August 20, 2019
A Declaration of Independence from America's Past
Upon the 400th anniversary of slavery in America, we, the people, hold these truths to be evident:
- That America was founded not by pilgrims seeking religious freedom but by corporations seeking profit,
- And that many of those corporations achieved their profits through the enslavement of human beings,
- And that the Revolutionary War began not as a War of Independence but as a War of Insurrection, aimed at gaining wealthy, white males in the American colonies representation in the British Parliament, and if that could not be achieved, the overthrow of King George III to clear the way for white male American representation in Parliament,
- And that the Revolution became a War of Independence, a year after its start, because it became clear that there would be no support elsewhere in Britain for the colonies' cause and that to concede the war meant death as traitors for the colonies' leaders,
- And that the United States of America's first attempt at government - the Articles of Confederation - failed,
- And that the Articles' replacement - the Constitution - encoded in law that a black slave was worth only three-fifths of other human beings,
- And that the first 90 years of the United States of America's economic, social, military and political development was made possible because of the exploitation of slave labor,
- And that the United States of America was able to exist and expand only by waging genocide against Native people,
- And that when some Americans stood up to end the disgrace of slavery, 11 states chose to secede and take arms against the United States of America rather than end slavery,
- And that Confederacy was founded upon the principle of white supremacy, declaring Black Americans as "an inferior and dependent race,"
- And that the Civil War was fought over the institution of slavery and for no other unrelated cause,
- And that since the Confederacy's military defeat, white supremacists and Confederate sympathizers have sought to recast the Civil War as one between the states over the right of self-governance and to glorify traitors against the United States of America while diminishing those who fought and died to expand civil rights,
- And that white supremacists have enlisted law enforcement to oppress, harass, injure and kill people of color and their allies in order to preserve, protect and expand the cause of white supremacy in the United States,
- And that corporations and owners of capital have enlisted law enforcement to oppress, harass, injure and kill working men and women to prevent them from organizing and bargaining collectively for higher wages and greater benefits,
- And that the United States of America has denied and continues to deny participation in its government to people of color, to women, to the young and to others whose voices disagree with those in power at the moment,
- And that the United States of America has interned in camps classes of people - without charge or cause - for the purposes of oppressing, intimidating, terrorizing and even exterminating those people,
- And that our nations' founders made explicit that while Americans were to enjoy freedom of religion, "the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,"
- And that leaders within the United States of America nevertheless have pursued the cause of Christian dominionism at the expense of the freedom of women to control their own bodies and of people of other faiths and no religious affiliation to live their lives unmolested,
- And that the government of the United States of America is influenced more by wealth and by nepotism than by the will of its people,
- And that the United States of America has accomplished great things in its history — including the liberation of Europe from fascism and the peaceful exploration of space — proving that America can do better than the worst moments of its past.
We, therefore, resolve that it is time for all Americans to question our nation's mythology... and to work together to build a better United States of America that, at long last, lives up to its promise of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, with liberty and justice for all.
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