The (original) Game of Thrones

As micronations (abbreviated m-nations in this post) play this “game of thrones”* — the quest for influence and authority — some really are superior and others inferior. And some don’t care. And some think they play by different rules, and grow angry when others discount their private play — because they’re also playing publicly, airing mostly electronic spats and tiffs, declaring “war” and “important proclamations” and wanting to have it both ways.

If m-nations can offer nothing better than the same old macronational business as usual, on the scale of individual egos, then the world would do well to keep mostly ignoring us and mocking our aspirations.

So what can m-nations offer? Potentially, a great deal.

Sealand. Photo courtesy Wikipedia/public domain

Many m-nations have arisen out of dissatisfaction and disgust with precisely such macronational business-as-usual. When some of the most immature and short-sighted among us repeatedly win public office and proceed to enrich themselves at the expense of millions, something is “rotten” in far more than just “the state of Denmark” (with apologies to Denmark, a fine country; blame Shakespeare).

Other m-nations emerge as alternatives, quietly exploring many avenues and possibilities that macronations have ignored, know nothing about, abandoned as impractical or risky, or fear even to consider, scenting political suicide in directions we may well need to take if we are to survive as a species.

We often think nowadays that our remaining choices are either democracy or autocracy, ignoring that these often mix in the most devastating ways, and that these two hardly span all the options available. Many smaller communities run by consensus or a direct democracy so different in impact from the “vote every few years” (dis)engagement of the typical Westerner that they qualify in practical terms as wholly separate political systems. Freetown Christiania in Copenhagen, Denmark is one example; Twin Oaks in Virginia, USA is another, celebrating 41 years of experience.

For m-nations are not all one thing. Some are serious explorations of political alternatives. Some are artistic models not meant to be copied or extended, any more than  we would attempt to replicate or enlarge on any other work of art like a symphony or painting. Some are pure and often literally adolescent ego-projects: many of these thrive on Twitter and Facebook. Some, like Kevin Baugh’s Republic of Molossia, gather attention for their endurance as mostly one-man shows, a kind of performance art with sometimes educative purpose.

Some m-nations are often nimble enough to sidestep the inertia and politicking of macronations and go where others have not yet ventured. Some explore the potentials and pitfalls that cyber-communities and alternative currencies like Bitcoin may offer. Many long for a kind of recognition that would lift them out of obscurity and in practical terms help to finance a serious examination of their ideas — many of these at least as valid as the platforms of typical macronational political candidates.

hutt river
Hutt River. Photo courtesy

For now, most m-nations are in their infancy as forces for change and transformation. The most successful and (in)famous, like the Australian Principality of Hutt River and the United Kingdom’s Sealand, have settled into regional influence without larger aspirations, modeling the reality of micronationalism on one scale. Others are still fledglings, testing their wings. Their time — our time — is yet to come.

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*”Game of Houses”, from the Robert Jordan The Wheel of Time novels, the “Great Game“, the 19th century pursuit of power and influence across Europe and much of Asia, and “game of thrones” as a generic name all suggest similar political games with goals beyond the internal politics of a single nation. Rather, they point toward empire-building — toward politics on a world-scale of power.

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NOTE: Individual posts express the opinions and perspectives of the author and do not necessarily reflect official Sovermian policy or practice, unless explicitly indicated as such in a particular post.

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