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!

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.

Occitania to stifle secession attempt

BABOUGRAD – Caught off-guard by the attempted secession of its state of Sezentrania, the Occitanian government has obtained court action to restore constitutional order; however, its moral authority to quash the secession may be wanting.

A recent addition to the federation, Sezentrania joined Occitania on October 19th, and reportedly consisted of a single citizen, Daniel Lee, the state’s founder, on October 20th. Despite being its founder, the federal government refused to allow Lee to act as the state’s governor, instead designating the federal legislature, the Vergadering, as the state’s administrator.

Within a week, Lee’s desire to be part of the Occitanian state had waned and on October 27th, he unilaterally declared Sezentrania to be an independent state, something that the federal government only learned of when it happened across a wiki page profiling the Free Democratic Republic of Sezentrania.

Occitania’s government has quickly moved to denounce the secession as illegitimate, stating its contention that as Lee was not the governor of the state, he had no mandate to declare independence. “This is a real coup d’état and a real constitutional affront,” the government said through state media, “There can be no question of self-determination because this action is one-sided.” It stressed that it was open to a solution to the dispute over Sezentrania’s status so long as it was compliant with the federal constitution.

With Lee being the only resident of Sezentrania, the argument by the federal government that the secession is not a question of self-determination appears fleeting at best. While it is a fact that Lee did not follow constitutional processes, his decision as the sole resident of the state is, arguably, the practice of self-determination in action.

More questionable is whether the federal government has moral standing to oppose the secession of Sezentrania. On October 27th, Occitania announced its support for the unilateral declaration of independence issued by the Spanish state of Catalonia. Catalonia declared independence, in violation of Spanish law, following the results of an unconstitutional referendum in which a minority of its residents participated. With its own territorial integrity is threatened by similar action, Occitania’s government now underscores the importance of constitutional law and minimizes the right of a local populace to exercise self-determination.

Finding itself in Spain’s position, Occitania has today obtained a court judgment appointing another one of its state governors, Ivanna Minaïeva, as Sezentrania’s prefect, tasked with enforcing the federal constitution and cracking down on the secession movement.

Gotzborg closes latest chapter

LONENBERG – More than seven years after it returned from a three-year hiatus, Gotzborg will again enter an official, indefinite, period of dormancy.

One of Micras’ older micronations, Gotzborg had a history of spurts of activity – first, from its founding in March 2004 until April 2007, when it went on hiatus, and then from 2010 to 2013, upon its return. Since 2013, Gotzborg’s activity waned to the minimal levels it sees today, consisting of at-most a few largely administrative-related forum posts each month.

That lack of cultural and government development and ideas is largely a consequence of the micronation’s demographics. When Gotzborg was first active from 2004 to 2007, its citizens were mostly in university. Those who returned post-hiatus had long since graduated and embarked on their careers, limiting their participation further. The key leaders in recent years – Sinclair and August Charles II, Gotzborg’s founder and king – have also become increasingly busy with their macronational commitments.

To that end, both decided that the upcoming expiration of Gotzborg’s web hosting package was a natural end point for the micronation. While a return in the future is not impossible, no such eventuality is openly expected.

The micronation’s Micras territory, which largely encompasses its constituent realm of Victoria, is planned to be transferred for safekeeping to Stormark, which already protects other Victorian historical entities. Stormark will remain the protector of Gotzborg’s Micras territory until any return to activity.

Work to secure Gotzborg’s archives and facilitate the Micras territory transfer will continue between now and when the web hosting package expires in mid-December.

Editor’s Note: The Coprieta Standard was founded, and named after a city, in Gotzborg; however, it will continue to publish despite its home micronation being inactive, much as it did during Gotzborg’s first hiatus.

Locally-developed game launched

LUCÍUSU – The first computer game to be developed based on a part of Micras culture since the turn of the millennium has been released.

The Ballad of Old Lake Morovia: Part One was developed by Passio-Corum founder and leader Queen Esper (formerly known as Opyeme Time) and incorporates the story of fictional-pirate Captain Ismael Hatch, who plundered the Strait of Haifa on Micras. In the game, the user, playing Hatch, is a pawn of the Lake Morovia Blockade Fund who learns of dark, insidious forces that control the Strait while on Black Hatch Island.

The game was developed using RPG Maker MV and is available for download on both Windows and Linux.

It is the first major game developed based on a Micras theme since the popular Control of Destiny Series that incorporated the Shirerithian religion of Soloralism nearly 15-years ago.

IMO invokes past name, desires new success

KALTSSTADT – A new UN-style intermicronational organization has launched, hoping to succeed where others have failed. Borrowing the name “United Micronations” from past endeavours, it remains to be seen if the organization can shirk the YAMO label.

As the (at least) seventh intermicronational organization to carry the name, the United Micronations finds itself struggling against the failed reputation of its predecessors. That struggle may be lessened by a comparatively-unique approach: an annual in-person summit that will complement more routine Internet-facilitated communications. Such an event may develop stronger interpersonal relationships between micronational leaders and add longevity to the organization.

The first summit is tentatively scheduled for Normanton, United Kingdom, from June 26 to 28, 2018. The member states, of which there are 10 as of press time, will discuss diplomatic, economic, and integration topics, as well as the more specific threat of North Korea’s nuclear programme in the likely scenario that it is still a concern.

Organized by the Kingdom of Catan, a founding member, the summit will be accessible to the press and public who can purchase tickets for a fee of £1-10, and based on the tickets advertised, it will include an evening gala.

Underlying these efforts is the ever-present concern that the United Micronations will not survive long enough to see that June date. Public details on its operation are currently limited; however, a key part of its growth and stability, the election of a Secretary-General, will occur sometime after the close of nominations on September 22, according to a media report.