Providential hope for new micronation

A new micronation founded by Violette Clingersmith aims to become the first to meet all four criteria of the Montevideo Convention, and therefore statehood.

The Convention, which first came into effect in 1934, codifies customary international law amongst a small segment of nation-states insofar as it requires a nation-state to demonstrate a permanent population, a defined territory, government, and a capacity to enter into relations with other such states.

Clingersmith argues that every micronation to date has failed to meet the second and fourth criterion. While her suggestion that permanency requires a micronation’s population to both reside and work within its claim territory may be debatable, her assessment of the fourth criterion is more compelling. No nation-state has recognized the legitimacy of any micronation, despite assertions by some that their micronation’s name, or their government or noble title, quoted on a “we received your correspondence” form letter was tacit recognition by the macronational government.

Flag of New Providence

Cue the micronation of New Providence, which Clingersmith asserts will be the first micronation to overcome the barriers to statehood. But how?

The first step will be to claim and control a number of islands in the Southwestern Indian Ocean. The five island groups sought are generally uninhabited except for seasonal research-related populations. They are controlled by a number of current nation-states: Australia, France and South Africa. Clingersmith hopes to assert control over the islands no later than 2040; however, it is unclear how the islands will be converted to sustainable permanent populations given that this has not occurred in hundreds of years.

If obtaining control of the land is a success, a permanent population will be established, supported largely by citizens gleamed from around the world. Clingersmith aims to have 50 to 100 citizens living around the world in wait by the end of this year. Once there are 50 citizens, a constitutional convention will be undertaken to form a government to administer the micronation virtually until the islands can be settled.

Finally, with its functional government and permanently inhabited islands, New Providence’s attention will turn to gaining recognition. “I do believe that once a settlement is established on our claimed territories, some kind of treaty stopping short of recognition will be signed with the French Republic,” asserted Clingersmith. Such a treaty would involve France abandoning its meteorological station on the Kerguelen Islands for fishing rights within New Providence’s exclusive economic zone. While France yielding control of the islands, its station, and agreeing to give up its control of fishing in the area, seems like a fanciful dream today, it is but one potential avenue that New Province will explore on the path to recognition.

Clingersmith is hopeful that her approach of focusing on achieving each criterion, instead of becoming distracted, will succeed. “From my experience, most micronations focus much of their attention towards developing a unique culture, setting up [a futile] economy, and establishing complex bureaucracies and systems of mobility” she said. “[All of these] mitigate their government’s ultimate effectiveness [in achieving the Montevideo Convention].”

That said, she remains realistic, referring to the success of the New Providence project as catching a unicorn.

Religious “disorder” strikes

“Nonsense as salvation!” cried the visitor standing on a pulpit before the Micronations.Wiki community forum on January 23rd, lamenting the absurdity of it all. To a passerby, the visitor might have been easily mistaken an eccentric Monty Pythonistic fan. Not quite, on closer look.

The visitor was the self-styled Sludge Pope, announcing his founding of Dysnomia, a new micronational religious group that encourages its followers to laugh at the absurdity that is their daily existence. “The world is going to end, and soon … when push comes to shove and the curtain falls, will your routine have saved you?” he challenged, “Will you be laughing, or will you be weeping?”

Beneath the tongue-in-cheek pessimism is a message of optimism and empowerment that bears relevance in today’s increasingly uncertain geopolitical landscape. It encourages people to accept that the end is inescapable, whether it is one’s death or the forewarned end of the world. Living life happily and fully is key.

For Dysnomia, requiring conformity and order to reach a promised end like other religions is redundant; it encourages “chaos.” There are no special steps or rituals that will save you from death, so do whatever you want, so long as you abide by its central tenets. Those tenets include avoiding wasting each other’s time with emotional dishonesty and toxic behaviour, avoid nonconsensual acts, and questioning everything. Disorder, insofar as it describes the dynamism of independent human decision-making, is the expectation.

But how is it a religion, one may ask? Alone, the philosophies that guide Dysnomia are more recognizable as those that govern non-religious humanism and scepticism. Cue Eris, the Greek goddess of strife and discord. As the personification of chaos, making Eris the singular religious deity of Dysnomia was a natural choice for the Sludge Pope. In practice, followers are not expected to believe in or worship Eris, either spiritually or symbolically; they are merely expected to blindly follow her to the end.

Given the absurdity of it all, that lone religious characteristic may just be a cheeky commentary on the reality that underpins the world’s major religions. Anything else might risk creating some sort of order.

UNP dominates Florian election

Northcliff – The Florian Republic held its first election since the War of Lost Brothers with the United National Party of the Republic (UNPR) gaining a staggering 100 seats out of the possible 120. The remaining seats of the parliament were filled by the First Order of the Florian Republic (18 seats) and Florian Prosperity Party (2 seats) respectively.

What was a surprise was that the Pro-Jing and Shireroth parties created after the peace treaty of the Florian Republic failed to gain seats in the election. The election itself was angrily reacted to by Shireroth which stated that the poor performance of the Nationalist & Humanist Party of Floria was due to alleged systematic fraud and corruption in the Florian government. It also blamed the emigration of loyalist families to the Florian Free State around Blyth in the aftermath of the occupation and civil war that had destroyed most everything in the south of the country. The Florian government denied that there were any cases of corruption.

The poor performance of the Nationalist & Humanist Party of Floria was due to alleged systematic fraud and corruption in the Florian Government.

With this result, the promises of the UNPR of improving the infrastructure in the south of the country and negotiations to reclaim lost Florian land, many Florians believe that more complicated issues will arise, especially with the nations of Shireroth and Jingdao.

Many Florians believe that more complicated issues will arise, especially with the nations of Shireroth and Jingdao.

It is only a matter of time to see what the UNPR brings to the war-torn country in Apollonia which has suffered great losses during the war. Will the economy be revived, will political tensions wind down? Will anyone help the country in the future? It’s down to the UNPR and most of all Adam Cooke, the now mega-rich president of the country.

Jingdao awarded Micras Games

DAOCHENG – The first olympic-style games within the Micras community in 10 years are one step closer to reality as the capital city of the Jingdaoese Empire was named host city.

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The Daocheng candidate host city logo for the 2018 Micras Games.

It was an easy win for Daocheng, which gained four of the seven delegate votes in the first round to beat out second place Lillycove (Hoennese Realm) and third place Jamestown (Vyktory). The city successfully shirked the often-controversial status of its micronation on the world stage, selling itself as a “city of contrasts”, where “tradition meets modernity, rigidity meets fluidity, and stereotypes meet their maker.”

For the organizers, the challenge of hosting a successful Micras Games this year now takes centre-stage. The event is the first since the 2008 MicrOlympics and it is far more ambitious, with 36 simulated events and 10 live events. The most anticipated live event may be the classic board game Diplomacy, historically the Micras community’s favourite such game, having been translated to a forum-based medium.

As of press time, an estimated date range for the games was not published.

 

The more things change …

From March to April, the Coprieta Standard asked members of the micronational community to participate in the Micronations 2017 survey. The survey was a repeat of the Micronations 2007 effort in an attempt to illustrate changing trends clearly. We are grateful that 85 micronationalists, compared to 71 in 2007, spared time to participate, and with the end of 2017 upon us, we are excited to share the results.

Overall, the numbers show that trends in micronationalism tend to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary in pace; however, in some areas, significant statistical changes were observed.

Demographics

Where in the world are they?

Micronationalism is a global phenomenon and the survey reinforced that reality, with respondents from every continent except Antarctica and Africa. Yet, the community’s population is overwhelmingly centralized on the continents dominated by Anglo/European ancestry. In 2017, 49.4% of respondents were in North America, while 42.3% resided in Europe. 5.9% identified as living in Australia. North America and Europe nonetheless lost “market share” in micronationalism – dropping from a combined 94.3% in 2007 to 91.7% this year – suggesting that the global phenomenon is slowly becoming truly global.

Still the realm of the young …

In 2007, 70.4% of respondents were 25 years old or younger. This trends continues today, with 70.6% reporting the same. The data indicated that the community is nonetheless becoming younger overall: in 2007, 12.7% were 41 years or older; in 2017, it was just 3.5%.

Younger and wiser?

Perhaps contrary to the old adage that wisdom grows with age, the micronational community, despite being younger overall, is increasingly well educated. In 2017, 58.8% of respondents were either graduates with a Bachelor degree, or currently attending university/college. This is a more than 10% increase from 2007, when 47.8% reported the same. There was a small drop in the number of micronationalists still in high school at the time of the survey: 24.7% in 2017, versus 28.1% in 2007.

Little Napoleons everywhere …

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Micronationalists still overwhelmingly prefer to lead their own micronation, to the tune of 69%, a jump from 59.2% in 2007.

Micronational Profile

Growing old in micronationalism …

The community’s population has grown old with it over the 10 years between our surveys. In 2007, 70.4% of respondents participated in micronationalism for 5 years or less, while only 4.2% were involved longer than 10 years. This year, only 55.2% of respondents reported 5 years or less; 21.1% reported more than 10 years of participation.

Citizens of the world?

In 2007, 70.4% of respondents participated in two micronations or less during their time in the community. As the total years in the community have increased, unsurprisingly, so has the total number of micronations each respondent participated in. In 2017, the 70.4% dropped significantly to 48.2%, while 20% of this year’s respondents reported holding more than 10 citizenships during their participation (one respondent reported 50 total over their years!)

But still intently focused at any given time …

Despite the more open approach to moving around the plethora of micronations within the community, when our respondents choose a home, they generally remain dedicated to it. This year, 50.6% reported being currently active in just one micronation (versus 23.9% in 2007), while 16.5% reported two micronations. That dedication is intently focused: only 34.5% reported visiting other micronations in a non-citizen or -diplomatic capacity once a month.

While one might reasonably expect the simulationist community to be the highest incidence of multiple citizenships (especially on Micras where micronationalists often maintain multiple “characters” in different micronations), the most active respondent – in 7 micronations – was a secessionist.

The Internet giveth …

As a community that is fundamentally dependent on the Internet for its existence, it is no surprise that 61.9% of respondents reported discovering micronationalism online, up from 45.1% in 2007. The second popular means of discovery was by personal referral via friends/colleagues/others at 11.9%, a drop from 19.7% a decade ago.

Involved as King (or Queen) …

Those who make the leap into micronationalism are more likely to found their own micronation. In 2017, 89.3% reported doing so, compared to 77.5% in 2007. Compared to the 69% who prefer to lead suggests that a negative experience at the helm of a micronation has helped some respondents find their niche as being the power behind the throne.

Age-old strife?

There are few topics more divisive in the community than whether true micronationalism is the domain of secessionists, simulationists, or both.

In 2017, 35.7% of respondents identified as secessionist, striving to build their micronation into a real country, while 64.3% were simulationist, enjoying micronationalism as a hobby.

While this fundamental approach to the community’s purpose is stark, the numbers suggest animosity between the two groups is on the decline. In 2007, 32.7% had a negative view of secessionism, while 27.3% had the same view of simulationism. Back then, the community was largely a collection of fence-sitters on the matter, with 54.5% having a neutral view of simulationism, while 49% were neutral about secessionism.

This year, the number of fence sitters on both sides of the equation dropped significantly: just 11.9% were neutral about simulationism, while 20.2% were about secessionism. The movement of opinion was generally in the positive direction on both sides. The percentage with a negative opinion about secessionism dropped to 28.2%, while only 16.5% viewed simulationism negatively.

Though each camp was viewed more positively, opinions about the importance of both camps cooperating to the future of the community fell this year. In 2007, 50.7% believed such cooperation important, while this year 46.4% did. Back then, secessionists were more likely to believe in the importance (59.1%) than simulationists (46.9%). In 2017, both sides remained believers, with simulationists virtually unchanged at 46.3%, though secessionists fell to 46.7%.

Finally …

Greater hope in the “YA” in YAMO being misplaced?

Whether future cooperation between or within the ideological camps is best facilitated via intermicronational organizations is less clear this year. In 2007, an overwhelming 71.8% of respondents labelled such organizations as pointless. With the general success of the GUM (especially) in the intervening period, community members are more willing to express faith in YAMOs. Only 31% now see the organizations as pointless; however, that in itself is not as large a vote of confidence as suggested. Those who think the organizations are useful grew less drastically from 29.2% to 46.4%. The remainder decided to sit on the fence and enjoy the show.

Falling participation no longer the biggest threat …

In 2007, immigration and participation levels (42.3%) were the biggest threat to the community’s future according to respondents, while immaturity was second at 28.2%. This year, those threats essentially switched places, with 46.4% worried about the negative impact of immaturity, while 31% still fretted about new blood joining the community. The threat posed by macronational government remained essentially unchanged (4.2% in 2007 v. 4.8% this year).

Thank you again to all those who participated in the survey. If we’re around in 2027, we look forward to doing it all again! Happy New Year and all the best in 2018!

Florian Republic commits to Srbozemlje

NORTHCLIFF – New Florian President, Jessica Smith has committed to her pledge of protecting Srbozemlje from the Kingdom of Coria and Krasnarus in the war of lost brothers, a conflict started after a rogue assassin from the autonomous territory unlawfully killed the Corian King, Nikolaj the First.

The Florian Republic’s stance on the war has changed regularly since the start and it recently scrapped the protectorate treaty with Shireroth, creating an uncertain future. Smith, however, has discussed plans with the President of Srbozemlje over the territories defence.

In a speech, Jessica stated, “The Florian Republic has been a victim to poor leadership by the Florian Labour Party which was gullible to Shireroth. [Shireroth] had effectively destroyed order in the country [with] the parliament unable to pass legislation without permission from Shirekeep. In response to criticism over the war, we are committed to protecting all parts of Floria, especially our land in the Micras Balkans (Srbozemlje) and, in the future, we will attempt to finally bring peace to Apollonia. We thank Dimitrije Golubović for effective communication over this issue.”

In related news, the Florian Parliament has sought to circumvent Shireroth’s control over its foreign affairs, by tabling motions to guarantee the Republic’s future neutrality and to recognize the successor state of Hamland, Caputia.

GUM activity raises wider concern

MICROWIKI – A decline in activity amongst the membership of the Grand Unified Micronational organization has reignited ongoing concerns of a wider decline in the MicroWiki community.

A trend that had not gone unnoticed by community participants anecdotally was reinforced as fact by the latest quarterly statistics report released by GUM on October 20th.  That report saw a 40% decline in respondents, from 26 member micronations in the 2nd quarter of 2017, to just 16 in the latest quarter ending September 30th.

The decreased activity in GUM, as well as community Skype chat rooms, is a regular topic of discussion in the weeks since then.

One prominent MicroWiki participant, Kit McCarthy, referenced the trend as the primary motivation for taking an indeterminate leave of absence from micronationalism. “I’m spending too much time flicking between windows on my laptop to see if anything’s happening, when, invariably, it’s not,” he said a statement on October 21st.

For John Marshall, the decline is a self-fulfilling prophecy. “When I post stuff and get no responses or replies or feedback, I’m not inclined to continue to post,” he voiced in reply to Suzuki Akihonaomi’s efforts to identify the root of the problem. Others, such as Marka  Mejakhansk, see the situation as part of the natural ebb and flow of Internet micronational activity, a reality since the turn of the millennium regardless of community.

Yet, things may not be as discouraging as perceived. A recently returned member of the community, Akihonaomi, on October 29th, began publishing activity statistics for the MicroWiki forums in a wider effort to address the decline. While the forums only received 228 posts in September, October was more robust in terms of activity, with 377 posts. Comfortingly, the increase was not the direct result of a tunnel-visioned discussion on the activity woes; however, it masked another concern – a largely flat trend in the number of new users and discussion threads.

Meanwhile, unsubstantiated rumour suggests GUM may in part be the cause of the decline. “It would seem that some individuals do not wish to return to the [MicroWiki] forums until the GUM is completely dead … if the GUM dies, several users will return to active status” postulated Akihonaomi while referring to a purported protest movement against the organization.

Such rumour aside, as one of the remaining relevant, active, intermicronational organizations, GUM at the very least is a bellwether for the community’s activity. Regardless of any such protest, the organization continues to draw membership applications, including two that were on yesterday’s Quorum meeting agenda. That it has not passed any substantive resolutions beyond the purely administrative since the end of July is not alarming, given that such periods of uninspiring usage are not uncommon for any intermicronational organization.

As for the MicroWiki forums, versus long-term trends, the perceived drop in activity is not significant, suggesting concerns are misplaced. Post-per-day averages in September and October, based on Akihonaomi’s reported statistics, remained 2- and 4-times the long-term post-per-day average of 3.18, respectively. A cursory view of the forums through November indicate another, relatively, healthy month.

That the bottom of activity in the community is so much below that recently seen appears to validate the natural ebb and flow cycle to which Mejakhansk referred, as opposed to a more concerning structural problem.