Interview: Henry Twain

CS: A two-year micronational career has seen you delve into business, journalism, and political office, including the presidency of the former Federated States of America. Can you tell us a bit about what drew you to micronationalism and what you consider your signature contribution to date and why?

HT: For the most part I like to think that my climax in my micronational career is yet to come, however if I had to select my signature contribution to date, it would have to be my journalism at the Daily Micronational. You see, the Federated States of America was fun, but I felt like that was more of a way to get me into the community. My future in micronationalism is, ironically, going to have little to do with being a micronationalist and more of being in the micronational sphere. This means writing articles, reporting on stories, making The Micronation Report, and venturing into the micronational private sector. The Quetican Islands is actually going to do little as a government. It’s mostly there solely for the business venture. I’m focusing on reporting in the future, as I think that’s where I’ve seen myself more proud of my work, while in terms of government I’m mostly retired.

CS: In a news article you authored in the Daily Micronational recently, you stated that “micronational economics have never played a significant role in the makeup of the cheeky hobby,” suggesting that a more white-collar approach is required to see success in the field. What will it generally take to create a white-collar economy in micronationalism and what is your greater vision for micronational economics?

HT: While I don’t mean to be smug about it, I’ve spent much, much time studying economics. Years, in fact. Yet, micronational economics is so, so much different from your average economy because a true micronational economy run as private businesses has never really happened before. What we’re doing in in Quetico is acting as pioneers. The fact is that no nation will truly rise to prominence in this day and age without having an economic staple, while as of this point ninety percent of micronations either don’t have an economy or are a fledgling banana republic. What it will take to create a white-collar economy is isolation, which is why I’ve had to make citizenship mandatory to participate in Quetico Street. If that wasn’t the case, it would simply be a ton of Kings and Presidents running corporations. That’s not a private sector. When we make citizenship mandatory, King Bob of Bobistan becomes Citizen Bob of Quetico in the business venture. So isolation is the very first step. The second step is capitalism. You need a clear capitalist agenda for any economy to flourish, especially in micronationalism. What we’re creating in Quetico is a nice, soft mattress for any business to lay on, a mattress softer than any other. The third step is lots and lots of promotion, which is the phase Kit (McCarthy) and I are in right now. More so, my greater vision for micronational economics is for it to become something that can run without my oversight. After Quetico Street can run without me, I’d say we’ve pretty much changed micronationalism forever.

CS: One specific project that you’ve announced is Quetico Street, which you bill as the “very first true micronational private sector”. It’s an ambitious project, with a detailed plan for start-up that spans from now to January 2017. What would you like our readers to know about the project and how can they get involved?

HT: Quetico Street is a project I’ve launched with the intention of creating a micronational private sector where people can exchange Micronational Dollar. It is very ambitious, however can be done. We are planning to open the Stock Exchange on Wednesday, granted we get the full support of the community. I’ve heard people questioning why micronationalists should do this, and the answer is easy. This is going to change micronationalism forever, make it much more respectable, and even give secessionist micronations a larger chance at independence! It is going to give you a way to spend Micronational Dollar, give you ways to make Micronational Dollar, and give you a Stock Exchange to cooperate with fellow micronationalists on! I think that while we are all concerned about our own micronations, we all also want the best for the general community and we want to have fun doing it. Quetico Street is the way to do it. Anyone can get involved by either starting a business, just buying stock, or doing as little as becoming a citizen and gaining easy access to all the products. This is so easy, and anyone can get really involved or really not involved, there is honestly little reason to not do it.

CS: In order to participate in Quetico Street’s stock exchange, currently a business will need to have its Chief Executive Officer hold citizenship in the Quetican Islands, and those who wish to buy and sell stock will similarly need such citizenship. This news service for one has voiced its concern that this may limit participation in the stock exchange. How do you respond to that concern?

HT: Honestly, it probably will limit participation. But it’s the only way for this to work. As I said earlier, the first step in this is keeping it isolated, at least at first. We need to establish the boundaries of where this economy begins and ends, else it won’t be a private sector, but a group of businesses managed by Kings. I don’t think citizenship should stop people from getting involved, especially when our citizenship process is extremely easy. This is such a new idea being put in play that we have no clue how it’s going to turn out. But we know that it needs to be a private sector, and it needs to be clear that it’s one economy. We are working to establish a private sector economy, not a bunch of sort-of private businesses financially based out of different micronations.

CS: Your latest micronational endeavour is the Democratic Republic of the Quetican Islands, founded on May 10th. So far the micronation is in its developmental infancy, though its clear that economics will play a central theme with Quetico Street. Can you tell our readers about what else you envision the Quetican Islands as being? What immediate steps do you plan for reaching that vision?

HT: Well, I’ve been the founder and co-founder of several micronations in my time, I’ve begun to classify myself as a ‘micronational experimenter.’ All municipalities, provinces or states, and nations all need to have a staple that brings them to their climax. I believe that micronations are, at most, at the economic capacity to operate like a city does. Something that has made New York City great is the huge, diverse economy and the corporate Wall Street and Stock Exchange. Quetico is my way of promoting an agenda for white collar micronationalism. It all starts in Quetico with us building the micronational New York City. If that plan fails, so does Quetico. Immediately, we need to open the Stock Exchange and Quetico Street, and we need to keep the economic plan updated. Most importantly right now is getting involved people, and getting businesses that can actually produce Micronational Dollar.

CS: Touching back on your contributions to the Daily Micronational, I understand that your venture into journalism is a recent one as well. What motivated you to become a journalist?

HT: Well, I’ve gotten really worn out with the bureaucratic efforts for my micronations. After I dissolved the Atlantic Commonwealth, I decided to take a break from government. Of course, when I came up with the idea of Quetico Street the next day I had to establish a micronation to do it, but the micronation was only founded for the economic effort, I’m not that invested in the government. But I’ve just always loved writing, and I wanted to contribute to the micronational community in a constructive way, so I became the second writer for the Daily Micronational. Journalism has been my proudest micronational work so far. In the future, when I am able to resign my post as Overseer of Quetico Street and leave it to someone else, I’m going to turn only to journalism and my new show, The Micronation Report With Henry Twain.

CS: Any final thoughts?

HT: Just two. First, the great thing about a capitalist economy is that it is run by the people. And what we are doing on Quetico Street requires participation. Here, with your enthusiasm, creativity, and participation, we are going to be able to change the way people look at micronationalism. You don’t have to be secessionist to do this, in fact, I myself am not secessionist. But if you want people to look at your micronation and see it as a respectable project, whether secessionist or not, Quetico Street is the way to do it. We are going to build a real micronational economy. Join us today.

Stock exchange plan announced for M$

Two months after the founding of the Micronational Dollar (M$) by Kit McCarthy, the intermicronational currency continues to mature with the announcement of a comprehensive plan to develop a stock exchange that will trade in it.

The Quetico Microinternational Stock Exchange will form an integral part of “Quetico Street”, the brain-child of Henry Twain, who described the Street as “the revolutionary micronational private sector,” and a project that will seek to emulate Wall Street in New York City.

The exchange would form a cornerstone of Quetico Street and be developed as part of a four-phase plan that centres around the development of the micronation itself. Much of the monetary policy and necessary agreements, such as the partnership with the Micronational Dollar Institute, are anticipated to be rolled-out within the next six weeks, with a website for the stock exchange coming online by May 30. The bulk of the stock exchange’s development would not occur until December 25, when stock market indices are to be opened, with full independent operations expected to commence on January 3, 2017.

In addition to its economic scope, the exchange is also a project that is geared toward netting the Quetican Islands new citizens. While a micronational business anywhere in the community will be allowed to freely join the exchange, membership will be contingent on its Chief Executive Officer being a registered and approved citizen of the Quetican Islands. The buying and selling of stock on the exchange will similarly be limited to only those who are citizens of the Quetican Islands, said Twain, as he advertised a link to the micronation’s citizenship application for those interested in joining the project.

If a business does decide to join the exchange, it will have to enter into a short operating contract that will require it to move its headquarters to the Quetican Islands. The contract will also require the business to impose a 7pc tariff on its exports of goods and services outside of the Quetican Islands, and in the event of dissolution, any funds left in the business’ account will be shared between the Quetico Street Overseer’s Office and the Micronational Dollar Institute.

As of publishing, the concept has been well-received by several members of the MicroWiki Community, including McCarthy who expressed his interest in starting a hedge fund investment centred on Quetico Street.

Analysis

A well-developed plan for creating a centre of micronational finance for the MicroWiki Community risks being overshadowed by head-hunting for citizens by the Quetican Islands.

The micronational community is a small one in which the majority of participants wish to be their own ruler or are otherwise intently loyal to one micronation. To require that a person obtain Quetican citizenship in order to participate in what is billed as an intermicronational market it to risks alienating that participation. To be forced to acquire another citizenship in order to participate in buying and selling stocks is a tenuous strategy for Twain to adopt.

This strategy is even riskier when one considers that the portion of the micronational population who are actually interested in participating in finance and economics is much smaller than the general populace, so to alienate one person by the citizenship requirement is far more devastating to a finance and economics project than a general-interest one. In this author’s 15 years in micronationalism, most finance and economics projects suffer a debilitating decline in months, rather than years, due to the limited audience to which they appeal, and that’s without any barriers to participation such as citizenship requirements.

Another key barrier is the need for businesses to move their headquarters to the Quetican Islands. As most micronational businesses are nationalized, this policy may serve to exclude some of the community’s most important companies due to the legal and territorial issues associated with surrendering the flag to another jurisdiction. That said, Twain can overcome this should he make clear that a subsidiary of the company can simply be headquartered in the Quetican Islands.