Mar 26, 2009

Welcome to the World

Note: Some terms and basic definitions in this article were coined by the micronational theorist Cesidio Tallini. Cesidio has spent a decade in theory and his boundless energy has resulted in a huge output of ideas and concepts. However, some of his conclusions are radically different than the concept of Edan; Please assume that the concepts and conclusions here are solely those of HRM Richard and other Edanians.

The world of today looks much different than the world into which I was born. The terms "Eastern Bloc" and "western Bloc" mean nothing; the Cold War ended with a few weeks of TV coverage, not nuclear holocaust; instead of taking over the world, Communism is now a bit of a quaint notion. But certain ideas remain. Among these are the First World/Second World/Third World classification of nations. But these ideas are starting to change, too.

The term First World tends to mean the wealthiest nations on Earth; places like America, France, and Switzerland. These are, in some ways, what all other nations wish to be - rich and politically influential, usually with a powerful military.

Close on their heels is the Second World, nations like Russia and Egypt; not as wealthy, not as influential. Now, the difference between First and Second World nations is a hard one to draw, especially since it originally meant 'nations allied with the US' (First) and 'nations allied with the USSR' (Second). Since the end of the Cold War many scholars refer to all First and Second World nations as 'Developed Nations', reflecting their advanced infrastructure, manufacturing, knowledge-based economy, etc.

This leads us to the Third World, or the 'Developing Countries'. In general, this means 'nations not as rich or as well-developed as First and Second World nations', but not always. For example, while Afghanistan is relatively poorly developed and poor, Indonesia is a fairly wealthy nation and both are rather different than Mexico. Some have argued that 'Third World' in usage means 'someplace that gets aid money from another nation'.

Altogether, however, all of these terms refer to nation-states with defined borders, a set government, etc. This doesn't apply to everyone, leading to the development of the term Fourth World about 20 years ago.

The term 'Fourth World' has two meanings, unfortunately. To the UN, it means the very poorest or the poor nation-states, such as Sudan or Haiti. I believe this is because the UN is composed of and deals with nation-states. The older, academic, definition of Fourth World is 'a nation without a state', such as American Indians, Australian Aborigines, the Basque, the Kurds, the Tamil, etc. In short, people who share a common language (or shared one), history, culture, etc. but are either nomadic or have lost control of physical territory. So they look like a 'nation', act like one, think like one, but have no state. One of the prime examples of this is the Romani, commonly known in English as the Gypsies. Worldwide there are, probably, between 4 and 6 million Romani with a shared culture, history, ancestry, regional dialects, etc. - and no representation in the UN or other bodies because they are a stateless nation.

Some of these groups, however, have joined together and created the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization. The UNPO is almost a 'UN for people who can't joine the UN'. The UNPO helps its members be heard in international diplomacy and helps them gain official recognition. Since its founding several nations of the UNPO have gone on to become members of the UN. With members ranging from the Turkmen to Taiwan, the UNPO shows that the Fourth World is as varied as the First, Second or Third.

Now we get to some original, and somewhat controversial, terms. The first is 'Fifth World", coined by Cesidio Tallini. My definition of the term differs from his a bit and is 'either a nation smaller and less coherent than existing Fourth World members, an active secessionist movement or a serious attempt at nation-building that has survived a decade or more'. An example of the former would be, say, one of the smaller tribes of American Indians that considers itself distinct but because of small size is forced to act as part of a larger tribe. An example of the second is the Tamil. An example of the latter is the Kingdom of Talossa; it has been around for decades, has a well-defined culture (including a language) and continues to exist and even grow. There aren't many Fifth World examples - this is primarily because the Fifth World is an 'in between' stage and, therefore, usually temporary. Nations only remain Fifth World if they are unable or unwilling to move to the Fourth world. In the case of small indigenous people groups they are hindered by poverty and exogamy. Talossa is, on the other hand, simply as big as they want to be.

This doesn't mean that there aren't a fair number of Fifth World nations, nor that a nation can't spend decades as part of the Fifth World. Just that few will remain there indefinitely. It also shouldn't be assumed that all Fifth World nations are transitioning from Sixth World status toward Fourth World membership - some groups are there as they 'fade away'.

The Sixth World, as I define it, consists of emergent secessionist groups or serious micronations that have not yet reached Fifth World levels of membership or culture. The Kingdom of Hawai'i and the Leauge of the South are examples of the former while the Republic of Molossia and Edan are examples of the latter. The Kingdom of Hawai'i and the League of the South are entirely serious secessionist movements. They both wish independence for a particular region and a particular people; its members share language, customs, and culture; they have political will and identifiable leaders. They sound like great candidates for the Fifth, even the Fourth, World. But they are still small and lack the sheer clout to 'move up', as it were. This doesn't mean they are wasted effort or foolishness; both groups have made political statements that have reached surprisingly large audiences and both show the promise of being bigger and more influential in the future. They are obviously influential enough in ideology and culture to be self-perpetuating.

Sixth World micronations are a bit more - scattered. Many in that group like where they are, like it a great deal. Molossia has had world-wide exposure, has many visitors, a tremendous amount of goodwill with other micronationalists, and seems to have no interest whatsoever in becoming a Fifth World nation. The Kingdom of Edan is paused on the upper edge of the Sixth World; currently we aren't even trying to grow the size of the community, although our ultimate goal is membership in the UNPO within 40 years. I agree with Cesidio on his definition of micronations in the Sixth world; they range from sizeable, stable communities that like being such to small nations that are in the process of building their cultural strength and citizenry.

Then we come to the Seventh World. When Cesidio write about the Seventh World, he refuses to capitalize it (making it 'seventh world') - I tend to agree. The vast majority of micronations are created, exist, and end in the seventh world. Micronations like Choconya, the Principality of St. Valentine, the Jahn Empire, and Port Colice (don't bother, they are all gone) are some of the past examples of seventh world nations. Current examples are Cakeland, The Republic of North Altania, and Scientopia. These nations tend to be created by people who are very young, have a burst of activity at the beginning, and quickly start making alliances amongst themselves, particpate in (*cough*) "wars" with other seventh world micronations, have 5 political parties in a population of 12 people, and so on.

Let me be clear; I don't think there is anything "wrong" about any of these activities of seventh world groups. It is obviously a lot of fun or there wouldn't be so darn many of them: this index lists over 540 micronations, the vast majority of which no longer exist - and the index is only a fraction of the micronations that have come into existence and faded away in the last decade or so. In a way, seventh world micronations should be seen as a form of roleplaying game. Perhaps we should even consider large MMORPG's like World of Warcraft to be part of the seventh world, too.

Heck, some of them 'bleed over' into the Sicth World. The Empire of Reunion is a lot like any other seventh world micronation - but it has been around a long time, has (or at least has had) a substantial population, and has developed a strong culture. Its a Sixth World nation, but almost despite itself (note: HRM Richard is a fan of the Empire of Reunion and has been for years).

This framework of ideas allows you to see the proposed progression of Edan more clearly. Currently, Edan is a Sixth World nation working hard to build the foundation to take it to the Fifth World. Once there the Kingdom will focus on growth and concept until sheer mass of numbers (citizens) and weight of culture allows it to exert a broad enough influence to join the Fourth World. After that its just more of the same.

More to come soon.
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