Solstice Report: Sandus Looks Ahead to a New Year

Since mid-March, we in Sandus have been under quarantine or extraordinary isolation. In the last six months, we have formed our own small groups, or pods, to combat the emotional tolls of this isolation, but our micronation has provided us another outlet, too. The Klatsches formed in the last few months since July have given us a renewed sense of community and reminded us of the values that we all share: compassion for one another, a hope for an end of suffering beyond this immediate crisis alone, and a hope for the common good through a socialist government. These values strike at the heart of our country, but also keep in mind our current crisis—which is, we should never forget, a crisis of capitalism.

The last year has been momentous, if stressful. We won’t recount all that has been done since the year began—you can read my recent Blue Lecture here—and 2021 is promised to be just as momentous for our country. With all that has gone on, it is hard to keep track. Below we highlight some key moments since the beginning of Autumn and look forward to what you can expect from Sandus in the next season and even in the next year.

During this Winter Solstice election, Sandus also pioneered its first quinquennial census. The census report will take longer than time would allow here to accurately tabulate all the results and so deserves its own report, but participation among active citizens was high: out of 16 active citizens, 93.8% participated in the census. Out of all 21 citizens, that is 71.4%, and the missing information can be supplied from previous census documents.

This holiday season is important to remind ourselves that our national philosophy strives for compassion and the absolution or resolution of suffering. May we step forward into a new year mindful of the four immeasurables: loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity toward those near and far.

Sôgmô Gaius Soergel Publicola

Election Results: Sôgmô Reëlected with 75% Participation

The Honourable Sôgmô Gaius Soergel Publicola has been reëlected with 100% of the vote. Out of 16 eligible voters, 12 votes were cast, or a participation of 75%. Many of those not voting, however, are likely listed as inactive citizens, meaning that the participation of active eligible voters this year is 92.3%. 2021 will be the Sôgmô’s tenth mandate since first being elected at the Winter Solstice election in 2011.

Það announced that polls had closed at 19:00 EST, their local time, or 00:00 UTC during the evening’s Saturnalia Storytime event. Results were validated and shared only a few minutes later by the Palace of State. Congratulations came in right away from Sandum citizens as well as many foreign heads of state and government, especially from the OMF and the Borean Community, who were glad at the results and welcomed them.

2020 Most Charitable Year in Sandum History

Autumn 2020 has been the most charitable season on record in the State of Sandus. This season and 2020 as a whole have broken long-standing records on donations and on time volunteered to charity. While charity taxes remain open for late responses, at the moment of writing various milestones have been broken.

In Autumn 2020, a total of $3,384.46 USD has been donated to charity to religious organisations, political campaigns, environmental programs, Wikipedia, social foundations centred around food and homelessness, LGBT organisations, and other foundations and charities for disabled peoples. Of those more than $3,000, a total of £100 GBP was donated as well. This time a year ago, Sandum citizens had donated only $595.68 USD, though the number of respondents was quite low. This year, 10 people have responded, as opposed to last year’s 3.

In total, Sandum citizens have donated $9,392.26 USD to charity in the last year, breaking 2018’s record of $6,441.62 USD by almost $3,000 and making 2020 the most charitable year on record.

While the volunteering record this season did not break records with its 306 hours, 2020 as a whole did with 1,373 hours volunteered for charity, compared to 2019’s 975 hours and 2018’s previous record of 1,118 hours.

Citizens have also donated food and clothing to local food drives and other charitable secondhand retailers.

This is the first year since the Central People’s Government first began keeping records of how many citizens had declared their charity taxes. While it is technically an obligation of citizenship, there is no punishment meted out by Sandum law for not declaring taxes, and Social System citizens receive suffrage if they declare charity taxes at least twice per year. The average rate of response was 9.5 citizens per season, with 6 in the Winter, 8 in Spring, 14 in Summer, and 10 in Autumn.

After the Blue Lecture: Sandus Already Doing Its 2021 Goals

On 13 December the Honourable Sôgmô gave their second annual Blue Lecture, our own speech from the throne that addresses the state of the State of Sandus. Many important goals were set for the next year, including ones that seek to update and reform key segments of Sandus’s economy and government. A whole list of the goals for the new year can be found here.

The Sôgmô and the Central People’s Government are already busy preparing for the new year and have begun work on some objectives. On 18 December, the Sôgmô in their position as the Deputy General Secretary for Culture and the Development of the Francophonie of the OMF announced the beginning of a new media initiative in the organisation to present media related to certain topics to highlight the perspectives of OMF members and French-speaking micronations in general. In addition, það has already shared a draft on a decree concerning the formal foundation and organisation of the Sandum cabinet, but that also includes new language concerning sensitive information handled by the government and Sandum leaders.

The new and previously unmentioned sections of the decree, which can be expected in the next few days, also reflect other new objectives made since the speech was made. For example, the Sôgmô is said to be preparing a new official coat of arms for their office in order to reconcile differences between their flag and coat of arms as well as to bring their coat of arms more in line with other Sandum heraldry. A new coat of arms will be commissioned as the Sôgmô prepares to make the new proposed arms official.

The plans for a new sagamorial coat armorial reflects, as well, planned changes and reforms to the Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus and the Fraternal Annonary Order of the Wooden Bowl, and the creation of new medals to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the State of Sandus’s foundation as well as next year’s royal wedding.

The Sôgmô is also planning a new classification akin to residents of the State of Sandus, reclassifying certain peregrini as honorary or royal citizens and creating the distinction of “Sandum adjacent” people. The heir suggested changes to Sandum law to better reflect the population of people who take part in the country in ways other than formal citizenship. Due to the complexities of Sandus’s sovereign gradient condominium theory which considers Sandum territory as bounded around the inhabited places of the state’s citizens, the term “resident” cannot be used to refer to people who otherwise take part in, one way or another, the daily and cultural life of our country. Honorary and royal citizens and Sandum adjacent people would not have the rights traditionally afforded to Sandum citizens, though will be eligible to become citizens in the future if they wish. Currently, peregrine citizenship exists to encapsulate a variety of people: citizens on the required month-long probation before becoming full citizens or cives, members of the royal family who otherwise play no part in Sandus, and historical “residents” or Sandum adjacent people. In the future, honorary and royal citizens and Sandum adjacent people will be counted among Sandus’s population, but kept separated from official governmental lists (like the census or the Tabulae Sande) that are reserved for citizens only.

Plans to reform the Collegium Sacerdotum are expected in a new charter next month as the Sôgmô and the leader of the Sandum Sangha prepare to organise a Comrades’ Klatsch in February around Buddhism in celebration of Lunar New Year.

Party Holds Tenth Party Congress, Sets Goals for 2021

On 7 November 2020, the Citizens’ Party of Sandus held its tenth Party Congress, followed by a conference featuring Sandum and foreign speakers. In 2021, the Citizens’ Party of Sandus will form three committees—one to address reform of the Party’s constitution, a second on the Borean Community, and another on economic organisation—and the Party Secretary will lead national conversations the Party’s platform,

The Party reëlected Adam Camillus von Friedeck as Secretary, discussed a wide range of political issues, and referred to committee questions about the Common Economy and the agenda of the Borean Community. An emphasis throughout the Congress was the connection between the Party’s domestic work and Sandus’s foreign relations.

The Congress occurred over voice and video call, with 66% of Party members attending.

Election of the Party Secretary
Action: Secretary von Friedeck reëlected by acclamation

Party Secretary Adam Camillus von Friedeck stood unopposed for reëlection. The Party confirmed him by acclamation, launching his seventh term as Secretary.

The Common Economy: Economic organizations
Action: Questions of economic organization referred to committee

The Congress considered steps for further developing the Common Economy between Sandus and Überstadt. The two states are to conclude agreements on economic organizations (e.g. coöperatives and state enterprises) and on a monetary system.

The Congress agreed that the parties must decide which economic entities are to be owned and managed by the state (as state enterprises or state coöperatives) versus the workers (as workers’ coöperatives). Possible factors for assigning existing entities to each category include whom production serves and whether the product is tangible or intangible.

Other concerns included whether to immediately change how Sandum cooperatives function upon reaching the next Common Economy agreement or to have a transitional period; the level of formalized management desirable in a cooperative, including both processes and leadership; making certain coöperatives binational between Sandus and Überstadt; and designating certain coöperatives as culturally significant.

The Congress referred these matters to a committee to be appointed by the Secretary.

Invigorating the Sandum coöperatives and other matters of Sandum labor
No formal action taken; these and related issues to be addressed during Common Economy negotiations and through Party recruiting

The Congress considered ways to promote citizens’ activity in Sandum coöperatives. Ideas discussed included each cooperative publishing lists of work ideas for interested workers, creating inventories of resources available to workers, and creating a national labour newsletter to inform citizens of the coöperatives’ activities and opportunities.

This conversation led to deep discussion of what constitutes “Sandum labor,” or what makes a citizens’ labor Sandum. One possible factor agreed upon by many present was that performing labor with the intention that it will be Sandum makes it so; that is, what the Sandum people consciously do is Sandum labor. One participant suggested that the Party should promote citizens to undertake intentional Sandum labor.

Attendees agreed that the Common Economy negotiations will need to reach a common understanding of what constitutes labor within the economy.

Party administration: The Central Committee and recruiting
No formal action taken; Secretary to hold Comrades’ Klatsches on the Party and its platform

The Congress considered matters of Party administration, including the composition of the Central Committee and ways to grow Party membership.

Participants discussed whether membership of the Central Committee should be periodically changed, as well as whether the Honourable Sôgmô should become a non-voting member ex officio. Those present largely agreed that the Central Committee, as the Party’s bureaucracy, should include only the most active members who take on Party projects and do regular work for Sandus.

Another discussion considered ways to promote Party membership to Sandum workers. Multiple people noted that most citizens may not understand what the Party does or how it would benefit to join. The Party Secretary agreed that the Party and its platform would be suitable topics for upcoming Comrades’ Klatsches.

Party discipline and activity
No formal action taken; matters to be considered as part of work on new Party constitution

The Congress considered Party discipline and activity by members. Those present agreed that Party members should be obligated to maintain some level of intentional Sandum activity and should not hold ideologies detrimental to the Party and State, ensuring the protection of both civil rights and Sandus. Members also discussed creating a probationary status for inactive Party members to encourage them to continue contributing to Sandus and having members keep records of their work.

International relations
Action: Referred development of Borean Community agenda to committee

The Congress considered international relations in a level of detail not seen since before 2014, signaling its intention to take a more proactive role in Sandum foreign policy. The Secretary acknowledged his long-time de facto role in advising the Honourable Sôgmô on foreign affairs, but indicated that the Party would become more involved. Foreign Minister Artemis Baca, present as a Party member, said that the Party should have some say in foreign relations, especially with regard to political affairs.

Proposals to increase the Party’s activity in this policy area included advising the Foreign Ministry on political priorities and conducting bilateral relations with foreign leftist parties. Attendees saw a role for the Party in discussing leftist concerns in the new Borean Community of progressive micronations. The Congress decided to form a committee to help the President of the Borean Community (presently Health Minister Jacob Barnet Pharmacologus Σαρκαστικός) draft an agenda for Sandus’s year with the rotating presidency.

Party constitution and platform
Action: Secretary to form committee to propose new constitution

The Congress considered the need for a new constitution and platform for the Party. Both are several years old, neglect topics now considered important, and do not account for the Party’s evolving role.

It was agreed that the Party Secretary will organize committees to put a new constitution to a Party vote by the March equinox and prepare a new platform for approval at next year’s Congress.

Party Secretary Adam Camillus von Friedeck

Heart & Hearth Planned for Christmas 2021

This past summer, we as a community began writing a cookbook, Heart & Hearth: or, the art & style of Sandum cookery & Domestic Labour, &c., in order to gather together favorite recipes from Sandum citizens and our families, including ones that have become traditions at Sandus’s many holidays. The book will also include many of our holiday traditions and the proper rituals associated with these festivals, allowing citizens to access a shared treasure trove of knowledge about how to take part in a shared Sandum culture. The Sôgmô and the Homard have undertaken the work of editing it and ensuring a consistent format across all the recipes with a hope of a limited publication for our friends and family in time for Christmas 2021.

The cookbook will include chapters for special ingredients and condiments, breakfast foods, meats and poultries, soups, gravies and sauces, noodle and rice dishes, vegetables and legumes, vegetarian and vegan plates, and grains and pastries. In addition to foods, there is a section on drinks, as well as chapters of instructions for holidays, daily rites, and domestic labour. All of these will be driven by citizen-input.

the Homard Dr. C. Flavius Ithacus

Sôgmô: Expect New Awards in 2021

The Honourable Sôgmô of the State of Sandus, Gaius Soergel Publicola, who serves in Sandus as the fount of honours, has announced that several honorary and chivalric orders in our country will be renovated and news awards created. These reforms will be largely aesthetic and will relate to the regalia associated with Sandus’s existing orders—the Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus, the Honourable Order of Athena Pronœa, and the Fraternal Annonary Order of the Wooden Bowl—while the Fraternal Annonary Order of the Wooden Bowl will receive a new and revised règlement that governs the order. In the future, medals will only be awarded when the recipient is able to personally receive the medal.

The Sôgmô has floated the idea of adding a few new medals, as well, including ones dedicated to Libera and Realism, a personal distinction given by the Sôgmô themself, and possibly even awards or prizes given by the Party and the Council.

Proposed Order of Precedence in Sandus

  1. Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus
  2. Honourable Order of Athena Pronœa
  3. Fraternal Annonary Order of the Wooden Bowl
  4. Star of Libera Merit
  5. Legion of Realism
  6. 10th Anniversary of the Creation of Sandus Medal
  7. 10th Anniversary of the Foundation of the State of Sandus Medal
  8. Royal Wedding Commemorative Medal

The Sôgmô will commission artists to develop all orders’ and medals’ physical and virtual aesthetics and regalia, as well as their certificates. Emphasis will be placed on making complementary styles for each order and medal that is aesthetically pleasing as well as affordable to produce.

For the Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus, a new breast medal for Members will be introduced, replacing the neck medal currently in use. A chest star will also be developed for Commanders of the Most Honourable Order, while a special star and a sash will be made for Elders.

For the Honourable Order of Athena Pronœa, members will receive ornaments representing the ribbon of their rank, as well as a badge demonstrating their award.

For the Fraternal Annonary Order of the Wooden Bowl and the two new medals, the Star of Libera Merit and the Legion of Realism, decorations will have to first be considered according to their appropriate ranks.

The Order’s emblem depicts an artistic interpretation of Zeus’s statue at Olympia depicted sitting on his throne.

Borean, OMF Leaders Receive Sandus’s Highest Honour

The Sôgmô has offered membership in the Most Honourable Throne of Sandus to leaders in the newly established Borean Community and in l’Organisation de la MicroFrancophonie. These leaders have shown a committed effort for peaceful coöperation and friendly diplomatic exchange that has, in one way or another, benefited the State of Sandus—and many have their own merits atop those alone that warrant citation.

For his work in drafting a Francophone intermicronational declaration on citizen initiatives during the present pandemic, M. le Duc Geoffrey de Mathes le Cailar has received membership in the Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus.

For his continued friendship with the State of Sandus and his development of Francophone culture and media, M. le Duc Olivier de Constance has received membership in the Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus.

For her friendship with the State of Sandus, her advancement of LGBTQ+ rights, her tutelage of transgender and gender non-conforming people in her community, and her development of Francophone culture and media, HM Queen Marie-Adélina of the Legiálles has received membership in the Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus.

For his creation of a unique micronational culture, his development of the MicroFrancophonie in North America, and his friendship with the State of Sandus, HIM Dr. Eric of the Aerican Empire has received membership in the Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus.

For her friendship with the State of Sandus, her contributions to the Borean Community, and her defence of the civil rights and human dignity of transgender and gender non-conforming people, Dame Eryn Lewis has received membership in the Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus.

For his friendship with the State of Sandus, his contributions to the Borean Community, and his advancement of LGBTQ+ rights, HE the Right Honourable President Joseph Kennedy has received membership in the Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus.

For their friendship with the State of Sandus, their contributions to the Borean Community, and their development of micronational culture and agrarianism, TI&RM Thomas and Laura of Hrafnarfjall have received membership in the Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus.

For his friendship with the State of Sandus, his contributions to the Borean Community, his development of micronational culture, and his defence of North American indigenous culture, HIM Madakawando Sakom Archie Birch has received membership in the Most Honorable Order of the Throne of Sandus.