I drudged through George Orwell's "1984", because Diamond Dogs was derived from it. I don't recommend it though, because it's SO boring compared to Bowie's version.
Orwell probably explained "thought speak", and "think speak" a total of 300 times by the second chapter. I was like "I GET IT!!! Let's move on!"
BUT, I really interpret this song as a love that's destined to fail, and rather than the lovers have hope like in Romeo and Juliet, they accept that their love will fail, and knowing in the comfort of that, they tentatively stay together until they're broken apart.
So, it's "Heroes" in reverse, In Heroes our lovers will stop at nothing to be together, and in "We are the Dead" our lovers stop at the threat of torture or death, or whatever terrible fate awaits them if they get caught. So they stay "alive", but just barely because they can't DO what they want to do, their senses are intentionally deadened...hence...They are the dead.
Official Ambassador of the now dismantled Rose_Stardust Fan Club