Thursday, June 26, 2008

We Need A Freedom Charter

On this day in history in 1955, the South African Freedom Charter was adopted at the Congress of the People at Kliptown near Johannesburg. Three thousand delegates -- men, women, and children -- representing the African National Congress, the Indian Congress, the Coloured Peoples Organization, and the Congress of Democrats met that day for the reading of the Charter, which was then signed. (For more, visit this site.)

The Freedom Charter said, among other things, that the people shall govern; that all national groups shall have equal rights before the law and shall enjoy equal human rights; that the people shall share in the country's wealth and that the land shall be shared among those who work it. It began:

“ We, the People of South Africa, declare for all our country and the world to know that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people . . . .”

Perhaps we need a Freedom Charter in the United States. If one was drafted, would it be dangerous to sign it? Would you sign?

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