In an article called “Choosing an island” I explored the options which island could be available for building a sovereign micro-state. The islands that are available have all their implications, however … it would be a difficult thing to do. So if we cannot choose an island to live on, then why not on an iceberg? Let’s see:
Basically, why do we need a sovereign micro-society? The reason is not that it would be unbearable to live within a current state (some even deal quite respectfully with all their people, see e.g. the First Nations in Canada. The reason is that it could become unbearable to live in an existing state (like when it becomes totalitarian), and the reason is that it is mostly disgusting currently (just look at politics and how they behave and the reasons and motives drives politics: greed for money and influence, while a sovereign micro-society just wants calm, undisturbed, peaceful, sustainable existence). This post is just about another vision for a self-supported micro society. Currently I clearly favor the "sovereign ship" solution to that, but here is this idea, anyway.
There seems to be an internationally recognized process how to create an own state. First you choose a non-self-governing territory like one of the English overseas territories. Then you establish a population there, if not yet existent. Then you get registered at the UNPO. Then you need to get on the United Nations List of Non-Self-Governing Territories. Then you you slowly enter in negotiations with the administering state, demanding more legal self-governance. Over time you get more and more independent (it's lobby work), and finally you can hold a referendum to get independent (like the referendum in Tokelau, for instance). It is then advisable to remain as an associated state in bounds with the former administrering state. Which is no bad thing, as one does not have to deal with dumb stuff like international relations and the military (both of which is not necessary for peaceful living).
Now, here are the findings. The options here are sorted, the most interesting ones first:
Kerguelen Islands. Belongs to France, is quite huge (120x150km) and has no native population, just approx. 100 people in a research station. Being at 49° South, the climate is harsh but bearable (vegetation, sheep etc. can survive). This seems cool as a place for a 250 people large base of a sovereign ship-based community … the people in the base can grow food in greenhouses etc. and join the ship on the next yearly visit, when other people from the ship go to the land.
Falkland Islands. They have already a partial self-governing status. Just 3000 people on a vast island, mostly English speaking, and good telecommunications. It is a British overseas territory.
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. There is even a ghost town that could be used: Grytviken [source]. There are currently ~30 people present there [source 1, source 2]. There is even an account of a guy who rented four hectares of land on South Georgia, for an shilling per year, and lived there as an eremit [source]. South Georgia has already a partial self-governing status, comparable to the Falkland island [source 1, source 2].
Saint Helena. Nice climate, 4250 people and a lot to do in the economy. One could envision Internet centric companies to be founded there.
Palau. A very young sovereign state with 20,000 inhabitants, consisting of some islands in the tropic region. This state was the one offering asylum to Guantanamo detainees.
Nauru. A Micronesian island-state with 10,000 inhabitants. It is just one island, the world's smallest island nation (21 sq km). And the interior is not inhabited due to abandoned phosphate mining. There is plenty of stuff to do for people who want to invest in a small nation's development. Including their unfinished website. Immigration seems difficult to impossible, however.
Heard and McDonald Islands. Really remote, with no permanent population at all. Belongs to Australia. A nice site for a self-supported community of 250 people. Official site, including images and travel instructions: heardisland.aq.
Crozet Islands. A small group of islands with harsh but bearable climate and just one weather station on one of them.
Tristan da Cunha. Really interesting, as it contains enough people to not be lonely (about 275), has a nice climate and a very interesting, community-based society structure. It is called "the world's most remote inhabited island" [source]. However "No 'outsiders' are allowed to buy land or settle on Tristan – despite many applications to join a society referred to as 'Utopia'." [source].
South Orkney Islands. It falls under the Antarctic treaty, so has non.recognizable claims of sovereignty. Which would be nice for establishing a community. But the climate is extremely cold.
Also, the list of British Overseas Territories might contain more intersting stuff. However, entering these islands might be diffidult: "British citizens do not, however, have an automatic right to reside in any of the Overseas Territories." [source], which of course also applies to other citizens of the European Union.
For years I am in search of better models for society. Here is another one. Normally, states may suppress people, but the people are not able to suppress the state. This situation should be changed so that states are forced to compete for people; which would establish a “population market”. People would migrate to the state with the best conditions, there would be a high and short-term fluctuation between states.
To be more specific: there should be at least one large group of stateless people (or at least, people with cosmopolitan self-identification). They should number at least 250,000 people and be organized like an army, but for constructive work. (The inner power structure has to be discussed, but probably has to be a meritocracy or modified egalitarian democracy). This group should search recognition in international law as a sovereign without land, comparable to the Order of Malta (nearly everybody knows them … they are the operators behind Malteser first aid and relief agencies). Then, this group seeks a homeland. Which means they ask potential host countries if they would guarantee to work towards some minimal standards for its whole (!) population, including civil liberties etc., and if possible the status of extraterritoriality for the group’s base so that it can be controlled by the group’s own laws (it is not necessary to have own land to be truly sovereign, just to have temporary land with extraterritoriality, as e.g. the Order of Malta has). And if (and as long as) a state grants this, the group comes and commits to constructive work in the country. States will want to not lose this group, and therefore keep up the minimal standards, as losing that group means losing the driving factor of ones economy, and therefore the source of personal gain for the powerful persons in any state (as the group would be composed of highly intelligent, life-long educated people from all over the world). The group would be mobile, and always stay mobile (living in trucks), so that it can indeed draw out of any state within days. It also would be highly trained in techniques how to avoid being arrested and get out of a country instead, should a state try to use arrests to hinder these people from getting out of a country.
This new society model targets to disrupt the principles by which people are able to bring other people under power. Namely: by coercion (military and “political control technology”), by lazyness (of people, to out-migrate), by social cohesion (which holds people back from out-migrating alone).
This is my view on being a social being: I am citizen of the worldwide informal society, a cosmopolitan. That is I will try to minimize obligations due to being part of any formal society or (like the German state, the European Union, any church that requires membership, anything that requires formal membership). And to participate in the informal world society (the “society of the people” … the redundance is an irony against formal societies that are not for the people). Which means of course, to participate in a way that allows the world society to be functional if my behavior would be that of all its members.
Practical living in the informal world society: instead of a formal pension insurance, working for some time in an institution for old people (or a clinic) until they allow me to join when necessary.
To identify oneself mostly as “member of the informal world society” means one does not feel as (and does not want to be) a member of any formal society, that is, a society under a sovereign who rules by formal means. God, for example, does not rule by formal means, but by education (called “sanctification”).
I realized that I basically do not want to live under the authority of any state whatsoever. Here is my alternative.
Ok, the alternative. Found a power community of approx. 100 to 1000 people. It will utilize high tech to be as efficient as such an amount of people can ever be. Carefully selecting the people that may enter the community, while ruling that members’ children may stay in the community only until 25 or if their application gets accepted means that nearly no juidical system and police will be necessary. The members might retain their original citizenship.
The community then searches for states allowing them to stay as a “non-state sovereign”, meaning a sovereign without its own country. This is comparable to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. In terms of international law, what is searched for is extraterritoriality for the community members (not extraterritoriality of any area, but in analogy to embassy personnel); see these explanations on extraterritoriality. To gain such grants from as many countries as possible, allowing to travel between them without restrictions, the community serves its host countries, probably meaning that poor, very small host countries are the ones most likely to grant extraterritoriality.
Basically, the intention of becoming a “non-state sovereign” is to found a state-less society, which is the anarchist ideal. See the Wikipedia article on stateless society. So it seems that I am anarchist? Yes. More specifically, I’m probably an individualist anarchist. However, I do not want to change the style of government of any state (it’s strongly prohibited by the states’ laws). Instead, this is about peacefully moving out because I prefer sovereignty to obedience, when it comes to obedience towards humans. I want to found a new, stateless society.
But it’s not all that easy. See here what became of the one and only existing project of hat kind: the history of Laissez Faire City. And see what became of LFC’s experiment with digital money. After all, it seems to be very difficult to set up a working anarchist system, i.e. one not based on coercion as ordinary states are. There is the working example of the Somalia Xeer system, however. But in my proposal here, the problem of “bad people” causing anarchism to malfunction is solved by simply not accepting them into the anarchistic community.
To constructively extend my previous post, here’s my opinion how war should be used as a legitimate means. I believe, this would solve a great bunch of problems.
A sovereign country or treaty organization may decide to go to war if it is attacked by a foreign army. This is the only reason where one party is allowed to decide about war on its own. Getting shot while indeed defending ones own family is better than if the whole family gets shot.
All the other cases of war, such as “freeing a country from an oppressive regime” (which is the “later assigned reason” for the Iraq war), has to be decided by the United Nations Security Counsel.
In these “other reasons”, no regular armies of U.N. member countries are dispatched. This could lead to wars for “political reasons” again, namely, if the U.N. Security Counsel decision got flawed by some means like by the influence of any super power. The solution is to have a U.N. army of volunteers, who can decide individually if they want to go to war.
The proposed U.N. army should consist of politically trained, highly intelligent volunteers, from all over the world, with good discernment abilities, no prejudices, world travelling and cross-culture experience and a perfect understanding of the current political situation, and of human nature and its immanent problems. They would volunteer for the U.N. army with the motivation to fight for world peace and freedom, and get paid only a moderate salary contributed by U.N. member states.
The proposed U.N. army would consists of only (!) highly specialized, highly trained soldiers, like in the current squads, commandos and special forces, but way better, and way more intelligent. They would have the world’s best equipment at hands, esp. also for personal protection.
The kind of warfare would be innovative: it would be surgical only. The proposed U.N. army could consist of a moderate 10,000-30,000 people. Surgical warfare means to remove (capture, or, if necessary, kill) key persons only. In the case of the Iraq war, had it been approved by the U.N., this would have been perhaps 300-1,500 political any military leaders of the Iraqi regime. And in the Iraq war, as it went, with the U.S. taking action without its country attacked and without U.N. approval, this could have been Mr. Bush and 299-1,499 political leaders and military leaders. I believe that no other people would fill the gaps of the removed ones, simply out of fear of the personal consequences of getting removed also (i.e. being captured and judged in an international court, or, in the worst case, if capturing goes bad, shot). This means also, techniques to really effectively identify leaders and to find and remove them on foreign ground without “collateral damage” would have to be developed.
The soldiers in the proposed U.N. army would have a really really dangerous life, as they operate on foreign ground only, and not from a distance and with brute force as is done in current warfare. To limit the bad effects of this danger, there would be strong admission guidelines, including: no family, no spouse, or a spouse where it can be expected that she / he can handle even the death of its dearest one.
Earning money must not be a motivation to be in the proposed U.N. army. This would lead to Rambo-style people searching admission, and faking the political understanding, intelligence and love for peace that’s expected from candidates. The reason to be in this army would be to do a special contribution to a better world. And the public, world-wide honor as one of those who indeed, day-by-day voluntarily risk their lives for the well-being of this world’s citizens.
Side note. If you can think yourself into the head of one of these proposed volunteering U.N. soldiers, do this. Explore the love for truth and the love for the innocent people in the whole world that such a man or woman must have, to decide to join that army, and to decide to join an individual U.N. approved operation. They really want to make the world a better place, though these intelligent guys and gals with all their abilities, knowledge, physical strength and youth could have the whole world to their feet. Yet they prefer to be poor, and to risk their lives for good. If you got the feeling, meditate on it for a moment.
And then, imagine that such a one fights not for the good and innocent people in the world, but for the well-being of the bad ones. Of those that should get removed!!! And, even worse, they let themselves be removed by the U.N. army instead of those that should get removed. Got it? Then you have a moment of understanding (like me, for a moment) of … what this guy did for all of us: JESUS.
(7) For it is rare for anyone to die for a righteous person, though somebody might be brave enough to die for a good person. (8) But God demonstrates his love for us by the fact that Christ died for us while we were still sinners. [The Bible, Romans 5:7-8, ISV]
In old times, it is said, the king of a people would march to war in the first row. Today, politicians are absent in the wars they propagate. After watching this YouTube video clip here, I definitely want politicians to adhere to the tradition. The clip is real footage from helmet cameras of U.S. soldiers fighting in the Iraq war:
After reading through some pages of comments on that clip on YouTube, I got an impression of what war means for many of those U.S. soldiers in these days: it’s what Evan Wright says right in the title of his book: “Generation Kill“. Soldiers, understanding themselves as handicraft workers whose crafts is fighting and killing. They’re not political, at least not the point where their political view influences whom they’re fighting for. They’re lonely, unparented kids, fighting because it deems fun to them … . (For the details, see a YouTube video clip report on Generation Kill).
Now I’m not universally against military action. This is a torn world, and sometimes we have to use brute force to keep it from breaking into pieces. BUT. Brute force should never be in the hands of unethical people. Of those who thing fighting a war is fun. Nowadays, just this happened in the U.S. Armed Forces. And nobody seems to be aware of that. This is why I want politicians to take part in the fighting for some time: to see what brute, greedy mass is executing their commands, and how that torments the foreign people whose land was invaded. (And I’m not even talking here about the unethicality of these commands themselves, in the case of the Iraq war.)
Yes, politicians should experience first hand what war looks like these days. That will improve their ability to decide wherefore to use war. Yes, whoever want to be able to decide about war should have been at the front line for years, and should have seen comrades and civilians dying. War is a means, but it should be the last one. Barack Obama is definitely right in preferring understanding, negotiation and peace to war.
And if you want to study more extensively what real war looks like (well, what videos of real war look like), there’s really plenty of material on YouTube. I watched some shocking ones and made a selection for you:
US Army soldiers and Marines fighting in Iraq; this is a promotion video of an army fan, just like the first cited video in this article is; note the violent lyrics of the background music – every kind of sane judgment regarding the earnest reality of war is absent in the videomaker’s mind, though war means dying