Sunday, December 10, 2006

Micronations anyone?

Fed up with your president or prime minister?, your congress? your parliament? and constititional change? Then this book may be your liberation.

I bought an interesting Lonely Planet guide on micronations. Wikipedia defines "micronation" as "are entities that resemble independent nations or states, but which are unrecognized by them, and for the most part exist only on paper, on the Internet, or in the minds of their creators"

These places are real. They each have a geography. Most if not all issue passports, grant citizenship. Their founders claim that their countries fulfill the criteria set by the 1933 Montevideo Convention defining what a state is. These are

  1. Permanent population
  2. Defined territory
  3. Government
  4. Capacity to enter relationships with other states

The micronations say that if they fulfill these criteria, it matters not whether the UN, EU, or any other state recognizes them or not as a state.

So let me take you to some of my favourite micronations

First on the list is Sealand, which is built on a WWII anti-aircraft tower in the North Sea outside British territorial waters. The founders of Sealand were arrested in the UK for arms charges in 1968. A court ruled that the UK has no jurisdiction over them since Sealand was outside UK waters. This is the only micronation to have been invaded by foreign powers.

Second is the Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands. Founded by Dale Anderson as a protest against Australia's ban on same-sex marriage in 2004, the kingdom claims to be a refuge for gays and lesbians. The Lonely Planet guide claims that 90% of the fish around the coral reef island capital of Cato, change sex. :) The National Anthem is Gloria Gaynor's "I am what I am"

Third is the Conch Republic of the Florida Keys, an entity that seceded from the USA in 1982 because US set up a roadblock and customs check that inconvenienced the residents of the Florida Keys and affected the tourist economy. Inasmuch as the border control was within US territory, the residents of Key West were effectively cut off from the US. The republic seceded from the US, declared war and surrendered.

Well the reasons for establishing a micronation range from serious to wacky. But can a micronation secede from the Philippines? And what entities could be potential candidates?

Some wags have said that since Subic is like a foreign country, it might as well be independent from the Philippines. That Subic can enforce traffic rules is evidence enough! Also it can generate its own power and has its own airport. But some Subic people got fed with Malacanang meddling that they wished that the Freeport was indeed, an independent state.

The other entity has declared itself the "Diliman Republic"a long time ago. Well the University of the Philippines should take the plunge and declare independence. Since the National Government has consistently reduced its subsidy and the university has no choice but to increase fees, it might be a good idea to be independent.

I'm sure the Diliman Republic will uphold academic freedom, environmentalism, peace and most likely it will be gay and lesbian friendly!

The only problem is that some professors still insist that the state should subsidize it 100%. Well if that's the case, then being a Republic and a State apparatus seems incompatible.

1 comment:

Mike said...

I thought I'd bring your attention to another wacky micro-nation, they seem quite new but they've borrowed that million dollar homepage scheme and changed it to virtual land. Yes they're selling land, still there is something interesting about it. www.cyberspacerepublic.com