(Note: on several occasions, Russian telegram chats are linked. As our project attracts more members we will continue transitioning to English and Montenegrin as our main languages. At the moment, to read them if you do not speak Russian, you can do so by opening them in https://web.telegram.org/ and using your browser's built-in translator)
Questions about theory
Montelibero unites the name of the host country, Montenegro, with out mission of expanding liberty. The logo is a black mountain, which is the translation of the country's name. The mountain is made of many nodes and relationships which form a decentralized network - the symbol of a spontaneous order arising from members who trade with each other for mutual benefit, all equal in their rights, none dominating the other. The subscript calls back to the original Free State Project, started by our American counterparts, whose initiative over the last 20 years has served as creative and moral inspiration for our project.
Our most modest goal is to create a pleasant environment for people with common values, and to use the advantages of networking cooperation in the interests of our movers. By working together, we can more easily defend and expand the freedom of each individual.
To do this more effectively, and avoid having to compromise, we prefer to do it with people who share our values, and live in the same place. The optimal goal is not only to live and work in a comfortable place with people who agree with us, but help the local supporters of liberty in promoting the institutions of voluntary exchange and local self-government, ensuring, through the concentration of efforts from many countries of origin into one small place, the accomplishment of felt positive change. This change could be a visible example of best practices to be borrowed around the word.
Finally, our most ambitious goal is to help the local advocates for freedom make Montenegro a world leader in modernisation and liberal reform, which will turn it into a new, European Hong Kong and even better, to help it take the first steps into a qualitatively different era of voluntary sovereign associations and contract jurisdiction, becoming a model for everyone else.
FSPE has an advantage over its American prototype: national sovereignty, which leaves the highest potential for liberalisation. However, it is also a problem, excluding movers, at least for the 10 year naturalisation period, from voting in elections. On the other hand, this is not necessary - the country has enough talented, like-minded people who we can merely support, instead of trying at all costs to become voters or even politicians. We understand the importance of a people's right to self-determination and the ethical qualms of replacing the will of local citizens with the opinion of outsiders, which we in no way intend to impose.
We also have a clear understanding of how few people in any country is engaged in public activity, and how strongly an active minority can influence a whole society. The 3.5% rule for non-violent change (https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190513-it-only-takes-35-of-people-to-change-the-world) seems to hold steadily (with the major exception of Belarus, which is an authoritarian state). Consequently, to help develop significant positive changes for more freedom in Montenegro, we need to help the local activists create an active movement of about 20,000 people - a difficult, but not impossible, task, especially if we consolidate resources to this end from volunteers worldwide.
There are two common meanings of freedom: negative freedom (freedom from violence) and positive freedom (ability to do something). The positive freedom sense requires the free person to possess certain necessary resources, which, in the process of redistribution, end up violating the negative freedom from coercion. This creates the famous conflict in the minds of people between these two types of freedom.
In practice we think this opposition is senseless: a hungry man, without experiencing any other kind of coercion from others, and who therefore consents to any job, can hardly be considered free. Neither can a slave who lives in a cell with a full stomach be considered free. We think it important to avoid both of these absurd extremes, and focus instead on the methods of achieving freedom, which involve the minimisation of violence and coercion, and at the same time not exclude charity and solidarity, to avoid the lack of freedom in either sense.
We understand that the freedoms of individuals arise out of cooperation with each other and the rights which they are obliged to respect. Therefore, if we wish our rights and freedoms to be respected, we must take upon ourselves the responsibilities of charity and philanthropy, while understanding that an educated and working population is to our own benefit.
For this practical reason and another, political one (the failure of marketing for the alternative) we recommend our allies to avoid positioning themselves on the political spectrum, except for the position of radical centrism, which unifies the left-wing and right-wing agendas around a single principle: the refusal to practice aggressive violence and the goal of transitioning society, in accordance with this logic, into a self-governance principle, transitioning from state owned property into contractual ownership of the commons, and therefore direct control over the commons, which solidify the possibility of freedom for various arrangements and interpretations, each of which requires the sovereignty of each acting being, and their freedom to associate (or not).
The idea of politically motivated relocation which we are attempting to realize is not new. Political migrants have existed as long as politics itself, and this includes coordinated migration, for throughout the centuries, not only climate but political reasons have forced people to relocate and cooperate in this respect with locals and each other.
Our own initiative has arisen out of a Russian community of panarchists, i.e., the adherents of commonality, or distribution of governance. You can learn more about our views in our website, https://panarchy.ru/ (Russian). The first movers as part of our project are a young couple from Kiev (@lss_me and @polina.ntm in Telegram) and @ancap_san, who runs an anarcho-capitalist Telegram channel, resides in Bar, and is eager to welcome new movers!
The society itself has equality among its participants, there are no sponsors or leaders. Anyone can join it, and offer their own initiative or criticism, and since the society is not under centralized control, it has no executive branch. We are a decentralized network of activists, whose makeup can be checked in one of the language-specific telegram chats we operate. Any willing person can join our ranks and these volunteers coordinate their actions as far as their time and priorities permit. Tasks are initiated and distributed openly, through the following platform: https://trello.com/b/ZkdtrCbi/free-society-in-europe
To obtain an invite to our task group, simply follow this link: https://trello.com/invite/b/ZkdtrCbi/bb2493cc6494f5764abdf8be91392a86/free-society-in-europe
We understand that with so many variables planning can be a thankless task, however, if we avoid strict deadlines and overly specific details, we may describe our preferred development in the following way:
- People who share our values announce their intentions and consolidate in our coordination channels:
https://t.me/Seasteading_EastEurope (Russian chat)
https://t.me/FSPE_Montenegro (English chat)
https://t.me/SDE_Montelibero (Montenegrin chat)
- Our members, to the extent of their ability, move to Montenegro and settle there while figuring out their immediate and everyday needs, solving which is a priority for us at this point.
- As a viable local community develops, our surplus resources (at each person's discretion) are directed to supporting the local libertarian, decentralisation, and democratic movements, their better organization and promotion.
- As part of our support of local movements, we offer specific policy programs, aimed at the increase of individual sovereignty within the country, as well as the establishment of necessary institutions to maintain them. This would mainly include deferring state power to local municipal governments, deregulating free exchange and the establishment of dividend-based, private forms of universal income for the citizens of the country.
At the moment the project has seen support from leaders of libertarian NGOs in Montenegro and international Libertarian organizations, as well as libertarians from Hong Kong and members of the original Free State Project in New-Hampshire.
Among our ranks there has gathered a number of various specialists, including but not limited to, software developers, entrepreneurs, engineers, construction workers, medical doctors, crypto finance specialists, journalists and political scientists, with practical multi-year experience in various work, from media and social media projects to party organization and government work.
The media resources which support Free Society Project Europe are still few and only reach several thousand people, but work in this direction is only starting.
We already have an internal system of digital payments, based on the Dash cryptocurrency. In the core of the project there are a few minor but motivated entrepreneurs, who are able to cover current operational costs in the long term. The perspectives of future development depend mainly on implementation of crowdfunding technologies and centering on low-amount, high volume decentralized financing, which will ensure the preservation of integritt to our values.
The first family of movers has settled in Budva and we recommend subsequent movers look at it as well, because as a coastal tourist hub of the country, it has the best transport network, a high foreigner population and greater affluence. This means more opportunities for employment and entrepreneurial activity for movers. It is also where our first local supporters reside and base their non-profits. Budva is the most dynamic, growing, visually gorgeous, and infrastructurally developed area in Montenegro, which leaves us practically no other choice.
However, if movers choose a different municipality for any reason, we will support them in their choice and seek to frequently contact with them, however we can't guarantee the level of support and cooperation that they could already get by settling in Budva.
Still, until we have established our headquarters there, the preferred municipality could change.
The cost of short-term renting is constantly changing depending on the season. Long-term renting is, naturally, cheaper. At the moment, during the pandemic, monthly rent on a one bedroom apartment ranges between 250-600 EUR on average. The main task of the project at the moment is to organize mechanisms of drastically reducing the cost of living, to facilitate the move of more people. However, even right now you can save money by splitting the rent with someone else. You may find it helpful to refer to the following poll for people willing to cohabitate: https://t.me/Seasteading_EastEurope/10418
Montenegrin is very close to Serbian, just with a different alphabet and roughly 5% of the words are different. Therefore, for the greater reach, it's better to learn Serbian or Croatian and then switch to Montenegrin. A special chat for learning Montenegrin and discussing related questions: https://t.me/joinchat/ZyqNMWZPp0k5NjEy
The first movers have already settled in Montenegro, all others are encouraged to move when their circumstances allow. The sooner, the better!
For a large list of countries, Montenegro allows a 90 day visit without a visa. If you wish to stay longer, you will need to apply for a residence permit. To apply for a residence permit, you will need: valid passport, diploma, no criminal record certificate, birth and marriage certificate.
Depends on your moving strategy and how you plan to earn income.
As discussed above, long-term rent will run you between 250-600 euro for a single bedroom apartment in Budva. Short stays will be more expensive, and vary a lot between the seasons. You can use AirBnB to check seasonal prices.
If you settle, you may consider cutting costs by splitting the rent with someone else - please vote in and see the Telegram poll for potential candidates!
The simplest way of acquiring a guaranteed residence permit will cost you 400 EUR a month, for more detail see
To calculate your monthly expenses you may use this rough guide to consumer prices: https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living/budva
For young, motivated low-income movers there are options for moving whose cost will practically equal transportation costs (which can be brought down to zero if you hitchhike). If you are willing to volunteer for local enterprises with full accommodation, you may check some of them at the following link:
If a person is willing to work with their hands, he will get by anywhere, and it makes sense not to waste time and combine adaptation in such extreme environments with looking for better job prospects, rather than doing the same in your country of origin. If you're starting completely from scratch, you will need to perform manual labor in either case, and it's better to begin doing it and combine it with orientation on the ground.
If you do not wish to open your own business, apply to vacancies inside the project, or volunteer with accomodation as mentioned above, or do freelance/remote work, then there is of course the option of looking for vacancies on one of the local job searches:
Considering the importance of fast integration of our members into the local environment, we strongly recommend you consider this option first, even if you later intend to work remotely or open your own business. You will always be able to quit your job, and the prospect finding employment in the country will not only allow you to make your decision to move with more certainty, but will also accelerate your adaptation to your new home.
If you plan on doing business here, you need to legalize your stay here by starting a firm and paying taxes on it (60eur or higher). Other than that, the following are some of the taxes you should expect to pay:
Income tax - 9%
VAT - 21%, or for items of special necessity (food and textbooks, as well as rent payments) - 7%
Gun ownership in Montenegro is legal, including for self-defense. The country is one of the highest in the world for gun ownership per capita, (15 guns per 100 people) - and 50% of the increase happened over the last decade. As of 2012, 12% of households in the country are armed, and people aged 16 and over are able, without prior experience, to purchase various kinds of firearms except for automatic. More on gun policy here:
Crypto is not regulated by law, and is therefore allowed and openly used in the country. Considering that Montenegro has no national currency of its own, there is hope that this policy will continue in the future. To follow our plans on developing the crypto infrastructure in Montenegro, see the following chat (Russian):
Responses to objections
Compared to other Eastern European countries, Montenegro can get quite expensive. One solution to this is to get here and integrate into the labor market and climb up the ladder, but we are also working on ways to decrease the cost of living, mostly by organizing affordable housing for our movers, and free help in their naturalization.
Other problems include an underdeveloped social infrastructure which leads to things like having to cross a border to get some service, rather than get it done here, but lower quality and at a higher price. However, the everyday problems of living in Montenegro are for us, as advocates of free enterprise and market economy, a market niche and a possibility to address this need through entrepreneurship.
We understand that the main vulnerability of the project is the rejection of foreigners by the local population, and will do everything we can to avoid such a reaction. For this, we will try to avoid making any direct statements of commentary on Montenegrin politics, and let our local supporters take up this task. Instead, we intend to concentrate on helping and boosting them with our volunteer efforts.
Another problem is the possible roadblocks to reform in the state, or the lack of willingness in the local mentality to accept certain values of freedom - in this case, we don't intend to give up, merely to change our rhetoric and forms of discourse, until the response will be sufficiently large.
The next, obvious risk is the in-fighting and splitting up of our community, something common to ideological movements. We immediately anticipate it by not having a centralized structure with formal leaders, opting instead for decentralized decision-making by independent initiative groups. In the beginning, the decentralized network structure can split off into an offshoot, but if this amplifies the group's achievement of their goals, we wil try to preserve this new structure.
A practical risk is that we won't be able to form a large and stable enough cash flow, so that the majority of the movers can arrive here, considering that at this moment the economy is quite closed, and the life here quite expensive. In the first place we intend to solve this problem by prioritizing remote workers, who are able to make enough money to have a comfortable life in
Montenegro, as well as entrepreneurs who will be able to create jobs, including for our movers who may not be as good at creating their own company. Montenegro will soon join the European Union, which is famous for its meddling bureaucracy and paternalism. This is anything but a free environment, so what's the point in trying to change this toxic system?
We have considered only small, multi-ethnic, coastal, and democratic countries to consolidate our efforts. Unfortunately, as a rule, such countries are either already in the EU, or are working to join it, so our sample is quite small. It might be possible to find a coastal, multi-ethnic microstate which would also be democratic, without a possibility of invasion, although even in this case our ability to move there will be restricted due to its remoteness and the costs of visiting it. .
Therefore, we would like to focus on the positive aspects of Montenegrin euro-integration. They are numerous:
- The common European market is a massive source of sales and investments, migrants and innovations. We can be sure that the prices of real estate will continue to rise, especially as European citizens move to sunny Montenegro for their retirement.
- The perspectives of joining the EU drastically increase the ease of moving there from other European countries and other parts of the world, due to the argument above. The adminstrative limits and low legitimacy of common European institutions won't let them completely take over the national government, but it will let them weaken the government, not only in favour of increasing and distant bureaucratisation, but also in favour of the civil society on the ground and municipal governments, whose power it is our priority to boost.
- If we remain optimistic enough to believe in the perspective of good reforms in the European Union, for instance it's transition to functioning federalism where citizens without changing their status are able to switch jurisdictions and the accompanying costs and regulations of their activities, then the EU could have much more potential, and local successes and good practices in a small and open country will be able to influence the public opinion in Europe, and from there the whole world.
We already have a theoretically worked-through plan B which is developing in the following Telegram chat (Russian):
Its realization will require mobilizing a much larger amount of resources and, keeping this possibility in mind, we are trying to settle on the coast and actively learn about ship operation. This is because the plan involves:
- The creation of a virtual jurisdiction in the form of a confederation of sovereign individuals;
- Investing into ocean surveys in neutral waters;
- Searching there for an elevated spot on a continental shelf, where watters are shallow enough to settle but the bottom doesn't quite reach sea level;
- Creating creating either a man-made island, or a floating platform, in that area. Deploying the necessary infrastructure for survival and long term settlement;
- The declaration of a new confederation on that land, moving from virtual to unrecognised status;
- Further expansion of the population, along with worldwide diplomatic efforts for recognition;
- Subsequent development of this new society, which will result from its status as fully economically free. This will also result in the spread of this model to other aspiring nations.
At this point this option is being developed in the background, but if we get clear signals of the unconditional rejection of our efforts of institutional development in Montenegro, our priorities will switch in this direction.