Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Welcome to Liberland

Welcome to Liberland, Europe’s Brand New Country!

by Mike Opelka

Taxes Are ‘Optional’ and There Is No Military:
If you purchased a map of Europe before April 13, it may already be out of date… Europe’s newest country was unveiled: the Free Republic of Liberland.
The tiny country sits on about seven square kilometers (less than 3 square miles) of land along the Danube River, between the official borders of Croatia and Serbia. According to Liberland’s President Vit Jedlicka, the land was considered “terra nullis” or nobody’s land.
Despite being just under three square miles in area, Liberland is not the smallest country on the planet. In fact, it is larger than the Vatican and Monaco.
According to a news release posted on the Liberland site, the founders are Czech citizens who formed something called a “Preparatory Committee,” elected a president (Jedlicka) and decided to declare their new state and planted a flag.
Those interested in becoming a citizen of the fledgling nation need to file an application. However, there is no official time frame attached to the process. According to the site, applications will be dealt with “in due time.”
What does it take to qualify to be a Liberland-ian? According the web site, potential citizens must:
- have respect for other people and respect the opinions of others, regardless of their race, ethnicity, orientation, or religion
- have respect for private ownership which is untouchable
- do not have communist, nazi or other extremist past
- were not punished for past criminal offenses
If you meet all of above criteria and have an interest in joining Liberland, you will need to fill out the citizenship application and file it electronically. (There is no place to send “snail mail” in the new country.)
Liberland does have a Facebook page which has already gotten more than 28,000 “likes.”
President Jedlicka also posted a photo with the Austria’s Ambassador and claimed to be establishing “special political relations” with the country.
We have just received endorsement for our activities from Austrian ambassador. We are on good way to establish special political relations with this country.
Liberland has open borders, a flag, a Twitter account and a Facebook page. It does not yet have a constitution (we’re told it is being written), national anthem or official language. We also know that Liberland will not be printing currency, instead favoring cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.
Friday afternoon, TheBlaze spoke directly with President Jedlicka. The 31-year-old leader shared a few updates to the story of this new country.
He pledged the country will never be in debt, something he said is being written into the Liberland constitution by the “130 lawyers working on it right now.” He also invited all people to monitor the bank account of the country, posting a link to it online.
President Jedlicka also told TheBlaze there are currently more than 56,000 registered members of the Liberland website. Once the constitution is completed and citizenship applications are ready, Jedlicka says those members will receive an email offering them the opportunity to apply.

This New Libertarian Micronation Might Just Be Crazy Enough to Work

 by Joshua Krause
When Czech politician and libertarian activist Vít Jedlička decided to create a micronation in the Balkans, he never had any intention of succeeding. It was merely a political stunt designed bring media attention to his political party and beliefs. However, after receiving 20,000 requests for citizenship in less than a week, he is now taking the idea seriously. “It started a little bit like a protest. But now it’s really turning out to be a real project with real support.”
This proposed nation, which has since dubbed “Liberland,” would be situated along the border of Croatia and Serbia, and is less than 3 square miles in size. Taxes would be voluntary, and there would be no military. He is hoping to draft a constitution that would be inspired by the Swiss government. Just about anyone can apply for citizenship, so long as they don’t have any nazi, communist, or otherwise extremist past.
However, it’s hard to imagine success for this project. Hundreds of micronations have been founded in recent years, and none have ever gained any significant recognition from the international community. In many cases, their citizens are either removed or arrested by their government, or are simply ignored. But the nation of Liberland has one thing going for it, and that is the violent past of the Croatian and Serbian nations.
The area that he is claiming is not an ordinary piece of land. It is a disputed territory for these nations. If either government tries to intervene, they will raise the ire of the other, and potentially ignite the kind of war that these Balkan nations were famous for when Yugoslavia fell apart in the early 90’s. Since both governments are in the process of applying for full-fledged EU membership, it’s unlikely that they would risk their applications with a war.
And there is actually some historical precedent for this. Whenever there is a border dispute between two nations, it creates a vacuum where people can build an informal enclave within the territory. The greatest example of this in the 20th century, is the Kowloon Walled City, which was built by criminals, refugees, and squatters on a 6.4 acre piece of land after World War Two.
Because the territory was disputed between China and British ruled Hong Kong, it existed in a kind of political limbo for several decades. Since neither party was willing to start a conflagration over such a trivial piece of land, they left it alone. As time went on and more people moved there (33,000 at its peak), it became ever more expensive to remove these people and their improvised buildings, so neither country was willing to intervene.
Another reason why this might succeed, is that Jedlička has made it clear that he’s not going to rock the boat for either government that is claiming ownership of this land. By not creating a military and claiming that he would only put up a “passive resistance” against any intervention, he has created a situation where it would be more trouble than it’s worth to eliminate his fledgling nation.
Because this proposed nation poses no physical threat to its neighbors, and because any intervention could start a war that neither government wants, there isn’t a whole lot they can do. If at some point in the future, Serbia and Croatia become full-fledged members of the EU, then they’ll be in the position to eliminate the nation without starting a war. But if several thousand people move there and create a legitimate government before that happens, then it’ll be too late for them to stop it.
This may be difficult for most Americans to believe since we’ve grown accustomed to living under such an aggressive government. If someone tried to create a libertarian enclave in America, it’s safe to assume that the US government would be quick to eliminate it with extreme prejudice. But that’s not necessarily true in Europe, especially for two governments that are applying for EU membership.
There is actually another precedent here, in the form of a little known region called Freetown Christiania, situated in the Danish city of Copenhagen. This autonomous community was formed by squatters and anarchists in an abandoned military base in the early 70’s. Despite the best efforts of the government to remove them, they’re still around. And while they’ve never gained international recognition, for all practical purposes they’ve managed to maintain an independent community. If a European nation like Denmark isn’t willing to use excessive force to remove this community, and if Serbia and Croatia want to join the likes of Denmark, will they be able to stop this nation?
So what do you think? Will this project succeed in creating the first libertarian based nation, or is such an idea too intolerable for any government to allow along their border?