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6 Aug, 2020 15:22

A Sovereign Citizen revival could spark anarchy – but our leaders are bringing it upon themselves

A Sovereign Citizen revival could spark anarchy – but our leaders are bringing it upon themselves

Sovereign Citizens, an obscure and sometimes violent underground movement, is becoming visible again, as draconian laws such as those enacted in Melbourne drive people to rebel against oppressive authorities.

As disproportionately repressive laws are introduced under the auspices of the Covid-19 lockdown, some people have reached boiling point. Trapped by social pressure and authoritarian zealots, they’re becoming so-called ‘Sovereign Citizens.’

The subculture has recently spiked, unsurprisingly, in Melbourne, driven by nonsensical laws allowing police to enter anyone’s house without a warrant or permission. That’s on top of the six-week curfew between 8pm and 5am, and a range of other diktats.

Also on rt.com Melbourne cops may now enter homes without warrant, after 11 people die of Covid – Australia, this is madness, not democracy

But Sovereign Citizens have begun to violently challenge cops enforcing these rules. One follower repeatedly smashed a female officer’s head into a concrete floor after being challenged about not wearing a mask in a shopping mall. Others have refused to give police their particulars when pulled over in their cars.

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said, “On at least four occasions in the last week, we’ve had to smash the windows of cars and pull people out to provide details. We’ve seen a trend, an emergence, if you like, of groups of people, small groups, but nonetheless concerning groups, who classify themselves as Sovereign Citizens, whatever that might mean.”

The movement began in the United States back in the 1970s. Sovereign Citizens regard themselves as emancipated from government control, taxation, and the protocol of things such as driving licenses. They’re not a unified group and have no definitive leader – instead, they’re a collection of like-minded individuals.

One branch was classified by the CIA as domestic terrorists, after several officers died at the hands of members of the movement, including in an AK-47 shooting in Arkansas in 2010.

Fundamental to the movement is the Redemption Theory, which harks back to the era when the US swapped the gold standard for the dollar. Sovereign Citizens believe that made members of the public collateral to be issued with social security numbers and to be used in trade agreements.

They believe each person has a monetary value, held in a US Treasury account, of up to many million US dollars. Sovereign Citizens file legitimate tax forms for illegitimate purposes, to claim back what they believe they are owed. Law enforcement agents have uncovered large insurance fraud schemes, and one group was even selling phony diplomatic credentials.

While not advertising who they are, Sovereign Citizens commonly spell their full name in capital letters, write in red crayon, often use the phrase “accepted for value”, have homemade license plates on their vehicles, and may write "No Liability Accepted” on official documents in place of a signature to signify they don’t respect its authority.

Over the decades, it’s become a global phenomenon. In Australia and Canada, Sovereign Citizens are also known as the Freemen on the Land.

In 2012, in England, one follower of the movement called The Queen and the Prime Minister as witnesses in his cannabis-growing criminal trial – but they were unavailable.

Most of us would regard Sovereign Citizens as ridiculous, but are they really any more ridiculous than some of our leaders?

Tragic as each of them was, the authorities in Melbourne have totally lost the plot over 11 Covid-19-related deaths. Meanwhile, parts of the UK are being shut down intermittently, and thousands of holidaymakers suddenly discovered they had to quarantine because Spain was removed without warning from the supposed safe ‘travel corridor.’

America has no joined-up thinking on Covid-19, either, with Disney World set to reopen this weekend, despite Florida’s daily count topping 10,000 cases three times this week.

These are clearly trying times for governments, but so many only have themselves to blame.

New Zealand, under the stewardship of Jacinda Ardern, has led the way by engendering a spirit of everyone pulling in the same direction. No one wants to die from a virus originating from a pangolin in a Chinese market. People will listen and respect guidelines – if they see consistency and results.

However, too many lawmakers have been arrogantly nonchalant with our fates and then struck the “unseen” iceberg scientists had forewarned them about.

Unless our leaders learn their lesson, more and more people will identity as Sovereign Citizens.

There’s something romantic about being the outlaw and ‘Sticking it to the Man’. But the real driving force is desperation as death tolls mount, jobs evaporate and liberties are stripped. And the more Sovereign Citizens become emboldened and go public, the greater the numbers adopting this ‘new option’ will become. And that spells organised chaos that could descend into anarchy.

Ten Sovereign Citizens refusing to recognise the police is one thing.

What about 1,000?

Now imagine 100,000?

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.