Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

Home Whats New  Trans State Nation  One World Unfolding Consciousness Comments Search
Home  > Tamils - a Nation without a StateNations & Nationalism  > The Strength of an Idea Self Determination > Fourth World - Nations without States - Stateless Nations  >  International Relations in an Emerging Multilateral World  > Manufacturing Consent > War & Armed Conflict > Conflict ResolutionHuman Rights & Humanitarian Law > What is Terrorism? >  Beyond Nations  & Nationalism: One WorldTruth is a Pathless Land > Nadesan Satyendra  - Selected Writings > From Matter to Life to Mind: An Unfolding Consciousness > Reflections > Library > About Us & Visitor Comments


Nations without States

Nations without a State in the Global Age - Queen Mary, Universty of London & ASEN Conference, June 2007
Tamils - a Nation without a State - Nadesan Satyendra - Speech at Eelam Tamil Association, Sydney 1989
Second Mediterranean Conference of Stateless Nations, Barcelona 2008
Tamil Eelam - A Nation without a State -International Tamil Eelam Research Conference, United States, 1991
Fourth World Journal
Fourth World Nations: Conflicts and Alternatives - Bernard Q. Nietschmann 
Fourth World Documentation Project
Nations without States: Political Communities in a Global Age Montserrat Guibernau 1999 
A Commentary to Monteserrat Guinernau 'Nations without a State: Political Communities in the Global Age' - Beatrice Tice, Jason Nelson, 2004
The Meaning of 'Nation' and 'State' in the Fourth World - Dr. Richard Griggs
Centre for World Indigenous Studies
National Liberation Movements in Global Context - Jeff Sluka, 1996
Cold Comfort in World Order - Ana Pararajasingham
Nations on Line
Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization
World Map of Nations belonging to UNPO
Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations - James Minahan

Fourth World at Tamil Nation Library

Nations without States

Tamil Eelam

Abkhazia at UNPO
Aboriginals of Australia

Acheh at UNPO
Albanians in Macedonia
Assam "The 25 million peoples of Assam are the descendents of those forerunners who migrated into Assam in different historical times in separate groups of different human races. Amongst them are the Austrics (the Karbis), the Mongoloids ( the Kirats), the Caucasians (the Aryans) and the Drabirs (the Kaibartas and Banias). ... Assam, presently under the occupation of Indian rule, was independent from the ancient times..."


Balkan Jews - a Nation without a State
Baluchistan   "..we are trying to tell the world about the inequality and oppression of the Baloch people by Pakistan and its Punjabi institutions. To the dominant Punjabis in Pakistan, who make up 58 percent of the population, it is unthinkable that the Baloch Nation should have special claims to Balochistan, which represents 48 percent of the land area of the country..."
The Baluch

Ethno Nationalism: Understanding the Dynamics of Unrest in Balochistan - Imran Umar Baloch


 Basque Country 



Bougainville at UNPO
Buffalo River Dene Nation

Catalonia: Nation Building Without a State - Kenneth McRoberts

Chechen Republic of Ichkeria
Chittagong Hill Tracts
Crimean Tatars
East Timor & Tamil Eelam
East Turkestan
Faroe Islands  
Greek Minority in Albania
Hungarian Minority in Romania
Iraqi Kurdistan
Iraqi Turkmen

Jamnu Kashmir

International Human Rights Organisation accuses Indian Intelligence Agencies and Renegade Militants for Sikh Massacre in Kashmir


Sikhs� ultimate goal is Khalistan: Restructuring of India on confederal lines, the only resolution of the political conflicts
Kalahui Hawaii
Karenni State
Khmer Krom
Kosovo - The Manifesto of the L�vizja VET�VENDOSJE! - Movement for Self-Determination

Kurds - a Nation without a State (1)
Kurds: A Nation Without A State (2)
Lakota Nation




Nagalim The Nagas declared independence in 1947, one day ahead of the Union of India. The United Nations received this declaration and acknowledged the receipt of this communication, but until today the declaration of independence has not been recognized. After years of talks and negotiations in 1954 India invaded Nagalim and the conflict began in earnest.
Nagalim at UNPO
National Socialist Council of Nagalim "A voluntary plebiscite was held in May 1951 to determine whether Nagas would join Indian Union, or live by themselves. The result was 99.9% in favor of independence. In persuance of their declared national decision, the Naga people launched Civil Disobedient Movement and sucessfully boycotted the General Elections of free India. Therefore, the Indo-Naga issue is neither a question of "Separation" nor "Secession" from India. Separation or Secession comes only when there is a union. Nagalim was and is never a part of India and as such, Naga independence is neither a question of separation nor secession from India. "
Nahua Del Alto Balsas
Northern Ireland
Palestinians - A Nation Without a State
Patani Darussalam

Puerto Rico
Quebec: Secession will be legal if it worked - Paul Wells, 1995
Quebec: Legality of Secession - Thomas M. Franck et al
Quebec: Right of Self Determination - Johan D Van Der Vyer


On Scotland and the "English Question" - Alex Salmond, Leader of Scottish National Party, 20 March 2007

Making history in Scotland - Sean Connery, 28 May 2007
Sindh at UNPO
Somaliland at UNPO
Somalia - a Nation without a State, 2007
South Moluccas
South Sudan
South Sudan - Self Determination
Southern Cameroons

Tamil Nadu
Tibet at UNPO
West Balochistan

Western Sahara
West Papua
World War 4 Report


Nadesan Satyendra
May 2000, March 2007

"Increasingly, the Fourth World is emerging as a new force in international politics because in the common defense of their nations, many indigenous peoples do not accept being mere subjects of international law and state sovereignty and trusteeship bureaucracies. Instead, they are organizing and exerting their own participation and policies as sovereign peoples and nations." - Bernard Q. Nietschmann

"The Third World has declared a geographic war on the Fourth World. This global conflict is assisted by First and Second World states" Nietschmann quoted in National Liberation Movements in Global Perspective - Dr. Jeff Sluka

"If you want to be politically marginalised in a western society, then suggest establishing a new state with a new political system. And preferably, suggest it should be on an artificial island, and write the constitution yourself. On the other hand, if you suggest establishing a new nation state, for an existing but oppressed ethnic group, you will not be treated as a crank. You might be called a traitor, or even executed for treason. But if you survive that phase, you might end your life as president of the new state - with airports, streets, and mountains named after you. And they might even let you write the Constitution..." Paul Treanor on the Ethics of secession

If the 1950s and the 1960s were the decades of the anti colonial liberation movements directed against rule by First World countries (albeit, weakened by the Second World War), the 1980s and the 1990s proved to be the decades of the post colonial national liberation movements, directed mostly, against the occupying forces of Third World states. And this process continues in the 21st century.

The first World War (1914-1918) weakened the imperial powers but the victors, Britain, France and Italy amongst others carved out the spoils of  the defeated Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. One result was the Balkanisation of Eastern Europe.

Another  result was the patchwork states of the Middle East. United Kingdom acquired a Mandate for Iraq and a Mandate for Palestine (including Jordan) which later were assigned again under League of Nations Mandate. France acquired Lebanon and an enlarged Syria, which later were assigned again under League of Nations Mandate. Parts of the Ottoman Empire on the Arabian Peninsula became parts of what are today Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

Iraq saw the attempt to include Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites within the territorial boundaries of a single state.

In the East, the British, French and Dutch Empires were left largely untouched. Japan had itself fought the war alongside the British - and against Germany.

The second world war (1939 - 1945) brought about more far reaching changes. For one thing, Japan and Italy fought alongside with Germany - and against the British. The Japanese invasion of Indo China, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia in 1942/43 spelt the beginning of the end of the French, British and Dutch rule in the east.  The Institute of South Asian Studies webcast in Singapore on 13 August 2006  reminds us of  of the role of  Subhas Chandra Bose's Indian National Army and its effect not simply on Indian independence but on Asia's Independence.

The years after the end of the second world war in 1945, saw the break down of colonial empires which had held sway for two centuries and more. The Dutch eventually left Indonesia, the French left Vietnam (Indo China) and Algiers. The Portuguese left Goa and parts of Africa. The Italians left Ethiopia.

The British Empire of which it was said the sun never set, finally weakened by two world wars surrendered its imperial rule. Winston Churchill who had steered Britain to 'victory' in the Second World war and who had once said that he had not been appointed the King's first Minister to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire, in the end, witnessed the liquidation, appropriately enough, from the Opposition benches of the British Parliament.

The British Prime Minister Attlee announcing  the decision to transfer power in India declared in the British House of Commons in February 1946:

 "In the conditions prevailing in India today, old remedies are of no use. It is meaningless to talk about them now. The heat in 1946 is not the same as that of 1920 (non-cooperation movement), 1930 (first civil disobedience movement) or 1942 (when the Quit India resolution was passed). Nothing intensifies the national feelings and aspirations of a colonial people like a great war. Those who have had anything to do with the two wars, know what effect the 1914-18 a world war had on the feelings and aspirations of the Indian people. National waves which rise slowly are accelerated during wartime and rise very high after the war. During the war, they are controlled to some extent; but after the war, they break all shackles and rise very high. Today, in India, no, in the whole Asian continent, they are dashing against the stones and, rocks, breaking them to pieces. I have no doubt about it. India alone has to decide what its future will be and what its status will be in the world..."

British Minister Sir Stafford Cripps, intervening in the debate made the position crystal clear. He said:

"...The Indian Army in India is not obeying the British officers. We have recruited our workers for the war; they have been demobilised after the war. They are required to repair the  factories damaged by Hitler's bombers. Moreover, they want to join their kith and kin after five and a half  years of separation. Their kith and kin also want to join them. In these conditions if we  have to rule India for a long time, we have to keep a permanent British army for a long time in a vast country of four hundred millions. We have no such army...."

The colonial rulers left, but they left behind them artificial territorial boundaries - boundaries which had everything to do with securing their own hold over the territories that they had conquered and boundaries which had little to do with securing the national identities of the peoples on whom they had imposed their rule.

For instance, in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) the British left behind within one state, the Tamil nation and the Sinhala nation -  nations about whom a British Colonial Secretary, Sir Hugh Cleghorn, had declared in June 1879

"Two different nations, from a very ancient period, have divided between them the possession of the Island: the Sinhalese inhabiting the interior in its Southern and western parts from the river Wallouwe to Chilaw, and the Malabars (Tamils) who possess the Northern and Eastern Districts. These two nations differ entirely in their religion, language and manners."

It was with the departure of the foreign ruler, that the organic growth of  national consciousness within the patchwork states of the former empires gathered pace. Today, we see the results 

- in the Middle East (Iraq and Kurdistan, Palestine); 

- in Africa (Western Sahara, Somaliland  & South Sudan); 

- in the Indian sub-continent (Assam, Khalistan, Jamnu Kashmir, Manipur, Nagaland, Tamil Eelam, Tamil Nadu, TripuraSindh, Uttarakhand, Baluchistan ); and

- in South Asia and the Far East (East Timor, Bougainville

The collapse of the Soviet empire witnessed the emergence of Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine, and the process continues in Chechnya.

Again, First World countries, bereft of their empires, have found it increasingly difficult to contain the national aspirations of the different peoples within their own territorial boundaries. Canada and Quebec may fall into this category. In Europe, the struggle of the Basques in Spain continues.  Scotland is another example. In March 2007, Alex Salmond, the Leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party declared that the 18th-century Union is past its sell-by date. He went on -

"...What we both (Scots and the English) need now are the political and economic powers to make our nations work, to tailor policies to suit our different circumstances, and to speak for ourselves in Europe and the wider world -while acting together where our interests converge... As our world has become more complex and inter-connected, the need for nations to be independent with a direct say in regional and global affairs has become more important - not less... in the modern world, the processes of independence and interdependence are mutually supportive and reinforcing. The political imperative to share the same state for reasons of building a large domestic market, or great power projection, is a fundamentally outdated 19th-and 20th-century concept..."

Stateless nations of Europe

Again, First World colonialism itself has survived in some parts of the globe. Hawaii is one example. Alaska is another.

"...On December 12, 1959, the United Nations General Assembly resolved that the people of Alaska had "effectively exercised their right to self-determination and freely chosen their present status" as a State. Why was the United Nations interested in Alaska, and why did the United States itself ask for the adoption of this resolution?... The United States did not mention the fact that nearly one-fifth of Alaskans at that time were Natives, that few Natives could read or were registered to vote. For all the United Nations knew, all Alaskans were of one race, history and culture, and all had participated equally in calling for Statehood. If the true facts had been known, the General Assembly might have concluded that Statehood was only going to give more power to the American colonizers of Alaska, rather than giving freedom to the Native people who had been colonized..."  Russel Lawrence Barsh - The International Legal Status of Native Alaska

Northern Ireland is another, representing as it does the unfinished business of British rule in Ireland.

All these struggles of nations without a state, share a common feature - they are struggles of peoples against alien rule or domination. These are the struggles of  internationally unrecognised nations who constitute the Fourth World.

"A convenient shorthand for the Fourth World would be internationally unrecognized nations" Dr. Richard Griggs

Increasingly, the Fourth World is emerging as a new force in international politics.

"Increasingly, the Fourth World is emerging as a new force in international politics because in the common defense of their nations, many indigenous peoples do not accept being mere subjects of international law and state sovereignty and trusteeship bureaucracies. Instead, they are organizing and exerting their own participation and policies as sovereign peoples and nations." - Bernard Q. Nietschmann

Andr� Lecours and Luis Moreno argue in "Paradiplomacy and Stateless Nations" that

"...One of the less often discussed features of multinational societies is the effort of their constituent segments to become active internationally. Regional governments developing a foreign policy and conducting international relations, a phenomenon sometimes called �paradiplomacy�, is not unique to multinational societies; however, it is in this type of societies that the international activity of regions is most intense. ... this is because paradiplomacy is primarily a function of stateless nationalism..."

At the same time, the words of  Pierre van den Berghe  are relevant -

"The U.N. is first and foremost an organisation of states, not of nations, and since most states are, in fact, threatened by the claims of nations, it is little wonder that the U.N. is pro-state and anti-nation" Pierre van den Berghe in a personal communication to Leo Kuper, quoted in *Genocide: Its Political Use in the 20th Century, 1983

It is, therefore, not a matter for surprise that efforts have been made to manage and channel the aspirations of the fourth world. The Unrepresented  Nations & Peoples Organisation (UNPO) is one such effort. The UNPO declares -

"The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) is a democratic, international membership organization. Its members are indigenous peoples, occupied nations, minorities and independent states or territories who have joined together to protect their human and cultural rights, preserve their environments, and to find non-violent solutions to conflicts which affect them. UNPO provides a legitimate and established international forum for member aspirations and assists its members in effective participation at an international level."

The current (2007) President of the UNPO General Assembly is Ledum Mitee from Ogoni and the Vice President is Maysing Yang from Taiwan and its Presidency includes Ngawang Choepel from Tibet. The UNPO Secretariat includes Joshua Cooper (USA) Adviser, UN Trainings, Sebastien Pireyre, (France) Newsdesk,  Maria Skeie, (Norway) Programme Coordinator and Eduardo Welsh, (Portugal) Publications and Editing. Neither Palestine nor Kashmir find a place in the membership of UNPO.

The question that will arise in many minds is the extent to which UNPO can truly help nations ruled by an alien people to secure freedom from such alien rule - and whether its activities are concerned with 'pacifying resistance' and stabilising an existing West centric world order.

It is sometimes said that to accord international recognition to the nations of the fourth world will lead to instability in the world order.  The reasoning is not dissimilar to that which was urged a hundred years ago against granting universal franchise. It was said that to empower every citizen with a vote was to threaten the stability of existing state structures and the ruling establishment. But the truth was that it was the refusal to grant universal franchise which threatened stability - and in the end the ruling establishment was 'persuaded' to mend its ways. As always, conscious evolution was the alternative to revolution. Rudolph C. R�ser's comments in the Fourth World Eye are timely:

"Self-determination is a right guaranteed under international law to all peoples seeking to freely choose their social, economic, political and cultural future without external interference. ..The principle is unambiguous in its application to peoples having the collective right to freely choose their own future. The right to choose is what the United States and other states like France, Britain and Canada seek to deny Fourth World peoples... It is a stunning fact to consider that just as the United States, France, England, Germany, Russia and Italy roll their troops into Kosovo to preserve the peace and secure human rights and self-determination, these same states have become active leaders in the drive to rewrite international law denying self-determination to Fourth World nations all around the world. .."

Self determination is not a de stabilising concept. Self determination and democracy go hand in hand. If democracy means the rule of the people, by the people, for the people, then the principle of self determination secures that no one people may rule another - and herein, perhaps, lies its enduring appeal. And we may need to attend more carefully to the words of of Yelena Bonner (widow of Andrei Sakharov) that "the inviolability of a country's borders against invasion from the outside must be clearly separated from the right to statehood of any people within a state's borders."

In the age of the digital revolution, the words in Tibet Online have a general relevance:

"Tibet Online aims to counteract the disadvantages Tibetans face in their struggle against the vast resources of the Chinese government, while providing new employment opportunities to help bring Tibetan exiles into the modern world on their own terms. We level the playing field by leveraging the Internet's ability to harness international grassroots support for Tibet's survival, while at the same time helping Tibetans involved in these efforts pick up highly valuable skills."

It is a viewpoint which echoes that expressed Scott Crawford & Kekula Bray in their paper on  Self Determination and the Information Age in 1995:

"The swiftly evolving information and communication technologies and networking infrastructures are playing an expanding role in supporting the self-determination of peoples and emergent nations.

Internally, access to information and facilitation of communication provides new and enhanced opportunities for participation in the process of self-determination, with the potential to accelerate political, economic, social, educational and cultural advancement beyond the scope of traditional institutions and forms of governance.

Externally, regional and global information networks expand the voice of emergent nations and peoples with electronic forums to focus international attention and support toward specific self-determination issues and efforts."

The words of Montserrat Guibernau in her must read book Nations without States: Political Communities in a Global Age, merit our careful attention:

"...The task of intellectuals in nations without states involves the constant actualization of the nationalist ideology to respond to the community's needs. His or her job is one of service to society...

At the outset of the nationalist movement, intellectuals study the history, culture, myths, language and specific traits of the group and construct a picture of it as a distinct community. They emphasize the main differences between the national minority and the culture and language of the nation which dominates the state within which they are included...

At this stage, however, the intellectuals' function is not restricted to a re-creation of a sense of community among group members by investigating the cultural and political history of the community. One of the pressing matters facing them is the construction of a discourse a critical and subversive of the current order, a discourse which delegitimizes the state and its policies as a threat to the existence or development of the nation they represent. The radicality of their  statements depends upon the aims of the nationalist movement and the treatment their community receives from the state. Seeking cultural recognition, political autonomy or independence are likely to produce disparate discourses concerning the state's portrayal and the definition of its relation with the national minority. Thus, intellectuals play a double role.

On the one hand, they act as architects of the nationalist movement by providing cultural, historical, political and economic arguments to sustain the distinctive character of the nation and a legitimation of its will to decide upon its political future... The intellectual is the creator of the common myth that guides the revolution. The same could be said about the intellectual's position at the dawn of a nationalist movement.

On the other hand, as we have already mentioned, intellectuals are subversive and construct a discourse which undermines the legitimacy of the current order of things. They denounce the nation's present situation within the state and offer an alternative to it by promoting the conditions and processes of conflict. In so doing they become 'creators and leaders in the production of new state structures, new Gestalts of power and ideology'."

When the nationalist movement is still incipient, a certain degree of altruism and love of country act as potent forces informing the intellectuals' actions. These sentiments are bound to emerge with greater intensity where a national minority suffers from repression exerted by the state. In these circumstances, backing the nationalism of the oppressed nation often involves not only radical exclusion from the state's elite, but a considerable risk to one's own life.

Intellectuals are to be considered as formulators of the nationalist ideology. Their task does not end here, however, since many of them also act as agitators and mobilizers of the nationalist movement. It has to be added that not all intellectuals perform both functions.

In the case of a nation without a state of its own, its intellectuals' discourse is opposed by the state's intellectuals, some of whom will operate within the territory of the national minority defending the status quo, questioning its nationalist ideology and displaying a clear 'pro-state nationalist' attitude. It should be noted that within a democratic state, political disagreement about its legitimacy together with the definition and aims of the national minority's movement are at least permissible. In other circumstances, force is employed to prevent the rise of any social movement which could potentially pose a threat to the state's unitary structure..."

And many may take the view that Beatrice Tice and Jason Nelson of the University of Michigan Law School were right to conclude in 2004  -

".. In the final analysis, what defines a nation, Stateless or otherwise? Surely it must be left to the people who comprise the community in question to determine the answer. If the people belonging to a community understand and believe it to be a nation, and act within it as a fitting social and cultural structure for their lives, then these individuals obviously deem that sufficient homogeneity and shared identity exists, in whatever form or proportion, to satisfy their consciousness of unity and kinship. Such an idea of community assuredly qualifies as a nation. And if that nation is not constitutionally autonomous, but is situated within the territory and/or autonomy of an existing State, then undoubtedly it continues to qualify as a nation without a State..."

Aurobindo's remarks made a hundred years ago remain relevant today -

"..A feeling or a thought ...the aspiration towards liberty, cannot be estimated in the terms of concrete power, in so many fighting men, so many armed police, so many guns, so many prisons, such and such laws, ukases, and executive powers. But such feelings and thoughts are more powerful than fighting men and guns and prisons and laws and ukases. Their beginnings are feeble, their end is mighty. But of despotic repression the beginnings are mighty, the end is feeble...". Sri Aurobindo in Bande Mataram, 1907


Mail Us Copyright 1998/2009 All Rights Reserved Home