Brand’s call for revolution resonates not only with people who reject austerity but also with those who reject the system as a whole. His YouTube show Trews is massively popular, particularly the episodes where he attacks Ukip and the latest bombing of Iraq.
His debate with Owen Jones was shown in 200 cinemas across the country. Last year Brand shocked Jeremy Paxman when he called for revolution in a Newsnight interview — now watched by ten and half million people.
Revolution, Brand’s latest book, outlines a case against capitalism and a different vision of how society can be run.
The book weaves together parts of Brand’s life with excerpts from left wing activists and writers such as Thomas Piketty, Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky and David Graeber.
Brand describes returning to his hometown, Grays in Essex, to find more pound shops, charity shops and more people undernourished.
He talks about local support for Ukip and how the scapegoating of immigrants, LGBT and disabled people deflects attention away from the rightful recipients of our anger, “banks, the government, big corporations”.
Brand is clear that capitalism is the problem. He describes it as a system that increases the wealth of the elite, suffocates everyone else and is destroying the planet.
The book states that one of the few arguments for the system left is that “there is no alternative”.
Specific reforms are mentioned, such as the local sourcing of food, the banning of private security firms, the removal of titles, as well as the “killing” or “culling” of corporations so that they will only exist for a specific purpose, such as building a road, before being disbanded.
Brand’s main inspiration is George Orwell’s writings on the Spanish Civil War “when workers were in the saddle” and there were “democratic, self-governing communities”.
The book supports workers’ control of industry in which production will be run for need rather than profit.
The question of what to do when the state uses force against movements that challenge the “1 percent” is left up in the air.
Brand recognises that society is class divided; however, this is sometimes submerged into seeing everyone as just human and so blurs the differing interests that capitalists and workers have.
The specific power of the working class to shut down the profits of the system is not explored. Socialists may also find Brand’s frequent references to new age spiritualism frustrating.
Overall Brand puts forward a compelling case against capitalism, and ideas socialists need to seriously engage with.
This book will be read by people who want a different society and see revolution as a way to get it.