4 Jul 2013

Emma Goldman: A New Declaration of Independence

Emma Goldman: A New Declaration of Independence (1909)

by Emma Goldman
(Published in Mother Earth, Vol. IV, no. 5, July 1909.)

When, in the course of human development, existing institutions prove
inadequate to the needs of man, when they serve merely to enslave,
rob, and oppress mankind, the people have the eternal right to rebel
against, and overthrow, these institutions.

The mere fact that these forces -- inimical to life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness -- are legalized by statute laws, sanctified by
divine rights, and enforced by political power, in no way justifies
their continued existence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all human beings,
irrespective of race, color, or sex, are born with the equal right to
share at the table of life; that to secure this right, there must be
established among men economic, social, and political freedom; we
hold further that government exists but to maintain special privilege
and property rights; that it coerces man into submission and
therefore robs him of dignity, self-respect, and life.

The history of the American kings of capital and authority is the
history of repeated crimes, injustice, oppression, outrage, and
abuse, all aiming at the suppression of individual liberties and the
exploitation of the people. A vast country, rich enough to supply all
her children with all possible comforts, and insure well-being to
all, is in the hands of a few, while the nameless millions are at the
mercy of ruthless wealth gatherers, unscrupulous lawmakers, and
corrupt politicians.

Sturdy sons of America are forced to tramp the country in a fruitless
search for bread, and many of her daughters are driven into the
street, while thousands of tender children are daily sacrificed on
the altar of Mammon. The reign of these kings is holding mankind in
slavery, perpetuating poverty and disease, maintaining crime and
corruption; it is fettering the spirit of liberty, throttling the
voice of justice, and degrading and oppressing humanity. It is
engaged in continual war and slaughter, devastating the country and
destroying the best and finest qualities of man; it nurtures
superstition and ignorance, sows prejudice and strife, and turns the
human family into a camp of Ishmaelites.

We, therefore, the liberty-loving men and women, realizing the great
injustice and brutality of this state of affairs, earnestly and
boldly do hereby declare, That each and every individual is and ought
to be free to own himself and to enjoy the full fruit of his labor;
that man is absolved from all allegiance to the kings of authority
and capital; that he has, by the very fact of his being, free access
to the land and all means of production, and entire liberty of
disposing of the fruits of his efforts; that each and every
individual has the unquestionable and unabridgeable right of free and
voluntary association with other equally sovereign individuals for
economic, political, social, and all other purposes, and that to
achieve this end man must emancipate himself from the sacredness of
property, the respect for man-made law, the fear of the Church, the
cowardice of public opinion, the stupid arrogance of national,
racial, religious, and sex superiority, and from the narrow
puritanical conception of human life.

And for the support of this Declaration, and with a firm reliance on
the harmonious blending of man's social and individual tendencies,
the lovers of liberty joyfully consecrate their uncompromising
devotion, their energy and intelligence, their solidarity and their lives..

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