As the world and his dog are by now well aware, multimillionaire comedian Russell Brand has called for "revolution" and for the disempowered everywhere to rise up against "elites" (governments and corporations) for their unfair treatment of the "99 percent" (just about everyone else). In an interview with a rather bemused Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight, Russell claimed that "profit is a filthy word" and demanded "massive redistribution of wealth. Journalists seem divided - with some proclaiming that he's right and others deriding him as immature, lacking solutions to very real problems.
Obviously these ideas are nothing new (hello Karl Marx), but personally I think he's spot on about the apathy and disenchantment felt by the public about a political system that seems to serve the few, not the many and that he's got his finger on the pulse of potent frustration among the electorate in the UK and indeed much of the Western world. While I don't agree with him when it comes to the (extremely socialist) solutions he offers, I do wholeheartedly concur that there will indeed by a revolution - except it'll be slow not fast, peaceful, not bloody and involve technology, not guns.
Whereas in the past, violent revolution was the inevitable result of the starving masses gaining consciousness about their oppression and then charging the Winter Palace/Bastille/wherever else, those kind of uprisings are likely to be a thing of the past - certainly in the West (notwithstanding the Arab Spring). This is because governments have grown exponentially during the last fifty years, twisting their tentacles into many different areas of our lives, increasing their military power; thus making change through the barrel of a gun much harder (unless, of course, it's them doing the pointing).
Obviously it's a good thing that armed bandits can no longer roam the streets imposing their will on different areas of the country and overthrowing ruling elites as easily as before. This is because one thing that's pretty undeniable is that these types of revolutions never tend to end well. The problem is that humans will be, well, human - and more often than not insurrections that start off with noble ideas, of, say, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity; end with situations like, say, La Grande Terreur, with all and sundry getting their revenge on their neighbours, ex-lovers and whoever else; with many a head lopped off in the process.
However, like Russell I don't think that true change can necessarily be achieved through the ballot box either. Why? Because unless you vote for third (or even fourth) parties, you're only encouraging those who already hold power, making them confident that they can somehow keep coming up with the same useless self-serving policies year after year with little in the way of punishment.
When it comes down to it, I believe the true revolution is very much about us and our 'lil ole computers. After all, the virtual world's given power back to the little people in a way that does and will keep challenging age-old and out-dated institutions. Imagine a world where politicians and large corporations would have to prove themselves to us regularly, work hard for us to get re-elected and persuade us to willingly use their services again and again? Hard to imagine, what with the stranglehold energy companies, the two-and-a-half party system etc have on us! Well, yes it is - for now. But if we look at the previous power the traditional media wielded over society ten years ago and we look at how it's changed, we can see that the story's rather different. For one thing, the rise of alternative news sources has meant that newspapers have been forced online and those that haven't adopted some kind of payment model are losing money. For another, the comments below the line can call out any presumptions made on behalf of the public for what they are and readers can see the reactions of other readers to different pundits. The mask has slipped, if you like.
Therefore, if within such a small space of time the media world's changed thanks to the digitalisation of information, what's to say that this won't be the same for the political world? It's easier than ever before to expose MPs for being corrupt, unauthentic and/or liars, which gives those who are honest and hardworking a great opportunity to show their true worth. What's interesting is that the powers that be don't seem to understand this - at all. the old PR tricks started by the Blairites are still being used today - albeit rather unsuccessfully thanks to social media.
To conclude, the time has come for all of us to show how much better things can be in society. As the great dissatisfied electorate, we can get out there and start seriously doing things for ourselves. Whether it's starting an online business (with overheads cheaper than ever before this is more and more realistic), providing a great service where monopolies/governments have failed; building an online volunteering site for those who want to help the less fortunate in their area; making our networks strong; using crowdfunding sites instead of banks; moving our money to credit unions; investing in more tangible assets - this is the way forward when it comes to true revolution, hitting those who govern us (in all senses) where it hurts, mainly their wallets and our votes. You'd be amazed to see how quickly they'd act to address our concerns then!
When it comes to revolution, we don't need more Dantons, we need more Doers. We all should stop squabbling among ourselves about petty things, get involved in our communities, solve the problems politicians refuse to solve; showing them that their solutions are obsolete and they need to evolve to be relevant. Be the change you want to see in the world, as Gandhi famously said. This way, revolution need not be violent or bloody.