Saturday, December 27, 2014

News You Can Use: "How To Start Your Own Micronation"

From io9:

How To Start Your Own Micronation
Have you ever wanted to be king of your own nation? Do you want to test out a political experiment with a few dozen of your closest friends? Consider setting up your own micronation for fun, social experiments, and profit.

Now, there are new country projects that are quite serious. There are secessionist movements that earnestly seek to establish cultural and political independence from the country whose borders they live within. But let's say you don't want to get into a war with a larger country and just want to carve out your own slice of world and act as its leader or get together with your friends and act out your political ideals. What do you do?

In How to Start Your Own Country (which is currently outdated, but still a rather interesting, if sometimes tongue-in-cheek, read), Erwin S. Strauss notes that, if you're simply looking to avoid government rule, you've got a few options. You can live in international waters on a ship under a flag of convenience, whose nation won't have much interest in your activities. You can live off the grid in a sort of "out of site, out of mind" lifestyle. Or, if you just want to style yourself as a leader or live out your political ideals, you can set up a model country.

While there are dozens of micronations around the world (of varying degrees of seriousness), Dr. Judy Lattas, a sociologist and professor at Macquarie University who studies micronations, she told CNN earlier this year that she doubts they will grow into full-fledged nations. (In fact, the word "ephemeral" is often applied to micronations.) Still, these micronations are ways that people express their political ideals, live out their dreams of sovereignty, or protest the governments of their host nations.

What Makes a Nation?
There are a couple of different theories as to what makes a nation. Under the constitutive theory of statehood, a nation is a nation if other states recognize it as such. By under the declarative theory, outlined in the 1933 Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, "The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: (a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) government; and (d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states."

So keep that in mind when setting up your nation. You can't just say that you are the Republic of Horsefeathers; you need to establish where the Republic exists, who is considered a citizen, and what kind of government it has. If your country is a political simulation, chances are that setting up a government is an important part of your micronational endeavor. But if you're setting up a micronation just for the sake of having a micronation, a monarchy is an easy (and self-aggrandizing) way to go. But if you want to opt for a relatively simple democracy, the How to Start a Micronation website, operated by Kevin Baugh, President of the Republic of Molossia (located near Dayton, Nevada), recommends this Model Constitution Code....MORE