Crime & Punishment in micronationalism

When one speaks of crime and punishment within the micronational community, this Author is often reminded of that famous Apollo Skyline cartoon from the September 28, 2002, edition (pictured below). The subject of that mocking depiction of micronational justice was Fidel Nico of the long-former Micras micronation of Baracão, who had, in the “in-situ” reality of the community, fled persecution in Babkha and gained asylum in Baracão, only to be extradited back to Babkha to his certain execution. All while sitting comfortably, and quite lively, in his chair at the computer in his macronational abode. What a show it must have been to witness one’s own execution at the hands of the gruesomely violent Babkhan “justice” system.

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The Skyline chose to mock an example that was ripe for the picking, some may argue – obviously a micronation can’t really “execute” a person as a true punishment for his or her transgressions against its laws. Such an act is merely the grandest statement of official contempt.

Then again, how effectual is any punishment imposed by the micronational courts? Even banishment from a micronation is ineffectual, insofar as the convicted micronationalist will always be able to find another micronation wanting of new citizens to accept his or her involvement, despite past transgressions (most of which are arguably conflicts of personality rather than reasonable law). The imposition of fines, too, are fraught with enforcement difficulty, as micronational currency is valueless, and any collection of macronational monies is an ultimately hopeless endeavour.

Perhaps it is our desire, as victims – perceived or real – to have justice done that still sees the micronational community engage in the prosecution, or sometimes persecution, of disagreeable individuals in our midst. Perhaps it is simply that the micronational arena is the best hope some have to see justice done, for lack of the financial resources to pursue the Accused macronationally, or simply because the wrong that has been committed is not one likely to be prosecuted – or understood – outside micronationalism. Maybe it is the convergence of the underpinning interest in law and experimentation on which micronationalism is built and the happen-chance transgression that motivates a desire to see the laws and courts we create in action, with the imposition of a punishment merely a sideshow. Or maybe, especially in the case of character-based Simulationist micronations such as those that inhabit the Bastion Union on Micras, it is just a captivating way to write one’s current persona out of the wider narrative.

Regardless of the motivation for seeking out punishment for transgressions in our community, it is nonetheless a reality of it, as it has been since the popularization of micronationalism by the Internet at the turn of the millennium. While each and every micronationalist who has been convicted in a micronational court remains very much alive and with their personal wealth intact, their cases have nonetheless formed an important part of the history and development of the particular micronation, and indeed the wider community, at the time.

This historical significance is one that admittedly should not be diminished by the ultimate futility of micronational justice as so accurately conveyed by the Apollo Skyline, for those contemporary micronationalists involved in each case were truly vested in the matter. After all, many of them used that sandbox to help develop the legal skills and interests that have propelled them, in this Author’s recollection, into the law firms of Belgium, Britain, Canada, and the United States. And that is perhaps the one tangible benefit of micronational justice, much like that of all aspects of micronationalism – it helps us learn skills, explore interests, and develop as individuals and macronational professionals.

Maybe that’s where we need to keep our focus when it comes to micronational justice – that it is a developmental endeavour, rather than one that is meant to be punitive. Cases should not be brought for malice, as alienating any member of an already dwindling populace is ultimately more harmful to the micronation than any crime most are capable of perpetuating. Rather, turn the Courts to administrative matters, such as dissolution proceedings for locally insolvent companies or judicial review. In such proceedings, micronationalists can learn and explore the law, and thereby grow individually, as opposed to needlessly carrying on momentary vendettas caused by frustration and the pouring salt on open wounds by imposing flagrantly unenforceable punishments.

History Profile: United Bobbesian Republic

LONENBERG (RIMA) – The United Bobbesian Republic (commonly known as the “UBR”) was an Anglophone Simulationist micronation that was active on the Internet from December 2001 until its demise in March 2003. Its origins dated back to June 1997 according to its most prominent citizen, Christopher Donle, who took effective control of the Republic in 1999 following concerns that the micronation’s government was facing imminent failure.

With its launch into the online micronational community in December 2001, the UBR joined what would become coined as the Micro-Monde Sector, a collection of North American-based, predominantly Internet, micronations that participated in the Micro-Monde Cartography Society founded by Canadian Earl Washburn. It was in this community that the UBR forged its close alliances with first the Republic of Amerada and then later Amerada’s arch-rival, the Union of South Mondesia.

Original Flag of the United Bobbesian Republic (circa. 2001)

Donle, through the alliance with Amerada, became a keen supporter of Amerada President Washburn’s policies and actions, and the UBR was generally seen as a supporter of the Washburn agenda. That was until April 2002, when Donle had become personally frustrated with several questionable actions taken by Washburn, most notably Washburn’s threat of war against the Micronation of Pacary that had expressed a desire to leave the Micro-Monde Cartography Society against Washburn’s wishes. After much chest-thumping between Donle and Washburn, the UBR would make a declaration of war against Amerada1 on April 6, 2002. The conflict was soon resolved, though bitter feelings between the two micronations remained. In September 2002, the UBR launched a smiley bomb attack on the forums of one of Washburn’s papel micronations, the Pups Kingdom (named in honour of his pet dog) in an attempt to overload the forum archive, thereby causing important threads to become unrecoverable by the service provider, Ezboard Incorporated2. The general belligerent tone between the UBR and Amerada would continue until February 2003, when facing its imminent demise, the UBR approached an equally struggling Amerada with a merger proposal, that was eventually rejected3.

Final flag of the United Bobbesian Republic (circa. 2003)

The falling-out between Washburn and Donle understandably pushed the UBR into the South Mondesian camp, where most of those Ameradans who opposed Washburn’s rule also held citizenship. This caused some surprise amongst South Mondesians, as just a month before, in March 2002, the UBR had declared war against South Mondesia at the beckoning of the Amerada-led General Military Alliance of which it was a member. Embarrassed by being forced to declare war against South Mondesia, Donle offered a public apology4 and agreed to a four-month moratorium on sending the UBR to war against South Mondesia. That moratorium proved unnecessary amid improved relations between the two micronations and the UBR became a closely-aligned friend of the Mondesians, resulting in the UBR being given all of South Mondesia’s Micro-Monde territory upon its dissolution in June 2002.

  1. Micronational Free Press: War between Amerada and the UBR Imminent: http://micronationhistory.info/?p=1149 []
  2. Micronational Free Press: UBR launches an attacked on the Pups Kingdom: http://micronationhistory.info/?p=1002 []
  3. Micronational Free Press: United Bobbesian Republic requests territorial status: http://micronationhistory.info/?p=918 []
  4. Micronational Free Press; United Bobessian Republic Apologizes to South Mondesia: http://micronationhistory.info/?p=1229 []