COMMUNIQUE #01 [English version]
this communiqué can be found in our EP kamikaze : it is structured around the seven songs of the EP (each paragraph corresponding to a song).

Falling bombs filmed through night-vision cameras look like inverted greenish fireworks. And we get so used to watching battles through our TV screen that war has just become another TV show (fireworks included). The problem is that war has many more consequences than the people dismissed in Pop Idol or the number of turns made by the Wheel of Fortune. Indeed, every war means the death of many civilians (children included). And civilians can be people who do not have any political convictions or ideologies, people who do not even want to be at war. Calculation mistakes lead missiles onto hospitals instead of ammunition factories and this happens all the time. Children so young they do not even know what “war” means die or get badly hurt. And when they go out to play football in the snow, they do not have to watch for the ball anymore but for landmines. The edge of the world is simply the place where we want to put crippled children, missiles and battles. So far away from us that the only thing we can do is just sit on our couch and watch. So far away there is nothing we can do (you and me included?). 

General Programming is a term used by the Canadian TV classification system. It is the equivalent of “suitable for all audiences” in the USA. But programming has a second meaning. Programming means conditioning. And thus general programming means brain control and mass alienation. And that is pretty much what television does every day. TV transmits values and messages which become engraved in our minds as we grow up, and these values and messages are in no way original. They are consensual because they are meant to satisfy as many viewers as possible. The result is that girls want to become princesses and models; and boys dream of becoming rock stars or superheroes when in fact most of us will only waste their lives for a salary. But the worst part of it is that we are constantly fed by media. Television feeds us all the time and we have no time left to think and create. Hundreds of channels and 24 hours a day of a screen dream meant to compensate our disappointing lives. No time left to think, to create, to be original and to change our lives the way we would like to. No time left to change our own personal world. Turn it off! Read a book! Think! Get Ideas! Create! And start with these people: Chuck Palahniuk, Bret Easton Ellis, Irvine Welsh, Douglas Coupland, Murakami Ryu.

Needles and retinas are probably two things you wouldn’t associate that much. And yet…  Nowadays there are more and more ways to identify each one of us. Fingerprints. Voiceprints. Dental records. Retinal scans. There is even a company producing and selling a microchip meant to be surgically inserted under people’s skin and giving access to a database containing all sorts of information: ID information, medical record, financial record or criminal record. The problem is not only about being watched all the time. It is not only a “Big Brother” situation. The problem is that with so much information right under your skin, and as easily checkable as the price of a pasta packet on a conveyor belt: people are classified just like merchandise. Your own price, your own value, under the skin of your right arm. A bar code, only invisible and a lot more powerful. Classifying you for the rest of your life. Yet I truly think we are not our bank accounts, and we are not our criminal records. People can change. People can be broke but have great, compelling ideas. We are not just files, numbers or statistics. But if your retinas classify you as a poor boy born within a poor family and with bad school results, will you ever get the chance, will you ever be given the chance to change? No matter how hard you try, if everybody keeps telling you that you are your bank account, how are you going to prove them wrong? Needles and retinas are probably two things you would associate in the end. 

A parasite (kyoseichu in Japanese) is someone who makes use of others but never gives something in return (the term being derived from parasitic animals or plants that use another life form to feed). The Japanese author Murakami Ryu wrote a lot about loneliness (or so I think). And his books tend to show that a lot of people are rejected from society because they do not want to adopt the predominant way of life. They prefer creating their own way of life but as a result, they end up living alone. They are considered as parasites, not necessarily because they use other people without giving something back. But mainly because they are different. And people do fear what is different from them. Obviously, the result is that most people follow the predominant trends so as not to be rejected. But what if there is a better way for you? What if there is something totally different from the main way of life everybody follows that would suit you better and help you achieve the things you really want to achieve? Would you rather follow the mass, knowing this is the wrong direction? Or would you live free, alone and considered as a kyoseichu?
Everything is for sell… At the very beginning, money was invented to simplify exchanges (because it was hard to know how many pigs a cow was worth). But today, people are ready to give anything in exchange for money (including themselves). Profit is one of the key values of our society. And everyone wants more… and even more. For example, in Tokyo, Japan, you can buy oxygen – because of pollution problems, there are “oxygen bars” and oxygen is sold in cans just like sodas. And there’s actually a company making profit out of air! Everything is for sell. Even body parts have a price when it comes to organ trade in Eastern Europe. And even children have a price when it comes to sex trade in Thailand. Bombs, cars, TVs, children. Everything’s on the market with a price tag on it (just like the CD you are holding in your hands). And if people who do not have enough money cannot breathe anymore, and as we truly seem to be fucked in every hole by profit-driven people, I really tend to consider myself as a living dead rubber doll. And how much is that?

Today is Thursday. Is it? How can you distinguish one day from another when your job consists in repeating the same task over and over again. Thousands of times. Facing a machine… It is a fact that the growing use of machinery and the division of labour which both accompanied the rise of capitalism led to the dehumanisation of labour. And workers today are really part of the machine. First, because the repetition of one task requiring fewer skills is nothing compared to the satisfaction of creating a whole product from A to Z. The worker is just making copies of copies, alone with the machine on the assembly line. The other reason is that repetitious work alters workers’ bodies. Their bodies are twisted from all sides, transformed into instruments of labour. Their own bodies are just tools full of cysts and cracks which try to adapt to the task that they have to repeat thousands of times. Everyday the same day as the day before. Today is Thursday. And yesterday was too. A copy of a copy.

What choices do we have in life? If there’s nothing we can do about war; if TV conditions our thoughts; if social determinism narrows our every decision; if people who are different are necessarily rejected; if we are just products on the market; if everyday is just about making money out of a boring job; do we really have more choices than the mosquito who is doomed to suck as much blood as he can – just like any other mosquito – and then die. Is it in our very nature to make war, be competitive and reject things we do not understand? I guess most of us are just mosquitoes. But I am also convinced that each one of us can decide to live differently. I will not tell you that one man/woman is enough to change the world (many people have tried that, and it didn’t work). But it is absolutely true that everyone can change his own life, his own personal world. Every single one of us can decide to lead an authentic life. Refuse to take the gun. Don’t buy the screen dream. Learn everything you can. Search for changes and differences, don’t avoid them. And never ever sell yourself for anything. Find joy in everything you do: your job, your relationships… everything… or change it. Be an anti-kamikaze. Be free (but not at the cost of others’ freedom). Let the profit-driven psychos fight each other: they will extinguish soon enough. And even if they don’t, you will have no regrets regarding the life you have led.
This life is the life we are trying to achieve through music. This text is what we are trying to express through our songs. If it made you think or if it gave you ideas, we hope you will be able to create even more beautiful things than us.
And if you have read this far: thank you.   

To resist is to create. To create is to resist. Ben Sliver, July 2007

COMMUNIQUE 01 [version française]
version française du communiqué qui accompagne notre EP kamikaze : le communiqué est structuré autour des chansons de l'EP (chaque paragraphe correspond à une chanson).
Les missiles filmés par des caméras a vision nocturne ressemblent a des feux d’artifice qui se seraient trompés de direction. Et a trop observer les combats au travers d’un écran, la guerre semble n’etre devenue qu’un spectacle de plus. Une énieme émission de télévision (feux d’artifice inclus, évidemment). Cependant les guerres ont un impact bien plus important que les éliminations de la Star Academy ou le nombre de tours effectués par la roue de la fortune car elles tuent chaque année un grand nombre de civils (enfants inclus, évidemment). Des gens qui n’ont pas nécessairement de convictions politiques ou d’idéologies particulieres ; des gens qui sont peut etre fondamentalement contre la guerre menée dans leur pays. Certaines erreurs de calcul guident des missiles sur des hôpitaux au lieu d’usines d’armement, et cela arrive constamment. Des enfants si jeunes qu’ils ne connaissent meme pas la signification du mot “guerre” meurent ou sont gravement blessés. Et lorsqu’ils sortent jouer au football dans la neige pour marquer des buts entre quatre blousons, ce n’est plus a la balle qu’ils doivent faire attention mais aux mines antipersonnelles. Le bout du monde, c’est tout simplement le lieu ou nous voulons ranger enfants estropiés, missiles et affrontements. Si loin de nous que nous ne pouvons qu’observer les faits depuis notre canapé. Si loin de nous qu’il n’est rien que nous puissions faire (vous et moi inclus, évidemment ?).

Le label “Programmation Générale” fait partie du systeme de classification télévisuel canadien. Il correspond a “pour tous publics” en France. Mais programmation a un autre sens. Programmation signifie aussi conditionnement. Et programmation générale signifierait ainsi contrôle de l’esprit et aliénation de masse. Or il faut bien avouer que c’est précisément ce que fait la télévision jour apres jour. La télévision transmet des messages et des valeurs qui restent gravés dans nos esprits alors que nous grandissons, et ceux-ci n’ont absolument rien d’original. Ils sont consensuels car ils sont destinés a satisfaire le plus grand nombre de spectateurs. Le résultat est simple : les filles veulent devenir des princesses ou des tops modeles ; et les garçons revent de devenir des rock stars ou des super héros alors qu’en fin de compte, la plupart d’entre nous se contenteront de gâcher leurs vies en échange d’un salaire. Mais le pire est que nous sommes constamment nourris par les medias. La télévision nous nourrit jour apres jour sans interruption et nous n’avons tout simplement plus de temps pour penser ou créer. Des centaines de chaînes et 24 heures par jour d’un reve cathodique censé compenser nos vies décevantes. Plus de temps pour penser, créer, etre original et changer nos vies tel que nous le souhaitons. Plus de temps pour que chacun d’entre nous change son propre monde. Eteignons la ! Lisons ! Pensons ! Créons ! Et pourquoi ne pas commencer avec ces quelques auteurs : Chuck Palahniuk, Bret Easton Ellis, Irvine Welsh, Douglas Coupland, Murakami Ryu.

Aiguilles et rétines sont probablement deux choses que vous ne seriez pas tenté d’associer. Et pourtant… Il y a aujourd’hui de plus en plus de moyens d’identifier chacun d’entre nous. Les empreintes digitales et vocales. Les dossiers dentaires. Les scanners rétiniens. Il existe meme une compagnie qui produit et vend une puce électronique vouée a etre implantée sous notre peau et pouvant donner acces a une base de données contenant toutes sortes d’informations : notre identité, notre dossier médical, nos informations bancaires et notre casier judiciaire. Le probleme ne tient pas seulement au fait que nous soyons constamment surveillés. Il ne s’agit pas seulement de “Big Brother.” Le probleme est qu’avec toutes ces informations directement sous notre peau, et aussi facilement vérifiables que le prix d’un paquet de pâtes sur le tapis roulant d’une caisse de supermarché, les gens se voient classifiés exactement comme des marchandises. Notre propre prix, notre propre valeur, sous la peau de notre bras droit. Un code barre, mais invisible et beaucoup plus puissant, et voué a nous classifier pour le reste de notre vie. Pourtant je pense sincerement que nous ne sommes pas notre compte en banque et que nous ne sommes pas notre casier judiciaire. Les gens peuvent changer. Les gens peuvent etre fauchés et avoir de grandes idées. Nous ne sommes pas seulement des dossiers, des chiffres ou des statistiques. Mais si vos rétines vous classent comme étant un garçon pauvre né au sein d’une famille pauvre et ayant eu de mauvais résultats scolaires, aurez vous la chance, vous donnera-t-on la chance de changer ? Malgré tous vos efforts, si tout le monde s’évertue a vous dire que vous etes votre compte en banque, comment leur prouverez vous le contraire ? Aiguilles et rétines sont probablement deux choses que vous finiriez par associer.
Un parasite (kyoseichu en Japonais) est quelqu’un qui se sert des autres mais ne donne jamais rien en retour (ce terme étant dérivé des animaux ou plantes parasitiques qui utilisent une autre forme de vie pour se nourrir). L’auteur japonais Murakami Ryu a beaucoup écrit sur la solitude (en tout cas c’est ce que je crois) et ses livres tendent a prouver que beaucoup de gens sont rejetés par les autres membres de la société parce qu’ils refusent d’adopter le mode de vie prédominant. Ils préferent créer leurs propres façons de vivre mais sont alors souvent condamnés a vivre tout seuls. Ils sont considérés comme des parasites, non pas parce qu’ils se servent des autres sans donner quelque chose en retour, mais principalement parce qu’ils sont différents. Et il est vrai que nous craignons ce qui nous est différent. Evidemment, la plupart d’entre nous suivent donc les tendances prédominantes par peur d’etre rejetés. Mais s’il y avait pour vous une meilleure façon de vivre ? S’il existait quelque chose de completement différent du mode de vie que tout le monde suit qui vous conviendrait mieux et vous aiderait a accomplir tout ce que vous souhaitez ? Suivriez vous la masse tout en sachant qu’il s’agit de la mauvaise direction ? Ou vivriez vous libre, seul et considéré comme un kyoseichu ?

Tout est a vendre… Au départ, l’argent fut inventé afin de simplifier les échanges (parce qu’il était difficile de déterminer combien de porcs valait une vache). Mais aujourd’hui les gens sont prets a échanger n’importe quoi contre de l’argent (y compris eux-memes). Le profit est une des valeurs clés de notre société. Et tout le monde en veut plus… et plus encore. A Tokyo, par exemple, il est possible d’acheter de l’oxygene. A cause des problemes de pollution, il existe des “bars a oxygene” et on peut se procurer des canettes d’O2, semblables a des cannettes de soda. Et il existe réellement une compagnie qui fait de l’argent en vendant de l’air! Tout est a vendre. Meme les parties de notre corps ont un prix si l’on considere le trafic d’organes dans les pays de l’Est. Et meme les enfants ont un prix si l’on considere le commerce sexuel en Thailande. Bombes, voitures, téléviseurs et enfants. Tout est sur le marché avec une étiquette et un code barre (comme le CD que vous tenez entre les mains). Et si ceux d’entre nous qui n’ont pas assez d’argent ne peuvent meme plus respirer, et puisque nous semblons réellement nous faire prendre de tous les côtés par ceux que seul l’argent motive, j’ai vraiment tendance a me considérer comme une poupée gonflable morte vivante. Et combien ça coute ça ?

Aujourd’hui nous sommes Jeudi. Vraiment? Comment différencier les jours de la semaine quand votre travail consiste a répéter la meme tâche encore et encore. Des milliers de fois. Face a une machine… Nous pouvons affirmer avec certitude que l’utilisation grandissante des machines et la division du travail qui ont accompagné la montée du capitalisme ont mené a la déshumanisation du travail. Et aujourd’hui les travailleurs font vraiment corps avec la machine. D’abord parce que la répétition d’une tâche nécessitant moins de compétences n’est rien comparée a la satisfaction de réaliser un produit dans son intégralité : le travailleur ne fait que des copies de copies, seul avec la machine le long de la chaîne de production. Ensuite parce que le travail répétitif a une réelle incidence sur les corps des travailleurs. Leurs corps sont tordus de toutes parts, transformés en instruments de travail. Leurs propres corps : de simples outils qui s’adaptent, a coup de kystes et de gerçures, a la tâche qui doit etre accomplie des milliers de fois. Chaque jour identique au jour précédent. Aujourd’hui est bien Jeudi. Et hier l’était aussi. La copie d’une copie.

Quels choix avons-nous réellement ? S’il n’est rien que nous puissions faire contre la guerre ; si la télévision conditionne nos pensées ; si le déterminisme social restreint nos moindres décisions ; si ceux qui sont différents sont nécessairement rejetés ; si nous ne sommes que des produits sur le marché ; si chaque jour signifie effectuer un travail ennuyeux en échange de trop peu d’argent ; avons-nous réellement plus de choix que le moustique voué a sucer autant de sang qu’il le peut – exactement comme tous les autres moustiques – pour ensuite mourir. Est-ce que faire la guerre, etre compétitifs et rejeter les choses que nous ne comprenons pas font partie de notre nature profonde ? J’imagine que la plupart d’entre nous ne sont que des moustiques. Mais je suis aussi convaincu que chacun d’entre nous peut décider de vivre différemment. Je ne vais pas vous dire qu’un seul homme (ou une seule femme) peut changer le monde (beaucoup ont essayé et s’y sont casser les dents… et les convictions). Cependant, il est sur et certain que chacun peut changer sa propre vie, son monde a lui. Chacun d’entre nous peut décider de vivre une vie authentique. Refuser de prendre le fusil. Ne pas acheter le reve cathodique. Apprendre tout ce qui s’offre a nous. Courir apres les différences et les changements, et non pas les fuir. Et ne jamais accepter de nous vendre en échange de quoi que ce soit. Trouver de la joie dans tous ce que nous entreprenons : travail, relations… tout… ou en changer. Etre un anti-kamikaze. Etre libre (et pas au prix de la liberté d’autrui). Et laisser les psychos motivés par le profit se bouffer entre eux (en espérant qu’ils finissent par disparaître) ; et meme s’ils sont toujours la, nous pourrons affirmer que nous au moins nous avons vécu sans regrets.
Cette vie est celle que nous essayons de vivre au travers de la musique. Ce texte est ce que nous essayons d’exprimer au travers de nos chansons. S’il vous donne a réfléchir, nous espérons que vous serez capables de créer de choses encore plus belles que nous. Et si vous etes arrivés jusqu’ici : merci.

Résister c’est créer. Créer c’est résister. Ben Sliver, Juillet 2007

COMMUNIQUE #02 [version française] : La Rage du Sage
communiqué écrit par Alain Damasio, accompagnant le single gratuit memento mori
(plus d'infos sur Alain Damasio)

COMMUNIQUE #03 [English version] Generation A
this small text accompanied the release of our EP generation A on the internet. It was supposed to be just an introductory text to the EP but some people started quoting it, reproducing it on their blogs, etc... so I guess it became an official commniqué!

We are supposed to be part of generation X (or even generation Y for the youngest among you, because I'm officially getting old:-), only one or two letters from the end of the alphabet, as if everything had already been done, as if everything was already lost and gone. Lost generations, with no landmarks, and no fathers/mentors (except when we blame them for everything that's going wrong).

This record is for those who prefer being part of generation A, those who think that we can still do anything we want to (that we can still change anything we want to?) that everything is to come - and not gone.
To those who accept their responsibilities, whithout putting everything on the back of previous generations ; to those who have the courage to live the life they chose and assume any consequences ; without any compromises ; without any fake excuses: welcome to generation A.

The following words constitute our own inspiration, what guides our lives and actions:

I wish you all to find your own words and to live them, fully and until the end! (see how we had to add 'ashtray' for Ben, since he spends most of his time writing music/lyrics while smoking cigarettes...)
This EP was inspired by the writings of Alain Damasio and Douglas Coupland, by the invisible committee's The Coming Insurrection, and by Kurt Vonnegut's Syracuse University commencement address in May 1994:

"Now you young twerps want a new name for your generation? Probably not, you just want jobs, right? Well, the media do us all such tremendous favors when they call you Generation X, right? Two clicks from the very end of the alphabet. I hereby declare you Generation A. (...) I declare everybody here a member of Generation A. Tomorrow is another day for all of us."

More info on Alain Damasio:
The Coming Insurrection (many translations available):
More info on Douglas Coupland:
Info on (and writings by) Kurt Vonnegut:

The record will be available on April 10th, and then we're on tour: Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Belarus, Lithuania and Latvia. Generation A tracklist: 01. we are the ones / 02. the invisible committee / 03. break the screens.

- the invisible committee is dedicated to Alain Damasio (because he listens to it nonstop!)
- break the screens is for Claire (because it's one of the songs I play for her in our bathroom!)
- we are the ones is for ourselves (because we have the impression of putting our own guts on the stage everytime we play it live)

And you can dedicate any song to anybody you love!
to resist is to create
to create is to resist
Ben Sliver - who sometimes uses the third person when referring to himself
April 2010, post-tour, pre-judgement

COMMUNIQUE #03 [version française] Generation A
ce court texte accompagnait la sortie de notre EP generation A sur internet. C'était simplement supposé être une introduction à l'EP mais certaines personnes ont commencé à le citer, à le reproduire sur leurs blogs, etc... alors j'imagine que c'est devenu un communiqué 'officiel'!

Nous sommes censés faire partie de la génération X (et on parle même maintenant de génération Y), à une ou deux lettres de la fin de l'alphabet, comme si tout était joué d'avance, comme si tout était perdu d'avance. Générations perdues, sans repères, sans pères (à part lorsqu'il s'agit de les blâmer et de leurs mettre tous nos maux sur le dos).

Ce disque est pour tous ceux qui préfèrent faire partie de la génération A, ceux qui pensent que tout est à faire (que tout est à changer?), que tout est encore à venir.
A ceux qui acceptent leurs responsabilités sans tout rejeter sur le dos des générations précédentes ; à ceux qui ont le courage de vivre une vie qu'ils ont choisie et d'en assumer les conséquences. Sans compromis. Sans fausses excuses: bienvenue dans la génération A.

Ces quelques mots sont notre inspiration propre, ce qui guide nos choix et nos actes:

Je vous souhaite à tous de trouver vos propres mots et de les vivre pleinement jusqu'au bout! (vous remarquerez qu'on a du ajouter 'ashtray' pour Ben...)

Cet EP s'inspire des écrits d'Alain Damasio et de Douglas Coupland, de L'insurrection qui vient du Comité Invisible, et de l'adresse faite par Kurt Vonnegut à l'université de Syracuse en Mai 94 :
"Now you young twerps want a new name for your generation? Probably not, you just want jobs, right? Well, the media do us all such tremendous favors when they call you Generation X, right? Two clicks from the very end of the alphabet. I hereby declare you Generation A. (...) I declare everybody here a member of Generation A. Tomorrow is another day for all of us."
Plus d'infos sur Alain Damasio:
L'insurrection qui vient du Comité Invisible:
Plus d'infos sur Douglas Coupland:
Infos sur et (écrits de) Kurt Vonnegut:


Le disque sera dispo à partir du 10 avril et suivi d'une petite tournée (Allemagne, Pologne, Rép. Tchèque, Biélorussie, Lituanie et Lettonie). Generation A tracklist: 01. we are the ones / 02. the invisible committee / 03. break the screens.

- the invisible committee est pour Alain Damasio (parce qu'il l'écoute en boucle!)
- break the screens est pour Claire (parce que c'est une des chansons que je lui joue dans la salle de bain)
- we are the ones est pour nous-mêmes (car on a l'impression de mettre nos propres tripes sur scène à chaque fois qu'on la joue)

Chacun est libre de les dédier à qui il veut!
to resist is to create
to create is to resist
Ben Sliver - qui parle toujours au moins une fois de lui à la 3ème personne
Avril 2010, post-tour, pre-judgement

MANIFESTO #4 [English version]
this manifesto can be found in our album disobey giants : it is structured around the tracks of the album (each track corresponding to a "giant").

This album is dedicated to everyone who participated to the global OCCUPY movement in any way (whether you were there or you simply designed posters for it or you just talked about it in your webzine or something). We love each and everyone of you. We are the 99%.

“Disobey Giants” is not just a pun insinuating that Shepard Fairey – though he’s still a great artist – may well have become one of the giants he was warning us about in the 90s. But still, it is, in a way, what this album is about. This album is about staying true. About not becoming what you hate and/or not hating what you have become. And I do believe that disobeying giants is a way to achieve that. It is a way of life. And as far as I’m concerned, a happy one.
Giants are those institutions, entities or people who tell you what to do. Usually on the basis that they have authority, power or money (or all of the above), whether those are justified or not. Some scream louder than others, and some even know how to whisper insidiously in your ears. But mostly they just want you to consume, conform, shut up and, if possible, consume again. Call it conformism or corporations or advertising or materialism or greed or the media or politicians or compromise or capitalism or teachers or parents or bankers or your boss at work… giants come in many shapes and colors, just like an IKEA Billy bookcase.
So if giants are everywhere all the time, how do you disobey them? How do you stay true? Well, the thing is, you just don’t listen to them. You live your life according to your own principles. You create your own way of life. You create your own view of the world. You create your own world. You. Create. You read and watch and listen and taste and touch and smell and talk to other people and you build your own… anything.
And if there’s one thing you can listen to, I would say you have to listen to your HEART. So yes, as simple as it may sound, you listen to your own heart. You dance to the rhythm of your own heartbeats. You think about what it is that you really need and what it is that you really want and what it is that makes you happy and you do it. You don’t conform. You don’t consume because you’re told to. And you don’t shut up if you have something to say. You don’t compromise. You never ever compromise with your own heart.
And if this sounds a bit too much like good old selfishness or ambition or whatnot, let’s say that if you truly listen to your heart, you will do what you want to when you want to but you’ll also be careful not to hurt anyone else on purpose in the process. You create your own world, you don’t destroy other people’s worlds. Or your heart is probably rotten already. Apart from that, please disobey all you like. Disobey giants. Disobey the corporate giant. Disobey the political giant. Disobey the money giant. Disobey the media giant. Disobey the selfish giant that’s inside of you, if you have one of those. And stay true. “Believe me, when I say, it’s the hardest thing to do. Stay true.” (Geoff Rickly, No Devolución, “Stray True,” 2011)

Dead presidents is a nickname for money. It comes from American banknotes which display former US presidents. And the “green disease” mentioned in the song is just another term for greed invented by Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam. Greed is probably the biggest flaw of human beings and it has probably been that way since the invention of money itself. For example, 20% of the American population own 85% of the country’s wealth. When you think about the fact that money was initially invented to facilitate exchanges between people, in the interest of fairness, equity and equality, and when you see where we’re at now: in a world where everything has a price - be it a flat screen tv, a nuclear warhead or organs on the black market, everything comes with a price tag – don’t you think we are giving way too much importance to money? The Money Giant is always screaming for more. But he’s never quite satisfied. The Money Giant is nothing but a source of frustration. You don’t own money, money owns you. As corny as it may sound, there’s only one currency you should worry about, and it’s called LOVE. The love you receive is the love that you send. If you give love all around you, you’ll receive tons of love in return. And it feels and tastes and smells better than green paper. Let the Money Giant eat his green paper all alone, and may he choke on it. “It’s already been sung, but it can’t be said enough. Love is all you need. All you need is love.” (Eddie Vedder, Riot Act, “Love Boat Captain,” 2002)

During some executions by lethal injection in the USA, there’s some strange form of “decency” at work. Indeed, they sometimes draw the curtains while the prisoner is injected with the lethal cocktail, only to open them again so that the “audience” can see the inmate die. Whether it’s to “protect” the doctors/executioners or simply not to show the inmate going mad knowing he’s being injected with Death itself, this drawing of the curtains sounds hypocritical at best. Just like death sentence itself. How can we allow someone who’s been charged with murder to be murdered by the State in exchange. How foolish is that! Death is not justice. Murder is not justice. Murder is murder. And though no murder is justifiable, at least when someone kills someone else out of passion for example, we can understand what led him to commit such an irreparable act. But when the State kills someone instead of trying to understand what social or psychological issues led the murderer to kill another human being, what is there to understand apart from the fact that we don’t want to deal with real issues like poverty, drugs, education or social conditions. The Political Giant wants death/murder, because it’s much easier than finding genuine solutions to genuine problems. Murder is quicker and easier than rehabilitation. The Political Giant is usually a lazy one.
And what about Troy Davis: he was killed by the State of Georgia even though everybody knew he was innocent. What is there to understand apart from the fact that the system does not work. Death is not justice. Death is vengeance, vigilantism, and violence. Death penalty is barbaric and shouldn’t exist anywhere in the world in 2012. And yet it still exists in 58 countries. But if the Political Giant is usually a lazy one, he is also usually quite scared of vox populi: the voice of the people. And since “people shouldn’t be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people,”* the Political Giant is a giant that you can fight with your voice, with a pen, with demonstrations or petitions or simply with the strength of your convictions. And easy for us, some people started the fight 50 years ago: and in the meantime, other people are trying to get innocent people out of American death rows: 
* (The Wachowski Brothers, V for Vendetta, 2005)

“Dead at 30, buried at 70.” (Douglas Coupland, Generation X, 1991) Corporate zombies or sleepwalkers incorporated are those grey, dull people you see every day on the street. Usually wearing a (funeral) suit and a tie (or is it a noose?) around their neck. And as surprising as it may sound, those people are not really on their way to the biggest funeral ever, they’re just going to work. Dead at 30, buried at 70: that’s what the Corporate Giant does to you. You work, consume, conform and consume again. And, eventually, you die. But you’re actually dead well before you think you are. Well before the cemetery, the grave and all that.
Now, it is true that in today’s society, if you want to survive, chances are you’ll have to find a job. And chances are there will also be some kind of dress code involved. Plus, in recession time, no one’s hiring, so you take whatever job you can get, right? Well, as Willem from Antillectual put it in his concise, striking and memorable style: “every crisis is a moral crisis.”* And no one forces you to work in a tax heaven, and no one forces you to work for a “morally-grey” company, and no one forces you to harm people through your work. If everyone simply refused to work for such companies, they would have to change their policies and to take human rights into account. The Corporate Giant is only as bad and as big as we let him be. First, as employees: because your are GUILTY of something when you work for a company that exploits other people or destroys parts of the environment or uses sweatshops, there’s no arguing about that. You’re not just doing your job (which is basically what the Nazis used to say, you know?), you’re taking a stand, and not a pretty one… you’re basically saying: I don’t care if Chinese children are manufacturing my shoes and I don’t care if they work 100 hours a week and I don’t care if Coca Cola is polluting rivers in India and I don’t care if Dow Chemical killed thousands in India…
But we are also GUILTY as consumers. Each time you buy something, you are making a stand. And whether you support “morally-grey” companies or not is really up to you. The nice people at invented a game (which is still in the making, but you can already play really), it’s called Killcap (you get points simply by not going to MacDonalds or not drinking Coca-Cola!), and everybody can win. Wouldn’t you rather be alive and proud of what you accomplish, instead of dead inside and participating to the biggest organized crime group of our time: you know, that thing called capitalism?     
* (Willem Heijmans, Start from Scratch, “every crisis is a moral crisis,” 2010)

The trillion dollars mentioned in the song is not just a metaphor, it is the actual amount spent on weapons per year : a million million ($1,000,000,000,000). The number is so big it is difficult to grasp or comprehend. So big it’s surreal. So big it’s almost ridiculous. When this is in fact very real and extremely serious. Can you imagine what we could build with so much money? The War Giant would say it doesn’t work like that. Weapons create jobs. Weapons are then sold and create profit. You can even sell weapons to your enemies and then have your soldiers killed by your very weapons (this has happened before). Yes, but we’re talking spendings: a million million that our countries could put in social plans, in schools, in libraries, in books… in construction rather than destruction. CREATING VS DESTROYING. And how do you accomplish this miracle? Well, that’s easy enough. You don’t pick the gun. You don’t pull the trigger. You refuse to manufacture firearms. You refuse to even touch the thing. Because that’s the interesting thing with weapons, they don’t operate without humans. The War Giant can create as many weapons as he wants, if everyone refused to use them, to touch them, it would be the very end of it. And dictators and generals can only kill so much people disobeying until there is no one willing to even touch a weapon. No armies. No weapons. Total refusal. Until we even forget how to build them. Banish all firearms. Banish all armies.
Gil Scott-Heron said it before, peace doesn’t come easy, we’ve got to work for it:
“The military and the monetary
Get together whenever they think its necessary  
They have turned our brothers and sisters into mercenaries, 
They are turning the planet into a cemetery. (…)
Peace ain’t gonna be easy.  
Peace ain’t gonna be free.
We’ve got to work for peace.”
(Gil Scott-Heron, “Work For Peace,” 1994)

There’s 1 billion people living in so-called wealthy/developed countries. A population that consumes way too much, at least 6 times too much (yet, that’s even more). As for the worldwide population, it amounts to 6 billion people. The calculus is so simple, it is scary we haven’t decided to share resources worldwide yet. Because, it is as simple as that. If we all shared what we have, no one would ever be in need again.
Why do people in developed countries consume so much? Because their lives are empty or something? Probably. But still, that’s no excuse. That’s GLUTTONY. It is true that the Glutton Giant sticks nice looking posters of TVs, cars, food, etc… everywhere (when we would rather see nice political comments by Banksy…) but still, how many TVs do you “need”? And how many pairs of shoes do you “need”?
The Degrowth movement’s idea is simple: we produce less, we consume less and we get more time for art, music, friends, culture and community (and we might even have a chance to save the environment in the process). There’s no martyrdom involved, no sacrifice. We simply reconsider our priorities. We consume less, and we live more.
“All belongs to all. All things are for all men. All is for all!” (Peter Kropotkin, The Conquest of Bread, 1907)

Inside the giant: the quiet riot has two meanings for me. First, there’s Howard Zinn’s concept of “quiet revolution”: the idea that you have to “take power” through the institutions. For example, become a teacher and teach your students about the degrowth movement, the Robin Hood Tax, Adbusters, etc… or simply join any institution you want and try to change it from the inside. If this song is instrumental, it is because the “quiet riot” is different for everyone. While listening to the song, you can take a minute to think about what it is that YOU can do in this sense, in your job or in your community. What can you change? And how? “Rather be forgotten than remembered for giving in.” (Dennis Lyxzén, The Shape of Punk to Come, “Summerholidays VS Punkroutine,” 1998)
The giant inside: but the quiet riot is also what I would call a riot going on in your mind. It is your own internal riot. Most of the “giants” presented here can be fought internally. Over-consumption, greed, conformism, obedience to corporations, influence of mass media, and so on… in a way, all you have to do is work on yourself. Change your own little world. I do believe that everyone has the necessary seeds for revolution in his or her mind. Now just let the flowers grow. “You can’t be neutral on a moving train. I don't believe it's possible to be neutral. The world is already moving in certain directions. And to be neutral, to be passive, in a situation like that, is to collaborate with what is going on. And I, as a teacher, don't want to be a collaborator.” (Howard Zinn in Deb Ellis and Denis Mueller’s documentary: You can’t be neutral on a moving train)

The world often looks like a bi-polar place: you’re either a hero, or a zero. A winner or a loser. A lab coat or a lab rat. There’s no place for people living in the margins. For those who create their own way of life. You conform to the system or you don’t. You obey the Conformism Giant or you end up alone. You join the body snatchers whether you fall asleep or not. When in fact we should all celebrate misfits and marginals. Because if they are different from everybody else, they have clearly understood something: you don’t have to conform. You don’t have to obey. You are free to do as you please. To prolong the cinematic metaphor, in an alien invasion movie, there’s always a bunch of people resisting the invasion (that’s the misfits) whereas most people simply get sucked into the giant collective mind of some alien from wherever (that’s the rest of us…). So yes, when you do the exact same things as your neighbours, co-workers, friends and family, you’ve probably been alienated already. Or zombified if you’re more into Romero’s work. You’re already owned by the Conformism Giant. Don’t be scared of looking crazy. What a colourful world we’d live in if everyone was a marginal! A misfit! That’s the kind of world I want to live in. I want to meet people who are different from me. Not robots or clones. I want to meet people who have different opinions and ideas. So we can discuss and share and even argue. I want to meet YOU. But the real you. The true you. With each and every difference you have to offer. “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away.” (Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854)

The Coming Insurrection is one of the most relevant books written about the current political, economic and social situation. The only question is: what side are you on? And sometimes I’m scared I am not on the right side…
The Coming Insurrection by the invisible committee:
Here’s a little taste: “The situation is like this: they hired our parents to destroy this world, and now they'd like to put us to work rebuilding it, and – to add insult to injury – at a profit.”

Ricardo, Bogdan, Ignace, Moshen… those names correspond to a tiny fraction of the 14,000 refugees who died trying to penetrate the walls of Fortress Europe. They died in the last 20 years trying to get here or in camps all across the fortress. Because Europe is far from being a welcoming land, a land of freedom… it is indeed a FORTRESS, and the doors are closed to those we should help. And what’s inside the fortress, you may ask. Well, nothing but a CASINO. Neoliberalism, capitalism, tax heavens, today’s economy is nothing but a “casino economy.” And the first step to change that is probably the taxation of transactions : a Tobin tax, a Robin Hood tax. But a real one! Not a tax like French president Sarkozy / Dark-ozy wanted to create, not one that would help western countries. But a tax that would help the poorest countries abroad and the countries from where refugees are coming, only to die at our doorsteps while we do nothing about it, inside the fortress. First, we erase the so-called debt of Third World countries ; this “odious debt” as Noam Chomsky calls it: it was contracted by dictators, often backed by the very same countries that are now reclaiming their money back, and though the dictators are long gone or dead, we are asking the people of those countries to pay this nonsense debt. Would you pay for a car that someone else bought and then destroyed and then parked in front of our house? I doubt that. Then, we create a Robin Hood tax. Then, we start sharing our resources. And then we break the walls of the fortress.

A partisan is not a patriot. A partisan is someone who fights back when he’s being attacked. A partisan defends what’s his, nothing more. I don’t mean to say you have to possess things and then defend them whatever the cost. That’s capitalism, or ambition or materialism. That’s not being a partisan. No, what I mean is simply you have to defend what is yours. Your rights. And above all, your FREEDOM. Don’t ever let anyone take that away from you. Don’t let money corrupt you into becoming something you hate. Don’t let your job transform you into a sleepwalker or a corporate zombie who hates what he has become. Don’t let governments or institutions tell you what is right for you (be it laws, be it death sentence, be it economic measures or manufacturing weapons instead of building schools) when you know in your heart that they are wrong. I am now 30 years old and I’ve seen so many become what they swore they would never become. Or worse, I’ve seen so many simply slip into a conformist way of life that had already killed them inside though they didn’t know they were already dead. Just be free. And stay true.
You have songs to write, people to love, experiences to live and freedom to enjoy while the zombies will be pushing carts at the supermarket, groaning something at every item they put in the damned cart… Just look around you, whether you’re in the street, on the bus or at work or anywhere else, and try to see how many people have a smile on their face. Not mandatory smiles like cashiers in a supermarket, those don’t count. I mean real, genuine smiles. People who are smiling because they are happy to be. To be. To exist. That’s how children apprehend the world. And that’s how we should too. Those people with a smile, that’s the people you want to talk to. That’s the people you want to meet. That’s the people you want to create things with. Now try to find a mirror somewhere. Are you smiling? If no, there’s probably something you have to change in your life. Find out what, just drop whatever you’re doing at that moment and go change it. Right here. Right now.
And if you are smiling, well, you don’t need me. You don’t even need to read this. But know that we are smiling back at you. Wherever you are. Stay true. Thank you.

to resist is to create
to create is to resist
Ben Sliver, June 2012

This album was inspired by the writings/sayings of  Adbusters, ATTAC, JG Ballard, Banksy, Tom Barman (dEUS), Reverend Billy, Thomas Burø (LACK), Noam Chomsky, Douglas Coupland, Alain Damasio, Guy Debord, the Degrowth movement, Bret Easton Ellis, Shepard Fairey, Andrew Falkous (Future of the Left), Randy Fitzsimmons (The Hives), Nathan Gray (Boysetsfire), Willem Heijmans (Antillectual), the invisible committee, Dennis Lyxzén (Refused), Cory Kilduff (The Rise), Naomi Klein, Bernard-Marie Koltès, Pyotr Kropotkin, Jamie Lenman (Reuben), John Marsden, Jonah Matranga, Alan Moore, Ronald D. Moore, Tom Morello (RATM), William Morris, Ryū Murakami, Sean Murphy (Verse), Andrew Niccol, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ruwen Ogien, Chuck Palahniuk, Geert Plessers (Reiziger), Geoff Rickly (Thursday), Zack de la Rocha (RATM), Hubert Selby Jr, Justin Schlosberg (Hell Is For Heroes), Gil Scott-Heron, Sister Resist, Daryl Taberski (Snapcase), Hunter S. Thompson, Henry David Thoreau, Shin’ya Tsukamoto, Chad Urmston (State Radio), Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam), the Wachowski brothers, Peter Watkins, Irvine Welsh, Doctor Who, Howard Zinn and Emile Zola.