NEW YORK -- Russell Brand has suggested US society is in a pre-revolutionary state, similar to the eighteenth century upheaval that led to the American Revolution, and compared the country's modern "privileged elites" to George III.
Speaking on HuffPost Live on Wednesday, the British activist said: “The last time you had a revolution in this country was because you were governed by a rich, privileged elite that taxed you and didn’t represent you. It’s happening again now, it’s just they don’t have the accents and not living on an island."
The comedian was reacting to recent criticism from American comedian Bill Maher, who lambasted Brand for writing a book which “tells young people not to vote”.
On Friday’s episode of Real Time, Maher said: “Russell Brand is in the news, he’s a funny guy,” said Maher, “but he just wrote a book that’s more laughable — where he tells young people not to vote because the system is so awful and so dirty that the only solution is to bring it down. Not by violence, but not by voting either.”
“No, by some sort of spiritual awakening,” he scoffed. “Oh, for f*ck’s sake, fine, you know, don’t vote, but don’t dress it up as something noble or sophisticated. The fake excuses offend me.”
Brand reacted by defending his position, suggesting Maher’s account was "reductive”.
“I don’t mind if people are offended,” he said, “but that [Maher’s criticism] is a reductive presentation of what I said in my book. I said there is no point in voting because there is no one representing the interests of ordinary people.”
He added: “It’s interesting how much that has provoked people. Of course there are distinctions between politicians – some have long hair, some are women, some are slightly browner than the others - but what I would like is a politician that says ‘I will confront corporate interests on behalf of ordinary Americans… I will close tax loopholes, I will see to it that you have proper schools, proper health so you can live as ordinary Americans were supposed to.’”
Brand also took a swipe at Maher, saying: “Bill’s been doing that job a long time and he hasn’t made a lot of difference so he’s probably a bit worn out, but I believe in people.”
Watch the full Russell Brand interview below.