by Max Barry

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The Antarctic Constitution

The Constitution of the Free Republic of Antarctica

We, the people of the Antarctic continent, in rich diversity and essential unity, to forever banish the forces of hate and suffering from this continent, and to establish and preserve freedom and harmony for our times and all to come, do hereby establish the Constitution of the Free Republic of Antarctica.

This Constitution declares that all human beings, regardless of their characteristics, possess an inherent value that exceeds all others. It declares that they possess inherent and fundamental rights common to all humankind, and that the duty of government is to serve humanity in accordance with these rights and with the inherent value of the human race. Under no circumstances whatsoever shall their intrinsic rights be violated or curtailed by the laws or actions of this Free Republic. Such human rights include, and are not limited to, those guaranteed herein.

Article 1 - It is the inherent right of each and every one of the people to possess, and to live by the dictates of, their individual and unique personalities and conscience. They are inherently entitled to be free in the holding of their many political, religious, and personal beliefs. The state and its organs shall not discriminate against nor give preferential treatment to any such beliefs, nor to any person or group of people on the basis of such beliefs. The people are inherently entitled to freedom of thought and freedom of expression, and the state shall under no circumstance censor the findings and expressions of its citizens, nor on any basis shall it withhold national information of constructive use from the Antarctic people.

Article 2 - The intrinsic worth of each and every one of the people is inherently equal to all others, and each of the people is therefore intrinsically deserving of equal and just treatment in respect to all others. They shall not be discriminated against in any manner nor any circumstance on the basis of their personal characteristics, nor shall they be sanctioned by the state in any manner unless proven to have committed a legal offense by a state court of law. Defendants are entitled in all circumstances to legal counsel and to a prompt, thorough, and public trial. They may not be compelled to testify against themselves, nor be subjected to multiple trials for a single offense. The use of torture, executions, and other cruel and inhumane punishment is absolutely forbidden.

Article 3 - Each and every one of the people possesses the inherent and inviolable right to personal dignity and integrity. They and they alone possess the right to determine the course of their lives and to maintain exclusive control over their bodies and individual affairs. They have the right to personal and family privacy, and to maintain their own public image. Neither their persons and homes nor any form of their communications shall be searched without the permission of a legal warrant issued upon probable cause. The private information of the people shall not be violated by the state unless under such conditions of probable cause, and the state shall in no way interfere with the personal affairs of the people, unless in connection with other affairs determined to be violations of the law.

Article 4 - Each and every one of the people possesses the inherent right to maintain a full and wholesome quality of life. They are entitled to food, water, shelter, health, safety, financial assistance, and other basic amenities conducive to a decent standard of living. Children are entitled to free, impartial, and universal education, to freedom from physical or psychological abuse, and to freedom from exploitation in any manner. The people have the inherent right to work in pursuit of personal fulfillment and a greater standard of living, and they have the right to organize and bargain for collective rights. The right to individual and collective property shall not be violated or curtailed, and no property shall be appropriated unless for purposes of the public interest, and with proper financial compensation.

This Constitution declares that the sole purpose of the Free Republic, and its nature as a state, is to act as a means of serving the Antarctic people. It declares that the final authority upon the Antarctic continent lies with the people themselves, and that the Free Republic is subject to this authority. It declares therefore that democracy is the sole basis on which the Free Republic is to be established, and that each and every one of the Antarctic people are entitled to take part in this democracy. It declares that political pluralism and the free expression and exchange of ideas are the basis of the political system of the Free Republic, and that all aspects of the state are to be held answerable to the people through elections and systems of mutual accountability.

Article 5 - The sole legislative authority in the Free Republic shall be the Antarctic Grand Council. It shall consist of an odd number of several hundred Councillors, whose duty shall be the introduction, evaluation, and passage of legislation. The members of the Council shall be immune from arrest during its proceedings, unless caught in the act of a legal offense, and shall not be held liable for speeches or acts made in fulfillment of their duties. The members of the Council shall be elected on the first of December every third year, by popular vote on a proportional basis, and Councillors shall be elected to represent each Prefecture. The act of voting in Antarctica shall be universal, free, and confidential in nature, and the inherent right of each and every one of the people to vote shall in no instance be subject to any manner of obstruction, suppression, or curtailment. The executive authority in the Free Republic shall be the Government, which shall consist of the Prime Minister and various other Ministers. The authority of the Government is derived from, and subject to, that of the Council. The duty of the Government shall be the conduction and maintenance of domestic and foreign policy, the faithful administration of the law, and the administration of the civil service. The Prime Minister shall be head of the Government, shall direct and coordinate the efforts of the various Ministers, and shall serve as representative of the Antarctic people for purposes of diplomacy. The duty of the various Ministers shall be to direct and coordinate the area of state policy with which they are charged respectively.

Article 6 - The term of the Council shall begin on January the first of the year after election. The Council shall convene in fulfillment of ordinary business each year thereafter, from January through June, and shall convene extraordinarily upon request of a majority of Councillors. The fulfillment of business by the Council shall require the presence of a two-thirds majority of Councillors at a state location designated by law. The first order of business fulfilled by the Council shall be the designation of the Prime Minister from among its ranks, whose investiture shall require more votes in favor than against. The Prime Minister shall then form the Government through the appointment of Ministers from among the ranks of the Council. The dismissal of the Government shall require the designation of an alternative Prime Minister in the motion thereon, as well as the passage thereof by a majority of the Grand Council. Upon the passage of a motion of dismissal, the designated Councillor shall become Prime Minister, and shall form a new Government in the aforementioned manner. Upon the failure thereof, no further motions of dismissal shall be brought by the Council until its next convening. The passage of legislation by the Council shall require a majority of votes in favor, and the signatures of the Prime Minister and the appropriate Minister. The passage of ex post facto laws or bills of attainder is forbidden. The term of the Council shall expire on January the first, three years after its beginning. The votes and deliberations of the Council shall be made readily available to the people through institutions of public transparency.

Article 7 - The foremost authority of justice in the Free Republic shall be the Antarctic High Tribunal. The Tribunal shall consist of a Chief Justice and six associate Justices, each of whom shall be appointed in a vote of the Grand Council by a two-thirds majority. Any one or more of the Justices shall be subject to popular votes of retention upon the signing of a petition by five per cent of the full Antarctic populace, and a two-thirds majority against the retention of a given Justice in such a vote shall result in their removal and replacement by the Grand Council. Justices may not be impeached or removed from office by the Grand Council or other state organs under any circumstance. The duty of the High Tribunal shall be to function as the final court of appeal upon the Antarctic continent, and therefore to function as the final arbiter of this Constitution and of the laws of the Free Republic. Judicial authority in the Free Republic shall be vested solely in the High Tribunal and in such inferior state courts of law as the Council shall establish. The Tribunal and all inferior state courts of law are to be independent in their interpretation of the law, bound only by the law itself and by this Constitution. The proceedings of the Tribunal and inferior courts shall be made readily available to the people through institutions of public transparency. Neither the Grand Council nor any other state organ shall have the power to commit reprisals against Antarctic courts of law.

This Constitution, in recognition of its duty as guarantor of the fundamental rights of humankind upon the Antarctic continent, and in recognition of the role of collective responsibility in guaranteeing such human rights, declares that certain civic duties common to all Antarcticans are necessary to maintain general peace, welfare, and public order.

Article 8 - The Antarctic people shall fulfill a public role in maintaining the functionality of the Free Republic through the paying of taxes. Taxes on personal income shall be levied in a progressive and marginal manner. The state shall be the sole collector of taxes on the Antarctic continent, and revenue derived from taxes shall be spent for no purpose except the public benefit of the Antarctic people and the peoples of the world. General peace and public order shall be upheld by the Antarctic people at all times, and they shall cooperate as necessary with agents of the Free Republic in maintaining the peace. Extrajudicial punishment on the part of the state or any other actor is absolutely forbidden, and the force of the law shall be held answerable to the Antarctic people at all times.

This Constitution, in recognition of its role as the basis upon which the Free Republic is conceived, and in recognition of its duty therefore to codify herein the fundamental nature of the Antarctic continent as a nation, hereby defines an assortment of basic national characteristics that are intrinsic to the Free Republic of Antarctica.

Article 9 - The Free Republic is a perpetual and indivisible union of the territory and people of the Antarctic continent. The official boundary of the continent, and therefore the boundary of the Free Republic, is the parallel of sixty degrees south of the equator. The territorial units of the Free Republic shall be the Prefectures, each of which shall be centered on and named for one of the singular cities of the Antarctic continent, and whose boundaries shall be defined by features of natural terrain between such cities. The austral forests and the natural environment, and all forms of life within them, are fundamental aspects of the Antarctic nation, and shall not be violated in any manner excepting that necessary to maintain the basic necessities of the Antarctic people.

Article 10 - The official Emblem of the Free Republic shall consist of seven interlocking rings, one in the center and six surrounding, encompassed by two greater circles, broad and narrow, and a laurel wreath, respectively. The official Flag of the Free Republic shall possess a proportion of three to five in height and width respectively. It shall consist of a broad horizontal stripe of sky blue at the center, bounded at the edges by narrow stripes of white, bounded in turn by narrow stripes of sky blue at the top and bottom of the flag. At the center of the flag, rendered in white, shall be the Emblem of the Free Republic.

This Constitution, in recognition of its duty as a statement of the Antarctic conscience, and in recognition of the potential of the Free Republic to stray from and violate the inherent values and principles upon which it is established, aspires hereby to create an environment upon the Antarctic continent in which the maintenance of such conscience on the part the Free Republic shall be guaranteed and assured for all time, and in which it may forever guide the actions of the Free Republic and the Antarctic people.

Article 11 - The relations of the Free Republic with the other regions, jurisdictions, and peoples of the world shall be conducted in good faith on the basis of mutual trust, aid, and cooperation between peoples in all circumstances and for all time. The policy of the Free Republic and the role of the Antarctic continent in the world shall be built exclusively on the basis of peace, prosperity, understanding, and respect for the rights of each and every human being throughout the world. The use of force, coercion, or war by the Free Republic to set its policy or to settle world disputes is a crime against this Constitution and against the conscience of the Antarctic people, and is hereby forbidden for all time. War shall be waged by the Free Republic under no circumstance whatsoever, save an immediate and objective threat to the independence and safety of the Antarctic people.

This Constitution, in recognition of its duty to uphold the inherent right to freedom and dignity of each and every one of the Antarctic people, in recognition of its duty to maintain the legal integrity of the Free Republic, and in recognition of its duty to guarantee the maintenance of these Antarctic virtues, hereby renders itself the sole and fundamental law of the Free Republic of Antarctica.

Article 12 - Any law upon the Antarctic not enacted according to the processes laid out in this Constitution is hereby rendered null and void, and any law of the Free Republic held by the High Tribunal to be in violation of this Constitution is hereby rendered null and void. Any circumstance or set of circumstances upon the Antarctic continent affecting the nation, or affecting any one or more of the Antarctic people, in an unconstitutional way is hereby rendered a violation of Antarctic law.