Micronationalist

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Micronationalists at MicroCon 2019

A micronationalist is a person involved in micronationalism. Most micronationalists are the founder or leader of their own micronation, or more broadly are or have been a citizens of a micronation at some point, sometimes recreationally. As a hobby, micronationalists typically do not seek statehood or believe that statehood is unachievable, occasionally include tongue-in-cheek elements in their micronations, and make adaptations to conform with most aspects of macronational laws in order to avoid legal consequences. In contrast, hard secessionists go to great lengths to present their micronations as fully independent sovereign states, often causing conflicts with macronational authorities over issues such as taxation and other aspects of the law. Micronationalists often combine this interest with other hobbies, especially politics, geography, history, economics, journalism and heraldry.

The term "micronationalist" was first used in a 1964 book on secessionist movements in Sub-Saharan Africa to denote a micronation, rather than an individual. Its first use in the context of a person was in a 1987 book on the same topic, and in 1997 it appeared in a post by Anthony Lawless on the Usenet forum alt.politics.micronations. This led to the term's wide usage on said forum, later spreading into common vocabulary among micronationalists all over Usenet. Since the mid- and late 2000s, with the rise of the Internet, the term became commonly accepted among micronationalists and non-micronationalists alike, including journalists.

The micronational community is decentralised, forming various communities and sectors around micronational spheres of influence or websites, such as MicroWiki and its associated Discord server, other wikis or social medias such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit or YouTube. Geofictionists may call themselves micronationalists, however this is erroneous.

Etymology and spread

The term "micronationalist" was first used in a 1964 book on secessionist movements in Sub-Saharan Africa to denote a micronation[1] before the term "micronational" was widely established. This remained the common usage of the term in academics until the mid-2000s. Its first use to refer to a person involved with micronationalism appeared in a 1987 book, also on secessionist movements in Africa.[2] The term started to become in common use after it appeared in a post by Anthony Lawless on the Usenet forum alt.politics.micronations on 25 September 1997.[3] It was then widely adopted on said forum, and spread into common vocabulary among micronationalists on Usenet. Its use has since become the preferred term among micronationalists with the rise of the Internet, especially on websites such as MicroWiki, which was founded in 2005. In 2008, Colleen Mastony of the Chicago Tribune used the term to refer to Kevin Baugh,[4] expanding its usage among non-micronationalists.

Demographics

Micronationalists can be of any age – from children to the elderly. According to the MicroWiki Discord Survey, conducted by Ned Gunderson on MicroWikia@Discord in May 2019, 94.4% of 54 respondents identified as male, and 40.7% were aged between 16–19 and 29.6% between 12–15. The 2019 MicroWiki General Survey by Zed found similar results. In contrast, communities on Facebook and Skype tend to be much older than members of the MicroWiki Sector, or, more specifically, members of MicroWiki@Discord.

Activities and sectorology

Grand Duke Travis from Westarctica giving a presentation on micronational conflicts at MicroCon 2019
Micronationalists at the 2011 Intermicronational Summit in London

As the micronational community is decentralised, various communities (called 'sectors') have formed, each generally dedicated to the discussion of micronationalism, participation in foreign relations, such as signing treaties, and participating in other micronations. The largest English-speaking sector is the MicroWiki Sector, a community of micronationalists based around MicroWiki, the largest micronational wiki. It is a part of the larger MicroWiki community, a broad grouping of micronationalists who participate in the micronations and organisations of the sector but do not necessarily edit the wiki, loosely united by their patronage of particular online social venues, such as MicroWiki@Discord, which was formerly the foremost means of communication between September 2018–c. late 2019 and early 2020.

Outside of online activities, micronational summits are considered highly desirable. The first verified such summit between micronationalists took place in Helsinki, Finland in August 2003, and and had 16 attendees. Since the 2010s, micronational summits have become more frequent, with a number of reoccurring conventions, including PoliNation 2010, 2012 and 2015, and, most prominently the bi-annual MicroCon since 2015, which had 113 attendees in 2019, the largest of any micronational summit. At summits, micronationalists typically engage in signing treaties with other micronations, hold discussions on micronational topics and hold presentations among other activities. In the MicroWiki sector, the most notable micronational summits (excluding the aforementioned) were the 2011 Intermicronational Summit, 2013 Intermicronational Summit and 2019 GUM Birmingham Summit. State visits, though less common, have also occurred, though most commonly in physical sectors.

Furthermore, micronationalists also often combine micronationalism with other hobbies, especially politics, geography, history, economics, journalism and heraldry. Ives Blackwood, for instance, has written several theories and ideals relating to micropatriology and micronational economics. Micronations that have a democratic government, especially community micronations, usually act as political simulations, holding elections, parliament and debates. Journalists are also commonly found in the micronational community, especially in the MicroWiki Sector. St. Charlie, for example, had several journalists, and The St.Charlian Observer proved highly influential during its publication, being considered one of the greatest and most influential news publications in the MicroWiki Sector of the 2010s. Heraldry, and, in general, graphic design – particularly vexillology – is also a common interest in the sector.

Awards and honours

Just like the macronational equivalent, micronationalists give other micronationalists orders of chivalry. The erstwhile Micronationalist of the Month (January 2019–March 2021) and present Micronationalist of the Year are both awards handed out by Statistic-Dime in recognition of the best achievements from micronationalists of that respective time period in the MicroWiki Sector.[5][6] Statistic-Dime also published a list titled the "Top 25 Most Influential Micronationalists in the MicroWiki Sector of 2020" in December 2020.[7] The Schneider Awards (2011–2013) and RadioMicro Awards (2015) awarded micronationalists who were the best in various selected categories, for instance "Award for Propitious Newcomer" and "Most Influential Micronationalist".[8] Kevin Baugh of Molossia, Paddy Roy Bates of Sealand and Leonard Casley of Hutt River are often regarded as the "modern founding fathers of micronationalism".

Notable micronationalists

(Left to right): Kevin Baugh of Molossia, Paddy Roy Bates of Sealand and Leonard Casley of Hutt River are micronationalists frequently regarded as the "modern founding fathers of micronationalism"

Kevin Baugh (b. 1962) of Molossia, Paddy Roy Bates (1921–2012) of Sealand and Leonard Casley (1925–2019) of Hutt River are often regarded as the "modern founding fathers of micronationalism". Other notable micronationalists include:

MicroWiki community

Notable micronationalists in the MicroWiki community include:

See also

References

  1. Various (1964) "Translations on Sub-Saharan Africa". United States Joint Publications Research Service. 543 (1): 10. Retrieved 11 February 2022.
  2. Faculty (1987) "The Ethiopian Revolution and Its Impact on the Politics of the Horn of Africa". New School for Social Research. New York, New York. p. 25. Retrieved 11 February 2022.
  3. Anthony Lawless/Barry Morrison (25 September 1997) "I still believe Pedro "Daniel "Pedro" Aguiar" Aguiar and Eli Naeher to be the Beavis and Butthead of micronationality. […] Is it going to be online? I'm sure there are going to be many Talossans who'd get a good laugh out of it. (Most won't care, of course. We're having too much fun trying to make this new constitution work at the moment...) […] Anthony "Slug of Doom" Lawless, GCP - keyboardist, composer, wordsmith, amateur literary critic, micronationalist, editor and pagan, among other things. […]" (post) – via Usenet. Google Groups. Retrieved 11 February 2022.
  4. Mastony, Colleen (3 July 2008) "In the spirit of Independence Day". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 11 February 2022.
  5. Lycon, Jayden; Skye, Zabëlle (26 December 2019) "DIME Magazine Issue #1". p. 19–21. Archived from the original on 26 December 2019. Retrieved 27 June 2020.
  6. Skye, Zabëlle (10 October 2020) "Casper von Naveria wins September Micronationalist of the Month award". MicroWeekly. Retrieved 11 February 2022.
  7. Blackwood, Ives (2 December 2020) "Zabëlle Skye pioneers new approach to ranking community influencers". Home-made Crown Journal. Retrieved 12 February 2022.
  8. RadioMicro Group (2015) "RadioMicro Awards 2015 Nominations Sheet" – via Google Docs. RadioMicro. Retrieved 12 February 2022.

External links