Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Wednesday, July 24, 2019 07:24:43 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Opinion

Of Statelessness

By
08th-Jan-2015       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Thomas L. Knapp :
Last November, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) launched a ten-year drive to end "the scourge of statelessness." In December,  UNHCR Senior Regional Protection Officer on Statelessness Emmanuelle Mitte appealed to journalists (in west Africa and worldwide) to promote the effort, citing the press's "responsibility to carry out advocacy, and sensitisation on the issue." But the campaign, starting with its name ("I Belong"), tells us more than its creators and promoters might want us to know about the relationship between the UN, political governments and those they govern.
In truth, the United Nations might be more accurately called the United States were the name not already taken. It is dedicated to the preservation of a system not quite 400 years old and still not quite globally adopted: The Westphalian system, which replaced the old feudal ties of dynastic family rule and shifting servile fealties to specific individuals with "states" defined by fixed geographical borders ("national sovereignty") and sporting bureaucracies which survived individual (and increasingly titular) rulers to maintain continuity of political government within said borders.
To put it a different way, the Westphalian system evolved feudal serfdom into a more sustainable model of chattel ownership. Serfs belonged to specific, mortal lords. Citizens belong to immortal bureaucracies. The UN's "I Belong" campaign aims to herd missing slaves back in their pens.
Fortunately, the effort is almost certainly in vain.
Over the last 20 years or so, the Westphalian ruling class has found itself increasingly beset by the existence and efficacy (in everything from unregulated commerce to irrepressible warfare) of "non-state entities" which recognize neither the legitimacy of its bureaucratic rulers nor the sanctity of its borders and "sovereignties."
While it's not a given that all those non-state entities represent an attractive alternative to the Westphalian model (I doubt most of us want to live under the rule of a  "global caliphate," for example), it's clear that the model is in tatters. And history is unlikely to run backward on its behalf.
Fortunately for most of us - and unfortunately for projects like "I Belong" -  a funny thing happened on America's way to permanent primacy in a post-WWII Westphalian hegemony: A system designed to preserve the pinnacle exemplar of Westphalian nation-statism by maintaining bureaucratic and military continuity even under the pressures of nuclear attack got released into the wild.
The Internet has enabled billions to uncouple themselves from national loyalties in various and significant ways. Hierarchical political government rooted in geography is giving way to self-organized horizontal networking rooted in mutual personal interest. Economic systems crafted by and for the state's ruling class are coming apart at the seams and leaking tax revenues at the joints as more and more of us trade without state permission and without paying the tolls the state demands.
The Internet and other technologies continue to eat at the state's connective tissues. Technologically reduced capital requirements make it possible to locally manufacture goods once centrally produced by state-boosted industries and distributed over the state's ubiquitous road networks (making regulation and tax collection increasingly difficult). Cell phones with wi-fi capabilities and "mesh networking" apps allow non-state networks to continue operations when the state pulls the plug on its centrally controlled utilities.
 "I Belong" focuses on bringing a few million refugees back under ownership of the states which made them refugees in the first place. But many more millions than that have consciously (and billions unconsciously) begun the process of escaping those states, becoming stateless by choice.
For two centuries, anarchists have treated the state as a cancer. Maybe we were wrong. Maybe it was actually a viable organ. But if so, it is now a vestigial organ - humanity's appendix, if you will. It serves no worthwhile purpose and is best surgically excised and thrown in the trash before it ruptures and kills humanity with the poisons it has stored up for 400 years.

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

City »

'Aparajeya Bangladesh' formed a human chain in front of the Jatiya Press Club on Tuesday demanding release of BNP Chief Begum Khaleda Zia.


Editorial »

Check mob beating


IN the last six months, 36 people were killed by mobs. In the last five days, eight, including two women, were killed and at least 30 others were injured. Shockingly, many of the victims were intellectually challenged. Mob attacks on people labelling victims "child kidnappers" continue unabated despite several directives ...

Sports »

Tokyo 2020 comes too early for karate kid's Olympic dream


AFP, Nagaoka :Sweat pours off Mahiro Takano as the 13-year-old karate black belt trades blows with a grown man almost twice her size, finishing with a blood-curdling roar, then a dainty bow.The petite schoolgirl is used to punching above her weight - since taking up karate in kindergarten she has ...

International »

Pope urges concrete measures to protect Syrian civilians


AP, Vatican City :Pope Francis has sent Syrian President Bashar Assad a letter expressing his "profound concern" for the humanitarian situation in Syria and in particular the plight of civilians in Idlib province.The Vatican said Cardinal Peter Turkson, one of Francis' top advisers, hand-delivered the letter to Assad during a ...

International »

Trump praises Pakistan's role in ‘progress’ on Afghan peace


President Donald Trump on Monday hailed Pakistan's help in advancing peace talks in Afghanistan, a marked shift in tone as the United States seeks an accord with the Taliban to end almost 18 years of war.Speaking from the Oval Office alongside Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan, Trump also warned he ...

Business & Economy »

Abdul Aziz, Additional Managing Director of Shahjalal Islami Bank Ltd and Naimul Huda, General Manager of Finance & Accounts of Incepta Pharmaceuticals Ltd, exchanging an agreement signing document at bank's corporate office in the city on Tuesday. Bank's Managing Director M Shahidul Islam, Deputy Managing Directors M Akther Hossain, Mian Quamrul Hasan Chowdhury and Imtiaz U Ahmed, among others, were present. Under the deal, all employee of the company can open their bank account in the bank without keeping any initial deposit and will enjoy other Banking facilities.


Entertainment »

Jacqueline opens up about launching her Youtube channel


One of the most influential celebrities of Bollywood Jacqueline Fernandez who is not only a sought after name for her commercially successful films but is also is huge name in the brand circuit. Having recently crossed 30 million followers on instagram, owing to humongous fan following across quarters, Jacqueline Fernandez ...

Entertainment »

Sonia disappearing from media


Entertainment Report :Sonia Hossain once tried to establish her career in different platforms of media like modelling, acting and hosting. Bad temperament, high ambition and self announced talent made her unsuccessful media personality. As a result, her presence in media is not mentionable now. In fact, Sonia was absent from ...

Editorial »

Stand beside flood-hit people


DIFFERENT kinds of waterborne diseases have begun spreading as floodwater started receding across the country. But in the post-flood scenario, many people are suffering from diarrhoea, skin diseases, dysentery, cholera and other waterborne diseases. Officials of the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre said the flood situation may continue improving in ...

Sports »

Lowry weathers storm to win British Open and first major


Ireland's Shane Lowry withstood howling wind and rain to win his first major at the British Open by six shots from Tommy Fleetwood on Sunday, describing the achievement as "an out-of-body experience".In desperately difficult conditions, Lowry's one-over par final round was still more than enough as he finished on 15-under ...

International »

UK leadership favourite Johnson hits more turmoil on last voting day


AFP :Britain's leadership contest entered its finale Monday with the favourite Boris Johnson facing more defections from ministers over his Brexit plan.The month-long contest between former London mayor Johnson and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is being decided by fewer than 200,000 grassroots members of the governing Conservative Party.The winner will ...

International »

Zelensky party heads for absolute majority in Ukraine


AFP :Ukraine's comedian-turned-president Volodymyr Zelensky is set to control an absolute majority in parliament, ushering in a generational shift in the ex-Soviet country's political arena.The 41-year-old became Ukraine's youngest ever post-Soviet leader when he took office two months ago and has promised to stamp out corruption and end a separatist ...

City »

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presenting National Fisheries Award to Mostofa Al Rajib, Upazila Fisheries Officer, Betagi , Barguna for the latter's contribution in Fisheries Sector at a ceremony held recently in the auditorium of Krishibid Institution, Bangladesh in the city on the occasion of National Fisheries Week.


Entertainment »

Mamo under Tauquir’s direction, Bipasha’s story


Sheikh Arif Bulbon :As an actress, in the beginning of her career, Zakia Bari Mamo got the National Film Award to act in Tauquir Ahmed-directed movie Daruchini Dwip. For this reason, Mamo always respects to Tauquir Ahmed. Now she is a matured actress who always wants to work in challenging ...

Editorial »

Taking law in own hand is an ominous sign


MOBS beat to death five people, including two women, and injured 10 others on suspicion of being child kidnappers across the country on Saturday. The incidents happened just a day after three people were beaten by a mob in Thakurgaon. Incidents of mob beating have increased even after the Bridges ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news