Meet your Strawman

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“A man may imagine things that are false, but he can only understand things that are true, for if the things be false, the apprehension of them is not understanding.” – Sir Isaac Newton

One particular OPCA motif has become all but universal — the split or double person “Strawman.” Every single OPCA guru identified in this article who is presently active advances some form of the “Strawman” motif in their materials. This misconception that a “legal person” is somehow distinct from a physical human being, and is then linked to the physical person as a kind of parasitic twin is ubiquitous in modern OPCA theory. The existence of the “Strawman” is explained with a specific pseudo-historic narrative that casts “government actors” in a very negative light. This idea is often expressed by OPCA gurus as “I am not a person, but I have a person.” The “Strawman” concept has no basis in law, it is simply a myth, a theoretic mechanism to remove state authority. Nevertheless, the “Strawman” is now a critical element of the OPCA theory and now has become integral to popular pseudolegal constructs.

The “Strawman” concept reflects a curious belief that an individual, who is conventionally considered to be a single unit, is instead composed of two parts: a physical “man” only subject to natural law, who is linked to a legal person or “Strawman” doppelganger. This “Strawman” is a non-corporeal legal fiction that provides the mechanism by which state actors exert their otherwise illegitimate legislated authority over the physical “man.”

The OPCA movements argue that this is your name, rejecting your name will be a complete defense to liability because statute refers to a ‘person’ rather than ‘man or woman’. There are many different “Strawman” variations but what is important is that these schemes always include a backstory with certain critical elements:

  • Individuals are tricked into being associated with the “Strawman”;
  • The “Strawman” is a necessary conduit for government and court authority;
  • The “Strawman” is a mechanism to take away natural or inherent rights;
  • The existence of the “Strawman” is skilfully concealed from the public but is nevertheless known to all judges, lawyers, politicians, and many other government and law enforcement authorities;
  • The “Strawman” can be unshackled or rejected, and to do so frees an individual from all government authority; and
  • With the “Strawman” removed, an individual is only subject to some other kind of law.

Homo vocabulum est naturae; persona juris civilis (Latin: “Man is a term of nature, person of the civil law.”) The law isn’t concerned with matters of nature, therefore it only recognizes the person, not the “man.

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The question “what is a person, and where is it written?” is actually one that can easily stump police or anyone who is only concerned with statutory law because OPCA theorists, in this case, are quite correct: in criminal law, ‘person’ isn’t really actually defined, it’s a common law term that isn’t written in statute. But what does the common law say?

The questions are:

  • (1) Is the ‘flesh and blood’ person protected by law?
  • (2) Is the ‘flesh and blood’ person liable under law?
  • (3) Can renouncing legal status protect from criminal liability?
  • (4) Can renouncing citizenship protect from criminal liability?

OPCA theorists insist that a “legal person” is created by one’s birth registration, but did it really begin there?

Due to the extreme circumstances, the defense in homicide cases challenge the laws around liability by questioning if the client, in the case of a charge against a corporation, or a person if the victim could be classified as a person. It goes without saying the homicide requires one person causing the death of another (this isn’t actually written in the Victorian Crimes Act, but you can check s 3A ‘Constructive Murder’ 1 to see this in statute). But what is a person?

(1) Is the ‘flesh and blood’ person protected by law?

In the 1953 case of R v Hutty [1953] VLR 338 2 a young woman fell pregnant and, after concealing her pregnancy from her parents, gave birth in an outhouse. When the baby started crying she in an emotional panic beat the newborn with her shoe. She was charged with murder. The defence argued that the newborn was still attached by the umbilical cord and the question was asked ‘what is a person’ and if a newborn still attached, with no certificate of birth, to its mother is a legal person.

The court found that a legal person that can protected by law is:

  • 1. A human being, a person cannot be any other animal.
  • 2. Must have a separate and independent existence from their mother.

In that case, it was found that the newborn was a human that had left it’s mother’s body, and because it was crying it was obviously breathing and functioning independently, and the fact that it was still attached and had no certificate of birth, and didn’t even have a name, did not change this. The law recognises and protects one’s legal personality from the moment of birth, not from the moment one’s parents lodge a birth certificate. One’s legal personality exists prior to any government involvement.

The flesh and blood person is protected by law regardless of legal capacity.

“A “person” means a human being…” section 8, Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 3

Extract from R v Hutty [1953] VLR 338

“Murder can only be committed on a person who is in being, and legally a person is not in being until he or she is fully born in a living state. A baby is fully and completely born when it is completely delivered from the body of its mother and it has a separate and independent existence in the sense that it does not derive its power of living from its mother. It is not material that the child may still be attached to its mother by the umbilical cord; that does not prevent it from having a separate existence. But it is required, before the child can be the victim of murder or of manslaughter or of infanticide, that the child should have an existence separate from and independent of its mother, and that occurs when the child is fully extruded from the mother’s body and is living by virtue of the functioning of its own organs.”

Click to access r.-v.-hutty.pdf

Similarly, in the U.S. in 1 U.S. Code § 8 89 (a)4

“In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the words “person”, “human being”, “child”, and “individual”, shall include every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development. (b) As used in this section, the term “born alive”, with respect to a member of the species homo sapiens, means the complete expulsion or extraction from his or h  er mother of that member, at any stage of development, who after such expulsion or extraction breathes or has a beating heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles, regardless of whether the umbilical cord has been cut, and regardless of whether the expulsion or extraction occurs as a result of natural or induced labor, cesarean section, or induced abortion. (c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to affirm, deny, expand, or contract any legal status or legal right applicable to any member of the species homo sapiens at any point prior to being “born alive” as defined in th is section.”

According to Cornell University’s U.S. Code Collection a person includes a natural person (including an individual Indian), a corporation, a partnership, an unincorporated association, a trust, or an estate, or any other public or private entity, including a State or local government or an Indian tribe. TITLE 28 > PART VI > CHAPTER 176 > SUBCHAPTER A > § 3002

(2) Is the ‘flesh and blood’ person liable under law?

Does revoking legal capacity also remove any liability for criminal charges? To answer this question, bankrupts are a good example. A bankrupt has very limited, or no legal capacity.

A bankrupt cannot: Enter into a contract (without special permission). Sue or be sued for any breach of a contract entered into after the bankruptcy. The first place to look is what the legal basis is in sentencing, and this is found in the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) s5(2) 5 which provides:

In sentencing an offender a court must have regard to: (g) The presence of any aggravating or mitigating factor concerning the offender or of any other relevant circumstances.

Crimes Act 1914 s16A(2)(m) 6 provides that age and antecedents are to be taken into account. The Victorian Sentencing Manual is one of the primary references of law for Victorian Judges. Chapter 10 gives the common law definitions of immunities and mitigating circumstances.

Bankruptcy and lack of legal capacity is not an immunity. It may be a mitigating factor, but will not prevent criminal charges.

(3) Can renouncing legal status protect from criminal liability?

An infant has no legal capacity until the age of 18. A person under this age cannot sign contracts, and in most cases cannot sue or be sued. However, they are liable for criminal charges over the age of 10: Children Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic) s 344. 7

Even someone who cannot legally sign a contract due to mental impairment is not completely immune from criminal sanctions, although it can be taken into account in sentencing: R v Verdins; R v Buckley; R v Vo (2007) 16 VR 269 8

Renouncing legal capacity will not grant immunity from criminal liability.

(4) Can renouncing citizenship protect from criminal liability?

It is argued that non-citizens have no legal capacity, and therefore by renouncing citizenship you are granted immunity. However, a few years ago the High Court held an injunction in the interests of protecting 150 non-citizens being held on a ship off the Australian coast. Obviously Australian law protects non-citizens. Non-Citizens can also be charged with criminal offenses, and may be deported if they commit a crime with a sentence of greater than one year: s 201 Migration Act 1958 (Cth). 9 ‘Unlawful’ non-citizens are automatically detained: s 189 Migration Act10

Renouncing your citizenship will not protect you from criminal liability.

Read the story of Australian woman Charmaine Webster. She has no birth certificate and doesn’t exist. 11 Beyond the fantasies of the “strawman” myth, understand the hard realities of living without evidence of birth or citizenship12

Finally, simply being ‘registered’ by a birth certificate is not what makes you a ‘person’. Cats and dogs are registered too, but that doesn’t mean they can be charged with an offense, or sue.

From UK Births Deaths and Marriages13

“The registration of a birth does not involve a “contract”, and such registration does not “contractually bind the individual to your society”. A registration is a simple record that an event has taken place (ie a birth), and as such it is not possible to “de register”. As indicated, there is no contract to void or renegotiate.”

UNREGISTERED NEWBORNS

Then there is the absurd and pointless practice of neglecting to register a newborn. This is done in the hope of this making the child immune to any sort of state, (or primarily child services) involvement, because of the child not having a “corporate person” or citizenship. Count one regarding this theory has been covered in this article.

On the second count, the acquisition of citizenship in history has been by two methods: by blood (jus sanguinis) or by soil (jus soli). If one of the parents is an Australian citizen, as is most often the case, then the child is automatically an Australian citizen by descent, especially since they were born on Australian soil. If they were born overseas they would have to apply for citizenship by descent. A child of a citizen born on Australian soil, covers both of these doctrines of law.

As you can see, the child both has a “person” and is an Australian citizen, even before the umbilical cord is cut, regardless of any birth certificate.

Re London Borough of Tower Hamlets [2019] EWHC 1572 (Fam) was in relation to a UK couple who refused to register their son’s birth believing that it would cause the child to become controlled by a State. The Family Division of the High Court in London rejected the contention, defining the council involved is an “institutional parent” meaning they are entited to step in and register the birth.

REVOKING CITIZENSHIP

Revoking ones citizenship is a complicated process, 14 and not as simple as sending in a notice. One glaring flaw in the OPCA theory is that one cannot renounce their citizenship without becoming a citizen of another nation. According to the Home Affairs website15

“We will not approve your application to renounce your citizenship if you do not have another foreign citizenship or it is not in Australia’s interests.”

Eligibility – your application to renounce Australian citizenship will not be approved unless you are or will be a citizen of another country.”16

This is pursuant to Article 7 of the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness17

“Laws for the renunciation of a nationality shall be conditional upon a person’s acquisition or possession of another nationality.”

So in answer to the questions above, the ‘flesh and blood’ person is protected by law, is liable under law, and neither renouncing ones citizenship nor legal status protects one from criminal liability.

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