This summer, as the world regained its balance momentarily from the COVID-19 pandemic, Sandus did what it does best: it turned inward, introspecting on what Sandus is, what we stand for, and who we are. We reminded ourselves what our aspirations are: that we imagine a world without suffering, a world that is pensive and kind, a world created in cooperation with one another, and a world that is tolerant. We recalled who we are: a micronation founded on our ideals facing the problems any micronation must realistically face. We thought about and mapped out where we are going: forward.
In the last year, Sandus has ballooned up by almost 43% and, for the first time in our history, we have met the historic milestone of having 20 dedicated, passionate citizens. Already before this season began we had 3 new citizens, and 3 more have joined us since 20 June, the Summer Solstice. Today, we count 21 people as Sandum citizens, a historic first for our micronation.
The venue most of these citizens have taken part in and learned more about their country is our new program of Comrades’ Klatsches. Beginning on 28 June, these Klatsche are now a season old. They have reminded us not only about our philosophy (Buddhism, Socialism, and Sancta) but also subjects such as: food and democracy in Sandus, how to get involved, and most recently Shinto. These chats, which happen every other Sunday, have lasted anywhere between an hour to two and have had a wide range of Sandum citizens in attendance. They mark a veritable and long-imagined turning point in the history of the State of Sandus!
Now there is much more to do. The upcoming season will see our most famous national holiday the Armilustrium, a prominent CPS Party Congress, a national election, international uncertainty in politics and health, but even more Klatsches and more work in Sandus. We have the work of the Common Economy still before us, as well as the monumental task of economic and coöperative reform. Already Tellus Horticultural Coöperative has been reformed, now Erganê Artisanal and the Collegium Sacerdotum remain. In all, this season, which normally marks the “turning inward” in the cycle of our year, will be challenged by both work at home and staying home as well as the tumult of our times. But the State of Sandus stands resolute on its principles, its ethics, its morals, and its values.
That is what it takes to be Sandum, a citizen and participant in our great republic—”built by our own hands and minds,” as our old saying goes.
Summer 2020: Charity Tax Records Broken
This equinox the largest percentage of citizens have taken part in declaring their charity taxes. While charity is an obligation of being a Sandum citizen, participation in declaring charity taxes wanes and waxes: this equinox, however, must be a full moon in terms of participation! Out of 21 total citizens and 16 active citizens, 14 citizens declared charity taxes this year, the highest participation to date.
In terms of the charity itself, records were broken there, too. A year ago on this day, $420.84 USD was donated to charity, and in 2018 (our current record year) we collectively gave $1,628.71. This season, however, we have nearly doubled that: Sandum citizens in the past three months have donated $3,245.69 in total, of which £270 were donated, as well. This is record-breaking as the largest single season to date and puts Sandus in a position where we are poised to break 2018’s record of $6,441.62 in total donations.
The purposes of our charity were widespread, from political campaigns and religious organisations to environmental, social, and health causes. Citizens gave, as well, to individuals in need and other extemporaneous causes.
Some donations were made of goods to charity, such as clothes and other useful utensils.
Although the record on volunteer work was not broken, we came close. Sandum citizens volunteered 500 hours to charity this past season, primarily through virtual actions and other labour done online that was for the benefit of an organisation or an online community.
In terms of citizens’ living wages, a majority (57%) said that they had earned a living wage in the last year. 21.4% said that they had not, while 21.4% said that they were uncertain. Strictly speaking, this is the highest percentage of people who are not certainly earning a liveable incoming and the highest percentage of citizens who are uncertain out of the entire year.
Party Secretary Unveils Agenda for 2020 CPS Party Congress
The annual Congress of the Citizens’ Party of Sandus will address agenda items including the economy, Party organisation, and international relations. The Party Congress will take place on Saturday 7 November 2020 at 16:00 UTC. Party members should attend, and citizens are welcome to attend.
Party Secretary Adam Camillus von Friedeck, who stands unopposed so far for reelection as leader, has emphasised the continued development of the Common Economy now shared by Sandus and Überstadt. His proposed agenda for the Congress includes discussion of the future monetary system of the Common Economy and ways to invigorate production in the coöperatives and state enterprises.
At the Honourable Sôgmô’s suggestion, the Congress will also discuss Party recruiting and member activities, as well as record-keeping and Party discipline. The proposed Borean Community for anti-fascist North American micronations completes the agenda.
Following the Congress, the Party will host a conference open to foreign speakers later in the day at 18:00 UTC. Comrade Secretary von Friedeck will release details for the conference in October.
Facilitator’s Letter to Citizens on His Vision for the Coming Months
I assumed office on 2 September after being elected in a very close race against my honourable predecessor, Artemis Baca. I have big shoes to fill in my term. With that in mind, I have come up with some goals for the Council.
- I would like to start a conversation on the current state of the Council.
Should the role and title of the Facilitator be changed? Should citizens immediately become Council members as soon as they gain citizenship or should there be a short waiting period? How should meetings be run? Should things stay as they are? And many other things to consider.
- Drafting a “Sandus 101” packet for current and future citizens.
As was discussed at a previous Comrade’s Klatsch, Sandus has a lot of history, traditions, holidays, legal / political structure, etc. so much so that it can be overwhelming at times. The info packet would provide an overview of our history, values, political system etc.
- Drafting a constitution.
Starting a working committee / group to draft a basic constitution that will serve as (1.) A national artifact and (2.) A skeleton on which the body of Sandus rests. I feel that if we started no later than mid-October that a constitution could be drafted and submitted to voters by the end of January 2021.
There is a lot here, but I feel we can tackle it all. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and welcome both constructive and deconstructive criticism.
Facilitator of the Council of the State of Sandus
P.S. Just to clarify, any changes that would be approved concerning the office of Facilitator, such as a new title or new powers, I feel, should go into effect following the February 2021 election for Facilitator.
From the Homard: Heir’s Update on Our Communal Cookbook
Looking forward to the next quarter, my planned contribution to the State of Sandus is to continue (recommit) to working on the community cookbook, Heart & Hearth, with an eye to having it ready for a (limited) publication by Christmas. We as a community made phenomenal progress in the first few days of this project, before involvement, including my own, waned. While a number of recipes remain to be written, the major obstacles to completion that I foresee are the recipes for Red Flare mustard, and the Leftist Cocktail. Red Flare has been made once, but notes were not taken, and so we must create it again in order to add it to the cookbook. The Leftist cocktail, meanwhile, has been envisioned as a variant on “The Liberal Cocktail” (but more red!), but attempts up until now have produced mediocre results, as the ingredients have failed to achieve solidarity with each other. It is also strong enough that it is more likely to make the workers slumber than to arise them from it.
Since the Sôgmô will be away from Quercus Candida for the Armilustrium this year, the Homaressa and I will be in charge of the festivities, although due to the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, participation will be limited to just such citizens as are currently present in the QCP, and one or two friends of Sandus. We are hoping, however, that through Zoom we will be able to connect with our fellow citizens on this holiday, one of the most important on the Sandum Calendar.
the Well-Honoured Dr. C. Flavius Ithacus
Homard of the State of Sandus, Baron of the Maumee
THC Reformed, Others to Follow
Whilst the Sandum coöperative system has existed for a number of years now, for a long time the system had sat dormant. However, the first steps towards reform have been undertaken with the Tellus Horticultural Coöperative (formerly the Tellus Agrarian Coöperative). Under the guidance of Jacob Barnet, Minister for Human and Environmental Health, the coöperative has not only shifted focus, but has provided a new model for Sandum coöp organisation and workers democracy in Sandus and the Social System at-large. Under the new “Dharmachakra” model, small work groups coördinate with a central guiding “hub” which provides advice, materials and coördination for them. In the Tellus Horticultural Coöperative, this hub is the new Kropotkin Center, run by Barnet.
The shift from a focus on agrarian pursuits to horticultural ones both broadens the scope of projects and lessens the necessary space and investment needed to start them, lowering the barrier to entry by citizens. Already, gardens (the work groups of the THC) have begun their work and the model is now being eyed for the reform and establishment of other coöps. Notably, there is renewed interest in the Erganê Artisanal Coöperative which will provide a similar framework for the production of Sandum goods and arts & crafts. The Collegium Sacerdotum, Sandus’s religious and philosophical coöperative, is also eyeing similar reforms to its organisation and work groups.
At time of writing, the goals for the THC are to finalise a set of gardens which will participate in the coöperative; to catalogue the species being produced and the projects being undertaken; to produce guides to these species and projects for both the citizens of Sandus and the wider micronational community; and to finally transition towards the running of the coöperative by the workers democracy (the coöperative currently being run more directly by Minister Barnet). If this proves successful, similar alterations to Erganê can be expected in the coming year, and hopefully a renewed productive vigour will be seen in Sandus.
Sôgmô going to Überstadt for the Armilustrium
The Sôgmô will be travelling to Überstadt on 14 October to celebrate the Armilustrium there. The trip marks the first time the Sôgmô will be travelling to see King Adam I of Überstadt and the Überstadti royal family, though the king has travelled to Sandus’s capitals three times since 2014. In 2018 he travelled to Sandus and participated in the Armilustrium.
Þess first trip was slated to be in March for the kingdom’s tenth anniversary, though the trip was eventually cancelled because of a family emergency.
The Sôgmô will perform the traditional rite for King Adam and the Baroness Rosewood, Lady Kara, both Sandum citizens, as well as other members of the Überstadti royal family. Books will be washed, food will be served, and there will be much fun and merriment.
The Armilustrium is Sandus’s most important and best known cultural holiday as an Autumnal festival. Originally marking the date on which Roman soldiers purified their weapons, the Armilustrium has been celebrated in Sandus since 2011 as a holiday where a feast is served for friends and family, the home is thoroughly cleaned, and books (or other symbols of our philosophies) are washed.
This December, Our First Throne Speech and Question Hour
As part of the new Comrades’ Klatsches program, the Sôgmô has announced a new political tradition in Sandus. For ten days before the Winter Solstice, Sandum citizens traditionally vote in a national election that determines a very important question: « By your vote, does the Sôgmô of the State of Sandus, Sôgmô Gaius Soergel Publicola, maintain the rightful legitimacy to rule the State of Sandus? »
To date, no citizen has ever voted no.
Yet it always remains a possibility and forms one of the most important checks on the Sôgmô’s absolute constitutional power that, over the years, has been devolved and delegated to other branches.
On 13 December, however, the Sôgmô will give þess very first throne speech and will respond to questions from Sandum citizens at a question hour event, tentatively named the « Discourse on the Blue ». The speech will lay out þess policies for the next administrative year, represent our country’s aspirations, and will highlight key achievements in the past year, much like other such speeches. Unlike many other such speeches, however, the Sôgmô will then be asked questions of other Sandum leaders and citizens.
Voting will still open on 10 December for the election, but citizens may profit from the speech and electoral event.
Social Citizen Receives Tax Agnomen
In recognition of her largesse this season in particular, one Sandum citizen has earned the privilege of receiving a charity tax agnomen, a special Roman nickname that is given in recognition of meritorious service or some outstanding act. She becomes only the second person to receive such an agnomen, after her son, Adam Camillus von Friedeck. And although this is the first season during which she became a Sandum citizen, she has been not only an active participant in almost every Comrades’ Klatsch but also her activity and largesse both of time and of resources has been shown through acts big and small. This name is not the end of such honour and duty, but an encouragement for more to come in time.
Kara Oberstadt (von Friedeck) of the Kingdom of Überstadt, a social citizen, in recognition of her charity, has received the agnomen Nerva, a name meaning here “vigorous and energetic in compassionate activity,” or metta in Pali. She will be now known as Kara Nerva Oberstadt.