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Sep. 4th, 2006 @ 01:37 pm The Revolution and Quakers that Friends Aren't
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So, I recently asked Zach, better known as Green Anarchist Quaker a question that, as you can see by recent posts, has been on my mind:

I’m frustrated with the anarchist movement as a whole because it seems most anarchists feel that the only way to affect real, radical change is through violence. I’m of the opinion that we can’t have a political revolution without a social revolution as well. The general populace needs to learn that they don’t need someone telling them what they can and can’t do to keep order. If the U.S. government were to disappear tomorrow, it would cause the kind of chaos that society sees anarchism as. But, at the same time, no matter what kind of non-violent action we take, there’s a lot of misinformation and violence perpetuated by the government to shut these kinds of movements down. Without an effective way to fight back, whether violent or not, there’s no way any movement will succeed.

So, in a nutshell, I was wondering what you think the most effective sorts of actions are to affect change?

Rather than responding in the comments section of his blog, he actually responded with a separate post, which made me happy and greatful that he gave my out-of-the-blue question so much thought, rather than a cursory response.

I've just read it, so I haven't had enough time to fully process it, but this which is the core of his post, particularly struck me:

I think if the source of the tireless, defiant, uncompromising, and yet intensely loving spirit that the earliest generation of Friends had could be rediscovered, almost anything would be possible.

But a few questions come to mind, not as a critique, but a response.

The earliest Friends were practicing a form of radical Christian teaching. But now, Quakerism, at least on the liberal end, has become less Christ-centered and more pluralistic. For example, a non-thiest Friend (which is what Zach is) would have been an oxymoron in Quakers' earliest days. How would we, then, regain the "flame" as he calls it, without becomming exclusively Christian? And, if we did, many modern Friends, including myself, would be turned away by it.

According to my understanding, which I'll grant, is limited, Quakerism "turned England upside-down" in a more religious fashion than in a political one. Obviously, Church and State were more connected than they are now (even given evangelical conservatives) so they went hand in hand. But, if we were to truly have a spiritual revolution of sorts, I wonder if it would translate to the political.

And lastly, while I love Friends, and I see them as one of the most personaly, socialy and politicaly-concious groups around, we are not large in numbers. With this rediscovery of Quakers-long-past, would we gain in numbers? And, even if we did, would the numbers be enough to affect change?

I don't know, but these will be further things on my mind this week. Perhaps I'll follow-up soon.