The Last Internationale are a force to be reckoned with on stage, and part of what makes their music so powerful is the way they fuse their opinions on politics into their songs. In light of public reaction Russell Brand’s recent comments, the topic of revolution has never been hotter. I chatted to the band about their views on revolution and political reform.
Do you see yourselves as revolutionaries?
I (Edgey) like the word revolution but I don’t wanna seem self righteous calling myself a revolutionary, like Che Guevara was a f**king revolutionary! We’re totally for revolution and I think that the average working class person has some kind of revolutionary or anti-authoritarian aspect to them, as this band does, we’re overtly political, we’re obviously raging against the machine so for us, we don’t call ourselves revolutionary but if someone called us that, we’re not against it.
I’ve been an activist since I (Delila) was really young, so it’s a natural thing when we started the band to be activists and to be musicians and to me it goes together with the music, I love music so much but we wanna change the world and outside of the music, we’re also involved in communities too.
With the word revolution, the textbook definition would include overthrowing the government and putting another one in its place, and that’s why I (Edgey) have some reservations about using that word, but I do use it because it’s been use as a sweeping term for creating change, it’s not always the textbook definition but we’ve come to re-defining it in that sense.
I guess there’s an anarchic streak in our band, its like in our song ‘Killing Fields’; “Power is power, no matter who’s on top.”
We like to look at it as that every revolution needs to be taken whilst looking at the actual facts of the time.
I like Russell Brand, when I’ve heard him speak, he outlines the problems that we face under capitalism, and the problem’s always capitalism, and then outlines the solutions and things we can do about it. You’ll never get two theorists thinking alike but I didn’t really see any major disagreements there. If we could link up with Russell Brand during this trip that would be ideal.
We have this loose term for democracy now which covers the entire western world and parts of Africa and Asia, but what that consists of is essentially a centralised state and a nation with certain civil liberties that we need more of. What’s not included when we talk about civil rights, is equality in economy; except we’re not making it equal because we’re lazy.
What I like about Russell Brand is that he takes part of the matter, like Marx did, and says no, capitalism is a system of exploitation and expansionism and you’re gonna have to have this reserve army of capital and prisons and systems.
You need millions of poor people in each country, there’s billions of poor people around the world and therefore it doesn’t work as a system; capitalism needs to go. That’s his analysis and we totally agree with that.
How f**king hard it is to tax the richest 1% and just give to the poor, that could be done overnight.
You could end starvation, literally overnight, just give them food. But about five companies have a monopoly on worldwide food around the world, and they hold it for themselves, put it in huge storage spaces and then they throw it out in order to control the price of food.
What I like about what Russell Brand is doing is that he separates it into us and them, other people don’t.
In America, that’s missing, its like us having a problem of homelessness, how the f**k did they get there?
Let’s answer that question because when you get to the root of the problem, you’ll fix all of that. The route of the problem is always capitalism.
“Oh no, you can’t do anything because it’s gonna upset the people in power” well if you’re afraid of upsetting people in power then you’re never gonna create any change in the world because those are the a**holes that are creating the problems.
In the US, you don’t hear anyone talk like that, not even on the independent media, you don’t hear anyone talk against capitalism.
If you actually listen to what Americans are saying, they hate capitalism; they took polls, and even over the past decade, the answers are usually the same.
When Americans are asked whether they want universal health care, they want it. But given two questions, they’ll contradict themselves, such as “Do you like socialism?” No. But “Do you think school should be free?” Yes. Right there.
It’s the actual phrases and terms they’re scared of. Americans are terrified, every couple of years you have to create a new enemy.
After the fall of the soviet union, it was drug cartels, after that it was terrorism; theres always new enemies being created, now it’s ISIS, and before that it was Al-Qaeda.
There’s always something, you’ve got to keep people in fear so that they give up their rights.
Is music a channel for your anger about capitalism?
It’s a channel for a lot of things, for us, the political and the personal can’t be separated, they’re one and the same.
So even when we talk about love, you’ll notice that we’re really talking about politics as they’re intermeshed.
We see a lot of these issues being in our songs. The intention is to use music as a tool for social transformation, that’s the goal.
I think this is the first time in history that a revolution could happen and I’m hell-bent on making sure it happens. People have come close before but we’re going to go the whole way, we’ve got some tricks up our sleeves.
We’re very involved in social movements, communities, organisers, activists. For example we were in LA recently and went knocking door to door about Prop 47 and with this effort that we were lucky to be a part of, through the overall community effort, we managed to pass Proposition 47 so we’re happy to be a part of history in that way.
Now we want to take the influence and spread it all over the globe and if we can do it by creating total revolution in our country- that is the goal, to be the most dangerous rock band in the world.