We Hold These Truths: An Updated Manifesto for the Sick, the Tired, the Poor, and the Huddled Masses Yearning to Breathe Free

These are not only rapidly changing times; they are revolutionary times. The people are awakening not only to a new situation of living under Coronavirus, but a situation in which the hot spotlight is shining on the ongoing injustices, incompetence, and uncaring attitude and actions of our government toward the plight of the people at large. This is what makes for revolutionary times.

There are people trying to form alternative parties of varying sorts and kinds. But unless they can unify under a common banner, the further splintering of populist groups and organized actions will never be galvanized sufficiently to exact the change they seek.

Here is a suggestion for that common banner for unity of the People: use the Declaration of Independence. Since our leaders in all branches and levels of government have shown their lack of concern for and even hostility to the People and our needs, especially seen now more obviously (but in fact already their well-established and ongoing modus operandi) in the Coronavirus “stimulus” packages that gave the people next to nothing, we are undoubtedly back to that revolutionary moment that prompted the founding document that declared that the People were no longer servants of the oppressive government holding them under its thumb.

So why not use that same document, update it, and in that way craft a new banner to unify all populist parties? At this moment in time, we cannot allow the disagreements between specific party ideas to dissuade us from uniting together under the name of the People and our rights. We must learn to work together for the same general principles that will result in the fall of the current form of government, and something more akin to the rule of law, of rights, and of justice to found our rule. To that end, I have proffered a re-writing of Jefferson’s famous document, with full honor and respect being given to the original, as a suggestion for a Populist banner that will be a platform of unity, rather than independent and isolated small parties of division. Here is a suggestion for a new Declaration of Independence of the People from the current government, which is now on the border of being the type of tyranny that so concerned the Founders. Just like in their time, so in ours: we need a declaration of the unity of the People against the current oppressive government, which has completely refused to be concerned with the needs or good of the People, and has sided completely with the wealthy at all levels of government. So now to Jefferson, with a twist:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all humans are equal, that as human they have certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted to protect and serve the People, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Parties and a Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Objects of money and power, evinces a design to reduce the People under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of the People; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present form of government in the United States is a history of repeated ignorance, injuries, and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over the People. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world, that show that each or all of the instituted branches of government have either singly or one and all, failed to protect and preserve the good of the People.

They have refused their Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

They have refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, thereby forcing the People to relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

They have bypassed Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people. The Representative Houses, for their part, acknowledge and cooperated in this surrender of their Constitutionally designated power, and permitted its usurpation by the Executive Branch.

They have refused for a long time to allow others to be elected by free, open, and verifiable vote, allowing the People in the meantime to be exposed to all the dangers of invasion of their individual and collective economic and social good from within and without the country.

They have endeavoured to prevent the population of these States by non-native others; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to permit their migrations hither, and refusing and obstructing the conditions for safe harbor for those immigrants.

They have obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing their Assent to Laws for limiting Judiciary powers.

They have kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies which influence and even involve themselves by plan in the affairs of the People, all with the Consent of our legislatures, but not the People.

They have affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

They have combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution (Wall Street), and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

  • For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
  • For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
  • For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
  • For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
  • For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
  • For abolishing the free System of Laws in neighboring Provinces, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
  • For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments;

They have abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of their Protection and waging War against us by removing our fair and safe voting to all citizens, and by diminishing our rights.

They are at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the leaders of a civilized nation, by attacking and preparing to attack leaders of other countries as well as their people and geographical territory.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. An Oligarch ruling class whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

We, therefore, the People of the united States of America, in full and unbreakable unity, and appealing to the universal good of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of this United States, solemnly publish and declare, That the People are and of Right ought to be, Free and Independent from such authoritative and unresponsive government; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to this government, and that all political connection between them and the government, is and ought to be totally dissolved until and unless our grievances are met with just response; and that as Free and Independent, the People have full Power to control the way we are governed. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Justice herself, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

Some have said that history is cyclical. If that is true, the current times certainly mirror our founding times in many ways. Why not use the truths that the Founders held, and make them once again our own? Why not unite all Populists under some version of a banner such as this? Without it, there can be no unity and no overcoming of the current authoritarian oligarchy under which we now live.


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Dr. Robert Abele is a professor of philosophy at Diablo Valley College, located in Pleasant Hill, California in the San Francisco Bay area. He is the author of four books: A User’s Guide to the USA PATRIOT Act (2005); The Anatomy of a Deception: A Logical and Ethical Analysis of the Decision to Invade Iraq (2009); Democracy Gone: A Chronicle of the Last Chapters of the Great American Democratic Experiment (2009); and eleven chapters for the International Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Global Justice. He and has written numerous articles and done interviews on politics and U.S. government foreign and domestic policies.

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