Freeman on the Land is a “marginal anarchist movement”

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Geoffrey Hale, a political science professor at the University of Lethbridge, spoke to Postmedia about the Freeman on the Land ideology after Edmonton police charged a member of the movement with bullying a participant in the justice system.

Question: What is the Freeman on the Land movement?

A: It is a fringe anarchist movement that has emerged from certain aspects of libertarianism to deny the legitimacy of any government not willingly accepted by particular citizens. There are a variety of conspiracy theories that shed some light on it, but they’re generally based on … somewhat outlandish legal theories that claim there is no legal basis for the government (enforcing the rules).

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Question: Why does Freeman on the Land focus on legal terminology?

A: They throw up legal principles that they are convinced are valid in their minds. … The justice system is part of the conspiracy.

There are a variety of legal theories supported by all kinds of documents which satisfy the authors but not the outside authorities.

People come up with these systems and they self-reinforce in the echo chamber in which they operate.

Question: How is Freeman on the Land different from other anarchists?

A: It is a variant of anarchism but it is one that (stands) against governmental authority rather than against private property or economic elites. There are anarchist movements that focus on the economic and social system and there are anarchist movements that focus on government.

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Both movements tend to attract some people who have held onto a great idea and then lead it to a conclusion that makes sense to them.

Question: How does a movement like this start?

A: There is a vast network in the United States that promotes similar ideas, often related to various types of survival movements… they are waiting for some kind of non-religious apocalypse. Social media and the Internet provide a way for people vulnerable to this kind of radicalization… to recruit and find like-minded people. If you are logged out and feel the system is not working for you … it may be having an effect.

In the United States (the network) dates back to the pre-revolutionary war period, but it has become more important.

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Question: What would you tell people about Freeman on the Land?

A: Because I had no idea how many people were open to this sort of thing, and I wouldn’t want to guess, I wouldn’t characterize this … as a clear and present danger to the social order. But at the same time, you can’t let people go out and invent their own societies.

(You might ask) how do you engage this sort of thing? Patient discussion is possible… but people must be willing to explore other sources of information. Once one accepts the basic premise that the system is rigged, it is very difficult to have a fair discussion on such matters… which tends to reinforce paranoia both ways.

  1. Edmonton Police accuse Freeman on the Land of “terrorism on paper”

  2. A man suspected of being Andreas Pirelli spoke to police at his door on Thursday evening.  Pirelli, which is a

    Here’s how Freeman on the Land continues to try to bind Alberta courts with their ‘false beliefs’

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