On Brand’s Descent and the Myths of the Maverick

What does Russell Brand’s popularity tell us about his (and our) politics? What does the instant defence of him tell us about our society? Setting aside the allegations for now we can look at the arc of Brand’s political journey; the arguments used to defend him; and what conspiracy politics tells us about where we are.

Brand has moved over a period of the last ten years from the left to the centre (his spiritual-hippy / ‘wellness-guru’ phase) to platforming the far-right, and, apparently taken a whole load of people with him, oblivious or uncaring of the consequences of these changes. At the heart of this phenomenon are the peculiar crisis of male identity and the consequent tsunami of misogyny that comes with it and the myth of the collapse of the left and right as meaningful categories to understand the world.

A Political Odyssey

In 2013 when he was interviewed by Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight Brand described British democracy as ‘ineffectual’ and encouraged viewers to abstain from voting. He later guest-edited the New Statesman where he railed against capitalism and continued to make frequent appearances at progressive and radical political demonstrations during this period.

Brand had previously sought to influence the outcome of a grassroots housing campaign, aiming to give residents of the New Era estate a voice through his social media platforms and by attracting mainstream media attention. The New Era 4 All campaign was founded in 2014 when the New Era estate in Hoxton, a gentrifying area of East London, was sold to a consortium of housing companies that planned to more-than-triple rents.
In December 2014 Brand joined residents as they handed in a petition which had received almost 300,000 signatures. After the New Era estate was sold to a charitable foundation, campaign leader Lindsey Garrett (2014) said: ‘I don’t think we’d be here now without Russell Brand’s support’.

He would later support Jeremy Corbyn. In 2014 the Guardian’s George Monbiot nominated Brand as his ‘hero of the year’. He said “I loved the way he energised young people who had been alienated from politics. I claimed, perhaps hyperbolically, he was “the best thing that has happened to the left in years”. At one point he was considered “the nearest Britain has to a revolutionary populist.”

By 2023 Brand was shifting his show, ‘Stay Free with Russell Brand’ to the right-wing platform, Rumble, citing YouTube’s content censorship as a driving factor. Some have suggested that his political journey – from loquacious left-wing leader to pandering to the alt-right’s culture wars – was a deliberate attempt to create a shield for his inevitable legal challenge and exposure – while others suggest his descent is the result of the lockdown and the paranoid conspiracy culture that spiralled out from it.

One of Brand’s accusers Alice (not her real name) claims Brand sent a BBC car to collect her from the gates of her school when she was just 16. She has said: “It may sound cynical, but I do think that he was building himself an audience for years of people that would then have great distrust of any publication that came forward with allegations. He knew it was coming for a long time.”

Far-right conspiracy and toxic masculinity

The intersection between the phenomenon of far-right conspiracy and toxic masculinity can be witnessed by those who have risen to instantly defend Brand and denounce the ‘plot’ against him. The list is as predictable as it is pathetic:

Elon Musk
Alex Jones
Katie Hopkins
Andrew Tate
Tucker Carlson
Glenn Greenwald
Laurence Fox
Bev Turner
Roger Stone
Calvin Robinson
Ian Cheong
Jordan Peterson
Tommy Robinson
Neil Oliver
George Galloway (‘Im no Sherlock Holmes, but I smell a giant RAT’)
Allison Pearson
Toby Young

There’s a self-confirming logic to this tribe’s ‘analysis’: the world is full of hidden forces and when they come for you it will just prove all their theories to be true. Many of this list have had their own ‘difficulties’ in the past and their defence mirrors Brand’s own pre-emptive one this week. As Sam Leith has written: “Brand’s pre-emptive line of defence – he put a video out on his YouTube channel a few hours before the Channel 4 programme went out – is a cut ‘n’ paste version of the one that Donald Trump routinely advances, that the misogynistic influencer Andrew Tate fell back on when clapped in irons, and that the GB News anchor Dan Wootton used when he too was facing allegations – which he denies – of sexual impropriety.”

“For Trump, his criminal prosecution was a politically motivated witch-hunt by the ‘Deep State’; for Tate, sex-trafficking charges in Romania were ‘the Matrix’ coming to get him; for Wootton, this was all happening ‘because GB News is the biggest threat to the establishment in decades and they’ll stop at nothing to destroy us’; and Brand, wondering whether ‘there was another agenda at play’, hinted that these were ‘co-ordinated attacks’ by the ‘mainstream media’.”

Myths of Maverick

One of the mainstays of the defence of Brand is that he is a dangerous radical, a maverick speaking truth to power, a Red Pill hero exposing the ‘reality’ about anything from the war in Ukraine to Big Pharma, Bill Gates, the ‘globalists’, the Great Reset, UFO’s or whatever.

As Naomi Klein has written, much of this is confusing gibberish: ” …search for the term “global reset” and you will be bombarded with breathless “exposés” of a secret globalist cabal, headed by Schwab and Bill Gates, that is using the state of shock created by the coronavirus (which is probably itself a “hoax”) to turn the world into a high-tech dictatorship that will take away your freedom forever: a green/socialist/Venezuela/Soros/forced vaccine dictatorship if the Reset exposé is coming from the far right, and a Big Pharma/GMO/biometric implants/5G/robot dog/forced vaccine dictatorship if the exposé hails from the far left.”

It’s a short step from here to denouncing 15 Minute Cities or being terrified of LEZ’s and bike lanes.

Aside from the very serious allegations against Brand is any of this serious?

It is, not just because of the serious amount of people influenced by Brand but what it tells us about a post-ideological world where not only notions of left and right are seen to be meaningless but also the very idea of rational thought begins to break down.

As the journalist Ian Dunt has pointed out: “Once you believe one conspiracy theory, you suffer a form of epistomological breakdown.” What’s happening here as Dunt points out is that people have “dismantled the intellectual apparatus you need to process reality.”

In times of multiple socio-ecological crisis – where movement-building is essential – it’s disempowering in the extreme to be awash with Lizards and BigFoot and Secret World Governments.

But beyond this – at the core of this and other stories – is a weird space in which – as the journalist Joan Smith has put it: “He is an extreme example of a culture where some people think sexism & misogyny are transgressive. They encouraged & celebrated him, making it very hard for women to complain.”

US President Donald Trump (L) congratulates Senior Counselor to the President Stephen Bannon

We’ve seen this with Trump and his famous Access Hollywood ‘Grab em by the pussy’ tapes and by the weird reductionist witterings of Jordan Peterson and the violence of Andrew Tate. We’ve seen this in the rise of the Manosphere and the political manifestation in the Proud Boys movement. The far-right and alt-right is underpinned by reactionary men perpetrating a rancid view of the world, which is both paranoid and predatory. Today Rumble’s headline feature is asking: “Me Too Mafia Goes for Russell Brand, Rapist or Target?”
As I said back in March: “If Tate and Peterson are at the intersection of toxic masculinity/fragility and hyper-misogyny, Brand operates at the point where contaminated hippiedom meets anti-lockdown paranoia and the dubious libertarianism propagated by the far-right.”
Of course there’s a Scottish angle to this as defenders of Brand fulfil all of the stereotypes of their sub-culture. Here Craig Murray tweets that “The “Russell Brand affair” has become a fest of highly paid Murdoch and GMG media hacks telling us how much they hate nonconformists.”
Here is one of the central myths about Brand and similar Shock-Jocks of the New Right, that they are somehow radically subversive or revolutionary and valiantly fighting the ‘mainstream’. Just because Brand’s output is on You Tube and Rumble and podcasts doesn’t mean it isn’t highly lucrative BIG business (his estimated net worth is put at $81 million). If you look at Brand’s recent output, interviewing Robert F Kennedy Jnr, or Tucker Carlson, or Candace Owens or DeSantis or Jordan Peterson or Ben Shapiro the narrative is relentlessly from hard right-wing libertarians, Conservatives and reactionary forces. There is nothing subversive about any of this.
While this is deeply reactionary it’s also highly lucrative. Brand’s income from You Tube went from $750,000 in 2019, £810,000 in 2020, £1 million 2021, $3 million in 2022 to $4 million in 2023. Arguments that Brand is working class, fighting for the wee man, or a maverick outsider will have to content with his mansion his eight real estate properties, and his investment portfolio.
But ultimately this phenomenon points to a deeper malaise in which sections of the left and progressive people are duped and deluded by people like this man riding on a mixture of Celebrity Capital and a narrative of ‘radical outsider’ status. The phenomenon points to the passivity of online culture and the inability for many people to (and this is darkly ironic) think critically for themselves. What will happen to his ‘six million awakening wonders’?

Comments (42)

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  1. 230918 says:

    I’ve never seen Russell Brand’s performances and don’t know whether the current accusations that have been made against him are true or not, but for decades now I’ve heard complaints from women about his toxic masculinity and public misogyny and about his lionisation as a left-wing luvey by the Corbynistas for his skewering of the political establishment in his alternative comedy. Maybe the left should have listened then.

    Now, the political establishment (and not least that wing represented by the Telegraph and the Spectator) is getting its own back by skewering him for his narcissistic descent into anti-establishment alt-right politics.

  2. Cameron fraser says:

    Alternative Comedy?
    My Arse!
    He’s a fraud and I’ve thought it from day one.
    An infantile man child using the media to pave his way to millions.
    In case anyone hasn’t cottoned on, he’s no even funny.

  3. John Wood says:

    Just a minute. This article reads like an attack piece, using meaningless terms like ‘Alt-Right’ and ‘Conspiracy Theorist’, to denounce Brand’s opinions. It is just another example of the so-called ‘culture wars’ and I am disappointed to see it. Why are you so sure that his views are mad bad and dangerous to know? Because ‘everyone says so’? His views are anti-establishment, and anti-globalist, but that is not a criticism in itself, or a reason to reject them out of hand. They don’t actually seem to me to have changed much over time, and I don’t see him as ‘right-wing’ at all. I agree he an irritating, self publicising, “celebrity”, but let’s see some evidence he’s actually wrong before announcing that ‘left and progressive people are duped and deluded by people like this’. If you want to call people duped and deluded, it’s up to you to provide some actual evidence for that.

    1. Andrew says:

      John some of us have been paying close attention for some time to Brand’s metamorphosis and cultivating a US right wing audience. The 4 million he added to his subscribers over the last couple of years have been largely Trump supporters. Brand has said so himself.

      I don’t think Brand is ‘right wing’ as such. What he is doing is more dishonest he is grifting to a right wing audience and now appears a convenient following who back him 100% with these allegations just like they backed Trump 100% when he was caught on audio actually boasting about sexually assaulting women.

      His interview with Ron DeSantis was particularly sycophantic where he actually said these thing during the interview

      ‘Universally loved in Florida’
      ‘Competent orator’
      ‘Very appealing’
      ‘Potent political voice’
      ‘You are dazzling’

      What he has done to justify his very obvious solidarity with far right figures is to manufacture a new false dichotomy where he explains the divide is no longer between left and right but establishment and anti establishment. It is of course BS as the far right anti establishment don’t support any left wing bread and butter causes like workers rights or social justice, quite the opposite but he ignores all this. All he has become is a useful tool for the US far right. It all makes sense now after his low profile period of wellness/ mediation tutor. He now has an audience where he can play the same playbook as Trump. I’m being persecuted by the mainstream.

      1. 230919 says:

        Spot on, Anndrais.

    2. “Why are you so sure that his views are mad bad and dangerous to know?”

      Because Ive watched and analysed them.

      “His views are anti-establishment”

      No they’re not, as laid out in the piece.

      “They don’t actually seem to me to have changed much over time”.

      Yes they have as laid out in the piece?

  4. John Wood says:

    Just to add to my comment just now. After posting it, I saw this by Jonathan Cook. I think it is worth sharing here: https://jonathancook.substack.com?utm_source=navbar&utm_medium=web&r=1l9myp

    1. 230918 says:

      Jonathan Cook is spot on: allegations of sexual assault are very serious indeed; they need to be investigated by police and, if found credible, tested in a court of law, where the alleged victims and the suspect are given the chance to make their case; trial by media (a classic alt-right tactic) is no substitute for such an investigation and trial.

      However, the main interest in Russell lies in his shift to political incorrectness. As the Telegraph represents this shift, it dates from his move from heritage media to the internet. His endorsement of Donald Trump’s candidacy in the 2016 US presidential election is cited as a high point in ths shift, as is his allegation that 2020 US election was manipulated and his propagation of COVID-19 related conspiracy theories, such as all of which are matters of record. His forthright views on issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the Black Lives Matter movement have made him an influential figure in the alt-right’s ongoing war against what it calls ‘Cultural Marxism’ (i.e. c*nts like me). He also recently migrated his show, ‘Stay Free with Russell Brand’, from YouTube to the right-wing platform, Rumble.

      Of course, commentators like Russell shouldn’t be ‘cancelled’; rather, they should be critiqued. We should engage with and deconstruct their arguments, reduce them to absurdity, and hold them up to public ridicule. That’s the proper democratic response to attacks on democracy from both the populist right and the populist left, as I’m sure Jonathan Cook would agree.

      1. No-one is ‘cancelling’ Brand he will be judged for the allegations against him. They will be ‘tested in court’. It’s not ‘political incorrectness’ its detailing his move to supporting the far-right?

        1. 230919 says:

          It’s good that no one is cancelling him. It’s good that the allegations that have been made against him will be tested in a court of law. And his move to the far-right in search of an audience is a politically incorrect one; he should have stuck with the left.

        2. John Wood says:

          I’m sorry Mike, but you are cancelling him. I am not a fan of Brand myself but your article simply dismisses his views as dangerous nonsense. You provide no reason for doing so other than that you call them ‘far right’. That is a meaningless term. Let Brand’s sexual behaviour be judged in a court of law. Let his political views be judged by proper examination and evidence based responses rather than rejecting him because of his ‘celebrity’ or the company he keeps. This whole piece and many of the comments are simply blind prejudice and this does you no favours at all. You don’t like him, I don’t like him much either but if you want to attack his supposed ‘conspiracy theories’ at least do so with some sort of basis. Otherwise you are opposing conspiracy theories with more conspiracy theories. i don’t claim to follow Russell Brand as much as you say you do, but I have to say that at least some of what he says makes sense to me, having done a good deal of my own research. Of course, you can dismiss any view or evidence presented that doesn’t fit with your views, but that is just cancellation. So please lay off and let’s get back to some serious and civilised discussion.

          1. Andrew says:

            ‘Of course, you can dismiss any view or evidence presented that doesn’t fit with your views, but that is just cancellation.’

            When did disagreeing with someone, arguing why you disagree with them become ‘cancellation’ There seems to be certain buzzwords, WOKE is another, that gets thrown around without any real sense of what these things actually mean. Paradoxically its a poor way of shutting down debate throwing these things in.

            Many of have arrives at the view he panders to the far right based on ‘proper examination and evidence’ if you don’t like that opinion that is another matter. It certainly not called cancellation.

          2. John Wood says:

            Andrew, Far from wishing to shut down debate, I would like to open it up. If no evidence is presented to justify hostility, and it’s just ‘because I know and I say so’, it’s not a debate at all, and certainly not about critical thinking. Claiming you have been watching him for a long time is not good enough. No doubt he would say the same about you. If we really want to discuss Russell Brand’s political views, fine, but this is no way to do it. What is ‘alt-right’ anyway?

          3. Sorry I don’t have the powers to cancel him. This is serious and civilised discussion and the issues of sexual violence and misogyny are extremely serious, as too are the problems of the descent of political discourse into paranoia and gibberish. It may sound un-serious but it’s not. It’s got nothing to do with ‘liking him’ or not.

          4. Niemand says:

            It is not blind prejudice. Some of us actually pay attention.

            This is a reasonable account of Brand’s ‘journey’ and though recent it was published before this latest scandal. It backs up Mike’s piece in its account of how he has morphed into an American culture wars pundit. Yes some of the old left-wing ideology remains but it is lost in a welter of actual belief in unfounded conspiracy theories (Covid misinformation, The Great Reset, Ukraine is simply an orchestrated Western proxy war and so on) and a hopelessly confused worldview generally.


          5. John Wood says:

            Ah, yes, there we have it, ‘unfounded conspiracy theories (Covid misinformation, The Great Reset, Ukraine is simply an orchestrated Western proxy war and so on) ”
            I actually think they are very well founded. And yes, I’ve been paying attention too. Perhaps we can just agree to disagree.

          6. 230919 says:

            @ John Wood:

            ‘alt-right’ is an abbreviation of ‘alternative right’, so-called due to its being an ‘alternative’ to conventional right-wing ideologies like conservatism, deep ecology, and fascism. It’s an amorphous, informal movement of nationalists, who believe that their native culture is being ‘cancelled’ and their ethnicity ‘cleansed’ by a conspiracy of malign agents acting through ‘the establishment’, and which movement is mostly active on the Internet. The movement makes populist appeal mainly and variously to the elements of antisemitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, misogyny, and white supremacy to be found in working-class communities. The alt-right intelligentsia sometimes claims its adherence to its working-class prejudices to be ‘ironic’.

            ‘Ironic’ is how Russell Brand’s admirers have defended his recent dalliance with the alt-right in America; his pronouncements and behaviour are, they claim, just so much ‘banter’.

          7. Niemand says:

            And there’s the rub John Wood. You disagree that there is no truth on those particular conspiracy theories. Fine. But it isn’t blind prejudice to disagree with you nor some form of cancelling. It is paranoia to think that and in my view it is that paranoia that is driving such theories.

          8. Andrew says:

            @John Wood

            ‘Claiming you have been watching him for a long time is not good enough’

            I gave a solid example the fawning Ron DeSantis interview – the fact you have chosen to ignore this is not my problem. I can give 100 examples if you wish but it is clear you have your fixed position. I admit I used to like Brand I was a subscriber to his channel (and have remained so as I don’t like echo chambers and don’t immediately shut off people when they say thing I don’t agree with). I have been increasingly dismayed though at his journey to right wing talking points and actual aligning with bone fide far right figures (who are now jumping to his defence).

            I will give one more example (please feel free to ask for many more. I have plenty in the bag believe me). I just didn’t think when we were all commenting on an article we had to do a full essay for our opinion to have any veracity.

            Take his stance on Palestine. To his credit he was always a pretty active campaigner for Palestinian rights and very outspoken. He never speaks about it now though. When asked to comment the last time Israel was bombing the hell out of Gaza his literally said ‘I am doubtful I have anything positive to add’ ‘the situation is complex’ ‘when people ask, what they are saying is come out on my side’ ‘whose hands are clean in this world to comment on an issue like this’ The old Russell would be disgusted with mealy mouth fence sitting evasive word salad. The question is why has he abandoned Palestinian rights? The obvious answer he is now pandering to a different audience.

  5. John says:

    I would consider the major issue from this episode is that, if allegations are true, a blind eye was turned by those in power in entertainment media because RB was a well known star earning a lot of money, not only for himself but for all associated with him.
    His current defenders just goes to show that some people are more interested with their own agendas, ego and taking sides rather than taking a step back and thinking about the circumstances of what has happened and victims.

  6. john mooney says:

    Brand is a typical “Chanty Rassler” as my old Glasgow Granny would say,she could smell bullshit merchants a mile off and as for his”DEFENDERS” the list speaks for itself, a shower of montebanks one and all!

    1. 230920 says:

      A ‘chanty-wrastler’ is what my old Borders great-grannie used to call a plumber; i.e. someone who wrestles with pedestal toilets. She used to call ministers of religion ‘lick-plates’ and ‘chanty-tuimers’. She also used to chastise me as ‘chanty-heidit’ whenever I committed errors in my logic or engaged in fallacious reasoning, as in ‘Thon’s ane chanty-heidit airguiment, Anndrais, son’.

  7. Niemand says:

    Very sound article. Brand’s more recent Youtube stuff is just sad and mad but extremely lucrative. How anyone sane can take him seriously is beyond me. The chorus of sudden defenders is like a parade of grotesques. And all of this says nothing about his guilt or innocence over these latest accusations. I genuinely do not pass any judgment at this stage; how could anyone on the outside of this?

    But he is taken seriously by his millions of followers and here’s the catch – the more we, who think of ourselves as sane and measured compared to the dangerous BS of the Brand’s of this world, keep banging on about not trusting the ‘MSM’ the more we play into the whole conspiracy garbage. It makes us seem as stupid as he is and more importantly it fuels people like Brand as it keeps sowing the distrust in anything that comes from a so-called mainstream source and drives people to the Wild West of Youtube and elsewhere where folk just trun to stuff they want to hear and believe, regardless of the evidence. It is one gigantic confirmation bias machine.

    There is nothing intrinsically wrong with mainstream news media and for all its faults, you are more likely to get the broad truth there than most places and it won’t simply give what you want to believe, yet, suddenly, even saying that feels transgressive, which is as absurd as Brand’s pontifications.

    [NB This site is really not working properly these days – the cloudflare thing is dysfunctional]

    1. Thanks Niemand – are you still having trouble accessing the site? Cloudflare stops the site being taken down by DoS (Denial of Service) attack.

      1. Niemand says:

        Thanks Mike. It is okay again today but the issue has been having to go through cloudflare numerous times then it going into a loop that eventually sent me to an archive version of the site only.

        1. Yeah, we’re working on it, at the moment Cloudflare is the only thing stopping the site being taken down completely. We’ve been under attack for months (and last year)

  8. Derek says:

    I mind Brand being a DJ on 6 Music; didn’t like him then and still don’t like him. I think he’d taken Chris Evans as a model for DJ behaviour – zoo radio – which appealed to a certain market.

  9. WT says:

    I’m sorry but I do not understand the point in this article or half of the responses. The whole Russell Brand thing should be kept for your Twilight zone articles. You say he has mostly 4 million new viewers or listeners or whatever they are called and that they are mostly Trump supporters. Trump is American and thus it is likely that these people are American. Thus Brand is as relevant to our political landscape as PewDiePie -another guffer.

    There are two problems with the thinking behind your article:
    First, The conflation of American politics with British – happens all the time – is inappropriate. The two systems are different, societal pressures are different, voter’s drivers and options are different. So many things make this kind if hip hop happy modern analysis of British politics through American filters extremely wrong headed.

    Second, Russell Brand was a duff stand up comic, a crap presenter and at best a bit of a smart ass nothing more. He appeared in crap shows on television and it is the likes of you who have imbued him with too much status particularly with regard to politics and say philosophy. Has he ever really said anything useful? His ‘don’t vote’ period was a disgrace, it was ill considered and illogical. You say “look at Brand’s recent output, interviewing Robert F Kennedy Jnr, or Tucker Carlson, or Candace Owens or DeSantis or Jordan Peterson or Ben Shapiro…” for a start I don’t know some of these people and I think the reason for that may be that they are American and that their constituency is America and they are the fashion of our times, to quote the late Robin Day “here today and, dare I say it, gone tomorrow” people. This is Scotland, part of Britain, a constitutional Monarchy with a parliamentary system, the American things – the alt right, Rumble, the Manosphere and the Proud Boys – are as irrelevant to our politics as the ins and outs of President Xi’s ministerial posts and inner circle of friends. You may say that many people are interested in these things, well, a lot aren’t.

    Russell Brand’s position as some kind of guru is an example of the failure of discernment in commentators and journalists – not critics but followers of fashion. Look at the ridiculous claims made: “George Monbiot nominated Brand as his ‘hero of the year’” Mike Small said “the best thing that has happened to the left in years”. Someone considered him “the nearest Britain has to a revolutionary populist”
    Really? A comic?

    1. 230919 says:

      While the conflation of US and UK politics is to be avoided, valid comparisons can be made. One of things they share is the rise of populism, with its appeal to nativism and xenophobia and its claim that there’s a conspiracy (of Jews, international financiers, liberals, cultural Marxists… take your pick) which is working to ‘dilute’ or even ‘cancel’ out traditional ‘native’ culture by (among other things) encouraging mass immigration. The phenomenon of populism is common to European, UK, and US politics; it’s purpose is to exploit popular discontent with ‘the establishment’ in order to harness its power both as a mob and electorially. It’s prevalent in our own ‘grudge and grievance’ politics in Scotland as well as in the alt-right in America.

  10. Kevan Shaw says:

    It doesn’t matter the politics of the people who defend him, it is manifestly unjust that Brand is being found guilty based on testimonies untested in any way by anonymous individuals.

    He certainly and self confessedly behaved promiscuously but that does not mean he is automatically guilty of the offences he is accused of. The media are cannibalising one of their own. The law needs to be changed to protect the identity of the accused until the case has been judged in court. Otherwise the media can continue to destroy the reputation of people unfairly and maliciously accused of all sorts of crimes.

    1. John says:

      That will be like how Jimmy Saville was hounded eh?
      The whole issue of all these types of cases from weinstein to Brand is how powerful people in the entertainment (and other) industries can abuse people and power and how difficult it is for the abused to speak up and let alone fight back partly due to industry supporting the accused abusers.
      This is not just about rape but I suppose you are aware of how difficult and traumatic it is to bring charges for victims and how low the success rate is.
      Talk about getting the wrong end of the stick mate.
      I would suggest you and everyone else both watches the Dispatches programme but reads Marina Hyde’s article in Guardian about this case.

  11. Caligula says:

    Maybe he is on crystal meth again? I don’t pay him attention as he appears to be unhinged, but he’s unavoidable. I’m not sure that he has become as right-wing as Mark E Smith and Frank Zappa were, thought.

    1. Niemand says:

      Bit of an odd comparison. Not sure about Zappa, but Mark E Smith was railing against the left as embodied by the likes of Rough Trade in the late 70s and was basically a political maverick from the start. It was part of his appeal though and no-one would bother looking to him for political insight, something I am sure he would have approved of.

  12. John Wood says:

    In answer to 230919, in what way is ‘deep ecology’ a ‘right wing ideology’?

    To me that is simply nonsense.

    I’m sorry, call me old fashioned, but I just don’t get any of this. Redefining concepts, making what to me are completely false associations, how is that supposed to further any discussion?

    So if I question any of this this at all, I must be mad, bad and dangerous to know. Is that it?

    Anyway this has all gone on long enough. It’s time to get a life. Over and out.

    1. 230920 says:

      Much like the term ‘alt-right’, ‘deep ecology’ has lost some of its meaning in recent years, having been thrown around so much that it’s become a mere pejorative among anti-fascists.

      Deep ecology focuses on overpopulation and the land’s ability to sustain that population. It conceives that the environment is being destroyed by overpopulation and variously blame overpopulation on migration, consumerism, and/or the machinations of some privileged elite. It terrorises us with dystopian visions of ecological degradation or disaster and exploits the fear it thus generates to engender a popular desire to ‘escape from freedom’, for a totalitarian regime that would reorganise society around authoritarian principles and force the sacrifice of human rights to protect the environment.

      Deep ecology, the belief in a transcendental Being-as-such and in a Promethean human being that’s inherently harmful to Being-as-such, resonates deeply with many on the so-called ‘right’.There is no shortage of demagogues who use deep ecology in their propaganda and recruitment. Deep ecologists portray humanity as a tick or a parasite on Nature the same sense that other fascists would project Jews or migrants or disabled people or the economically inactive as parasites on the economy.

      Basically, even at its most pious and charming, deep ecology blames humans for the continuous degradation of the environment; it promotes rapid population decline and ‘rewilding’ to reverse the problems it attributes to overpopulation; towards achieving this decline, it variously calls for an end to immigration into ‘ecologically’ and ‘culturally’ fragile areas, the reversion to pre-industrial zero-growth ways of life, and authoritarian measures to keep human life within strict limits. It’s thus, in its antipathy to modernity, humanism, and globalisation, a ‘right-wing ideology’, an escape from freedom.

    2. Niemand says:

      Like when you redefined ethnic cleansing you mean?

  13. Basil says:

    I’ve always liked Russell. Seems fundamentally like a good man as Stephen Fry once said. Though I’m sure he has a dark side too as any decent Jungian would acknowledge. We all do. It’s sad to see him face trial by social media and to have the UK government write to Rumble to try and get them to demonetise his videos is just plain disturbing. That would be true for any private citizen against whom nothing has been proven.

    Whether he’s “radical” or not is neither here nor there really. By and large his videos are critical of the cozy nature between politicians and big business. Which is a mainstay of left-wing politics and the reason that many people who certainly aren’t Trump supporters like his videos . I don’t think his having his own business negates that message in any way. The headlines to the videos have a shock-jock clickbait feel to them, but once you watch them they’re actually very well researched and thoughtfully presented. He clearly has a very professional team around him and he’s certainly no Alex Jones. I don’t see much in the way of conspiracy theories – that just seems like a lazy slur.

    I’m not a follower of his channel (or anyone else’s) but now and again I’ll watch a video. I don’t ever get the feeling I’m being “duped” but rather that this is a man with a genuine interest in engaging in political discourse. You have to wonder whether some of the people having a go at him are just a teensy bit jealous of his huge audience? Though that would be being as uncharitable to them as they are to him, so I won’t draw any firm conclusions.

    1. 230922 says:

      I’ve never liked Russell. He always came across to me as a bit of a creepy b*st*rd, and the misogyny evident in his performances always made me uncomfortable. Of course, it may be that the creepy misogyny of his persona was ironic, an act that was intended to make his audiences feel uncomfortable. Maybe his engagement with the alt-right in America is similarly ironic. To be charitable to the man, I would hope so.

      However, the allegations that have been made against him, and which are currently being investigated to see if they constitute a case that can be tested in a court of law, do suggest that his misogyny was not an act but was real.

      It’s yet to be determined whether or not the allegations that have been made against him do constitute a case that can be tried in a court of law and, if so, whether or not that case has been justly made. However, there is something nasty and unedifying about the way the public has, scenting blood, turned on him in the meantime.

      This blood-lust is precisely the sort of barbarism that our judicial system and rule of law has evolved to check. The decent thing would be to refrain from salacious gossip and ressentiment and let the law take its course.

    2. Niemand says:

      Ever since I heard that radio broadcast he did with Ross where they left that answering machine message on Andrew Sach’s phone about Brand sleeping with Sach’s daughter, I thought he was a total c***

      And that thing that has come out now of another radio broadcast where he laughed about having just exposing himself to woman, a total stranger. Which would be illegal of course.

      Neither is hearsay.

      Yeah we all have a dark side and that is not the whole of Brand, but how many of us would do those kinds of things ‘for a laugh’ and broadcast it to the nation? And how many of us would expect that if we did, it should just be glossed over? I don’t like pile-ons at all but sometimes you have to look to the perpetrator to understand why it is happening.

      1. 230922 says:

        ‘…sometimes you have to look to the perpetrator to understand why it is happening.’

        True, but surely the public interest in the whole affair lies in the failure of the public institutions to safeguard those harmed by his tomfoolery/banter/abuse of power. That’s what concerns me, not the state of Russell Brand’s soul or his moral rectitude, which is his own private affair and not really any of my business.

        1. Niemand says:

          Not really. The main point is Brand himself. Yes safeguards must be questioned but those are reactive. The broader issue for me is not safeguards (how can you ever really stop someone behaving badly? You can’t, you can only mitigate), but the culture generally that laughed along with Brand at the time or thought his ‘edginess’ was just the ticket. I remember that era well and got sick of the requirement for virtually all comedy to be ‘edgy’ which basically meant rude verging on vile (and this is still around as well). How did we get to the point where the sort of shite he and others would spout and in his case, based on what he actually sexually enacted, possibly illegally, become mainstream comedy? That is the real question.

          1. 230923 says:

            Well, no; safeguarding can be proactive too. All the safeguarding training I had when I worked in the voluntary sector emphasised that it meant protecting people’s health, wellbeing, and human rights, and enabling them to live free from harm, abuse, and neglect. It’s not about reacting to instances of harm, abuse, and neglect; it’s about putting measures in place that minimise the risk of such harm, abuse, and neglect happening in the first place.

            Of course, ‘changing the culture’ would be one such safeguarding measure, but it’s not very SMART as an objective. It’s far too vague and unrealistic for a start. And practically, while we’re pursuing the Herculean task of ‘changing the culture, we would still have to have some more specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound protections in place to minimise the risk of harm in the meantime.

            Too many of our institutions – hospitals, care homes, police forces, schools and universities, commercial companies, manufacturing and service industries, sporting and cultural bodies, public broadcasters, social media platforms, political parties, government departments, etc. – are still failing to prevent the sort of behaviour in which Russell Brand is alleged to have engaged and continuing to blame the prevailing culture in which they find themselves ‘thrown’ for that failing.

            That nothing can be done unless the culture changes is the epitome of bad faith. Our failure is ‘really’ a practical dereliction of the duty of care those institutions have to everyone who participates in their activities rather than a theoretical problem with society generally.

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