[dropcap]A[/dropcap] recent discussion started by Connor Stumperth of Mallanor poses the question of whether or not individual micronations recognize so-called “blanket claims” of large swaths of territory that the micronation cannot reasonably exert its influence upon in any meaningful, i.e. sovereign, manner.
One such micronation that makes a significant such territorial claim is Madrona, a secessionist endeavour that lays claim to a wide swath of Canadian territory encompassing approximately 3.3 million square kilometres. The claim is a serious one and Madrona is intent on realizing its fantastic goals for the development of that territory.
Participating in the discussion, its head of state, Shamus, suggested that while it was not reasonable for a micronation to claim Europe or all of Russia, it was nonetheless reasonable for a micronation to make a more limited claim, such as Madrona’s. “I would not recognize someone’s efforts if all they did was claim Europe and Russia and claim it as their own, that is a bit silly … I am working to break away [where] there are some three-hundred thousand registered residents living within, and they do not have a high average standard of living,” qualified Shamus. “It would be like me trying to claim all of Canada as my micronation, it just wouldn’t work.”
The story behind Madrona is one of great creativity, with Shamus having developed a detailed plan that will ultimately prove unimplementable, both legally and practically. The dream that is the Madrona territorial claim is no less silly than the very suggestion that Shamus makes regarding those who claim Europe or Russia, no matter how much more time he has invested into “thinking it out” or how much he attempts to spin the claim as “serious”.
The idea that Madrona will somehow be granted sovereign control over such a significant amount of Canadian territory, even if it isn’t “all” of Canada, is a non-starter. In order to gain sovereign control over its claim, Madrona would have to successfully negotiate the transfer of land title from six Crowns to itself (in Canada, there is a federal Crown, and then each Province is a sovereign Crown onto itself, and all collectively own the overwhelming area of territory within the Madrona claim). This is not a reasonable outcome, given that it would be political suicide for any of the leaders of these respective governments to surrender such territory (the economic loss of the territory, which composes much of the resource-rich Canadian Shield, would leave the affected Provincial Crowns, especially, largely economically insolvent). Further, neither Crown would seriously entertain Madrona, so any planned independence from Canada, or sovereignty over their land claim, by their planned July 7, 2016 date, or any date in the future, is but a pipe-dream.
That Madrona could never obtain lawful ownership of its territorial claim, one of the fundamental characteristics of a sovereign nation, meaning that its more-limited claim is no more less silly than if it claimed all of Canada.
The ultimate inability to exercise sovereign control over the territory is also a reality that applies across the board to all territorial claims, no matter how big or small. John Houston of Loquntia more accurately states in his reply to the discussion that “claiming [an] entire state, or even property owned by someone else in another country is beyond unrecognizable”.
I would argue that Houston’s treatment with respect to the recognition of territorial claims should be expanded. Based on legal realities, I would suggest a more accurate treatment would be “claiming an entire state, property owned by someone else, or even your own property, in any country is beyond unrecognizable.”
The tenant that a micronation cannot enforce a claim on property its participants do not own is self-explanatory, I would hope, to most. That it cannot enforce sovereignty on property its participants do own – that is a reality that may provoke angry replies, but it is a reality nonetheless.
Regardless of whether one thinks they can claim sovereignty over their privately-held land, the reality is that one cannot. That land and any improvements (ex. structures) can never be claimed as sovereign territory exempt from the authority of the sovereign state in which it is located. If Madrona were a bedroom that had a sign posted that claimed its international border existed at the door, it would still not be protected from incursion by the agents of the sovereign state in which the bedroom was physically located.
Generally, the law in any given sovereign state at best grants privacy of privately-held land (especially dwelling-houses) to the occupants, but the state nonetheless retains lawful authority to invade that privacy as circumstances permit (which would, for example, involve investigating an allegation that the occupant of the property was in contravention of the state’s laws). Further, in many states, privately-held land can be expropriated by the state in particular situations in exchange for reasonable monetary compensation to the title holder (reasonable to the market or the State; rarely reasonable to the title holder).
Short of raising a military (directly or through allies) that rivals that of the state in which it is physically located, and would therefore serve to deter agents of that state from entering onto its territory, it is impossible for any territorial micronation to ultimately exercise sovereignty. Of course, beyond access to small arms, a micronation would never be able to acquire or retain the larger arms or vehicles necessary to create such an environment of deterrence.
In my opinion, based on territorial legalities alone, to qualify one territorial claim as “silly” versus another is therefore hypocritical. Any territorial claim, and the related claim of sovereignty over it, by a micronation is “silly”. The time and effort put into perpetuating such claims by some micronationalists would arguably be more efficiently, and effectively, applied to other endeavours.