citizens of nowhere
The Disturbing Rise of Mass Denationalization

Mass denationalization of citizens was a vicious aspect of 20th century totalitarian regimes, and it appears to be coming back.

Published on: April 12, 2014
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  • Pete

    “Homeless and stateless, the denationalized person cannot even be arrested or put on trial and imprisoned in accord with the law, .. ”


    • free_agent

      Yes, that quote is clearly wrong. The truth, though, my be worse: “The denationalized person is still subject to prosecution by any state that claims jurisdiction over his actions, but is no longer under the protection of any nation, and may be substantially deprived of his right to defend himself.”

  • Andrew Allison

    This article falsely equates denationalization of individual terrorists with the totalitarian denationalization of entire ethnic groups. There is no mass denationalization occurring in the UK. That said, denationalization of an individual should not be at the whim of a bureaucrat, or even a Star Chamber like FISC. Every citizen threaten with loss of rights has the right to a fair trial.

    • Guest

      You obviously haven’t even read the article. Read the article.

      • Andrew Allison

        You are obviously brain dead. Go away.

    • Blaton Hardey

      This article discusses two types of denationalization. It doesn’t equate them.

      • Andrew Allison

        “Mass denationalization of citizens was a vicious aspect of 20th century totalitarian regimes, and it appears to be coming back.”

    • Jim__L

      “Defend the rights of all by defending the rights of each” is a fairly common strategy in this game.

  • Joe Eagar

    Roger Berkowitz is paraphrasing the arguments used by the Supreme Court when it banned denationalization in America as cruel and unusual punishment. I agree with the argument, but Berkowitz should really have noted his source.

  • Anthony

    Essay inferentially argues for citizenship priority over sovereignty denationalization – “…depriving some people of their status as citizens does not deprive them simply of rights, but also leaves them fully outside the sphere of organized human society.” On one level essay infers democratic rule of law regimes are under obligation to prioritize citizenship when weighed next to Leviathan (untethered citizenship revocation ought not be state tool under regime of rule of law). In particular, essay’s argument to my mind rests on metric of denationalization abuse by state actors premised on sovereign threat (but still, how do we get there). Roger Berkowitz asserts absolute state authority but intimates not only caution but also perhaps governmental restraint (a dangerous road). In the same way, what number constitutes “mass” denationalization thereto. On the other hand, are subjected class of outlaws more exposed by denationalization than by being declared enemies of state – operating under rule of law (recognizing theoretically right to have rights). On the whole, essay leaves to reader to balance “the sovereign right of a nation to control who is nationalized or denationalized is unchallenged and it is true that citizenship is a privilege” against the perils of sanctioned statelessness.

  • free_agent

    Calling this “mass denationalization” is clearly incorrect, as only dozens are affected, and each are individually targeted.

    That being said, the concept is entirely contradictory to the rule of law. It means that someone can be punished for a suspected crime by purely bureaucratic action. It’s even worse than a bill of attainder.

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