February 2021 to February 2022 is the Year of Realism in Sandus.
This year marks the tenth anniversary since the birth of Realism in Sandus, a political theory that has long made a lasting impact on how Sandus is governed and how we approach micronationalism in general. Realism is what sets Sandus apart from other micronations and orients our intellectual approach to our country’s government.
In Sandus, Realism is a type of Middle Way—between the extremes of idealistic secessionism and comical simulationism.
Realism gets its name from political realism that seeks to examine the harsh realities of political and international forces. Rather than a focus on power, however, Sandum Realism examines the activity of a micronation, that is, the work a micronation and its people do. It seeks to maximise a micronation’s activity, all while also recognising and accommodating for the ontological difference between micronations and macronations. Gaius Soergel Publicola first introduced the concept on 13 February 2012 to distinguish between the attitudes of hobbyist, virtual, simulationist, and secessionist micronations and to emphasise the need to be serious and professional if a micronation seeks to augment its legitimacy.
Of course, Sandum Realism smacks of specificity to the State of Sandus: but the lessons are transferable and can be applied far beyond Sandus alone.
Activity, Activation Energy
Activity refers to the work a micronation and its people do. It is an abstract term referring to whole labour that a micronation’s government and its citizens do for or on behalf of a micronation. This is a micronation’s “power.”
Activation Energy draws our attention to the fact that micronationalists have a limited cache of human labour. Certain conditions within a micronation (e.g., the government structure, culture, social forces) may foster or hinder a micronation’s activity.
All micronations need a philosophy: not just the combination of all the beliefs and attitudes of a micronation, but also a micronation’s vision and mission for why it exists and what it stands for.
Anyone can declare them to be a monarch but what sets Sandus apart from many micronations is that we have a national philosophy, one that sees that all people suffer and our role as a country is to alleviate their suffering, socially and holistically.
Active Micronational Cultural Development
Sandum Realism expanded upon Rennie-Gaffneyism’s Active Micronational Cultural Development theory. Micronations cannot simply be a political entity, but must also work to develop their own unique culture and its various components: beliefs, norms, traditions, art, clothing, food, and language.
The “active” in AMCD refers to activity and activation energy. Micronational culture is necessary for long-term micronational activity—and it cannot just be symbols.
Looks may be deceiving. Many micronations claim to be a republic, a federation, or other similarly complex systems of government. But how a micronations operates in reality can be defined differently.
For much of Sandus’s history before 2011, Sandus claimed to be a republic, a direct democracy, or a constitutional monarchy: in effect, all Sandum activity before 2011 was largely done by one person, the contemporary Sôgmô.
13 February 2012
The first Realist treatise, micronations here are categorised based on their worldview—and the seeds of a “realist” perspective is born.
13 April 2012
How can we imagine a socialist micronation in reality? A few examples allow us to imagine other forms of grassroots socialism like we have.
9 September 2012
This well-known treatise clarifies just how micronations can develop activity and culture, and lists the ways they can do it.
24 January 2013
At a time when Sandus bore a bare truth without ostentation—that its founder governed it as an absolute monarch—this treatise examined how Sandus truly was and imagined a republic that would later bloom.
26 July 2013
Micronationalism offers a new perspective on the question of nationalism, one based on significance and not birth.
12 October 2013
How can micronations develop grassroots culture and avoid top-down dictates? Ancient history can provide a solution.
31 August 2016
A critique of culturally-dominant Realism, Barnet’s “Matter Realism” reminds us that realist activity should also mean real, tangible things.
20 July 2018
Long focused on instances of micronational identity like holidays, how else can a micronation transform our citizens’ identity?
6 April 2012
Micronations are not just political entities—they are cultural ones, too, and their success depends on developing a unique culture.
3 June 2012
All micronations have a finite capacity for activity, and their political and social conditions dictate what that capacity is.
1 November 2012
Activity and culture, sure—but what for? This essay clarifies that the Sandum vision and mission is, and why all micronations need one.
9 March 2013
Realist micronation meets online: are we “virtual” now? Well, not quite…
2 September 2013
How else can micronations imagine the territory they populate? This treatise resists macronational modes of thinking about land.
10 April 2016
In a micronation where citizenship is semantic, not ontological, “family” begins to taken on new meanings—thanks, too, to queer contributions.
11 September 2016
A response to “Matter Realism,” the Sôgmô reminds us of the Realist discourse of yesteryears and the tangibility of cultural production.
22 May 2020
Going back to basics, a micronation’s culture should not—let alone cannot—just be a carbon-copy of another venerable tradition, where paradoxes abound.
“Realism can be both taught and self-created.”
C. Soergel Publicola, “The Fire of the Central Hearth”
13 February 2012