Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The end of Lavalon?

Over two years ago, on August 4, 2002, Kieran Bennett, a young man from Australia whose name is now synonymous with micronationalism, came into the micronational world and founded the Independent Principality of Lavalon, with himself occupying the throne. He and a couple of buddies had some fun with it, but it eventually fell apart and Bennett changed Lavalon into the Lavalon Foundation, a thinktank on the phenomenon of micronationalism and the owner of the respected newspaper The Review. During this time, he held citizenship in a number of nations, most notably Hanover, where he eventually became Prime Minister. However, in August 2003 he created Lavalon. This new Lavalon was a huge success. An excellent website was created by citizen Pardraic Nevin, there were many active citizens, great cultural advances were made, and Lavalon was soon one of, if not the, most democratic micronation(s). It was all too good to be true, though.

Kieran went off to college, and he had computer problems. The exact specifics are a bit hazy, but Kieran left, and there were no provisions for his positions to be filled. Despite his continued promises of greater activity, he never really came back, and Lavalon began to slip. Finally, on April 14, 2004, Matthew Martin, a longtime Lavalonian citizen, fired a coup. Martin viewed this coup as the only solution to Lavalon's activity problems, but Giorgis Tsilis, another key Lavalonian citizen, and much of the greater micronational community wasn't happy. The effect was instant. There were resignations of Lavalonian citizenships and removals of diplomatic recognition. Kieran Bennett originally expressed neutrality at the coup, but eventually, he became opposed to it and left to form his own new micronation, the Kingdom of Breuddwyd. Once Breuddwyd was founded, the micronational community got even angrier. However, Matt Martin and Zak Klaas, then a newcomer to micronationalism, wrote up a fairly decent constitution and got it passed in a national referendum, although the legitimacy of that vote was somewhat contested. Nevertheless, they came out on top. A good part of their victory could be attributed to the support from Pardraic Nevin, who controlled and hosted Lavalon's web presence at the time. Nevin gladly redid the national website and created new forums to accomodate the Republic, and they also gained a new citizen, Nathan Shepard.

With the more moderate Klaas as President, the anger over the coup began to subside, and things returned to normalcy in the new Republic. Again, though, it was all too good to be true. There were problems with the national website, so Matthew Martin created a new one and also created new phpBB forums. However, this wasn't half-bad, despite the fact that Nevin, to this day, has not been seen in Lavalon nor any other micronation. The government started to really work and a number of new citizens also joined. But alas, technical difficulties struck again when Hostcubix, Lavalon's I.S.P. completely crashed.

Looking back at this chapter of Lavalonian history, Hostcubix probably picked the most inopportune moment to crash. Matthew Martin had been advocating for a name change to "Eucalyptia" which had not met with much support at all. Chaos now reigned. Nate Shepard finally brought a partial end to it by creating new forums on the ProBoards system. The citizens of the day decided to start from scratch and began the process of writing a new constitution. However, they instead opted for a more flexible "Basic Laws" system similar to that of Israel. The Basic Laws maintained the republican system and everything soon returned to normalcy (again...see a pattern here?) Zachary Klaas resigned as President and Matthew Martin was put in office as provisional president until a new President could be elected. The two candidates were Tasneem Chowdhury and Bartholomew Henzelli, and Chowdhury was elected. That was in January. Things went well after that. Relations with Breuddwyd were even normalized when Breuddywd adopted a new "Grand Charter."

Throughout the month of January, though, things came up here and there, always at the proposition of Matthew Vasroixe, as he had come to be known. The major one was changing forums to a phpBB system and others revolved around the use of historic symbols from the Sovereign Principality days. However, the "Bagelcraticans," Chowdhury, Henzelli, and Shepard, always defeated Vasroixe.

In February things started to change. On February 6, the citizenship of Carson Smith was approved. Smith seemed to be a completely normal newcomer to micronationalism and Lavalon, being active in the Lavalonian General Assembly and taking positions as Associate Justice and Ambassador to Breuddwyd--now an ally of Lavalon--and Alrodria (led by another Lavalonian citizen, Zachary Flaugher). But then Smith founded the Liberal Democratic Party. The L.D.P., as it is known in Lavalon, pushed a strong platform of seriousness and a number of other things that were rather contrary to the beliefs of the dominant Bagelcraticans. Matthew Vasroixe, though, found a strong ally in Smith. The two of them were behind initiatives to change forums, withdraw from the Micronational Cartography Society, and resume use of the historic Lavalonian eucalyptus as a national symbol. Nevertheless, the Bagel Party remained dominant and Smith and Vasroixe's proposals were almost always voted down. When the position of Chancellor of the General Assembly became available, the candidates that stepped forward were Nathan Shepard and Carson Smith. A pre-election poll predicted that Shepard would win overwhelmingly.

Finally, Smith and Vasroixe had had enough. They posted to micro-nations.net and the Lavalon boards that they were disgusted with what they called an unwillingness to compromise on the part of the Bagelcraticans. Vasroixe founded a new nation called Cavalia, and Smith was quick to join and was soon appointed to the Provisional Governing Council. In the words of Vasroixe, Cavalia has the goal of being "...what Lavalon USED TO BE and what Strathclyde, Hanover, and Breuddwyd still share today..." This met with disapproval from other Lavalonian citizens, including Regent Jonathan Christophe, who Vasroixe had been courting as a Cavalian citizen. Not only that, both Smith and Vasroixe have indicated their intentions to resign after the Cavalian constitution is passed. With those two gone, Lavalon will effectively be an extension of Natopia. It appears that an often bumpy micronational project may now be ending after three years of ups and downs.


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