Interview: Chris #2 (Anti-Flag) talks Occupy, capitalism and “The General Strike”

Anti-Flag are a name synonymous with politically charged punk-rock and have recently released their 9th album “The General Strike,”  through SideOneDummy Records.  The band are soon heading out to Australia with Strike Anywhere and The Flatliners so ahead of the tour we sent some questions off to Chris #2.  We discuss themes that may be missing from their albums, the Occupy Movement, the failure of the capitalism framework and what should people be expecting from their live shows post-release of “The General Strike.”  Read the full interview here.

Check dates, venues and ticket information for their upcoming Australian tour here.

Dying Scene (Brittles):  Anti-Flag has always been very vocal advocates of human rights, political wrongs amongst other things.  Are there any themes of the human condition that you would like to cover but don’t?

Anti-Flag (Chris #2):  That’s really interesting. I’ve never thought about it that way.  The way we operate is to speak to issues we’re passionate about.  People often give us grief over not talking about certain issues, but we have found the only way other people connect with us on these sometimes arduous ideas is if we are honest and really care about what we’re singing.

Anti-Flag were quite involved in the Occupy movement activities.  While the Occupy movement is important, in many ways what, if any, do you think some of the cons of the movement are?

The cons are simple, it’s human. It makes mistakes. There are missed opportunities. People who distract the public from the real discourse that the occupy movement is trying to introduce. If occupy ended tomorrow, it would go down as one of the great movements of history. The fact that this idea of the “99%” actually exists is a huge victory for those fighting against greed. I mean they use the term on Fox news now!

Chris Hannah once said to me that the capitalist framework that our society operates under isn’t working.  What do you think the right framework is or how does the world need to change?

It’s exploitative capitalism, and quite frankly its unsustainable.  People are willing to put human beings below them just to receive a “fairer” price on goods. Now, one could argue that all capitalism is exploitative. And could argue it well. However, its my belief that our side in this battle. Those of us in the “punk” scene, those of us considered to have a social conscience. Our role is to back these international humanitarian movements up. Be smart with where we spend our dollars, there is power in that. When the workers in these places stand up, whenever that is, we need to stand with them.  Reshape this framework for sure.

If you were President, what would you change to make America better?

Make it illegal for corporations to donate to all political campaigns. I think we might see less corporate bidding, more focus on the peoples vote.

I’m in Australia, and legally we must all vote and I also believe that if you are lucky enough live in a democratic society you should vote.  Do you vote?

I do vote. I’m unsure on this. Honestly. I think it make sense to make voting mandatory. But I’m unsure of how or if that would fly in favor of one side of the political realm or another.

Do you believe that voting in elections is important, or a waste of time?  Can you please elaborate.

Man. I have no great answer. Obviously, you look at an election decided by 300 votes in Florida leading to G.W.Bush for 8yrs, and you say, yes. Absolutely. However, voting for the specific purpose of resulting in the lesser of two evils is not democracy. Part of me says, don’t vote, let them fuck everything up and then perhaps we’ll have a shot at true democracy and third and forth party candidates.  But, wow, that’s a big maybe.

To me at least, it sounds like there are fewer bells and whistles on “The General Strike” and it’s more of a return to the delivery of a message like on some of your previous albums.  Did you set out to achieve anything when you wrote and recorded the album and did you achieve that?

Yes. It was a conscience decision to write more efficient songs.  Get to the point. But also, a real effort was made to make the album sound like Anti-Flag. Not reinvent it. We took a look around and realized, not many are saying what we’re saying, how we’re saying it.  We embraced that idea.   Rather then caving to many who we’re bringing negativity towards the band. We made the best “ANTI-FLAG” record in a few years. We couldn’t be happier with it.

It’s been a while been drinks in Australia.  What are you most looking forward to on your pending Australian tour?

OZ is one of my personal favorite places in the world. I’m just looking forward to some of my favorite spots, to eat, hang with friends, and play shows. This trip will be chicken soup for the soul for sure.

How much of the new album can people expect to hear at the shows and will there be any surprises for fans?

We play between 4 and 5 General Strike songs in a 20/21 song set list when we headline. Really, we try to play several from each album. But you can always hit up our social networking site and request jams.  I read them frequently and try to take rational requests into the set list writing equation.

Any thing the readers of DyingScene should know before we sign off?

No! The dates are close! We are very excited. This is the best package tour we’ve ever taken to australia. Strike Anywhere, Flatliners, Anti-Flag is gonna be a rager. See ya in the pit! Oi!

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