Letter from the Graveyard Shift

Gerry Reith: Letter from the Graveyard Shift

I’ve become jaded of late and convinces of the impossibility of achieving anything worthwhile. Concerning the modern state, I cannot see any way out or around or through, and it strikes me that one’s time is better spent seeking after the little (and the great!) pleasures of camaraderie, art and study.

Although not a mystic, I appreciate some of the tactical insights of Taoism… I think once the critique of organization is firmly assimilated, the whole political project of “anarchism” is exposed as a fraud. As anarchists: leafleting, speaking, proselytizing, agitating anarchists, we are continually trying to smooth over the inherent contradictions of trying to motivate people to act while disavowing any responsibility for their choice of action(s).

If we toss over organization and hierarchy (as we should) we are left with the prescriptive task of anarchist propaganda, and must face the emptiness of our individual lives, the emptiness activity was intended to mask and failed to fill. There is still the joy of provoking and of communicating, but this begins more and more to fall into the older modes: humor and art.

We must stop thinking in terms of issues, power struggles, programs, policies, and projects (state and social) before we are going to be able to not anywhere, and this means an end to most of what the modern anarchist movement consists of. Being an exemplary person is the most difficult thing; it is why so many of us are lured into prosperous schemes for publishing: promoting and capitalizing on, non-monetarily, of course, discontent with a dying culture and an oppressed world. It vanishes into the mist on some rainy afternoon, and the aftertaste is bitter. But why when grown, do we mourn for our childhood games? Let’s invent new, better ones, that don’t have this built-in self-destruct mechanism.

October 1983, published Spring 1985 in VULTURE No. 1 (Montreal). with French translations; the title presumably supplied by its editor.

(from OVO 1 1987)