Equinox Report: Sandus Prepares for Royal Wedding

Time has come again to wax poetic about the work our micronation has done in the last season. Much has happened and occurred since the last major event our micronation saw in June, the Sôgmô’s Tin Jubilee, and the micronational world has continued to trudge along under the duress that the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought upon the world. But in other ways a new normal has been created in Sandus with greater emphasis on our own Sandum community and the shared relations we have with our allies in the Social System and the Borean Community.

This past summer has translated into new initiatives across the micronational world and an increased focus on our well-being as a micronation. Sandum and Überstadti governments have worked together to provide a clearer structure to citizens of both countries who share, now, one economic system, a first for many micronations. The success of this new joint venture, a common economy, is novel in many micronations and also commands us to see economic activity and production the necessary result of community, rather than profit motives or necessity. Now, in the Common Economy, we share various types of economic organisations and enjoy them together with our partners in Überstadt. In one such economic organ, the Collegium Sacerdotum, the oldest such organ in the State of Sandus, this last season saw its first ever convocation—the meeting of the now-enterprises’s assembly of members. Now, all other economic organs can follow suit and, this autumn, all citizens of both countries will be enrolled as workers in the Common Economy, a first for our ambitions.

Yet again we turn inwards, as we do each autumn. The work before us is now more or less clear: to continue the progress we have made in the last year and a half and advance the weal of our citizens. What this means specifically includes the following:

  1. Complete this year’s agenda established at the last Blue Lecture
  2. Prepare for the major annual planning events (Party Congress, Winter Solstice Election)
  3. See through the Party’s goals, set last year (Constitution, membership)
  4. Fulfill the Common Economy’s development (Roll of workers, economic organs)

Each of these require further clarification and necessitate us to continue working broadly yet specifically on the goals and aims we have set forth for ourselves. As we prepare for the Armilustrium, the National Day of Socialism, and yet another royal wedding (of the Sôgmô’s sister)—joyous occasions indeed!—we ought to keep in mind all else that we must complete.

As we pause soon with the royal nuptials that will soon be celebrated this weekend, we then must turn to the other affairs in our state that require work and labour. Much this year will seem and appear new—that is because it is—but we must also keep in mind that we continue down a path that we have created by our hands and our minds. Put differently, our own prior actions and decisions have put us here and, while the novelty may at times resonate oddly or with awe, the best action for us at that time is to remember this simple rule: we are who we are because of our prior actions, and we will continue to shape ourselves with the actions we make now.

This principle of dependent origination will always mean that Sandus is relevant to our lives and important as the confluence of what we in our lives think is important: compassion, camaraderie, and cessation of suffering.

C. Soergel P.

Sôgmô, Sanôba to Marry Saturday

All across Sandus, our homes have been bedecked—virtually, physically, and metaphorically—in sky blue and lavender, the Sôgmô’s and Sanôba’s wedding colours, ahead of their wedding Saturday. The wedding will take place in Quercus Candida Province in Ann Arbour, the Sandum capital, at a local Buddhist temple, Ann Arbour Karma Thegsum Chöling. The wedding will be livestreamed on Zoom with details available on the State of Sandus Facebook page, where there is an event page dedicated to the wedding, and on the temple’s website. The wedding will be followed by a reception at a local restaurant that is prominent in the city and by other smaller festivities closer to the Appartement du Sôgmô that have been cut back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many regions of Sandus—virtually, physically, and metaphorically—have been bedecked in sky blue and lavender, the Sôgmô’s and Sanôba’s wedding colours, ahead of their wedding Saturday. The wedding will take place in Quercus Candida Province in Ann Arbour, the Sandum capital, at a local Buddhist temple, Ann Arbour Karma Thegsum Chöling. The wedding will be livestreamed on Zoom with details available on the State of Sandus Facebook page, where there is an event page dedicated to the wedding, and on the temple’s website. The wedding will be followed by a reception at a local restaurant that is prominent in the city and by other smaller festivities closer to the Appartement du Sôgmô that have been cut back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sandum citizens are flying in from all across the continent, and others who are unable for whatever reason may still participate in viewing the ceremony that day via Zoom. (The password to the Zoom meeting is AAKTC, the temple’s acronym.) Notable Sandum citizens will be in attendance, including the Homard, his wife the Homaressa, the Party Secretary, and other citizens and Sandum-adjacent people. All three participants who will give readings are Sandum citizens. Those readings are an Ancient Greek epigram by the poet Asclepiades, a New Yorker article about animals’ same-sex attractions, and the Buddha’s sermon at Rajagaha.

As the wedding is a private event, strictly between the country’s topmost royals, there is no public reception or event to follow. The Sôgmô and Sanôba may reach out to close friends that evening, but planned celebrations for their marriage are largely restricted to a few invitees. Both would, however, greatly appreciate your messages of congratulations and support as they become spouse and husband, and encourage you to contact them with your messages through whatever means are available to you.

One consequence of the marriage that is more immediate to the State of Sandus will be what title the Sanôba Oliver Armstrong takes as the Sôgmô’s husband. The present title “Sanôba,” and “Phanem” that is used for women, is the Sandum equivalent to “lady” or “sir.” Both are derived from the Western Abenaki language, where they mean “man” and “woman” respectively. The titles have been used to refer to anyone in the royal family according to their relationship to the Sôgmô, such as Sanôba Father Royal or Phanem Mother Royal, but never before there been a spouse to take the title. To date, only domestic partners have taken the title.

After his wedding to the Sôgmô, however, the Sanôba will take a slightly adapted title, the first of its kind in Sandus: the Sanôba Coniunx or the Sanôba Spouse. This new title will be used in all official Sandum state media and refers to the fact that the Sanôba will be now married to the Sôgmô.

Charity Taxes hold steady this Summer

Charity taxes are so far slightly up from where they were in the Spring across financial metrics, but down in terms of time spent volunteering. So far, there have been only five respondents this Equinox, the same as last Solstice’s final five respondents. Sandum citizens donated $3,344.15 USD in the Summer, compared to $3,214.66 in the Spring and $3,245.69 in Summer 2020. In terms of time volunteered to charity, Sandum citizens volunteered so far a total of 225 hours compared to the Spring’s 261 hours and last Summer’s whopping total of 500 hours. One respondent specified that they donated $450 USD in total in terms of material donations that included dinners, handmade items, and other food that was given away to charity. Other citizens specified that they had donated clothing and books to charity, as well.

The recipients of Sandum charity this past season included such organisations as religious organisations like churches and temples, philanthropic organisations like those focused on food insecurity and homelessness services, political causes, hospitals, and open-sourced information.

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The Common Economy is an single micronational economy associated with the Social System.

New Common Economy Treaty Ratified

Over the summer, the Common Economy continued to advance. Leaders in Sandus and Uberstadt finished negotiations on the Second Common Economy Treaty, which was swiftly ratified by both countries’ legislatures. This treaty creates the legal and management framework for cooperatives and enterprises in the new economy. It provides a basic structure for economic organizations and empowers the Commission for the Common Economy (CCE) to better coordinate economic development and create labor law. A more detailed breakdown of the treaty’s impact may be found here.

The CCE also published forms intended to help match Sandum, Uberstadti, and foreign workers to work opportunities in cooperatives and enterprises throughout the Common Economy. As interested citizens and foreign nationals submit responses, the Commission hopes to point them toward work opportunities that match their interests while furthering Realist development.

It is the Central People’s Government to have most, if not all, Sandum citizens placed in worker’s cooperatives and state enterprises by the National Day of Socialism.

2021 Party Congress to focus on Fresh Starts

The Citizens’ Party of Sandus will hold its 2021 Party Congress on Sunday 7 November at 23:00 UTC, or 6pm EST and 3pm PST. The congress will meet with the focus of advancing Sandus’s fresh starts as the country marks its fresh start since the COVID-19 pandemic, the fresh start of the Common Economy, and the fresh start of the Party’s new constitution that will be drafted and voted on at the congress. With much change occurring in the country, the Party will guide the State of Sandus as we chart our new paths forward in the post-pandemic world of Late Capitalism.

Party members, citizens, and foreign delegates from the Party’s international comrades are invited to attend the congress and its anticipated conference.

The flag of the Collegium Sacerdotum, or College of Priests

College of Priests holds first Convocation

On Sunday 22 August, the Collegium Sacerdotum, Sandus’s oldest economic organ, held its first convocation ever since the college’s new second charter was granted earlier this year. The convocation featured a presentation and discussion on the college’s membership, the role and function of the college, and planning on where Sandus’s cultural, religious, and philosophical organisation ought to go next. Members who have long been inactive were culled from the college’s roster of members, or sacerdotes (“sacred-doers”) in Latin, and the role and duty of the college’s work groups, or sodalitates in Latin, were clarified.

The college met during a groundswell of change in Sandus that sees Sandum labour not as something intentionally done for the micronation but also as something citizens do—often in their everyday lives. For example, emphasis was lain on the college’s activity that is the product of the college’s members, not of events and programs performed by the college as a whole. Sandum holidays, cultural events, and other such programs that citizens and members of the college do counts both as Sandum labour and as the college’s activity.

The convocation also reiterated that each member is expected to perform some project for the benefit of the college and the State of Sandus, known as liturgies. Derived from Ancient Greek, liturgies are public acts of service done for the benefit of the wider community, and in time came to refer to the acts of worship done in Christian churches. Several members signed up for liturgies after the convocation, and the Sôgmô as the Flamen Minervalis, or leader of the college, will ensure all members’ activity. What counts as a liturgy has not been specified and can include things that one already does.

The college has five sodalities that include a Christian church, a Buddhist sangha, a larger Neopagan community, a cult dedicated to Sandus’s matron goddess specifically, and the “convent of tongues”—a sodality that is geared toward language acquisition and practice in Sandus. Of the religious communities, each has been given a charge to meet and formulate a basic constitution, a topic that will be the focus of the college’s work in the next half-year.

The Cult of Athena, the newest sodality, has one such constitution in the form of a white paper that also specifies four major holidays for the cult: the Armilustrium (19 October), Athena’s Day (29 November), the Minervalia or Athena’s birthday (19 March), and the Quinquatrus festival (19–23 March). The cult also includes mystery rites held on the Quinquatrus or a close weekend.

The convocation also saw an increase of interest in the college in Sandus and around the micronational world. Many foreign micronationalists were present or interested in the deliberations, a number of whom signed up to become members and flamines in the college.

Sandum Presidency concludes 12 October

The Sandum presidency of the Borean Community will conclude on 12 October. That day, President Jacob Barnet (Valentine) will hand-over power to the community’s next presidency from the Newgraviate of Saint-Castin, the second member to sign the charter. This act will conclude one year of work that the community has done to create connections between its members in North America who share in common the goals of resisting fascism and standing for internationalism and humanitarianism.

The Borean Community was established on 12 October 2020 with the hope of coordinating political decisions and policies across the whole community. The community has met a total of three times, in October 2020, January 2021, and May 2021. The community met in January to discuss indigenous rights and sovereignty, and in May to discuss antifascism. The community is scheduled to meet twice more in October, first at a regular meeting where the topic is climate change and another time to witness the transition of power.

Unlike many organisations where the leadership of the organisation is elected, the Borean Community’s president is selected through a rotation of members according to their seniority. The earliest signers of the community’s charter hold the presidency first for a tenure of one year before handing power off to the next micronation in line. The country that holds the presidency decides on its own who is to be the organisation’s actual president, and Sandus this year selected Jacob Barnet, a seasoned micronational diplomat.

The first year of the community’s existence witnessed several early months of advocating for the removal of Lostisland and Pavlov from the micronational community that, in time, turned into contentious in-fighting between New Virginia, Nordale, and Hrafnarfjall. After months of conflict, Sandus was lobbied continuously to have Hrafnarfjall suspended or expelled from the community. On 24 January, the Sôgmô released a document specifying the country’s conditions for voting on Hrafnarfjall’s suspension, conditions that were not favourable to Nordale or New Virginia.

The report angered the Nordalian government so much that Nordale left the community that evening, and a vote to suspend Hrafnarfjall never happened.

Since that first conflict, the Borean Community largely slowed its activity to focus on its stated political mission, to hold semi-regular meetings to address and discuss its members’ policies and laws and to coordinate political decision-making. On 13 May, the Misberian successor state of Damariscotta, now the Confederation of the Northern Coast of which Misberia is a founding state, rejoined the community.

New Virginia remains a member of the community despite its political upheaval in July. None of the states that have since declared independence from the commonwealth have applied for Borean Community membership.