The solstice is here, standing at about the halfway point in the cold half of the year. The solstice in Sandus has long been a thoughtful time of year. Not only must we contend with thinking about good nature and magnanimity, but we also pause to reflect on what has changed in the past year and what will change in the year to come. This year, that marks the end of a decade both in the Gregorian calendar and also for Sandus as a micronation, makes pause to turn our minds to what has changed in the last decade.
For our citizens, the last year and the last decade have been extraordinary. For many of us, we accomplished life-long goals. We attended college, graduated or are about to graduate, and have found new jobs and passions. Some of us went to graduate school, fell in love, moved homes, and found our independence. The same that is true for us individually is true for us collectively: Sandus has come home, in many ways.
The first decade of our existence has been a historic one. We have arrived at a constitution that suits our small and eclectic nation. Our republic is tripartite: the monarchy continues to reign, as it has for the entire decade on and off in various forms. The Party continues to govern, guiding the People and the State to new and further goals. And, halfway through this decade, the People became a force through their own power, establishing unanimously by national referendum the Council. This constitution matches the Sandum Philosophy well with its tripartite elements—Buddhism, Socialism, and Sancta (pluralism)—and the politics of the State of Sandus—such as Libera (self-determination), Realism, Philia (independent cultural development), and Autarky (self-reliance).
These politics, this philosophy, this republican constitution match so well the pluralistic culture of our nation.
Taken all together, the history of our micronation and of our personal and collective development in the decade attests to the magnanimity of our people. So frequently these days, especially at this time of year, magnanimity is so significant in the lives and concerns of our citizens.
Sôgmô Gaius Soergel Publicola
Winter Solstice Election: Habemus heredem! Common Economy Treaty passes national referendum
Sandus has voted. Another year in anticipation for the Winter Solstice, the Sovereign People have voted to support key policy objectives set by the Sôgmô and the Party over the course of the year. The election results have been heralded as a strong statement of support for the Central People’s Government’s program, but the greatest show of support has been for the Sôgmô’s continued reign and for the election of Sandus’s first heir.
Of eligible voters, 70% participated in the election. 85.7% of the ballots cast were anglophone while 14.3% were francophone.
The Sandum People voted unanimously in support of the Sôgmô’s continued reign in Sandus’s peculiar constitutional arrangement where the monarch has committed themself to obtaining the Sovereign People’s legitimacy each year on the Winter Solstice. Not once has a vote in opposition been cast (though of course that day may come) in an election that has great potential ramifications for the constitution of our republic. By law and custom, a failure to secure legitimacy calls the sagamorial reign into question and may precipitate further constitutional reforms or, even, the dissolution of the country’s elected monarchy.
Habemus heredem! Nous avons un héritier ! We have an heir!
After a year-long process to find the first heir of the State of Sandus, the Sovereign People of the State of Sandus have elected Jan DeWitt to be heir elected of the State of Sandus. He is the first holder of such position which he will continue to hold for five years by law. If the Sôgmô should pass away or be incapacitated, the heir will fill þess shoes. He shall continue to be heir with the Sôgmô’s good faith and, in five years time, he may continue to be our heir if he so wishes and if the Sôgmô prorogues his office.
By law, the heir has no responsibilities or roles apart from “those granted by the Sôgmô in þess old age or at expedient times” and preparing to take the metaphorical throne. (There is no actual throne in Sandus.) But the position is left open to allow the heir to take on more responsibilities and to determine his own projects in preparation for leading Sandus on his own. DeWitt will be invested as the heir elected officially later in the season at a ceremony both meant to establish a noble precedent for the future and that will also be meaningful for him, his friends, and his family.
At the investiture, DeWitt will formally receive his title of nobility, receive teachings relevant to running the State of Sandus, and will be celebrated by his invited guests.
Common Economy Treaty passes unanimously, approving of new facet of the Social System
The Sovereign People have voted unanimously to approve the treaty that establishes the Common Economy between Sandus and Überstadt. The treaty details the new organ’s values and objectives, as well as its placement within the Social System as both within but not synonymous (i.e., not coterminous with) with the system as a whole. The treaty also declares that the Common Economy will be established on 10 January 2020 if the treaty is ratified, which is the anniversary of the publication of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, and determines the timeline for future developments and agreements.
The Common Economy is a nascent organ of the Social System currently shared by Sandus and Überstadt. Since they first entered into a social relationship in July 2014, the two states’ leaders have held extensive discussion on their goals for socialist economic development. The Common Economy will formally put them into economic union to advance their shared aims.
Now that Sandus has ratified the Common Economy Treaty (CET) in its solstice election, Überstadt’s parliament will hold its own ratification vote, which is expected to succeed. The Common Economy will then enter force on 10 January 2020, chosen to commemorate the publication of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense.
The CET establishes a timeline for the next two years of economic regulation to facilitate development. This includes treaties on common rules for cooperatives and state companies in Summer 2020, a shared monetary system in Winter 2020, and standards for production and trade in Summer 2021. This process will be governed by the renamed Commission for the Common Economy, now removed from the Citizens’ Party and comprising the two states’ heads of government and economy ministers.
Charity Taxes still Incoming, but up from Summer
Declarations of charity taxes are still trickling in, but even with the few declarations that have made their way in donations and volunteer work are up since Summer 2019 when only $420.84 was declared, down drastically from Summer 2018’s $1,628.71. Summer 2019 marked the lowest reported charity and hours volunteered since Spring 2016.
To date, $728.68 have been donated to charity since the Autumnal equinox on 23 September. Citizens donated to religious organisations, charitable and political organisations, and philanthropic causes. Citizens have also volunteered 88.5 hours since then, too, for cultural events, political education, helping comrades in difficult circumstances, by taking charge of group projects and going above and beyond what was expected, and religious service.
Investiture of the Heir planned for February
The investiture of the heir will take place in mid-February on our around the time of the Day of Secession or Realism Day. The investiture will feature a formal greeting and induction with DeWitt and his wife followed by a several-hours-long teaching and education on the State of Sandus, its philosophy and politics, and the role and powers of the Sôgmô. This teaching will be structured and will focus on the Sandum Philosophy, the Sandum constitution, and on micronationalism generally.
DeWitt’s investiture will be private and open to invitation by the heir only, though parts will be livestreamed. It will feature vows and oaths traditional to the Office of the Sôgmô and will also feature oaths that the heir comes up with himself. This ceremony and future ones will be based on this four-part model of a formal reception of the heir elect by the Sôgmô, followed by a private lesson, and finished with the formal investiture ceremony at which invited guests may come and celebrate.
The lesson will feature components on the Sandum Philosophy, the history of our micronation, our micronation’s culture (including traditions, holidays, the calendar, mentalité or ethos, and languages), our politics and international relations, and Sandus’s place in the broader micronational world and movement. It will include ample discussion followed by an oral examination, after which DeWitt may formally take up the office of heir.
At the investiture, the heir will also be entitled and ennobled and will receive the title of “the Homard” (French for “lobster”), a title exclusively for use by the heir and akin to the Ancien Régime French dauphin. In addition to the title Homard, the heir will also receive the Barony of the Maumee, named after a prominent river in the Great Lakes region that featured in revolutionary indigenous leader Tecumseh’s war against the nascent United States. The Maumee is also the eponymous river that gave name to the 1817 Treaty of the Maumee Rapids. In that treaty, the Potawatomi, Ottawa, and Anishinaabe were coerced to cede the region where Quercus Candida province now is found to the United States. That is, the so-called Cession 66.
CPG to Reform Charity Taxes, Social Suffrage in 2020
Adam I of Überstadt has raised concerns with the Sôgmô over Aaron von Friedeck’s exclusion from the ballot box in the 2019 Winter Solstice Elections. The diplomatic protest, which has also been received as a sagamorial petition in the State of Sandus, concerns the legal requirements for social citizens to receive and exercise extraordinary suffrage.
By law and custom, social citizens are not normally eligible to vote in Sandus. But some (like those who come from Überstadt, a Social System member) may receive suffrage but they are obliged to perform and to declare charity taxes each equinox and solstice. In effect, moreover, out of the four solstices and equinoctes in a year, social citizens are required to declare two before they are considered eligible voters in the annual Winter Solstice elections.
Prince Aaron, however, has been serving on a religious mission since 2018, meaning that, since then, he has neither received the Sôgmô’s courtesy reminder to citizens, which usually takes the form of a Facebook message, nor has been made aware of the obligation for receiving suffrage.
King Adam I has argued that the lack of care to contact the prince to make him aware of the requirement amounts to religious discrimination, while the Sôgmô has argued that the message is a courtesy and that the prince should have been aware of the obligation from previous times that he has voted. Regardless, the Sôgmô acknowledged a lack of sensitivity and care in encouraging von Friedeck to declare his charity and that það could have done more to encourage his participation and lawful suffrage. Það has also apologised to Aaron von Friedeck directly for the oversight.
Both leaders will now work on solutions to fix the problem of Sandus’s disorganised and haphazard system of charity taxes. Possible solutions include sharing the responsibility across members of government, developing more robust procedures and ways to contact citizens, and the renewal of a form to declare charity taxes.
Winter Honours List: Heir to be ennobled, plus one MΑθΠ, another COTS, and two new MOTS
Since his election to the office of the heir, Jan DeWitt will in the following season formally become Homard Jan DeWitt, Heir to the Sôgmô, and he will be entitled to the Barony of the Maumee. This new title and fiefdom will become standard for heirs and will feature prominently in their education and upbringing as sôgmôk in training. The barony will be for use of present and future heirs in a way similar to the English Duchy of Lancaster, the Scottish Duchy of Rothesay, the French Dauphiny of Viennois, or the Spanish Principality of Asturias.
Honourable Order of Athena Pronoea:
Congratulations are due to Akhilkumar Indurti, a Sandum citizen since 2014, who has recently graduated with a Bachelor’s degree of Science (BS) in Computer Science from the University of Virginia. His graduation means that he has been promoted to the rank of Member in the Honourable Order of Athena Pronœa (MΑθΠ).
Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus:
In recognition of his service to the State of Sandus, his election to the position of heir, and his help in organising and throwing cultural events that have improved civil society and cultural life in Sandus and beyond, Jan DeWitt has been promoted to the rank of Commander (COTS) in the Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus.
Two people have also been awarded membership in the order. Artemis Baca has been awarded membership in recognition of her service to the State of Sandus as Facilitator of the Council in the last year. She has spearheaded many initiatives and has received the confidence both of the Sôgmô and also of the Party Secretary. Prince Philip of Pibocip, whom the Sôgmô, Sanôba, and Party Secretary met and become friendly with this past summer at MicroCon 2019 in Hamilton, Ontario, has also been awarded membership in the order. Both are now entitled to use the postnominal letters MOTS.