Los Violadores "Ser Punk"
This “manifesto” was written by the band’s members and was published in the “Cerdos & Peces” section of the Argentine political magazine El Porteño, issue 22, Buenos Aires 1983.
Translated by Federico Gómez Levitanas
Being Punk is an engaged and nonconformist way of life in a country like this, where there are many people choosing not to get involved with anything, people who prefer to be a mass in order to have a better time.
The protest singer is not antiestablishment even when his lyrics are strong because he gets up on stage, plays the guitar, sings, get applause, and when he finishes, he turns again into a common person, part of the mass. Instead, being Punk is a 24-hours-a-day commitment: from the clothes used up to the way of behaving, it is a form of shocking, of going to battle. A Punk is unemployed: he doesn’t want to work, nor to study, nor to abide by any social norm. Such an attitude is hard to hold to in Argentina because here people are judged by what they appear to be and not for what they are.
We are different from the hippies. The hippies attacked the city and its way of life and called for getting away from it. To go to the countryside, to hit the road, create communities. A punk, on the contrary, stays in the city and assumes its madness; it recognizes itself as a city ant or cockroach. The hippies were passive, punk is reactive because it assumes alienation and doesn’t suggest any alternative solution. We are nihilists, we don’t believe in any “after,” in any plan. In the long run, there is nothing useful. If there is something to be saved it’s the youth. The old people are on the way back, they are extremely corrupt, they have no escape.
Rock became bourgeois, transformed itself into “concert rock,” with the people sitting nicely and applauding, everything under control, with people gently moving their feet and humming, at most. The rock of Obras [one of the most important venues for rock shows in Argentina at the time —trans.] is boring, not different than tango or bolero. We bent the rules. No chairs, no stillness. Jump, dance, spit on us, and bring the idol down. Rock follows the same line of melodic music, in which there are idols that you are supposed to worship just because they understand music a bit and go up on stage. That is crazy. In Obras things can happen but it depends on who is playing. If Van Halen, Riff, or V8 play, something may happen. But if Alenjando Lerner plays, I fall asleep.
They accuse us of being violent. Don’t forget that we live in a violent society. People die in football matches, in the streets, murdered. How many people were assassinated in this country in recent years? Compared to that violence, we are harmless. Everybody knows who this country’s real violent individuals are. We didn’t kill, nor jail, nor torture anyone. They cannot say that we are violent. Those who say that do it because they want to keep the same old story going so they attack again, threaten, and organize campaigns. They don’t want alternatives to exist.
We were also accused of being fascist because we use specific types of clothing and symbols. No one in the world should be fascist. The word itself says it all: criminal, authoritarian, repressive. We don’t have anything to do with that. If we do use Nazi symbols it is because we want to shock. We dress up in order to annoy and to remind the world that those symbols are the trash that we inherited. That is the reason we use swastikas or green berets, because they are awful things that exist in the world and are the memory of the human plague. We are not political, we are social. We talk about things that happen to people like us, working class without future, without prospects, ruined, dishonored, and humiliated by all the misery that ruined this country.
There is nothing domestic here. From the mate to Coke, everything is imported. Here there were only Indians and an Indian culture but all that was killed. But Buenos Aires is not different than London: there is the same violence, crisis, corruption, the same madness, and the same old people ruling. And punk comes from the big cities, where the language of madness rules. We were always punk. We always had this anger, this desperation. We were always rebels and against this stinking way of living.