Letters - 19 April 2024

From Our Quaker testimony to Daffodil ministry

Our Quaker testimony

I have been a subscriber of the Friend for many years and have been on many occasions deeply grateful for the reach and inclusion of your diverse editorial decisions.

In the current edition (5 April) there is an article by Paul Hodgkin ‘Economy drive’. In it I believe he has nailed with precision, clarity and a profound understanding, the truth of our situation and the lies that underpin it, and all in less than two pages!

Placing it within the Quaker context brings it home in ways that these insights could begin to form, as he says, a Quaker testimony against capitalism. A radical call that has renewed my faith in the potential of our Quaker testimony.
Barbara Robinson


I am very much taken by Paul Hodgkin’s call for a testimony against capitalism. But I don’t think a testimony is enough. My first question to Paul is to ask whether he’s read Das Kapital. I hope so, because Karl Marx’s analysis and description of the root of capitalism is still stunningly accurate. Unfortunately, the solution, communism, turned out to be a disaster because both capitalism and socialism depend on the same premise: they are merely shadows of each other. Without a doubt, consumerism, the protestant work ethic, the inevitability of unemployment, climate crisis, plundering of world resources, utterly gross inequality and the arms race are all based in capitalism.

So, capitalism has to go. But how, and especially how without a wholesale massacre of billions of people? I was stumped. Until I heard Carne Ross interviewed on BBC Radio 4. I had heard him years ago speaking at the Quaker Council for European Affairs after he had resigned as a diplomat. The interview led me to watch his Ted talk ‘The Accidental Anarchist’.

Here we are: anarchism. I think we Quakers are very well suited to anarchism because it is essentially how we manage our affairs. I think it matches the fundamental commandment, ‘To love our neighbour as ourselves’. Described in Exodus, repeated in Leviticus, called for consistently by Jesus, reminded by Paul to the Galatians. Denied by capitalism. Anarchism will be more than a testimony, it will be action in faith, faith in action.

Anthony Gimpel

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