
Oct 29 2013 18:20

I haven't really looked in on this for a couple of days. wtf? I'm not at all surprised that Commie Princess got pissed off, and that's without me seeing the really offensive post which was unpublished. Do some people really feel that discussing sexism in relation to revolutionary politics is a derail? Because we women do make up half of the population and it sounds a bit like a "we'll get to that one later, when all the important stuff has been dealt with" argument.
I'm not suggesting that most people here are defending Brand's sexism and as I said, way back on page 1, I think it's a good thing that the interview got people talking but I'm, quite seriously jaw-dropped at some of the things Futility Index said. I know other people have already rebutted them, but I just wanted to add my voice here. Do you have any concept of sexism, feminism,women at all?

Quote:
Women are sex objects for hetro males, and vice versa.

Yeah, because it's exactly the same, isn't it? Men are often subject to catcalls, street harassment, objectification on a daily basis; attractive, scantily dressed men are draped over vehicles at the Grand Prix and images of the perky-looking young ones are used to sell things all the time. Sure, both men and women find people sexually attractive but the way that is represented is just a little bit different, don't you think?
Women do comment on other women's appearances and body shame each other, I wonder why that is? You don't think it has something to do with women having spent their entire lives being judged upon and defined by their appearance?
And this one

Quote:
Still wouldn't matter, because from infancy *both* men and women judge other humans on attractiveness and respond differently according to that judgement. Thats a scientific fact, and despite human nature being a dirty word for anarchos thats what it is.

Really? It's a scientific fact is it? Babies spring from the womb fully equipped to judge each other and sexism is just"human nature." I guess we should just suck it up then. We're all just naturally born that way, it has nothing to do with socialisation. It was entirely my imagination that when my daughters were little whenever an adult who didn't know them interacted with them, they always commented on their appearance, whereas nobody ever told my son that his clothes were pretty or his hair was cute.
I've been a bit busy for a few days and I've probably paid way less attention to Russell Brand than the rest of the world seems to have during this time and I'm glad he's got people talking politics when they wouldn't normally. However, I find it monumentally depressing that if people are going to be talking about a revolution that sexism should be a massive part of that discussion. Not a side issue.