11 February 2010

Think the Government Needs to go? Then Register quick, or to Jail You could Go!

South Carolina has introduced legislation (the Subversive Activities Registration Act) which requires organisations (ie 2 or more people) they deem to be "subversive" to register with them or face a fine.

The term subversive is defined in the legislation as "every corporation, society, association, camp, group, bund, political party, assembly, body or organization, composed of two or more persons, which directly or indirectly advocates, advises, teaches or practices the duty, necessity or propriety of controlling, conducting, seizing or overthrowing the government of the United States, of this State or of any political subdivision thereof by force or violence or other unlawful mean"

The requirements for registration are set out as follows:

"Every member of a subversive organization, or an organization subject to foreign control, every foreign agent and every person who advocates, teaches, advises or practices the duty, necessity or propriety of controlling, conducting, seizing or overthrowing the government of the United States, of this State or of any political subdivision thereof by force or violence or other unlawful means, who resides, transacts any business or attempts to influence political action in this State, shall register with the Secretary of State on the forms and at the times prescribed by him"

Critics claim that the legislation is contrary to rights granted by the American constitution as the Declaration of Independence specifies the right of people to alter or abolish governments:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness,” states the Declaration of Independence."

However, under this South Carolina's legislation, if you do not inform them of your intent or desire to see the government changed, you can be classed as a criminal and imprisoned, without actually having to have committed any crime (outside failing to register).

The penalty for failing to register with them is a fine of up to $25,000.00 and/or imprisonment for up to 10 years.

In 1941, Germany enforced the registration of all Jews. Well, it seems that now you have to register if you think that the current government shouldn't be in power. Let's hope that law doesn't make it to the UK or we'd be classed as a nation of criminals! After all, who would want to register an opinion? If you share that opinion, according to them, you must register.

A full copy of the legislation, which also applies to "Organizations subject to foreign control" and "Foreign agents" can be found here and the registration form (here) costs $5.00 to file. This legislation is discussed in more detail here.

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