the Blue Lecture—a Sagamorial Speech for the New Year and Decade

The Office of the Sôgmô has released and shared a written speech on the occasion of the New Gregorian Year and the beginning of the new decade. The speech, called the “Blue Lecture,” comments both on Sandus’s history in the last decade but also on the country’s focus in the coming decade and beyond.

Read the speech below.

Dear Comrade Citizens, friends and allies of Sandus, toti humani,

The New Gregorian Year marks not only the beginning of a new decade in the Gregorian calendar but also the start of Sandus’s second decade of existence. In such a small country as ours, which we have crafted and built with our hands and our minds, we are frequently concerned whether Sandus will continue to exist after our brief lives have expired. We are fearful that the work we have put into this country will have been in vain, that our efforts could have been better spent elsewhere.

I must admit: nowhere does that fear exist for me. I am confident that this work, this way of life, and this country are precisely what I needed in the present. I hope that you join me in not wishing the past were different—but rather making sure that our present is the best we can accomplish.

I am also not worried because we have done what we can. In the last decade, we constructed a micronation with its own unique philosophy. This philosophy observes and maintains the suffering at the heart of existence and becoming, but it also poses a remedy: that we as individuals can do what we can according to our own philosophies, our religions, and our cultures to better ourselves and improve and preserve our welfare; but also that we as a community can do what we can to create a livelihood in common with our fellow beings. This philosophy respects, at its heart, the need both for individualism and the need for the collective, two “impulses” that contemporary capitalism makes us believe are exclusive and contradictory. Not so in our country that trudges down the middle path.

This philosophy will live on with or without us. But this country exists both within and because of us, and the last decade has seen us develop a pragmatic, Realist approach to our micronational and macronational politics. We will not, we realise, achieve absolute political independence—but independence for micronations is not and should not be seen as some elusive goal: it is the independence, the autonomy, the sovereignty that we think and therefore possess. For us, an “imagined” nation is not a slur—for, as a country of intellectuals, we know all nations (micro and macro alike) are “imagined.”

We have gone beyond the mental limitations the contemporary nation-state presumes to place upon us, but this liberation—much like nirvana—is not yet fully realised. We have developed our own politics and our own theories of governance, all inspired by the need and the drive for self-determination, self-sufficiency, and personal and collective autonomy. But, even more important, we have constructed a system of government that seeks to realise and to achieve those political and social aspirations—while uplifting the oppressed and suffering of the world and maintaining the good weal and culture of our people.

That system of government, too, which reflects such an eclectic and eccentric and rightfully proud group of people, is in the best tradition of political philosophy. It has as its inspiration the minds of Greece, philosophers like Aristotle and historians like Polybius, when it calls for its separation of powers and the subservience of the personal will to the community’s compact; it has the political culture of indigenous peoples of the Americas and of Africa in mind, too, when it shines a bright light on the people’s democratic avenues to petition and redress from those in authority; it has also the revolutionary traditions of our socialist forebearers when we strive for pragmatism and both the people’s and the worker’s control of our ways of life. This is the secret wisdom kept within our constitution—in the fact that the monarchy exists here under the elected power of the people through the Sôgmô, that the most dedicated and hardest working amongst us are the rightful custodians of our way of life through the Party, and that all citizens in Sandus (no matter where they come from, the colour of their skin, or the sacred and holy creed they profess, or the people they love, the gender they are, the class they are or the work they do) possess the right to vote in our quotidian political decisions through the Council. But this government minds our minds, too, when it recognises that this government exists both on laws and on principles and conventions. Such a republic as ours does not cease to think about what is “right” or “just,” but even continues to think about what is “compassionate” and “appropriate.”

These are our holy and sanctified words—what we do advantageously for the People of Sandus (Populo Sande).

The prime feature of this advantage that Sandus gives us is intangible. It is this philosophy and this way of life, but more poignantly that advantage is the culture that we have come to develop, to cherish, and—now—to share both with each other and those around us. This culture does not seek to “other” those unlike us, nor does it seek to control and make beneficial to us (whether monetarily or not) what those unlike us produce or hold as integral to their own existence. We Sandum People, however, seek to find humanity in all people, to celebrate with all people who reciprocate our human dignity, and to share the burdens and sorrows of those for whom our compassion was first contrived. We strive not to make those very emblemata of their peoplehood detrimental to them and hope to be both allies in struggle and solidarity and (at the very least) humane, compassionate, and intentionally thoughtful at all times. Our culture aims at working-class solidarity, at internationalism, and at humanity and compassion for all beings. It is for this reason that we have created and celebrated so many holidays with such refreshing traditions. And, again, this createdness is no slur to us: it represents the autonomy we strive to possess and the reality we see in the world around us mired by elites’ creations. The difference is that we believe we can be our own creators, too.

This has been the general extent of the micronation we have created in the last decade. Lost in this recounting of our history are the personal complexities, the many events of controversy and intrigue, the latent and patent failures or sadnesses that impact our psyches, and the emotions that many of us still feel if we were to reflect on certain times. I know that I still feel them, as well.

The last year, however, has been one of reconciliation and of our continuous drive to look ahead to the future. We have put aside enmities long and old (ones that have are fresh and new and others that have lasted the whole decade) and we restated our commitment to forgiveness, even if we cannot or may not forget. Some sought to speak for how a détente should look, and that appearance was too legalistic and unlike us; we responded that reconciliation must get to the roots of conflict and distrust, reconciliation that would address past, present, and future conflict. Where that reconciliation failed, we remained committed to the idea of forgiveness, which is unilateral and judiciously (and justly) dispensed. With other reconciliations, however, we fared better—and, in other arenas, reaffirmed our already strong friendships and commitments with other micronations, especially our Francophone allies and our social partners.

The last year, too, will mean that Sandus will more likely survive beyond me alone. The entire year was consumed with the process of electing an heir. Now, almost a year since the search began, “habemus heredem!” Jan DeWitt, a close friend and confidante and my colleague at the university where I am pursuing my PhD. in Ancient History, has been elected heir, and I am confident in both his abilities to govern responsibly and judiciously and also his having the necessary calculating mind able to comprehend nuance that will allow him to govern a micronation such as ours. In 2020, Dr. DeWitt will complete his dissertation on Roman constitutionalism and magistrates, such as aediles and their institutional and political relationship to other rungs on the Ancient Roman cursus honorum. Jan is not just qualified in many matters of history and philosophy but also many more matters of the arts and humanities. These will not only serve him well as he enters the professorial class, but also will serve him well in such a complex and complicated micronation such as ours that is bound together by haphazard laws with questionable staying power (much like Roman law, another of his specialties), conscious and thus not-always-communicated political culture, and unspoken or at least unwritten political convention.

This will not be Jan’s first glimpse at micronationalism, however: his past almost-three-years experience with Sandus places him on the same level as many other micronationalists. But he stands out in being heir and, if my office should be vacant, he will be unique in that he will have succeeded—thereby placing him in a very small group of micronationalists who have a holy oath not only of their own making but also in his and his citizens’ memory of their friend and forebearer. This February, I will entrust Jan to this sacred duty—a sacred duty that will make Sandus’s survival more certain.

The investiture of Sandus’s first heir will not be the first or even only major event in the new year. We will have much more to look forward to in 2020. At the recent Winter Solstice elections, the Sovereign People voted to approve of the plan for a socialist economy held in common between Sandus and her social partners both now and in the future. We will join and form an even stronger and closer bond with our friends, our comrades, and our social partners in Überstadt through this common economy, and we will better and improve our own micronation in the process. This improvement will entail reform of our national economy and the further development both of our economic system and of individual cooperatives, as well as their revitalisation. With these economic reforms, too, we hope and expect that more and more people will take a part in our micronational government—ensuring that hierarchies are broken in Sandus as we break them in our everyday lives.

With Überstadt, too, we will join our friends and Francophone allies in Saint-Castin to form another close and friendly bond by setting up the Borean Community as another avenue for broadly left-wing solidarity in the Americas. With this community, we hope to encourage cooperation and friendly intermicronational friendships with nations of many backgrounds, languages, and dispositions who share our values of compassionate internationalism, human rights and human dignity, and uplift of the working-class. With our partners, we will work to identify micronations that fit the bill and encourage them to become members of the community—but the real work will begin with the envisioned conferences the community has planned that will share information on key problems facing micronations and the world today and information on our individual micronations, too. Though the Borean Community is not slated to serve any business- or policy-related functions, it will prove indispensable as a platform for open access information-sharing and organisational development.

Again with Überstadt, our closest historical ally that has been at Sandus’s side since July 2014, and earlier, I will travel together with Facilitator Artemis Baca in March to be present in the Pacific Northwest with King Adam I as his kingdom celebrates its decennary. She and I will represent the finest tradition of the Central People’s Government of the State of Sandus as we celebrate with His Majesty the King and the Royal Family in Rosewood.

Encore une fois avec nos amis et nos alliés francophones : ma poste comme secrétaire adjoint chargé de la Culture et du développement de la francophonie (où je représente l’État sande) se terminera le mai. Ma tenure semblera inactive et tardive, si on regarde mon activité depuis le mai 2019. J’ai promis plus d’activité et plus d’effort dans cette position, et malheureusement il y aura quelques mois pour honorer mes vœux. Mais en juillet j’étais ensemble avec le sanôba et le roi überstadtais, et de plus avec nos partenaires francophones à Hamilton à la convention des micronations, ou MicroCon 2019. Nous tous discutions des racines qui nous rejoignent, de la culture, de la langue, et aussi de la politique internationale pour les droits de l’homme. Pendant ma candidature j’ai voulu être secrétaire qui encouragerait ces discussions comme cela, et je suis fier que je puisse commencer et continuer la discussion culturelle dans notre organisation qui est très proche à mon cœur. J’espérais que ma tenure soit plus active et que j’aie commencé de plus. Je partage avec mes collègues votre déception, et je vais essayer d’être plus actif au siège de l’OMF. Je ne quitte pas ma poste, mais je vais prendre plus de temps pour me réfléchir et pour planifier un objet pour le reste de ma tenure. Peut-être, en effet, j’ai déjà découvert une idée : une conversation téléphone entre nos membres au but de la culture.

Ici, le rôle de la langue française reste de la plupart au travail de l’organisation internationale de l’OMF chez nous. Dans l’année et la décennie suivantes, mon gouvernement augmentera le multilinguisme dans notre pays où l’internationalisme se trouve au cœur, ne pas seulement pour les affaires sandes mais aussi pour que nous pensons ici que l’étude des langues qui ne sont pas les nôtres nous rendre le monde ouvert. 20% de sandes comprennent le français, mais juste 7% peuvent le parler. C’est mon objectif, l’éducation de nos citoyens en une des trois langues officielles sandes pour que d’ici 2025, la plupart des citoyens sandes actifs connaissent deux de nos trois langues officielles. C’est un but qui m’implique : comme professeur et instructeur, j’enseignerais le français et aussi le latin.

Ut rei lingua latina est : tredecim per centum (13%) Sandi scribunt et loquuntur latine, sed viginti per centum (20%) legunt litteras latinas. In annis proximis, Civitas nostra docebit Sandebus linguas nostras, quas anglicam, latinam, et francogallicam habeo. Ut opera Ciceronis, Augustini Hipponensis, historica et satyrica (quid genus litterarum Civitati Sande et totis autem micronationibus proximum penso), et plura quam ego animadvertam legant, Sandebus edam in paedagogia totum civium atque et plurium. Huic linguae latine locuturos Sandos non tendo, sed illae litterae legendae sic significant tam grava genera impendentque menti nationis ut ego quae necesse numerae Sanderum eruditioni edocendae sint faciam, et ut ampliam cultum Sande.

That development of Sandum culture our government will continue to further in the new decade. In the new decade, I envision a Sandus where our fellow citizens embrace each other more, travel to see each other more at times and places where we do more together, and share more of our lives together. I envision a country marked by shared cultural traditions and holidays, even when far apart, from the already historic Armilustrium festival to envisioned holidays like a revamped Athena’s Day and other new traditions yet unseen and unimagined. I envision a country with more traditions around major life events and ceremonies and rituals that mark our dissent from contemporary capitalism and consumerist culture. I envision a country where our citizens do not just have job security but, in this day and age of increasing uncertainty, food security—and, for the future (as our quality of life is expected to decrease), security of our general well-being. I envision a people marked by a common passion, a zeal for liberation. I envision a country willing and able to meet and rise above these challenges, challenges that face not only our small country but indeed all humanity.

To face these challenges, we must keep sight of two things: our own individual weal and the collective good. Such is very Sandum. We must see our individual role in the climate crisis, and change accordingly. We must see our place in rising waves of white supremacy, fascist apologetics, and state violence (metaphorical or not). We must combat rising anti-Semitism, but we must also acknowledge that no state should be built on creed or race. In the United States and United Kingdom, we ought to stand against the rise of interpersonal violence and mass murder, whether at hands armed with knives or bearing military-style firearms. We should encourage local horticulture and local economies in an effort to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and to encourage self-reliance. We must resist war and militarism in all its forms, and end police brutality. We must advocate against student debt, for a living wage, and for social programs and benefits for the marginalised and oppressed scattered not just across our macronations—but who are right here next to us, in our neighbourhoods, in our towns and cities, on our streets and in our public spaces. We must acknowledge, learn, and undermine the legacy of imperialism, colonialism, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy—and we must uplift restoratively victims and their descendants whose lives are still shaped by monolithic societal processes. We must do these things not just because they are the marks of good, decent, compassionate people—but because these people are us. They are human, sentient beings with emotions, lives, and successes and failures that we share. They are our neighbours, our friends, our family, our comrade citizens—and they deserve the compassion we would seek for ourselves.

These revolutionary commitments are not foreign to us. They are the very fabric of our country. We already do stand and advocate for our socialist politics in this country, as is our human, inalienable right. We do stand for the right of all people to work—but also for their right to an education, housing, food, and healthcare; the right to culture, conscience, and privacy. Here, we do acknowledge that there is a climate emergency, one not manufactured for political gain but that is wreaking havoc upon our lands and peoples. We do acknowledge there is a health and livelihood crisis that is affecting young and old. We do state that our macronations’ capitalistic goals and priorities place the working-class, the property-less, and the middle classes below the rich’s and corporations’ fetishes and their conspicuous consumption. We do unequivocally say that, in this country and in our communities, black lives matter. We do vociferously state that trans peoples’ lives matter—that the lives of the oppressed of the earth matter, that they have nothing to lose but their chains.

We state these things and many others not as an empty political statement but as a creed. This creed is one not wrought out of dogma but one shaped by our present-day realities. Yet the crescendo, the apex of this creed is this:

“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.” (Dhammapada 1:1)

This statement has been with me for longer than the last decade. It has shaped my life as a citizen of the State of Sandus, as a micronationalist, as a Buddhist, as a Socialist. It gives voice and reason to the idea that we must live in the present, but in this country we know that we mustn’t neglect the past nor the future. We have the power to enact real change in our lives—and, for me, while I have an eye to the future so that our country may yet exist, that is enough. Our lives are enough, and our government in the next decade will see to it that this country leaves our lives and those of the people we meet, befriend, and love now and forever evermore enriched.

With that, comrade citizens, I wish you a happy and blessed 2020.

Happy New Year!

Sôgmô C. Soergel Publicola