Often tense and distant, relations between states and micronations vary depending on the initiatives taken and the capacity to impose sovereignty. Regardless, there are many examples in which micronationalist initiatives demonstrate real civic engagement. Would micronationalism be a new citizen form of acting and defending causes that states are abandoning in practice? Here are some examples that we have chosen to illustrate the militant micronationalism of noble causes.
Micronations, often overlooked or misunderstood, occupy a unique space in the global political landscape. Their relationships with states and international organizations may seem enigmatic, but they are often motivated by specific objectives, despite the skepticism they face.
Let's take a first illuminating example of the complex dynamic between micronations and legal institutions with Ladonia. The very birth of this micronation stems from a legal conflict. In 1996, when Swedish artist Lars Vilks erected two wooden sculptures on the beach in Nimis, Sweden, Swedish authorities declared them illegal. In response, Vilks proclaimed the independence of the micronation of Ladonia, creating a virtual state. Although Ladonia has not achieved formal international recognition, it illustrates how micronations can arise in response to legal disputes and how they can attempt to challenge established institutions through creativity and art.
Another example, the Principality of Seborga is a village located in Italy. It is also a microantion that was the scene of a complex legal dispute in 2007. Judge Erika Cannoletta of the Court of Sanremo declared that the Italian state did not have jurisdiction over Seborga, questioning its sovereignty. However, the Italian Constitutional Court declared the matter inadmissible in 2008. An appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg was ruled inadmissible in 2012. This case reflects the challenges that micronations face when they seek to be recognized as sovereign entities.
When states get angry
The history of micronations includes instances where states acted to end their existence, often due to fiscal issues or sovereignty issues.
The Principality of Hutt River, Western Australia (1970-2020), disappeared in 2017 following a tax debt of 3 million dollars. Prince Leonard was ordered to pay $2.7 million in back taxes, and Prince Wayne to pay $242,000.
The Island of the Rose, declared independent in 1968 in international waters near Rimini, Italy, was taken by the Italian government in 1968 and destroyed by the Italian Navy in 1969. This action ended its existence despite its various uses.
These examples show how, despite their unique status, some micronations have faced state intervention for legal, fiscal or sovereignty reasons.
In good harmony and good intelligence
Fortunately, there have not always been conflicts and lawsuits between states and micronations. Sometimes, the two found a solution to live together.
Christiania, located in the heart of Copenhagen, Denmark, is a unique micronation, as it is the result of an agreement between the Danish government and the residents of the neighborhood. When it was founded in the early 1970s, Denmark was experiencing a severe housing crisis, and the abandoned military quarter where Christiania stands was squatted by homeless hippies.
Faced with the government's inability to relocate these residents, the Danish Parliament reached an agreement with them. This agreement resulted in an exceptional social experience, granting total autonomy to the management of the neighborhood by its residents. Christiania has thus become the only example where a state has actively contributed to the creation of a micronation, marking an innovative approach to solving housing and community challenges.
The Perspective of Grand Duke Nicholas of Flandrensis
Grand Duke Nicholas of Flandrensis explains that his micronation's motivation to enter into correspondence with governments and international organizations is based on the desire to have a positive impact in the field of the environment.
Since 2020, Flandrensis has sent 84 climate letters to governments around the world. These letters aim to remind world leaders of their responsibilities towards international climate agreements, including the Paris Agreement.
However, Grand Duke Nicholas points out that micronations are often not taken seriously, and responses from national leaders are rare. Despite this, Flandrensis continues its outreach efforts using professional communication and explaining its mission in detail in each letter. For example, when Flandrensis raised concerns about anti-LGBT laws in Italy, the EU Commissioner for Equality responded to their letter.
An important piece of advice from Grand Duke Nicholas is to invest in professional envelopes with a logo, stamps and letterhead, while maintaining the serious and professional tone of the letter.
The Perspective of Grand Duke Travis of Westarctica
Grand Duke Travis is one of the rare micronationalists to have taken action on an international scale and following this initiative, Westarctica stands out as a micronation registered as an NGO with non-consultative status with the United Nations. Although eligible for consultative status, Westarctica has not yet submitted an application for this purpose.
Asked about the benefits of such an approach, Grand Duke Travis responds that Westarctica's participation in UN-affiliated meetings has proven beneficial, as it allows for additional points of view from other NGOs and countries. of the whole world.
Grand Duke Travis highlights the importance of contributing to discussions and proposing ideas to solve global problems. Westarctica recently contributed by providing talking points regarding the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to stabilize food supplies and minimize humanity's impact on climate change and pollution.
Regent Glenn's Initiative of the Autonomous Republic of Europa
Regent Glenn of the Autonomous Republic of Europa took a different approach, using contacts within the French government to try to get his ideas for a fairer peace heard. After a lot of perseverance, he managed to send a dominion project between Madagascar and France concerning the Scattered Islands, a part of his micronational territory still and always disputed by these two States. This initiative shows how micronations can attempt to resolve complex territorial issues. The Autonomous Republic of Europa is today a member of the Microfrancophonie within which the Regent Glenn embodies this new generation of militant micronationalists and volunteers for our planet.
In conclusion, micronations, despite their small size and lack of recognition, seek to have an impact on the international stage by communicating with states and international organizations. Their motivations vary, but they share a commitment to causes close to their hearts, from the environment to resolving territorial conflicts. Although responses from large entities may be few and far between, their perseverance and professionalism continue to guide them in their efforts to make their voices heard in the world.