Russell Brand has defended his call for a revolution against the political system, insisting that he is, unsurprisingly, not in favour of death camps.
Brand's demand for change, outlined in an article for the New Statesman and in an interview with Newsnight's Jeremy Paxman, divided opinion, with fellow comedian Robert Webb rebuking Brand, saying that revolutions inevitably lead to “death camps” and “repression”.
Speaking at an event hosted by The Huffington Post UK on Monday evening in London, Brand said: "I'm not saying lets go smash people up and certainly not kill people. Just for the record, I'm not in on the old death camps… I'm double, double against genocide. I am talking about a revolution of consciousness."
Brand added: "Definitely no killing. I'm against that; I'm a vegetarian, I think we're all equal. I'm not saying smash people's stuff up, and definitely no killing."
Assessing previous Marxist revolutions, the 38-year-old said that in its "traditional form" revolution was ok but it "went a bit genocidal, it was just a bit of sharing, then it got spoilt." Brand insisted that he wanted a peaceful revolution. "Once you are violent you'd get nicked. If you're disobeying without being violent they can't nick you, it's a paradigm breaker."
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Webb said that Brand should recognise the privilege of living in 21st Century Britain. But the comedian said Webb did not understand the lives of people less fortunate than him. "No one is going to take his kids away," he said. "If you're coming at me straight out of Oxbridge rather than straight out of Compton."
"Maybe it's okay for Robert Webb; no one is going to take his kids away, but I've heard some examples. I don't claim to be a politician, like all things I'm sure there are people in the room who know more about this than I do, I didn't have an education like Robert Webb had. But there are people from Leicester in Guantanamo Bay, people from Leicester in Guantanamo Bay.
"If you went to Oxbridge, if you went to a private school, no one is coming for your kids. They're not coming for you if you're from Oxbridge. That's my open letter to Robert. I hope it doesn't go to the other one by mistake - David Mitchell - who I really like."
Brand also repeated his insistence that people should not bother to vote. "I am not going to turn up and vote like an obedient little prisoner." And he dismissed all mainstream political leaders as "irrelevant" and "shadows on the walls".
He added: "Focus on new ideas. It's not going to come from them. They don't want you talk about fracking they want you to talk about twerking. Let's not focus our energy on people faffing around in the old system."
Related on HuffPost:
04/11/2013 20:59 GMT
We're all done here
Go home the lot of you.
We'll have more stories pictures, video, and the best behind-the-scenes gossip going up throughout the evening.
04/11/2013 20:58 GMT
Brand fans, a question..?
Is this a new hand tattoo?
04/11/2013 20:57 GMT
Mehdi's final question - what is Russell's biggest regret, and what is he most proud of?
"I am happy in the moment. I am happy to be here and speak about things that I really care about. This is the best moment," Russell says.
"I do regret going to that Philip Green party."
04/11/2013 20:53 GMT
Meanwhile, on Twitter
04/11/2013 20:51 GMT
Would a huge global catastrophe be the catalyst for change?
We shouldn't have to wait for that, says Russell. The hospitals, the schools, are all in place, it's the philosophy that needs to change.
04/11/2013 20:48 GMT
Brand goes to lots of parties...
So when he goes to Topshop launch parties [as he did this year, a lady in the audience points out], does he question Philip Green about his ethics?
"I am not talking from outside the system," Brand admits. "I am not better or different than you. I have done terrible things in my life. i am a scumbag dirty drug addict. I have done nasty things in my life. and going to parties like that is one of the worst things I have done. And if I went there again, I would ask him."
He has a huge respect for UKUncut and Occupy, and disappointed they were caricatured as "crusties" and "hippies".
04/11/2013 20:41 GMT
We're taking questions from the floor now
Brand's talking about spiritual development, meditation and personal development.
"I've been following you for a while," says one guest. "And I have never heard you talk about class."
"I am British, you can't help realise class has been a divisive influence for a very long time. We are being turned against one another, for example, the EDL are worried about Muslims and immigrants, when there's nothing for people to worry about," Brand says.
"I would get less money under the utopian system I am describing, so I have nothing to lose from this. I am talking about the super rich global elites, who are not contributing to this country."
04/11/2013 20:31 GMT
Sorry, Russell says, he's in a relationship.
04/11/2013 20:30 GMT
Is Russell a sexist?
"I don't think I am a sexist. But my grandma, she was the loveliest person ever, but she was a racist.
"I know i have great love of proletariat linguists, so I do call people 'darling' and 'bird', but also things like 'mate'.
"If women think i am sexist, they are in a better position to judge, so I will have to say, if they think that, ooooo eeerr, I will work on that."
04/11/2013 20:28 GMT
Russell Brand on drugs
"I became an authority because I was a drug addict," Russell admits. "I am famous now and if I talk bullshit, I will be in the papers and if talk about important stuff, it will get in the papers.
"There are certain people like me, who have an illness can't take drugs or drink safely, they should remain abstinent, one day at a time. There's no point in making people criminals, if they are not very well.
"If you've ever been around drug addicts, you'll know they are fucking annoying and they are not doing for pleasure. They are doing it because they can't cope with being alive."
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