“We don’t need no intervention” – The Trews

Russel Brand is a British actor-turned-activist, who has had plenty of exposure on the media in the last few months. He has used his ‘fame’ to evidence the abuses of financial institutions, speak out against the political class and run activist campaigns with single moms to avoid them getting evicted from their houses by a real estate development company (the last case to which I will refer on this text). Now, I don’t want to focus on ‘him’ (as most media does), but I want to use the last case as an example of ‘intervention’ and the reactions it triggers. Brand has a YouTube channel with almost a million subscribers, where he posts daily on a program he calls ‘The Trews’; in it he gives comments, reflections, rants and critiques about things occurring in the UK and the world.

The 19th of December of 2014, his daily video-post was called “How To Beat A Corporation By New Era”[1], and it featured three single mothers from an estate in London called New Era. The women were part of an association that achieved (not before a long struggle) to halt the development plans from the real estate company Westbrook (that would have implied their eviction and moving to the periphery), and were joined by Brand, who gave visibility to their struggle. In the video, they share their ‘tips for overthrowing apathetic governments and corrupt corporations’ (1. Organization, 2. Raise the profile, 3. Clear objective, 4. Be aggressive, 5. Slogans/songs). In the end of the video, the three women chant a capella an adapted version of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall, with the following lyrics: “We don’t need your intervention, we don’t need your social cleansing. Hey! Westcrook (Westbrook), leave our homes alone”. This is one part of the story. This is the part of the story where intervention is used as a tool from people in power to maintain the status quo and perpetuate the power relations that keep them on top. But there is another side of the story, or at least that is what I want to argue: a part of the story in which intervention is used as a way to empower underserved groups of citizens to act on their immediate environment.

[1] Russel Brand – The Trews

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QRURAbAvWY

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