Everyone has the right to work, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection for himself and his family [and] an existence worthy of human dignity.. everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948
We have 50 per cent of the world’s wealth, but only 6-3 per cent of its population. In this situation, our real job in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which permit us to maintain this position of disparity. To do so, we have to dispense with all sentimentality… we should cease thinking about human rights, the raising of living standards and democratisation.
George Kennan, US Cold War planner, 1948
Note both of these statements were written at the same time and are in complete contradiction to each other. They should warn us we can never take for granted what is our right under declarations or otherwise. Rights are in constant conflict with the forces who profit from the denial that they exist. Rights are constantly negotiable and to protect them they need to be persistently claimed, improved on and protected. They do not come as gifts but through constant struggle.
“I favor the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and it must be enforced at gunpoint if necessary”. Ronald Reagan