The term “OPCA adherent” or “OPCA litigant” appears frequently through this encyclopedia. “OPCA” is an acronym of the term “Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Argument” which is the main type of pseudo legal contention being raised in courts, and in popular intercourse online, and the subject of this website. An “OPCA adherent” is one who adheres to these concepts, but does not necessarily act on them, and an “OPCA litigant” is one who actively pursues these concepts in the courts.
The term was coined by Associate Chief Justice John Rooke of the Court of Queens Bench in Alberta Canada, in the case Meads v. Meads, 2012 ABQB 57 where His Honour provided a comprehensive analysis of the movement and its core principles, and their validity in law, and identified a new category of vexatious litigant.
One of the core principles of the “Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Argument” is a misconception of the term “the common law” and its superiority to legislation enacted by the parliament, for example the adherent often relies on Imperial enactments such as the Magna Carta, claiming that it overrules any laws inconsistent with these older statutes.
Another one of the core principles is that governments are corporations, and that the relationship is commercial or contractual, therefore one can “opt-out” of the relationship, and the laws enacted by the “corporate government” do not apply to them.
Another, and probably one of the main principles, is that ones legal personality (or “strawman”) can be divided from their physical aspect thereby making one immune to prosecution. They hold that ones status as a citizen or other aspects of legal personality is a corporate entity by which contracts can be created, and that by a change in their status to that of “a freeman” or human being removes their obligations.
“After an extensive review of the Court’s inherent jurisdiction and case law rejecting each of the above propositions, Justice Rooke held that any scheme claiming that a person can possess or acquire a status that allows him or her to ignore Court authority is incorrect in law. He ruled that a defence with that basis may be struck without further analysis. Justice Rooke held that a strict approach is appropriate when the Court responds to OPCA litigants. The decision provides a number of powerful procedural remedies and expressly instructs lawyers to pursue these remedies to minimize harm to their clients.”
According to Duhaime’s Law Dictionary, the definition of an “Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Argument litigant”:
The Posse Comitatus Movement
“They didn’t free the slaves, they made everyone a slave…”
The origins of most OPCA concepts dates back to a group known as the Posse Comitatus Movement, an anti-Semitic group started by the late white supremacist leader William Potter Gale. They raged through the U.S. Midwest from around 1969 onwards, gaining popularity through the farm crisis of the 1980’s on the wave of the Tax Protester and Patriot Movements. The 1980’s embargo of grain exports to the Soviet Union, falling land values, and rising interest rates, had forced many farm families into bankruptcy. The Posse Comitatus’ legal theories – presented in seminars – claimed farmers could refuse to pay taxes on constitutional grounds and keep federal agents from seizing their land.
They taught that compliance with any government is optional, and their laws only enforceable on individuals who consented to them via contract. They claimed as long as they did not acknowledge statutory law or the judiciary, they were exempt from prosecution – as well as from taxation, debt and road rules. The Posse rejected all authority higher than the county sheriff, and believed that an international Zionist conspiracy had taken control of the U.S. government. They claimed the right to defend the U.S. Constitution, forming their own courts and arresting public officials who were acting unconstitutionally.
The Posse Comitatus maintained that an evil conspiracy infiltrated and replaced the original “de jure” American government with an illegitimate, tyrannical “de facto” THE UNITED STATES. They believed the government set up by the founding fathers — with a legal system they refer to as “common law” — was secretly replaced by a new government system based on admiralty law, the law of the sea and international commerce.
The group believed this perfidious change occurred during the Civil War, and subsequently, members only recognised the first twelve Amendments as legally binding – the “Organic Constitution” – the Constitution and Bill of Rights, minus all succeeding amendments. The very controversial Thirteenth Amendment had ended slavery in 1865, and the Fourteenth Amendment enshrined the notion that “all persons born or naturalized” were U.S. citizens whose rights “could not be abridged”.
The Posse Comitatus therefore distinguished between so-called “14th Amendment citizens” who are subject to federal and state governments, and themselves, who they saw as “12th Amendment citizens” or “Organic Citizens” which later began to be known as “Sovereign Citizens”. Depending on the particular variety, they also referred to themselves as “State Nationals” or “Free Inhabitants” under Article 4 of the Articles of Confederation.
The cornerstone of the Posse Comitatus movement, even for farmers who may have first embraced the check-writing scheme out of economic distress, was a radical sect called Christian Identity. The Posse Comitatus fleshed out a mass-style movement on the bones of this hardcore, Identity-based ideology, with white supremacy, religious fundamentalism, and patriotism playing a central role. The Posse’s anti-government rhetoric was not a case of supporting local control over federal, it was a case of their white racial nation against all others. Most early sovereigns, and some of those who are still on the scene, insisted that being white was a prerequisite to becoming a “sovereign” or “organic” citizen. The Christian Identity sect believed that the unalienable rights of the Constitution belonged only to “we the people,” the population mentioned in its Preamble, and this specifically excluded “the colored races and Jews.” Indeed, “we the people” translated for many nationalist groups as “white men”, and didn’t include women or other racial groups.
Just below the surface of this distinction, is the contention that the United States is therefore peopled by two nations, not one. For themselves and their Aryan kin, there is a republic where whites enjoy unalienable rights superior to those held by people of color and Jews. The latter are denizens of a separate quasi-nation, a “corporation” created by the Fourteenth Amendment, which “unconstitutionally and unlawfully” granted citizenship and legal rights to colored people and Jews.
The modern OPCA phenomena, now a global movement, is derived from this racist cosmology. Particularly its strawman theory which describes a distinction between two types of citizens, one blessed with God-given superiority, and the other, unfortunate denizens of a “registered corporation” headquartered in Washington D.C.
Roger Elvic instructed students on “common law” at the Inns of Law of Wisconsin, and was the first promoter to effectively distribute a redemption scheme to an eager and desperate audience of Midwest farmers. He is generally acknowledged as the founding father of the modern redemption movement. While phony Federal Reserve checks and similar programs had been used earlier by far right promoters Tupper Saussy and Conrad LeBeau, Roger Elvick was the first to dress up the scam with the legalistic terminology that now characterizes the sovereign citizens movement and sovereign redemption techniques.
The evolution of the theories looked at the events of 1933, when the U.S. abandoned the gold standard. Since 1933, the U.S. dollar has been backed not by gold, but by the “full faith and credit” of the U.S. government, so according to redemption theory, this means that the government has pledged its citizenry as collateral, by selling their future earning capabilities to foreign investors, effectively enslaving the people.
They claimed this takes place at birth, when the government creates a birth certificate to set up a kind of corporate trust in the baby’s name. By setting up this account, every newborn’s rights are cleverly split between those held by the flesh and-blood baby and the ones assigned to his or her corporate shell account. Since most birth certificates use all capital letters to spell out the baby’s name, JOHN DOE, for example, is actually the name of the corporate shell identity, or “straw man,” while John Doe is the baby’s “real, flesh-and-blood name.”
The process devised to “split” the straw man from the flesh-and-blood man is called “redemption,” and its purpose is two-fold. Once separated from the corporate shell, the newly freed man is now outside of the jurisdiction of all admiralty laws. More importantly, by filing a series of complex, legal sounding documents, the sovereign can tap into that secret account for his own purposes.
Roger Elvick’s group of “disciples” and other sovereign citizens became gurus travelling the country holding seminars and selling manuals and videos, explaining redemption theory and its various associated tactics. By 1990, Redemption groups advised by Elvick were active in 30 states and several provinces of Canada, and had tried to pass more than $15 million in bad checks. Many other groups and individuals marketed this debt and tax avoidance strategy through the 1990’s, including Winston Shrout and Jordan Maxwell.
David-Wynn: Miller also appears to be the among the first US gurus actively conducting seminars in Canada. Eldon Warman introduced a cluster of US-style concepts to Canada in the late 1990’s via guru seminar activities and his website. (©DetaxCanada®) Warman attempted to parallel the US Sovereign Citizen concept of an “organic” or “natural” citizen that existed outside of government authority, which resulted in a “natural person” or “sovereign natural citizen of the Anglo-Saxon common law.” Prominent Detaxer guru David Kevin Lindsay (The Common Law Education And Rights” (CLEAR) Initiative) and Russell Porisky (Paradigm Education Group) extrapolated on the “natural person” contention, applying it to “travelling” and other similar U.S. arguments, marketing a tax evasion scheme that was broadly disseminated via multilevel marketing strategies. Mary Elizabeth Croft published several books applying the US Sovereign Citizen theories from a perspective of Canadian law. Robert Menard and Dean Clifford were actively promoting identical concepts in the Freeman on the Land Movement.
Similar groups also sprung up in the U.K. New Zealand, and in Australia, with Malcolm McClure‘s Upmart, Frank O’Collins Ucadia, and Arthur & Fiona Cristian‘s Love For Life, and the subsequent groups since those early examples, which are covered in other articles on this website.
The organic citizen
The organic citizen believes in the organic constitution. With all the passion of a southern US hellfire evangelist. they believe in “upholding the will of the founders” and “defending the constitution“. Some view the Constitution like a Bible, carrying with it the warning in Revelation “if any man add or taketh away from the words in this book” or alter it in any way, they face eternal damnation. The US organic constitution is often relied on as the initial starting point for many American OPCA groups, these so-called “state nationals” simply do not recognise the subsequent enactments, and therefore do not feel bound by the resulting structure of law.
The Australian organic citizen, like its US counterpart, likewise believes that “the common law” is Biblical law applied, and see the government of today as an expansion of the Catholic Church over the Protestant dominions. The “organic constitution” in reference to Australia is the Commonwealth Constitution and arrangements prior to any section 128 amendments, section 76 High Court interpretations, or section 51(xxxvi) “until the parliament otherwise provides” were provided. That is all corrupt and treasonous, and requires an urgent reset to its organic state. Identically, they do not recognise the changes, and therefore do not feel bound by the resulting structure of law.
Each OPCA group has its own initial starting point for this alleged invalidity, beginning at some particular “treasonous” act, and from that point forward it is believed all enactments are… “void and deserve no obedience” as they are unconstitutional and “passed beyond power”. For most it is anything passed in reliance on the Royal Styles and Titles Act 1973, with some groups taking it back to the Citizenship Act 1948, others to the Treaty of Versailles 1919, others to British occupation in 1788, others to the Glorious Revolution of 1688, and some even take it all the way back to the Magna Carta in 1215.
As noted previously, in the US they were initially called “organic citizens” in the 1980’s, and I think the term better describes the ideology and its reasoning, than the later “sovereign citizens“, or the present descriptions of “organised pseudolegal commercial arguments“. The term “organic citizen” describes a belief in an original, untainted minimalist government, with its extreme libertarian and fundamentalist religious qualities.
As Howard Zinn had stated in his 1970 speech on civil disobedience:
“What we are trying to do, I assume, is really to get back to the principles, and aims, and spirit, of the Declaration of Independence. This spirit is resistance to illegitimate authority, and to forces that deprive people of their life, and liberty, and right to pursue happiness…”