Equinox Report: Facing the Virus, Preparing for Summer

How, in such a short time since January, the world has changed. Faced for the first time in over a century with a major pandemic, we have rushed to respond to the clarion call of healthcare officials and providers by staying home and refusing to risk our health and that of others. Sandum citizens have been ardent in their zeal for these new provisions of public health—each doing their part to ensure the welfare of others. At the same time, Sandum citizens are withstanding the urge to make light and a profit from the situation, as citizens have begun to embrace isolation at home but not in their minds. Such is our small, everyday resistance to capitalism.

We are now more connected than ever, and that has come more into view since the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The plight of others, we have long acknowledged, is our plight. Despite real geographic distances, boundaries of language, culture, and religion, and macronational boundaries that presume that we are different from other nations, our Sandum compassion, our humanitarianism, our internationalism all call us to sympathise, mourn, and to help, in whatever small yet virtuous ways we can, those currently battling for their lives or the lives of others. We feel that fraternal solidarity with those on the front-lines against the virus in Hubei province, with the people of Iran, with Italians, with those in the Pacific Northwest, especially our friends and allies in the Kingdom of Überstadt, and veritably all around the world.

What will happen this upcoming season is now less certain than ever. What is more certain from the experience of these past three months, however, is our conviction that:

  • healthcare is an inalienable human right
  • housing and food are essential for all mankind
  • racist ignorance must be ended
  • we must break national, class, and linguistic bonds and boundaries

Some may say that our lofty ideals, goals, and plans may never be reached, and they may be right. But this futile hope and ardent, cautious struggle is the greatest hope we have.

When the alarm has quieted and the masks are off, let us come back together, celebrate our lives and our freedom, and agitate for our philosophy and our inalienable human rights! Until then, comrades, let us heed the directions of public health officials for the health and safety of all.

Charity Taxes likely to rise from Autumn 2019, still open to responses

Charity taxes are still trickling in from citizens, though it looks like more charity will have been done in Winter 2020 than previously in Autumn 2019.

So far, $594.29 USD has been donated to charity in the last season to religious organisations, political campaigns, to environmentalist foundations, various non-profit organisations, and so on. 125 hours worth of work so far has been declared as part of the seasonal volunteer-work tally, and this number may rise in Summer 2020 as citizens feel the affects of the economic down-turn. Finally, various tangible items other than money have been donated to charity in the last season, including clothing and foodstuff.

This season, the state returned to the online form of declaring charity taxes, making the process easier for citizens and especially for social citizens. Already, more citizens have declared their charity taxes than last year. With the return of the online form, the Central People’s Government has also returned to asking citizens about whether or not the wages or salaries they have received in the last year correspond to a living wage: of respondents so far, 33.3% have said that they do not make a living wage.

The Party & the Economy: planning for the Common Economy

This winter, the Citizens’ Party of Sandus has played an active role in early deliberations with the Kingdom of Überstadt on the next Common Economy treaty, which will govern enterprises and is expected this summer. The Party Secretary intends to commence the drafting process in the spring to ensure consensus among the Commission for the Common Economy before the treaty goes to the Sandum and Überstadti peoples for a ratifying vote.

Building a working socialist economy is a key part of the Party’s platform. Fleshing out the Common Economy will therefore form the main part of its work over the next two years, when the final framework treaty is scheduled for adoption. The Secretary will continue to consult with Sandum workers as the political process continues.

State of Emergency declared in Sandus due to Novel Coronavirus

On 15 March, the Facilitator of the Council of the State of Sandus, Artemis Baca, advised to the other Grand State Officers that something ought to be done about the spread of COVID-19, after reports in her town that the virus had infected several people. In pursuing the example of other countries and micronations, she suggested that the State of Sandus should be in a state of emergency until the beginning of 13 April, just in time for the Day of Foundation. The other Grand State Officers concurred with the Facilitator and she volunteered to write a resolution for the Council to decide. 

Later that day, the Facilitator wrote to the Council that the resolution should be voted on within hours due to the urgency of the matter; she then motioned the passing of a resolution declaring a state of emergency in the State of Sandus Hatsu Ryuho, a former facilitator, commented to the Council that he firmly supported the resolution and that he encouraged all other members to vote for it, seeing that this pandemic was a global crisis. By midnight, the Facilitator closed the voting period and announced that, by a vote of 6 in affirmation and one abstention, the Council had approved the resolution and that a state of emergency would be in effect. The Sôgmô and the Facilitator encouraged social distancing and self-isolation as urgent priorities that Sandum citizens should implement on themselves. 

Citizens are encouraged to remain in place and limit contact with others to avoid getting infected and keep mindful awareness of washing hands with soap and water and scrubbing hands for more than thirty seconds.

New Royal Patronage of Cultural Holidays in April, May

In light of the panic gripping the world due to COVID-19 and the generally grim mood that we all feel, the leadership of the State of Sandus would like to give their citizens something to look forward to in the months ahead. The Sôgmô and Homard have therefore decided to bestow royal patronage on the following holidays, both of which date back to the Roman Republic. It is not clear how many of them we will be able to celebrate this year, but it is our hope that, if nothing else, they will give Sandum citizens something to look forward to next year.

  • The Megalensia – 4 April
  • The Cerealia – 15 April

We would also like to offer a supplicatio in thanksgiving for the well-being of our citizens, tentatively to be celebrated at the festival of Fortuna Publica Populi Sande (“Public Fortune of the Sandum People”) on 25 May, although we will wait until COVID-19 curve is flattened and on the decline before offering this thanksgiving. The menu for the supplicatio be a traditional English “Brinner” (English Breakfast, but for dinner) served with mimosas, like at an American brunch, although Sandum citizens are welcome to substitute their own scrumptious food.

The Megalensia celebrated the Magna Mater, and the festival days in early April marked the anniversary of her arrival to Italy and the consecration of her temple on the Palatine Hill. The festivities were overseen by the curule aediles, and, of the ancient Roman comedies that survive, many were originally performed at the Megalensia—perhaps because this was the first major festival of the year and consequently the first opportunity the aediles had to impress the crowd. The Sôgmô and the Homard have decided that the appropriate way to celebrate this festival is a movie night. Our choice of films will be one or two Oscar nominees of the past year that we have not seen, but this is not required.

The Cerealia was the festival of the goddess Ceres. Scholars have suggested that it was established as a holiday 220 BCE, but the evidence for this is dubious and there is some reason to think it is much older. The Cerealia was celebrated with athletic events and theatrical productions, known as the Ludi Cereales, and at the center of it on 15 April was the Fordicidia, a ritual in which a pregnant cow would be sacrificed to the earth. The Sôgmô and Homard suggest that the best way to celebrate the Cerealia is with burgers. The beef symbolises the Fordicidia, while the bun sandwiching it symbolises the games to Ceres on either side. Vegetarians and Vegans may wish to celebrate with Beyond Burgers, which are especially appropriate since they are made with various cereals and carbohydrates!

Sandus celebrates 10 Years of Überstadt, our Social Partner

On 6 March, the Kingdom of Überstadt celebrated its decennary with a large public gathering and celebration in Rosewood, the kingdom’s capital, and online. Her Excellency the Facilitator of the Council, Artemis Baca, was present as she toured the kingdom and represented the Honourable Sôgmô, who was unable to attend at the last minute due to a family emergency. The celebration included public speeches, a celebratory dinner, and high-level discussions between the two close amiable Social partners—as well as touring various locations in and around the kingdom.

Their meeting represents the fourth such meeting between Sandum and Überstadti officials when, in July 2014, His Majesty King Adam I of Überstadt travelled to Kremlum Sandus, the then-capital of the State of Sandus, to meet with the Honourable Sôgmô and to sign both countries’ first social treaty that gave Überstadt socilivanço status. Since then, both have been exceptionally and extraordinarily close partners as Überstadt and Sandus have created the Social System and, recently, begun the formation of a shared Socialist economy, the Common Economy.

The Sôgmô, the Sanôba, and King George 2.0 on the latter’s visit to Ann Arbour in 2018.

Building Solidarity Across Borders: Slabovia, Sandus to celebrate Canada Day together

The Royal Family has announced that the Sôgmô and Sanôba are planning to visit His Majesty King George 2.0, his family, and many nobles of the United Slabovian Empire on 1 July to celebrate Canada Day together. The visit has been envisioned as a sign of friendship and solidarity across macronational borders and micronations. As the American-Canadian border is now currently closed to non-essential travel due to the coronavirus pandemic, both countries’ plans for a visit may change as Canada Day approaches—but it is likely that there will be other plans even if the trip must be cancelled.

Both monarchs also acknowledged a difference in their individual micronations’ relationships to their respective macronations. King George 2.0 acknowledged that many Slabovians see their micronationalism as complementary to their status as Canadians and to their Canadian citizenship, while in Sandus citizens’ views range from antagonism to tacit acknowledgement of the United Kingdom and the United States. Many Slabovians are happily Canadian and express their Canadian patriotism, while in Sandus feelings toward our macronations range from frustration and disapproval to disinterest, especially since 2016. Since the British referendum on Brexit and the American election of Donald Trump to the presidency, Sandum citizens have expressed both antagonism to their micronations and a need for Sandus to “do more” to combat the extremist policies and politics of right-wing demagogues in both macronations.

In Sandus, the national philosophy has long expressed its own disinterest in nationalism, having been constructed in a way to oppose the modern nation-state and its borders. Everything from the Sandum perception of land, the so-called “sovereign gradient condominium theory,” to concepts about Sandum nationality and citizenship express an uneasiness with nationalism. Many in Sandus openly profess the thesis of Benedict Anderson, that nations are “imagined communities” perpetually constructed and reconstructed, imagined and reïmagined, though that has been tempered with the reality of contemporary perceptions about the nation-state. In other words, to say that nations are constructed and therefore not real ought not to neglect the very real perception that others have about the difference between nations. Sandum people often temper their response to walk a middle way between both responses by acknowledging the construction of nations and nationalisms while understanding the very real effect these constructions have on a person’s development, identity, culture, and way of life.

Where does that leave the royals celebrating Canada Day? « Mon arrière-grand-père était québécois et canadien ; il était né à Lac-Mégantic et venu de Trois-Rivières avant qu’il est allé aux États-Unis », the Sôgmô explained. « Il restait québécois et canadien et il est devenu américain, comme plusières histoires transnationales à l’égard des frontières. » The plans to celebrate Canada Day fit neatly, in other words, into the necessity of accepting real-life, macronational contingencies and of accepting and respecting others’ differences, shaped however causally or not by the Canadian-American border. We share the same fraternal solidarity with Canadians as we do with Americans and Britons, in other words. Such is very Sandum, to acknowledge that two truths, one micronational and another macronational, may exist at the same time.

the Homard elevated to 1e CΑθΠ rank in Athena Pronoea Order

The Well-Honoured Homard Jan DeWitt, Baron of the Maumee and Heir of the State of Sandus, has been elevated to the rank of Commander First Class in the Honourable Order of Athena Pronoea. On 29 January, the Homard successfully defended his dissertation on the lower magistracies in the Roman Republic (quaestors and aediles), power, and constitutionalism.

He becomes the second only member of the rank with the Sagamorial Father, both doctores philosophiae (Ph.D.s) of history. Despite being the sovereign of the order, the Sôgmô only possesses the rank of Member since the order’s ranks are reflective of the level of education.

Plaudamus igitur Homarum nostrum, Doctorem Philosophiae Jan DeWitt!