Individualistic Reich Citizens

This group of Reich Citizens does not emphatically refer to an old Germany, one which can be magically restored through various symbolic acts. Instead, they concentrate on freeing themselves — and not the German collective - from any form of state domination.

One of the central documents for this group of Reich Citizens is the Annex to the UN Resolution A/RES/56/83 of 28 January 2002 which deals with the question of who is to be held responsible for violations of international law in the absence of state structures.

Conduct carried out in the absence or default of the official authorities:

The conduct of a person or group of persons shall be considered an act of a State under international law if the person or group of persons is in fact exercising elements of the governmental authority in the absence or default of the official authorities and in circumstances such as to call for the exercise of those elements of authority.

(UN General Assembly, 2002; official translation)

It should first be noted that the quoted document is not an enacted international law, but rather the proposal of a UN working group (International Law Commission). Nevertheless, Reich Citizens assume that this kind of ‘absence or default of the official authorities’ is indeed the case (although the resolution refers to the actual failure of state structures and not to the lack of its legal legitimacy) and that their own actions can be considered actions of an independent state. Reich Citizens refer to this document in order to properly ‘deregister’ from the FRG. For this deregistration, they write a formal declaration, proclaiming to constitute a ‘self-government’ from then on. On websites, Keich Citizens provide sample letters for this procedure, sometimes for certain fees. Those Reich Citizens who deregister from the FRG consider themselves stateless and, in some cases, equal to states. This is ideally conveyed by Thomas Patzlaff, who has documented his activities in detail on his website. As he wanted to leave an ‘inhuman system he founded his own state, die Selbstverwaltung Thomas Pate/aff(‘Self-Government Thomas Patzlaff).

Considering the daily cruelties and the necessity to stop participating in this system, I - a man, a human being, a spiritual being, an individual person, Thomas Patzlaff - hereby declare my independence from foreign norms and formally proclaim to be a subject of international law with the title ‘Self-Government Thomas Patzlaff.

(Selbstverwaltung Thomas Patzlaff)

To make official his foundation of a state, Patzlaff sent his declaration of independence to countless embassies as well as to the UN, the German government, the mayor of Berlin and even to the Pope. In these letters, Patzlaff offered to establish diplomatic relations with these governments and officials; however, he never received an answer from any of them. On his website, he continuously documents his current diplomatic relations, which exclusively consist of meetings with other ‘self-governed’ individuals, such as between Self-Government Thomas Patzlaff and Self-Government Tino Miekley, to recognise each other as an independent state. However, differences of opinion can occur, which is why diplomatic relations with Self-Government Enrico Pauser were terminated. A separate platform has also been set up for relations between the various self-governing bodies. They call themselves Einigung Deutscher Souveräne (‘Union of German Sovereigns’).

Instead of referring to old laws from the German Reich, this group of Reich Citizens continuously publishes its own laws. The laws are usually not very spectacular. Here is a small excerpt from the penal code by Thomas Patzlaff:

  • § 4 Criminal Law: The acts listed below fall under criminal law: a) Killing, except in self-defence 1) Self-defence can only be claimed if one’s own life or health is directly attacked, b) Assault and battery c) Fraud and deception d) Breach of contract.
  • (Selbstverwaltung Thomas Patzlaff)

The self-governed reject paying taxes, as taxes are seen as hidden reparations paid to the Americans. Moreover, going to work is often considered to be very problematic since work serves the reproduction of the system. The self-governed are tired of being ‘enslaved’ (by the Americans) and have resolved to disobey the authorities. This group of Reich Citizens stands out for their extremely libertarian rhetoric, emphasising individual liberties. In doing so, they refer very strongly to a supposed natural law.

It is my natural right to rule over myself exclusively or to decide voluntarily which group I may join ... I hereby make use of this right and reject any outside control over myself. With this Declaration of Independence and Proclamation, I declare my right to be a human being.

(Selbstverwaltung Thomas Patzlaff)

They emphasise that they are more than just a name or a number - they are human beings. The human individual is animated by an incredible power and magic. It is unique and its freedom is non-negotiable.

The human being is born free as a holistic body, soul and spirit ... The human being as the holder of the actual power on earth ... Jura singulo-rum, the rights of the individual human being as a legally protected right. The inviolable and inalienable right of freedom is not negotiable.

(Deutsches Amt für Menschenrechte)

While the reactionary Reich Citizens are concerned with collective resistance, here resistance is something very individual. Furthermore, temporal references in the construction of conspiracy theories differ between the two groups. In one case, a dark conspiracy is destroying a romanticised past, a golden age of stable geopolitical orders. In another case, a dark conspiracy prevents personal emancipation in an as of yet unfulfilled messianic future. For the individualistic Reich Citizens, there is no paradise from which one was expelled, like the German Empire. Instead, hopes are located in the future. Salvation entails the liberation from state structures and the creation of one’s own state structures. Two examples of this philosophy that caused a major stir in the media were Peter Fitzek’s Königreich Deutschland (‘Kingdom of Germany’) and Adrian Ursache’s Staat Ur (‘State Ur’). Both acquired land and founded their own states, which at times resembled an esoteric, libertarian, right-wing cult. Moreover, apocalyptic narratives are omnipresent. There are constant reports about a possible economic crash and/or the outbreak of a devastating world war. The current COVID-19 crisis is seen by many as confirmation of these apocalyptic prophecies. The state is not considered capable of ensuring economic stability. For this reason, precautions must be taken to be protected in the event of a possible crash, such as buying gold, becoming a prepper or emigrating. Famous examples of the latter are Andreas Popp and Oliver Janich, two of the most famous and successful conspiracy theorists in Germany. Andreas Popp emigrated to Canada while Oliver Janich lives in the Philippines. Andreas Popp also offers seminars on the subject of emigration, covering both information on how to do it and why the current situation in Germany and Europe is so serious that individual freedom is threatened.

For reactionary Reich Citizens, Europe is threatened by uncontrolled migration. This concern is also present among individualistic Reich Citizens, but it is far from pronounced. Rather, these Reich Citizens talk about Europe as an economic area and believe it to be economically endangered. It is not their concern to restore an old European order (like in the case of reactionary Keich Citizens who worry about the independence of the European people) but, in contrast, to leave Europe behind, as to them it is already lost. On some websites advertisements for emigration destinations outside Europe that sell the promise of survival from the upcoming crash can be found.

If you assume that Europe is lost and you want to emigrate, you are exactly right on this site: On the Finca Bayano in Panama, a village is being built where you can survive the crash! The good times in Europe are now finally over.

(Finca Bayano)

Criticism of the EU also differs in comparison to the reactionary Reich Citizens. The EU is criticised not because it transcends the sovereignty of nation-states but because it constitutes some kind of state. For individualistic Reich Citizens, states are the problem, not the solution, and the EU does not destroy statehood, since it is a super-state.

The state is the problem, not the solution ... But you cannot understand the EU and the plans for the ‘United States of Europe’ if you do not understand the fundamental nature of each state. The European Union is only the logical consequence of an ongoing expansion of the state.

(Janich 2013)

Perhaps borrowing from Rousseau, Janich also states that ‘the original sin was the emergence of the first state on European soil, more precisely the emergence of the first state ever. With this first act of violence, evil manifested itself in society’ (Janich, 2013). This group of Reich Citizens can be described as more or less progressive in comparison to other Reich Citizens, as they seek to create a new order for themselves.’ Their hopes rest in spaces outside Europe and in themselves, in their potential to become independent and to evade state structures completely.

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