The US Declaration of Independence, as edited by Oxfam

July 3, 2015

     By Duncan Green     

July 4, 1776.

How did they manage without track changes?

How did they manage without track changes?

In an extraordinary historical scoop, it has come to our attention that the original declaration of US Independence was initially sent through Oxfam sign off procedures. Here is the final draft, before Oxfam America handed it over to the 13 states for a final edit.

‘We hold these truths to be self-evident evidence-based, although contested, that all men, women and other more confusing categories (hereinafter, ‘people of gender’) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator International Law and Amartya Sen with certain unalienable Rights, that among these [i] are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness self-reported life satisfaction.

–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among People of Gender, deriving their just powers from the consent and active participation of the fully and appropriately consulted governed,

–That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People, especially women, to use their leverage and convening network skills to alter or to abolish it, or at least complain a lot on social media with a catchy hashtag, and to institute new, innovative and out of the box 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, Sustainable Livelihoods, Resilience, Gender Equity and Self-Reported Life Satisfaction.

Prudence [ii], indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind [iii] are more disposed to suffer [iv], while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. This demonstrates a serious need for capacity building of suitably transformative CSOs. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government [v], and to provide new Guards for their future climate-smart security.’

4th JulyAt this point, Oxfam decided that it couldn’t proceed because of the lack of a clear theory of change or monitoring and evaluation process, and suggested replacing the declaration with a tweet – much simpler:

‘All peeps r = with rights to life, liberty + pursuit of happiness + that’s what govts r 4. If a govt won’t, people have right to abolish it’


[i] Cd we please add full list of 190 ILO Conventions, UN conventions etc as an annex?
[ii] Is Prudence a staff member? Is she accountable for these kinds of decisions?
[iii] Oh dear, this won’t do
[iv] need to recognise that men, women, boys and girls experience suffering differently
[v] Sounds a bit radical for Oxfam, can we tone it down a bit?

July 3, 2015
Duncan Green