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FECRIS 2013 “FREEMEN, SOVEREIGN CITIZENS, AND THE THREAT TO PUBLIC ORDER IN BRITISH HERITAGE COUNTRIES” Stephen A. Kent Department of Sociology University.

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Presentation on theme: "FECRIS 2013 “FREEMEN, SOVEREIGN CITIZENS, AND THE THREAT TO PUBLIC ORDER IN BRITISH HERITAGE COUNTRIES” Stephen A. Kent Department of Sociology University."— Presentation transcript:

1 FECRIS 2013 “FREEMEN, SOVEREIGN CITIZENS, AND THE THREAT TO PUBLIC ORDER IN BRITISH HERITAGE COUNTRIES” Stephen A. Kent Department of Sociology University of Alberta Edmonton, Canada 1

2 FECRIS 2013 “FREEMEN, SOVEREIGN CITIZENS, AND THE THREAT TO PUBLIC ORDER IN BRITISH HERITAGE COUNTRIES” Stephen A. Kent Department of Sociology University of Alberta Edmonton, Canada 2

3 7 TYPES OF ANTI-GOVERNMENT MOVEMENTS 1.Tea-Party –libertarians; government minimalists 2. Militias—anticipate defending America against government/UN forces. Many violent plots thwarted 3. Oath-takers —current and former military and law enforcement personnel who re-take oath to defend the U.S. Constitution, believing it is under threat 3

4 7 TYPES OF ANTI-GOVERNMENT MOVEMENTS 4. Racist groups –government and banks controlled by Jews, etc. 5. Various cults –God’s law more important 6. Terrorist cells– Destroy Western governments 7. “Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Argument Litigants (OPCA)” (Rooke, 2012) 4

5 5 Types of “Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Argument Litigants (OPCA)” (Rooke, 2012) A.De-taxers—avoiding income tax B. Freemen (or Freeman)-on-the-Land —libertarian; strongly anti-government; try to opt out of social and government obligations. Sometimes violent (in U.S.) C. Sovereign Men/Sovereign Citizens—see governments as corporations entangling people in unwanted contracts. Practice ‘paper terrorism.’ 5

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8 5 “Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Argument Litigants (OPCA)” (Rooke, 2012) D. Church of Ecumenical Redemption International (CERI)—claim a religious right to use marijuana; use religious language to claim exemption from governmental and court authority 8

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10 5 “Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Argument Litigants (OPCA)” (Rooke, 2012) E. Some groups within the Moorish law community— Exempt themselves from governmental authority and engage in fraudulent financial, property, and housing schemes 10

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12 The behaviours of people in each category overlap; boundaries blur Easiest just to call these anti- government types either Freemen or sovereign citizens 12

13 ORIGINS OF THE AMERICAN ANTI- GOVERNMENT MOVEMENT 1. Posse Commitatus of the 1970s: anti-Semitic, anti-tax, hatred of officials above a county level; violence against police. Very similar to contemporary Freemen 13

14 ORIGINS OF THE AMERICAN ANTI- GOVERNMENT MOVEMENT 2. American Farm crisis ( )—235,000 farms failed, along with 60,000 supportive business 3. American bank failures—between 1986 and 1995, over 1,000 banks failed, costing taxpayers $153 billion 4. New bank failures beginning in 2008, with nearly 4 million house foreclosures by 2012, which included 3.8 million victims of illegal foreclosures 14

15 ORIGINS OF THE CANADIAN ANTI- GOVERNMENT MOVEMENT Interest rate jump from 10.31% in August 1978 to 21.46% in September 1981, leading to thousands of foreclosures 15

16 ORIGINS OF THE UK ANTI- GOVERNMENT MOVEMENT Drop in farm income, with more than 20,000 losing their properties —foot and mouth disease 3. appalling weather/floods Occupy London Protests 16

17 UK FREEMEN ACTIVITIES endorsement by a British libertarian professor 2. Two letters in the Guardian by Occupy London protesters—anti-tax and sovereign citizens outside the law attempt to arrest a judge in Merseyside (NW England) in a council (i.e., property and services) tax bill case; crowd of 300 wanted to ensure Magna Carta rights 4.Examples in British courts of people signing their names like Freemen (with colons or odd phrases) 17

18 REACTION TO UK FREEMEN Harsh reaction by barristers: “irresponsible,” “a commitment to jargon,|” “against social progress,” “nonsense,” “risible [i.e., laughable] shite” 18

19 ORIGINS OF THE IRISH ANTI- GOVERNMENT MOVEMENT —growth built upon credit and high personal indebtedness 2. Beginning August Risky bank-lending practices led to huge losses when property value dropped 3. Government covering bank losses put its own burdens on federal debt repayment 4. Huge governmental money borrowings to meet debts and expenses 19

20 IRISH FREEMEN ACTIVITIES 1.May typical freeman courtroom antics in a traffic court case (speeding, driving without a license or insurance 2. September 2010—typical fee-charging threats against the garda 3. August 2011—defendant asks for a judge’s oath of office 20

21 REACTION TO IRISH FREEMEN Irish barrister wrote.”There is literally not one single instance, worldwide, of Freemen arguments ever succeeding before a court.” 21

22 ORIGINS OF THE AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND ANTI-GOVERNMENT MOVEMENTS Drought 22

23 AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND ANTI- GOVERNMENT ACTIVITIES 1.American sovereign citizens have done speaking tours in both countries 2.Internet web sites in both countries are raising typical sovereign concerns (taxes, fines, property rights, sentencing, natural law, birth certificates, etc.) 23

24 PSYCHOLOGICAL.PSYCHIATRIC INTERPRETATIONS OF SOME PARTICIPANTS 1.Some may suffer from delusions of other types of mental impairment—a judge’s comment 2.“Delusional Disorders” in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual includes: A.Irritable moods B.Anger and violent behaviour C.Flooding judicial officials and courts with documents 24


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