By Rabbi Arthur Waskow / The Rag Blog / July 4, 2011
We hold these truths to be self-evident:
That all men and women are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights: That among these are —
- life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;
- the sharing of community;
- honorable jobs with living wages and income, based on livable hours;
- a rhythm of work and rest that frees time for family, neighborhood, citizenly service, and the spirit;
- a life-sustaining share of the earth’s abundance;
- democratic elections not controlled by wealth, and legislatures that can respond to the democratic will of their constituents;
- peace among all peoples;
- and responsible relationships amidst the whole web of life upon this planet.
We affirm that governments, corporations, and other institutions are founded solely to secure these rights and uphold these responsibilities, deriving their just powers from the consent of those they govern and whose lives they shape.
We affirm that at the present time, the power of large corporations — especially those in banking, the military-industrial complex, health care, and fossil fuels — is dominating many branches and aspects of the American government and deeply damaging the American future;
And therefore we demand:
- Actual full employment with a living income for all on the basis of a 32-hour work week;
- Universal health care on the model of Medicare for all;
- An immediate end to military action in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other miitary actions not specifically authorized by both Congress and the UN Security Council; redirection of the costs of those wars to meeting the urgent needs of jobs creation and public services in the U.S.;
- Restoration of full Congressional control over declaration or initiation of any war, as well as adherence to the United Nations Charter; the massive reduction and redirection of U.S. military spending to meet the needs of actual defense, not corporate subsidies or domination over other societies; and the redirection of funds now wasted beyond those needs to meeting the urgent civilian needs of the American people and of poverty-stricken regions of the world;
- Strong laws and treaties establishing both domestic and international law to prevent global climate disaster by capping greenhouse-gas emissions; ending all off-shore oil drilling by July 4, 2015; and swiftly moving the U.S. and world economy from fossil-fuel dependence to renewable energy;
- Laws requiring that all large corporations that do any business in the United States be periodically and publicly reviewed at seven-year intervals to ensure and enforce that they are meeting the needs and balancing the interests of their stockholders, workers, customers, the environment, and society as a whole;
- Constitutional amendment to pay for all election campaigns solely by public contributions by the U.S. or the states, and contributions from natural persons, actual human beings, under limits set by Congress.
- Abolition of the filibuster in the U. S. Senate.
And to the achievement of these goals, with the help of Divine Providence and through our covenant with each other, we pledge our hopes, our commitment, our nonviolent action, and our sacred honor.
To sign this Declaration, please click here.
[Rabbi Arthur Waskow is director of The Shalom Center. His newest book, co-authored with R. Phyllis Berman, is Freedom Journeys: The Tale of Exodus & Wilderness across Millennia (Jewish Lights). Read more articles by Rabbi Arthur Waskow on The Rag Blog.]