Lately there has been a lot of talk about the "Russell Brand vs. Jeremy Paxman" Newsnight interview where Russell talks about the massive economic exploitation by the Corporate State which has usurped democracy in multiple Western countries. He rightly talks about the farce that is the political system; about the endemic corruption. And when Jeremy Paxman asked him whether he "sees any hope," Russell enthusiastically answers, "Yes, totally, there's going to be a revolution; it's totally going to happen."
He goes on to say that this is "the end," and that "this is the time to wake up!"
It is the end because the gig is up for the monstrous lies people have been buying from the monstrously corrupt wealthy elite and their lackeys in government. People are waking up to the fact that they have been lied to, manipulated, and exploited for no other reason than greed, callousness, and indifference exhibited by the debased ruling class which has become accustomed to getting away with criminality and corruption, thus far with total impunity.
But this situation is not new... History has many examples of pathologically greedy and tyrannical ruling elites pushing their luck, blinded by unquenchable greed, immorality, and a sense of entitlement, as they proceed to exploit and subjugate the people. As the oppression reaches a certain level, the natural order of things, the natural reaction is always revolution. And that's what Russell is talking about, and that's why he so emphatically asserts that yes, he has hope, because the revolution is coming...
Now, I'm not exactly sure what type of revolution he's referring to, whether peaceful or violent, or something in between, but that's a side point. The most important point is that the revolution will happen, as in people deciding to rise up against the oppression, the corruption, the exploitation... My take is that the sooner people realize that the system is broken and predatory, the better chance we'll have of more or less peaceful revolution, since they are much more effective than violent ones...
Who knows, as historian Peter Dreier, author of The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame, said during his recent interview with Bill Moyers, Dr. Seuss "Yertle the Turtle" may be a good metaphor for what's coming. You see, Yertle the Turtle convinced a bunch of turtles to pile on top of each other so he could be on top and have his throne.
"The more turtles that piled up on top of each other, the more difficult... and suffering was going on underneath, but he was getting to see the whole world, and he was growing very powerful. And then on the bottom, a little turtle named Mac said 'It's really bad under here; can you let up a little," and Yertle said no, and so eventually, Mac, the turtle at the bottom, burped intentionally, and the whole pile of turtles came tumbling down and Yertle fell off of his throne into the mud pile, and the rest of the turtles looked around and said 'he's just like us; he's not more powerful than the rest of us..."Dreier goes on to say that the story is a metaphor that shows that ordinary people can challenge those in power, that "people in power are only there because we allow them to be there, and in a democracy we can take that power."
The message? "That we can win; that we can topple the Wall Street titans; we can topple the big corporations; we can change America in a more democratic direction if we are willing to fight back, if we are willing to challenge the powers that be, and also realize that throughout history there are always moments when it looks like Yertle is winning, but at the end, Mac had more power than him..." He finishes by pointing out the importance of speaking truth to power.
It is in that vein, of speaking truth to power, of standing up to corrupt corporations and government officials, that the Facing Urban Shield Activist Network coalition organized a day of protest against the "Urban Shield" war games and weapons show at the Oakland Marriott Hotel & Convention Center last Friday, October 25th.
...This convention brings together more than 150 local, state, federal, international and private sector partners defined as “first responders” to “critical events” in “our high-threat, high-density urban area.” They includes human rights violators such as police departments from BART’s to Bahrain’s, together with private security corporations and weapons manufacturers.I had the privilege and the honor of attending the protest rally in front of the Oakland Marriott and witnessing first hand the total commitment and dedication with which the FUSA coalition and Occupy Oakland activists not only spoke truth to power, but challenged the notion that these corrupt corporatists and their puppet politicians on the take are too powerful...
Join the Facing Urban Shield Action Network on October 25 to confront the weapons manufacturers and the local officials who are working with them as their exhibition kicks off in downtown Oakland, and let them know that Urban Shield is not welcome here. The last thing Oakland needs is a further militarization of the police in our neighborhoods. A real shield for our city would provide jobs, healthcare, affordable housing, and good schools!
I was especially moved by the stirring speech of Mollie Costello an Occupy Oakland's activist representing the Justice 4 Alan Blueford campaign, about Alan Blueford, an 18 year-old who was shot and killed by OPD officer Miguel Masso.
In times like this, of raising fascism and police brutality, there are always people who will recoil at watching somebody turn a megaphone towards the police (that was surrounding us) and say in a very clear voice "Fuck You OPD." I'm not one of them.
It is time for the impunity to end, it is time for the bullshit, the lies, the propaganda, the oppression, the corruption, to stop... The marchers were chanting, "Rise up, Shut it Down, Oakland is The People's Town." People all over the country are doing the same. They're rising up ready to shut the system down for repairs, in the name of democracy.