Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Unlawful rebellion

Here we go—another day heralds the foundation of another libertarian group blog. It is hardly surprising, really; some time ago, Tom Paine discussed the idea that group blogs might be the way forward—an idea that he reinforces with his introduction to Orphans of Liberty.

Whilst I wish the best for the Orphans, but they are fighting a real problem...

I don't know what it is about libertarians but any groupings—whether Alliances or Parties—seem to lead to discord and disagreement. I don't know why this should be—perhaps it is that the nutters seem to be able to shout the loudest.

One of the most vociferous bunch of people around at the moment are the so-called Freemen on the Land. Whilst I enjoy watching their antics, I have always wondered just how sound a legal basis they have for their assertions. But perhaps Captain Ranty's post at Orphans of Liberty might give some kind of indication—especially the section on Lawful Rebellion.
Lawful Rebellion

This is a different kettle of fish entirely.

Lawful Rebels take their guidance, and their instructions, from Magna Carta 1215 Art. 61, which gives all Britons the right, (actually, the obligation), to rebel if the monarch violates her Coronation Oath. She has done so, by herself or by proxy, over three thousand times since 1953. The Labour government tinkered (illegally and unlawfully) with the House of Lords when they passed a Bill of the same name in 1999.

They disallowed (some) hereditary Peers from taking their seats in the HoL despite them having Letters of Patent. In so doing, they diluted the power of the HoL as an Upper Chamber, and as a result, a Barons Committee was formed in 2001. Some 80 Peers got together and selected a Quorum. In turn, the Quorum delegated four Peers to trot up to Buck House to inform Madge that they were dischuffed.

They gave her 40 days to put right the wrongs, (she did not) so they gave her a further 10 days to deliberate the Second Affidavit (known as an Opportunity To Cure), and, although she acknowledged the Barons Committee, she did not correct her oath violations.

Now that all conditions for Lawful Rebellion are met, the way is open for ALL Britons to revoke their allegiance to the monarch and swear it instead to the Barons Committee. Like them, I also sent my First and Second Affidavits to Madge, and more recently I sent a letter to the Barons Committee pledging my allegiance to them. Article 61, never revoked amended or rescinded, gives me the right to ignore any and all statutes issued by the monarch and her government. I am instructed to "..distrain and distress" them in any way I can. Which includes, but is not limited to withholding taxes, and generally being a pain in the arse. I am doing just that.

As you might expect, your humble Devil enjoys watching people make a pain in the arse of themselves—especially when their target is the state—but how much legal basis is there for Lawful Rebellion.

Well, in a nutshell—none.

Why? Surely Magna Carta—that great charter signed by King John I in 1215—is the cornerstone of the liberties of the British law.

Unfortunately not.

Magna Carta was actually revised a number of times—from 1216 until its last ratification in 1423—but the first time that Magna Carta was incorporated into British law was in 1225. By that time, a number of the clauses had been amended or specifically omitted—and Clause 61 was one of the clauses that was removed in 1216.

When researching this, I found a useful translation of Magna Carta, with the omitted [*] and extant [+] clauses marked very clearly. For those that are interested, the only remaining extant clauses—those that have not been subsequently overwritten by other laws and statutes—are as follows:
  1. FIRST, THAT WE HAVE GRANTED TO GOD, and by this present charter have confirmed for us and our heirs in perpetuity, that the English Church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished, and its liberties unimpaired. That we wish this so to be observed, appears from the fact that of our own free will, before the outbreak of the present dispute between us and our barons, we granted and confirmed by charter the freedom of the Church's elections - a right reckoned to be of the greatest necessity and importance to it - and caused this to be confirmed by Pope Innocent III. This freedom we shall observe ourselves, and desire to be observed in good faith by our heirs in perpetuity.

  1. The city of London shall enjoy all its ancient liberties and free customs, both by land and by water. We also will and grant that all other cities, boroughs, towns, and ports shall enjoy all their liberties and free customs.

  1. No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land.

  2. To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice.

And that's it.

Now, one can see that any copper trying to nick your cash is, in fact, in breach of Clause 39 and it is entirely possible that various agencies—from the Legal Aid to your thieving lawyer—could be accused of breaching Clause 40. Other than that, however, Magna Carta does not actually protect you from an awful lot. If you want to know when these clauses were removed or superceded, Wikipedia has a comprehensive list.

Now, I am sure that many people would say that they don't recognise many of these superceding laws, but they overlook the simple fact that Lawful Rebellion—as defined by Clause 61—does not apply because it was never incorporated into English law in the first place.

So, if you want to indulge in rebellion, by all means do so—but do be aware that your cause is not supported in law.

Any law.


jailhouselawyer said...

I like it :-)

Joe Beazley and Cheeky Monkey said...

Very, very true. To which I would add that:

- The Barons Committee doesn't actually exist

- Swearing allegiance to the Barons Committee, even if it did exist, would not give you any rights

- Neither Freemen of the Land nor Lawful Rebels have ever had any of their claims recognised by a court. That's because it's all bollocks.

Vladimir said...

This is an excellent analysis of "Lawful Rebellion" claims on their own terms.

Even without this, though, it's totally crackpot. How can such politically inclined people forget the most important principle of politics - that might makes right. If the government doesn't obey a law, then as a citizen, you are stuffed. The law is what the government says it is. That is what sovereignty means. Any carta, including a magna one, is just an old piece of paper with no more legal force than the sovereign will currently allow.

Still, at least this "Freeman on the Land" business creates amusement when people take it seriously.

JuliaM said...

"Here we go—another day heralds the foundation of another libertarian group blog."

Thing is, I'm not sure is it that, so much as a libertarian-leaning blog.

Perhaps that'll make the difference?

Longrider said...

Thing is, I'm not sure is it that, so much as a libertarian-leaning blog.

Precisely. Several of the contributors are not libertarian at all. The theme is liberty, but the blog is not "libertarian".

Subtle difference.

As for the Freeman stuff, I fully expect it to come to a sticky end at some point.

Captain Ranty said...

Contrary to opinions here, the Barons Committee is alive and well. I, and others, are in contact with them.

Many people wrongly assume MC1215 to be a statute. It is not. It predates all statutes by 40 years as it was in force before the first parliament in 1265. It cannot be amended/deleted lawfully. MC1215 is a treaty.

I know that over 80 Peers thought long and hard before using Art 61. Do you honestly believe that these wise men and women went ahead without first establishing that Art 61 was valid?

I have yet to defend my standing in a court-room. I look forward to the day. I am well prepared, and, I should let you know that several lawyers and a couple of barristers have looked over my paperwork. I am told that it is ham-fisted but technically correct. None of them will state this publicly. I don't blame them actually. They would be ostracised immediately by the law society.

The law is a can of worms. It contains more wrongs than rights. If the twin movements of Freemen and Lawful Rebellion have achieved anything at all, they have at least encouraged people to open the can to examine its unpleasant contents.


Captain Ranty said...

I should have added this comment from the time the BC was formed:

The comment she made was an interesting one.
The Queen is "well aware of the strength of feeling" and "continues to give this issue her closest attention" confirmed through her mouth piece private secretary, Sir Robin Janvrin.

The peers' petition was raised under clause 61 of Magna Carta, which had not been invoked for over 300 years. It gave the monarch 40 days to reply. Sir Robin's letter was written 39 days after receipt of the petition at the Palace.

"Sir Robin's timing is clear acknowledgement that Magna Carta has force to this day", said a spokesman for Sanity (Subjects Against the Nice TreatY), the direct action group which organised the petition with Lord Ashbourne.


EscapedExpat said...

Mr Ranty
Is it a question of harking back to these measures though or should the focus be on creating a better system?

Ultimately I've followed it all with interest but I feel it comes down to clever use of language and language games. Tangled up in meaning and counter-meaning and definitions of 'law dictionaries'.

On the most basic level it seems the arguments involved are about how certain laws that aren't common law aren't real - in theory. But in practice they are clearly enforced.

EG. I can hold a gun and tell you it is a law you have to obey me - whether that statement is TRUE is irrelevant because I'm holding the gun.

The whole "freeman of the land" and lawful rebellion may be TRUE but because of the circumstances beyond being able to annoy police who try and harass you (Danny clearly has some wonderful videos I've greatly enjoyed watching) I'm not sure how great an effect it can have on changing things for the better.

Good luck though!

bloke in spain said...

With due regard to Vlad above, if I have to read yet another bunch of so called libertarians wittering on about their rights & evoking the Barons of Magna Carta or the spirit of the signatories of the Declaration Of Independance I'll lose what little patience I have remaining.
Worth remembering that both groups of guys were willing to hazzard their lives & more particularly the lives of their oppressors to get their demands met.
Sod lawful rebellion. Let's have some unlawful rebellion. As my fellow ex-pat hints above, it's firepower that will count in the end.
If you lot think that a no vote on continued membership of the EU would see you out you're very naive. Ditto most of the rest of it. Our rulers & betters will need the power pried from their dead fingers. It's too valuable to them to give it away.

Captain Ranty said...


"EG. I can hold a gun and tell you it is a law you have to obey me - whether that statement is TRUE is irrelevant because I'm holding the gun."

That pretty much nails it.

Look, I don't kid myself that I will win with a few bits of paper and some magic words. BUT, they defeat us all the time with bits of paper and magic words. I believe I am playing the game according to their rules.

In the end, we will have to reach for the gun ourselves. I will put that off for as long as I am able because I firmly believe that if enough people make a nuisance of themselves the system will implode anyway.

It CAN be done peacefully, but it will take longer.


Captain Ranty said...


Of late I have begun to distance myself from Libertarians.

They are not helpful to my cause. I find that they want to talk, endlessly, and I believe that the time for talking is over. At one point I thought we might be useful to each other but sadly it is not as mutual as it could be.

Leaving the EU is a good, necessary first step. Then, we need to clean house here.


Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

The public perception of how this all works is skewed - the media in general neither understand nor report the law properly and when one discovers the reality of English law (not justice) versus the public portrayal of it one can see why the judiciary like to keep the public out :-) - even more so lately with all the secret malarkey in the Family Court and The Court of Protection (never mind superinjunctions).

Freemen flummoxing magistrates and petty power drunk officials who are in many (not all by any means) cases ignorant arrogant morons is fair sport.

Some judgments handed down are as bonkers as anything the Freemen etc. have ever come up with. The rapidly spreading obsession with hiding details of the law's implementation in the English courts is not a good sign. Justice needs to be seen to be done.

If they've the energy to put in the research, and can tackle the judicial hair splitters - good luck to them.

The state will have to tread carefully, as arbitrary judgments will not settle things, it'll inflame things - unless everything's held in secret....

Richard said...

I'm not sure even those are still in force:

1. (freedom of the Church's elections) - the Crown appoints Church of England bishops.

13. The City of London is subject to national laws, taxes and duties the same as everywhere else.

39. Ha! Only if "by the law of the land" means "as authorised by Act of Parliament", in which case it's pretty meaningless.

40. Ha ha!

Anyway, even if those four are still valid, the fact that virtually all of Magna Carta has been overruled by later Acts of Parliament shows that it is a dead letter, no longer of legal force.

Sad, because I'd love a Barons' Committee to lead us in revolution, but true.

Anonymous said...

Acts of Parliament are statutes and only enforceable by consent. When did any of us consent/agree to being governed by anyone?

Well, we all 'consent' to this when we vote (and possibly when we only register to vote - even if we end up NOT voting). It is only within the last decade (2001 I think) that the threat of £1000 fine has been introduced for not REGISTERING your name to vote.

They don't give a monkey's whether you vote or not but they obviously care deeply about getting everyone's name REGISTERED.

The act of registering anything - car, new baby, company etc - immediately hands over jurisdication and ownership to the organisation it is registered with i.e. the State). I believe that this is the act that is our 'consent' to being governed.

Anonymous said...

How can I contact the Barons committee please? Surely they exist if 80 Lords got together and formed a quoram?

Is there a sure fireproof method of being able to get the state off one's back using these methods?

Thanks for any replied to this! Tom