Equinox Report: For two seasons in a row, Citizens break charity tax records

Charity Taxes

Two record-breaking seasons in a row

After a slow response at the Solstice, Sandus has officially broken its records two seasons in a row! In the spring, citizens first broke the record by donating $4,193.83 USD to charity, surpassing the previous record set in Summer 2021 by $509.58. This summer, however, citizens donated almost $5,000 USD to charity—donating $4,925.60 to be exact! Donations went to a variety of different philanthropic organisations, including religious organisations, LGBTQ+ charities, political campaigns and parties, healthcare charities, and indigenous tribal services.

Citizens volunteered their time and labour for a total of 460 hours, very narrowly passing the previous record of 500 hours set in Summer 2020.

In addition to time and money, citizens also donated their personal property to charity, such as: clothing, including clothing worth more than $350, food (meals, garden produce, alcohol, etc.), and other housewares, furniture, toiletries, and utensils.

To date, there have been only 4 respondents this season, so the amount of hours, money, and property may increase in the future.

This year’s Party Congress will take place on 5 November 2022.

Party Congress to focus on future platform, ratifying constitution

The Citizens’ Party of Sandus will hold its annual Party Congress on Saturday 5 November at 18:00 UTC, or 19:00 BST, 14:00 EDT, and 11:00 PDT. The Party Congress will focus on its usual important business, such as the election of the Party Secretary, as well as conduct votes for several points of long-awaited important business. The theme will be: “A Platform for the Next Five Years.”

The first important agenda item will be to ratify the party’s new constitution, and the draft is expected to pass the vote by a wide margin, if not unanimously. Last year, the Party Secretary laid out this vision for the new constitution and received wide-reaching powers from the Congress in drafting the constitution.

A year in the making, the new constitution will establish a more robust governance structure for the Party. The Party’s Central Committee, which acts as the party’s presidium when the Party Congress is not in session, will be more active, permanent, and impartial under the new constitution. Its members will be the Party Secretary, the Sôgmô, and a third new officer, the Commissioner. This new office will have the power to represent Party members’ voices on the Central Committee and also to organise political education in the Party and in the State of Sandus generally.

Previously, the Central Committee was appointed directly by the Party Secretary and members served at their leisure. The Central Committee, too, will now have a wide range of powers in the Sandum constitution, such as making policy recommendations to and establishing plans (a category of law in Sandus) for the Central People’s Government, State organs and staff, and even the major State Officers.

The Party Secretary will also have his traditionally broad powers enshrined in the constitution, including new powers previously not exercised. Under the new constitution, for example, the Party Secretary may now represent the Party, as a state organ and a part of our republican constitution, to other left-wing parties around the world.

The new constitution also creates possible subordinate organisations, such as thematic committees and geographically-specific chapters.

But Party Secretary von Friedeck has already suggested that the Party will, after his likely reëlection, focus on the drafting of a new Party platform. Last adopted and drafted in 2018, the current platform is out-dated and specific to Sandus only. The new platform will focus on Party members’ roles in their broader communities, not just the Party’s aspirations for the State of Sandus.

Sôgmô considering unprecedented amendments to the Founding Law

For the first time in the history of the State of Sandus, the Sôgmô is considering amendments to the Founding Law. Drafted in April 2011, the Founding Law set out the nascent constitution of the State of Sandus, citizens’ rights, and various fundamental state policies. Since 13 April 2011, however, the actual constitution of the State of Sandus has grown and changed. No longer an absolute monarchy as it once was, Sandus today is a fully-fledged republic with an elective monarchy, the Party, and a working democracy. These changes have come about because of the adoption of new laws, but also through the happenstance of precedent made since 2011.

The amendments would likely be broad, giving the whole Founding Law new edits, adding sections and articles, clarifying obscure outdated language, and even adopting new rights and obligations for citizens. The idea was first floated by the Sôgmô after noticing that the Founding Law does not guarantee for a right of association, though association has been a prominent constitutional subject in Sandus over the years. Freedom of association has been the justification for remaining the eclectic micronation that we are, such as requiring citizens to uphold the Sandum Philosophy, despite rare and mostly external criticism. But the same is true of many other principles, including even the entire “dual definition” of Sandus as both an monarchy where the Sôgmô reigns supreme while also being one of three branches in a mixed constitutional republic.

The goal would not be to upend or supplant Sandus’s unwritten constitution with a written constitution. The constitutional order would almost entirely remain the same, but the amendments to the Founding Law would enshrine many of today’s constitutional principles into law. There are many constitutional principles that are not included in laws, such as the role of precedent in the constitution, the republican constitution, and even the idea that the Sôgmô is the arbiter and vanguard of the constitution.


With MA in Latin, Sôgmô becomes knight in HOΑθΠ

With the Sôgmô’s recent receipt of their Master’s degree of arts (MA) in Latin, they been promoted in the Honourable Order of Athena Pronoea (ΑθΠ), Sandus’s meritorious order for educational achievements. Thanks to their new MA, C. Soergel Publicola has now become a Knight in the order.

The order is also exceptional for the fact that it is perhaps one of the only, if not the only, meritorious orders in the world where its sovereign is not the most senior rank. Since ranks in the order are equivalent to collegiate and academic ranks, the order’s highest rank, Commanders First Class, is reserved for those with philosophiae doctoral (PhD) degrees. The degree of knight is the third highest rank in the order, below Commanders First Class and Commanders, a rank that is reserved for other doctoral degrees that are often equivalent to or somewhat more senior than Master’s degrees.