Empirical rights and self-determination

Just this morning I heard on the radio that just after midnight of 15 November 2011, New York City sent police in riot gear to clear Zuccotti Park of ‘Occupy Wall Street‘ protesters.

Just this morning New York City Major Michael Bloomberg got on TV and promised that the privately-owned park would reopen later today. Protesters could return after the clean up of the park, but they are no longer permitted to set up tents, bring in sleeping bags, or camp there for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (24/7).

In other words, you are free to protest in Zuccotti Park in order to exercise your First Amendment to the US Constitution right to freedom of speech, and/or the right to peaceably assemble and petition for a redress of grievances; just make sure that at the end of the day you can afford a meal at a fine New York City restaurant, and can afford to stay at such fine establishments as the Millenium Hilton Hotel. You have, in essence, a theoretical right to freedom of speech, so you can almost say anything you want, but free speech, in and of itself, is no longer a right, nor is it free (gratis).

As a practical manner, what this means is that you can protest in Zuccotti Park, but it is probably not possible to protest for long unless 1) you live with your parents; 2) they approve and support your protest and what it aims to accomplish; and 3) you live within New York City public transportation distance of Zuccotti Park. All other Americans, which have the same rights at least in theory under the US Constitution, including adults who can pay their way to a degree, are not really free to protest in Zuccotti Park for long. They have a First Amendment to the US Constitution and thus sacrosanct right to freedom of speech, but not in Zuccotti Park, or not for long. Translation: the First Amendment to the US Constitution, in a consumer society, is no longer an unalienable right of all, but a privilege of the well-to-do, or entirely dependent on personal circumstances.

The secessionist, or Fourth World form of micronationalism, runs on a logic similar to the one of New York City bureaucrats above. Under this mode of thinking, you have a right to self-determination, but only if you are well-to-do, or live under particular circumstances, and in a particular place. That by definition is not an unalienable right, however, but a fully paid for privilege.

The non-secessionist, or Fifth World form of micronationalism, which usually makes only irredentist, and/or cybernetic, and/or virtual claims, is truer to the meaning of right to self-determination. Under this mode of thinking, you do not need to be well-to-do, although it might help, nor do you need to live under particular circumstances, and in a particular place to have a right to self-determination. Moreover, this form of micronationalism also allows for small land (secessionist) claims, such as to one’s personal property. The difference here is that nobody forces a neighbour to change jurisdiction if he/she doesn’t want to, and all these (distributed, not concentrated in a single area) foreign houses can be reorganised as diaxenospitias.

It is clear that the Fifth World mode of thinking is more in tune with real human rights than the Fourth World mode of thinking; the Fifth World mode of thinking is not like an on-and-off switch in human rights terms; and even Fourth World nations or micronations can make substantial gains over time by at least adopting a partial Fifth World approach, which does allow alien cultures to survive, even thrive outside the lands of origin, while a pure Fourth World approach does not allow this without logical contradictions, and can only really succeed through the persistant use of force or violence in the long term.

Rights ultimately dependent of the use of force have little or nothing to do with true self-determination, since they are no different than rights dependent on the perspective of a legal positivist.

International organisations need to abandon the exclusive Fourth World mode of thinking, and adopt a more Fifth World mode of thinking if they wish to succeed, a mode of thinking which is more in tune with actual universal rights, but perhaps less sustaining of particular Montevideo Convention fundamentalisms. If people don’t have real rights regardless of their material status, and regardless of their social rank, or place of birth, then these so-called rights will eventually degrade into theoretical rights, or empirical privileges (only de jure rights, but de facto privileges), and there will be no such thing as universal rights (which can only exist as de jure and de facto rights), which are more dependent on universal ethical principles, and our spiritual dignity as Children of God, than on anything else corrupt human beings can muster with the laws/ways of man, which are usually counter to the laws/ways of God.

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Micronational survey reveals more about societal trends than actual micronations

A recent survey, despite the difficulties we encountered in completing it because of disruptive pseudomicronationalists, has provided some interesting information.

The overwhelming majority of self-professed micronationalists are males (97%).

There are micronationalists in every age group, but a significant majority of micronationalists are between the ages of 14 and 23 (65%). This means most micronationalists are in the coming-of-age group. In a world left without enduring values, and left with even less socio-economic certainties, youth micronationalism seems to be providing an outlet for youth energy once prominently occupied by apprenticeship training, seminary preparation, military service, and/or active participation in sports, and these are also activities of predominately male focus. Whether the majority of self-professed micronationalists from this age group will still be active micronationalists in a decade or so, remains to be seen.

Most micronationalists (65%) do not believe the word micronation is a demeaning word.

In reality most people around the world, of all age groups, don’t have a high opinion of the word micronation. This is why some prefer more neutral words and endonyms like Fifth and Sixth World nations. Moreover, the word micronation, besides being a demeaning word and an exonym, is also a deceptive word, and the survey only provides further evidence of this. A significant portion (22%) of the responses also places a secessionist town, city, state, province or region within the field of micronationalism, but this is not an entirely correct idea. In reality, even small secessionist towns are not micronational, and to define such entities as macronational is also deceptive.

Outside of the Official World, there are essentially two kinds of entities: territorial and non-territorial entities.

Fourth World entities are territorial entities, and they can be as big as the Republic of Texas, and as small as the Principality of Filettino. The size of the territorial claim really doesn’t matter, just as size doesn’t matter with real sovereign states. What matters is that with Fourth World entities, which include many entities often inappropriately called micronations, territory is an inseparable issue to nationhood. These entities are also secessionist, and the land often matters even more than the people on the land.

In contrast, some Fifth World entities actually span more than one of the earth’s regions or continents with their largely irredentist claims (they are more tied to Planet Earth, than to a single island or continental mass), and with younger Sixth World entities land is not even an issue, or it is a mere artifice, and nationhood is truly the only issue.

A minority of responses (11%) show that there are some who actually believe that a micronation is a nation with a population of one, so I guess the concept of egonation and pseudomicronationalist is quite a matter of fact.

A large minority of responses (22%), however, seem to have a better understanding of what is fact and fiction, and rightly believe that a micronation is a nation with a population larger than that of a family. There are also minorities of micronationalists intelligent enough to summon the possibility that micronations can also be born out of beefed-up non-profit organisations, micronationalist-friendly international organisations, and possibly from for profit organisations as well.

The survey also used a bellwether micronation, the United Micronations Multi-Oceanic Archipelago (UMMOA), for honest reasons of personal curiosity, and to possibly sight future trends.

Few responses (6%) seem to suggest the UMMOA is a quasi-state. A good portion of the responses (13%) seem aware that the UMMOA runs its own Internet. And a minority of responses (28%) seem to admit that the UMMOA is at least a micronation.

If one considers not the number of responses among many responses (a few questions allowed for multiple answers), but the number of responses in relation to the actual number of survey participants, then about one in six people or 16% believe the UMMOA is a quasi-state; about a third of people or 32% seem aware that the UMMOA runs its own Internet; and a significant majority, about seven in ten, or 71%, seem aware that the UMMOA is at least a micronation.

These statistics are not very different from what one would expect out of a similar survey of any other kind of non-micronationalist population, so the results don’t seem to lack in realism.