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Terrible at maths; but good with numbers..

an addition by William Wallace Kropotkin

I’m terrible at maths. Absolutely hopeless. However, I am good at numbers. I have a phone number that I can remember off-by-heart. I also have a drive license number with which I can do the same. I have a 9 digit student/work and income/community services number which I can also remember. And, a National Health Index number, a credit card number, a criminal record number, a passport number (yes, I am still allowed to travel).

Firstly – Why do I have these numbers? I could understand having these numbers if I had made a choice to go to the doctor, or a choice to go to work and income, but the reality is that the choice was made for me. I had to go to work and income because there was no other support for my 16 year old homeless self. Even as such Work and Income wouldn’t help me – until I threatened them with the media.

I do not claim to know anything of the horrors of the holocaust, but every time I see these numbers I cannot help thinking about the people having numbers inked on their arm – that is exactly how it feels! Every time a person needs to converse or interact with this country we are asked what our identification number is before we are asked our name. Now maybe you don’t notice a problem, but it seems to me that our name should be asked first and then our number. Otherwise, we are the number, and our name is merely a tag that is easier than saying 465-289-311-903 every time some one asks you who you are. Certainly I can see the benefit of having a file number for a filing system – however, the number is not designed in accordance with some kind of filing system. It is a number given to each person as an identifier, and if it is your identifier it stands to reason that it is also your identity.
Secondly – Who is allowing me to travel? Who is going to stop me in the first place; and why? If I were born a free man, wouldn’t I be able to go where I please? If I was born a free man wouldn’t I be recognized by my name, not by my number? Ok, I can go where I please. If, I please to go to jail, be subjected to a full strip search where you have a rubber finger inserted in your anus with cold lube and be made to squat to see if anything protrudes. And if I refuse to undergo this process – my clothes will be forcibly removed, the finger will be forcibly inserted and instead of having to squat I will get an x-ray. Now let me tell you – there is nothing quite as demeaning as having someone forcibly remove your clothes (for those of you who haven’t experienced this already in some way or form). And, it is so much more demeaning when upon your refusal to strip (to change into suicide-safe clothing for instance) you are met with force. “Well I didn’t want to kill myself before, but now that you’ve forcibly removed my clothes and made me wear this stupid tartan skirt thingy – yeah I wanna hang.”I’m getting side-tracked here – must have been the rubber finger thing, it always sends me off on a tangent. Now, I can go where I please, that is to say choose, if I wish to be subjected to all of these things – or I can submit myself to having my movements constantly monitored by obtaining a passport and passport number. Or a drivers license and license number. On who’s authority am I forbidden to travel? By what account am I not permitted to move freely over the earth? Regardless of where I am from, or what color I am, or what religion I am.
Why is my health monitored and recorded without my consent? Who asked MY permission to keep a record of what my blood type is, or how big my penis is (it’s pretty big), or how many teeth I’m missing, whether I’m depressed, chronic alcoholic, cleft palette, club foot, or anything health related for that matter?
The answer is nobody. Nobody and no-one asked my permission to record my finances, my travel, my health, my activities.
And herein lies the problem.
Why do I have a criminal record number (hear me out here, it’s not some simple-minded self-righteous quest for absolution)? Because I broke a law? Who’s law? My law? Your law? Did they ask you when they made the laws? Did they ask me? Did they ask you whether it was ok for multinational conglomerates to siphon money from staff and customer alike? Did they ask you whether it was ok for them to make laws on your behalf? Better yet, did they ask your parents? Or their parents?  Did they ask your great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather who was a second cousin of Louis the Eighth? Nope. They didn’t ask him either. Did they ask for your input when drafting the laws to make sure they are fair for one and all? Did they take the draft to the public in an act of transparency so that everyone could see that they are just? Or did they simply draft it, and vote it?
Another example. MMP. MP’s are voted in as representatives of an area of the country. They are supposed to represent that area’s interests and inhabitants. Yes, you are able to make an appointment to see them. But – in all the laws that they have voted on, how many have they asked your permission? How many times have they taken a vote from everyone in their electorate and counted them out to see what their vote should be? Not a fucking chance!
Now, why do I have a criminal record number, or a criminal record for that matter. If someone had asked me whether or not I agreed to this or any other law – I would have said no, on pure principle. Even if I agreed with the purpose of the law, I would never agree with the action of it. Take driving for example – if i drive on the road, track, or simply get in a car and make it move then I am increasing my risk of harm. Similarly for walking across the road without looking, or walking across the road at all for that matter. If we are not aware of the fact that we are risking out lives when we are driving, at 10, 20, 50, 100, or even 200 km/h then we shouldn’t be driving. If we are not aware of the fact that life is only ever as long as it’s meant to be, then we are not alive. Life is not characterised by it’s beginning, but by its end. By acting, by participating, by driving, we are acknowledging that we are increasing the risk to our health. We are acknowledging that others are doing the same. We also acknowledge, that others may, or may not be, as good, as just, or as well behaved as us. If you are driving, you don’t need someone to tell you what speed you are allowed to do. Your act of driving is a waiver, you are saying ‘yes I know this increases my risks, but I choose to do it anyway’ there is no need for speed laws.
Law, essentially, is arbitrary. It is not for, of, or by those who have to follow it, and it doesn’t do anything to protect them (us). Locking your doors and windows only keeps the honest people out. Putting laws in place doesn’t do anything. People will still do what they choose to do. By my reasoning, the law is only in place to protect those who made it, and those who keep making it.
Many people rebel against the systems of government, law and commerce that are in place. Except usually the acts are only token. They have no conviction. No strength. No particular statement. Those who rebel against these systems, invariably meet the consequences then handed down to them by that system. Either by choice or by force. For those who meet consequences by choice their actions are made impotent. For those act in statement and rebellion and who meet consequences by force, I almost salute you. I would salute you if you ran. If you ran as far as you could and pulled cheeky faces at those trying to quarter you. That would be a statement of rebellion. That would be your refusal to sign. That would be your refusal to be branded like a cow in a shed, or a Jew in a camp. That would be your claim to freedom, your claim to independence. You traveled freely. You acted knowingly. You accepted your responsibility for living, and for participating in life as a living creature and not just an unconscious observer. You acted justly, and when God came down and threatened his wrath upon you, you defiantly stuck your middle finger in the air and said – ‘Fuck you!’