An Ethical Musings' subscriber sent me the following manifesto from the Shalom Center. While you may not agree with all of it (I personally find that, as is true of most if not all manifestos, some of its demands are too far reaching and many of them lack sufficient nuance), the manifesto highlights fundamental problems in the US and possible solutions. At a minimum, the Shalom Center's proposal is constructively provocative and worth the time it takes to read.
The Shalom Report
Independence Now!! from Corporate Domination
A New Declaration of Independence
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
• 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 and legislatures not controlled by wealth
• 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:
1. Actual full employment with a living income for all on the basis of a 32-hour work week
2. Universal health care on the model of Medicare for all
3. An end to all US military action, overseas military bases, and the use of violence against any person by the military or any other US agency that have not been specifically authorized by Act of Congress or by the issuance of a public arrest warrant by a Federal District Court after public pleadings.
4. Restoration of full Congressional control over declaration or initiation of any war, as well as adherence to the United Nations Charter; the reduction and redirection of US military spending to meet the needs of defense, not corporate subsidies; 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.
5. Abolition of all surveillance and collection of any data and metadata concerning any communication from or to any citizen or resident of the United States, without the issuance of a search warrant specifically naming and describing the person to be surveilled and the data to be collected — such warrants to be issued by a regular US District Court and made public no later than 60 days after issuance.
5. Strong laws to prevent global climate disaster and swiftly move the US and world economies from fossil-fuel dependence to renewable energy; such laws to include capping greenhouse-gas emissions and placing a rising tax on the production and emission of carbon dioxide and methane, with the income to be divided among (a) support for renewable forms of energy; (b) support for poor nations to shift to non-carbon economies; and (c) dividends to be paid to all American citizens;
6. Laws requiring that all large corporations that do any business in the United States be periodically and publicly reviewed by a jury of citizens chosen from the normal panel for civil lawsuits, in 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
7. A Constitutional Amendment providing that all persons born in the United States be registered to vote at birth, and shall be qualified to vote in all elections upon reaching the age of 18
8. A Constitutional amendment to pay for all election campaigns solely by public contributions by the US or the states, and contributions from natural persons, i.e. actual human beings, under limits set by Congress
9. Requirement that rules of the US Senate, proposed laws, and confirmation of appointments be adopted or amended by a simple majority vote, with provisions for time-limited debate.
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.
With blessings of freedom and community,
Rabbi Arthur WaskowThe Shalom Center
6711 Lincoln Drive
Philadelphia, PA 19119