In light of the internet’s inescapable role in the Egyptian revolution*, Stowe Boyd is the latest pundit to suggest some sort of post-national citizenship-of-the-intertubes set-up, which is something we’ve discussed here in recent months. Boyd cites the precedent of the Knights of Malta, which is a UN-recognised nation-without-a-nation that issues its own passports and everything; riffing on their remit, his initial conception of the United States of Intarwub is a bit wishy-washy, though it has noble ideals at heart:
Perhaps we should structure an equivalent organization — directed toward saving the planet, perhaps — and centered on a religious military order dedicated to Gaia: the belief that the world is a living whole, that she and all her parts need to be protected from those that would destroy her, and that the place of greatest freedom and promise on Earth today is the web and the culture we are building there.
The Knights Of Gaia is a bit over the top. [ O RLY? – PGR. ] But, taking on the metaphor of the web as the Eighth Continent, I suggest The Eighth Continent Contingent. Perhaps we need to actually hold a continental congress? And truly, collectively, declare our independence, and create a constitution?
Yeah, it’s a little bit crazy… but last time I looked at the firehose of global news, the world was looking pretty damned crazy as well. Desperate times, and all that.
Reading about the Knights of Malta reminded me of another precedent, albeit an agit-prop-art version that never achieved (nor, I suspect, ever sought) official recognition. I’m thinking of Laibach, the controversial Slovenian art collective; best known for their subversive and provocative faux-totalitarian imagery (and a distinctly Teutonic flavour of sludgy industrial music, which was an acknowledged influence on the much better-known Rammstein), the art collective of which they are the musical wing, the NSK, went through a stage of issuing passports to anyone who’d stump up the cash… a service for which they apparently still receive numerous enquiries, especially from African citizens. While NSK’s intent was/is to provoke a questioning of the meaning and legitimacy of the nation-state (especially the hypernationalist nation-states of Eastern Europe in the late 20th Century), from our vantage point here at the beginning of the Twentyteens, they’re looking more than a little prescient.