A Declaration of Independence from Corporate Domination
Things have changed since the original declaration of independence. Now a new tyranny has evolved, the tyranny of corporate dominance over the lives of people and communities. Study this document.
By Arthur Waskow
Editor's Note: The following declaration has been created by the staff of the Shalom Center of which Rabbi Arthur Waskow is the director. The 13-star flag of the American Revolution continues to symbolize resistance to tyranny. Over the past 200 years the modern business corporation has been allowed to become more powerful and more dominating of society than the democratically-elected institutions of the country. The rules which have been put in place now benefit these corporations more than real human beings living in actual local communities. The rules for the distribution of rewards for work and labor now favor only the irresponsible wealthy few rather than the many people themselves who actually do the work. Here is a declaration worthy of study during the celebration of this fourth of July.
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, the pursuit of happiness, and the sharing of Beloved Community throughout our planet;
- a life-sustaining share of the Earth’s abundance;
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;
- democratic elections not controlled by wealth, in which all citizens have the right and obligation to vote, and legislatures that can respond to the democratic will of their constituents;
- peace among all peoples;
- and responsible relationships embodying, healing, and upholding the sacred 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 both American democracy and the American future;
We affirm that to redress these wrongs, it is incumbent upon the people to undertake nonviolent action through elections, lobbying, free speech and a free press, strikes, purchasing campaigns, sit-ins, teach-ins, rallies, and vigils;
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 actions and assassinations not specifically and publicly authorized by both Congress and the UN Security Council;
- 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 US 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;
- The end of quasi-military invasion of the privacy of members of the public, and requirement that all searches and seizures be authorized by specific warrants on probable cause of criminal activity, such warrants to be issued by courts whose membership is public, whose appointments are publicly confirmed by the US Senate, and whose decisions are made public within one month of issuance;
- Strong laws and treaties establishing both domestic and international law to prevent global climate disaster by capping greenhouse-gas emissions; ending by July 4, 2015 all extreme extraction of carbon fuels, including off-shore oil drilling, hyfrofracturing, Tar Sands extraction, and mountaintop destruction; and swiftly moving the US and world economy from fossil-fuel dependence to renewable energy;
- Independent Earth Courts to review and decide whether large projects – physical or institutional – help to heal or endanger the web of life, and to forbid those that create danger.
- 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 amendments to make unalienable the right and obligaton of every citizen over the age of 18 to vote, and the authority of Congress to enforce this provision; and to pay for all election campaigns solely by public contributions by the US 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, through our covenant with each other, and with the help of the sacred Interbreathing of all life, we pledge our hopes, our commitment, our nonviolent action, and our sacred honor.