Thursday, January 8, 2015

In full flower

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think the system is changing at all?
AMY GOODMAN: Well, I don’t live here.
RUSSELL BRAND: I think this is an international problem. You’ve just had the American midterm elections, in which $4 billion was spent on the campaigning, when we’re told there’s not enough money to deal with what would seem to me to be more—like, you know, it was interesting recently, you know, like that FEMA, that U.S. agency that lent out money to people who were victims of Katrina and Sandy. They wanted their money back that they lent to people that had suffered in those hurricanes. And this is simultaneously, $4 billion has been spent on campaigning in midterm elections. And, like, we live in a system where tax breaks and tax avoidance are easy if you understand the law. So, the degree of systemic change required is so significant, I don’t see any point in voting for it. But no one’s saying, "We will do something about that..."

...AMY GOODMAN: Well, the amount of money, for example, that goes into—in the name of fighting against drugs. Like yesterday, our big special was on Mexico—
AMY GOODMAN: —and these 43 students who disappeared in the state of Guerrero. And it turns out that the mayor and the police turned them over to drug gangs. And the question is—
RUSSELL BRAND: Good, good.
AMY GOODMAN: —going right up to the president, the billions of dollars, for example, the United States has given the Mexican military and Mexican police, in the name of the so-called drug war, where has it really gone? And is it in fact a real war, but a war against people, particularly poor people and indigenous people?
RUSSELL BRAND: Some people would argue, like in that brilliant film by Eugene Jarecki, The House I Live In, he argues that what’s actually happening is that the bottom 15 percent of society are no longer needed because of the collapse of the manufacturing industry, so it’s a lot better to just criminalize them and put them in prison. So, yeah, it’s like it’s a proxy war on poverty. It’s a proxy race war. I certainly think that argument holds. I mean, I think addiction can affect people from any economic or social background, but those who tend to suffer most are those without money. And there’s no doubt that social conditions have a huge impact on people’s tendency to get addicted to substances. I think if people live in communal environments where they’ve got access to support and—forgive me for using the word—love, then they’re less likely to get addicted to drugs.