Former Francillian Duke Marries

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James Stewart, former leader of Francisville, speaking with the Sôgmô early in their reign in July 2012 in Wrythe, Austenasia

The former Grand Duke of Francisville and former First Minister of Wasserbrueck, a canton of the former Francillian federal republic, has married today in a private ceremony in Scotland. A one-time GUM chairman from July to October 2009, James Stewart married his partner of several years. They were engaged in April of last year.

Both grooms were married by a pastor with friend and fellow micronational colleague, James von Puchow, in attendance. Congratulations were sent to Stewart and his now-husband from across Europe and North America from his friends.

Images of the day’s festivities will be published with consent and not now out of respect for privacy.

Sandum-Francillian relations go back all the way to 2009. In the summer of 2009, Sandus joined the Grand Unified Micronational and both Sandus and Francisville were close political partners then and over the next few years. In 2014, the Federal Republic of Francisville disbanded, but both the Sôgmô and the former micronationalist have periodically been in contact. After his engagement was announced last April, það sent a congratulatory message to Stewart.

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In July 2012, both leaders and several other former GUM micronationalists met in London for the second PoliNation Conference.

Sandus is getting ready for the Veneralia, our holiday of love. Enjoy these tunes to celebrate today’s lovely news!

Sandus responds to White Nationalist, Anti-Semitic Terrorist Attack

On Saturday 27 October, a white nationalist terrorist entered the Tree of Life – Or L’Simcha synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. Motivated by hatred and anger towards Jewish people, the terrorist, Robert Bowers, murdered almost a dozen people and injured several more. The incident has caused people in North America to respond with shock at the public display of the terrorist’s hatred toward a religious minority, as well as to advocate for agitation and resistance against anti-Semitism and against white nationalism. Jewish leaders in the United States have called out American president Donald Trump, arguing that his inflammatory rhetoric have radicalised his ardent supporters and normalised racist and other phobic rhetoric in the mainstream.

In Sandus, a country which is majority Christian but with a long tradition as a religious-minority country, Sandum politicians and citizens have responded with similar messages of shock and need to agitate. Though this concern falls outside of the concerns of the State of Sandus, 86% of Sandum citizens are American citizens and residents and some who are minorities feel unsafe in their places of worship because of vandalism, hateful and angry rhetoric, and similar instances of violence done against other religious minorities.

THE STATE OFFICERS
Reactions from the Sôgmô, the Party Secretary, and the Facilitator:

The Sôgmô voiced their concern attending their Buddhist temple in Michigan, not because they believe that Buddhists are targets of such hateful rhetoric but because there have been cases of misidentified rage and of rage against religious “others” in the United States generally. “I should preface this by saying that I am not Jewish nor have I experienced anti-Semitism,” they said, “but white nationalism goes hand-in-hand with notions of Christian supremacy and nationalism. After the August 2012 terrorist attack on a Sikh gurdwara in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the United States, people in the Buddhist sangha of which I am a member voiced similar worries and concerns.” They continued by voicing their concerns that the rise of white nationalism will likely entail violence for people of many minority groups, not just restricted to religious minorities. Jews, það continued, are historical and poignant targets, however.

“As a micronation,” the Sôgmô concluded, “our work is political, as well as cultural. We should not forget that both advocacy and culture are political, and I suspect that Sandus will work to embrace its advocacy role as a polity and as a voice of the free world in the future.” Það mentioned that the 2018 CPS Party Congress will likely include a statement or platform detailing Sandus’s increased role as a political advocate, demonstrating a potential diplomatic change in the State of Sandus’s diplomatic policy since 2014.

Party Secretary Adam von Friedeck, who is facing reëlection at this Saturday’s CPS Party Congress, commented that “the violent far-right has been emboldened by this decade’s surge in reactionary politics, with antisemitism in particular going unpunished far too often.” The Party Secretary added, “massacres like this are reminders that hate always tends toward violence,” recalling the Sandum national philosophy’s perspective on hatred and anger and how attacks like these will be seen again and again in the future.

I hope those of us who see bigotry as the evil it is can discern the best path forward.”

The Council’s facilitator, Ryuho Hatsu, expressed his disgust for the terrorist attack but commented that the “shock factor was gone,” adding that “shooting have become so common now.” As a local resident of the city, Hatsu stated that the city is very shaken at the moment after the attack. He concluded on a note of indignation, saying that his thoughts and prayers were with the victims, their families, and their friends, but that more must be done by all to agitate against anti-Semitism, white nationalist terrorism, and gun violence.

PUBLIC OUTRAGE IN SANDUS:
Artemis Langford, a Sandum chargée d’affaires in the Central People’s Government, expressed her sadness at the terrorist attack, adding that “the current environment in the United States is reprehensible,” similarly also expressing fear that this attack will represent a vicious cycle of fear, anger, hatred, and violence. “It furthers my beliefs that action must and will continue to be necessary, with or without the United States government’s involvement.” She expressed her deepest condolences to the synagogue’s community and to the Pittsburgh Jewish community, calling the antisemitic act disgusting and saying that “it will drive me to combat [anti-Semitism]. I believe that Sandus will do whatever we as a nation can to further efforts to combat antisemitism and terrorism.” The citizen’s call to arms reflects a broader sense of urgency in many Sandum citizens now after the terrorist attack.

King Adam will attend Sôgmô’s Armilustrium dinner, marking second Sande-Überstadti state visit

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The Sôgmô has announced that they will hold a dinner for friends and colleagues to celebrate the Armilustrium ahead of the 19 October holiday on 15 October. The dinner, which coincide’s with þess university’s autumn break, will be held in the royal Appartement du Sôgmô and will include traditional food for the holiday. At first, it was an occasion to celebrate the holiday with the Sôgmô’s chosen family, but it has now taken on a greater significance for Sandus as a whole.

Following a courteous invitation to the Party Secretary and the King of Überstadt, Adam von Friedeck has announced that he has accepted the Sôgmô’s invitation and will attend þess dinner. The visit will both be the second state visit by the King of Überstadt and the first visit by the king to Sandus’s capital as a Sandum citizen and Party Secretary.

Read the Sôgmô’s invitation here for a state visit and the King of Überstadt’s response here.

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A copy of the dinner invitation, with the Appartement du Sôgmô‘s address redacted.

The dinner will feature traditional food, such as baklava, Three Sisters Soup, and roast chicken, as well as other autumn desserts and delights, and will also feature communal drinking for those who imbibe alcohol. Since the dinner also falls on the occasion of the October Horse, a Roman holiday which featured a horse race and the sacrifice of the winning horse, the Sôgmô’s dinner will also feature a horse and racing theme—though, to be sure, no horse will in fact be sacrificed.

Guests have been requested to bring one book in order to be washed, representative of the traditional Sandum ritual of cleaning the home and washing books important to one’s life, which in Sandus taken on the meaning of philosophical weapons, or “arms.”

On 19 October, for the Armilustrium, according to tradition, Roman legions would enter the city and stop in an area on the Aventine hill to perform a lustrum, or ritual cleansing ceremony, of their weapons and of the soldiers. Presumably, this ritual stretches far back into Roman pre-history to mark the end of the campaign season and, as some anthropologists have argued, as a means of mitigating blood guilt and guilty consciences from the summer’s violence.

Sandus is not into war. It is instead a pacifist micronation and, unlike many other micronations, does not even have a decorative armed force. Instead of lustrating our arma, whence Armi·lustrium, we wash our metaphorical weapons: books. Specifically philosophical books, and other books important to our way of life. In Sandus, this holiday has become something of an Autumnal festival and, today, many of our citizens celebrate this holiday—shown by the fact that Adam von Friedeck will join in the Sôgmô’s celebration. von Friedeck celebrates the Armilustrium every year since the tradition began in Sandus in 2012.

Happy Armilustrium!

 

Sandus, Überstadt developing academic certificate

Academic institutions from both Sandus and Überstadt are cautiously optimistic about developing an academic certificate program, tentatively called the Certificate of Higher Micronational Learning, or CHML. The certificate is being developed as part of an academic consortium between the two social countries, with plans for more member institutions, and is open to involvement from other micronations outside of the two countries’ Social System.

Inquiries can be made to the State of Sandus at KremlumSandus@gmail.com.

The certificate is intended to fulfil the first year of higher or tertiary education, and is meant to be completed with 10 to 13 courses—10 courses for institutions which follow semesters and 13 for quarters. Students enrolled in the certificate program will be able to take any consortium member institution’s courses, and will also be required to take a certain number of courses in key micronational disciplinary fields—such as from the arts, humanities, and social sciences to law and language or communication.

The certificate is meant to provide a well-rounded factual and theoretical knowledge within various fields of study related to micronationalism. This certificate is especially useful for those interested in micronationalism or who wish to develop their skills as a micronationalist. It teaches micronationalists about the ancillary fields related to micronationalism and is also meant to support the development of interdisciplinary micropatriology.

Sandum and Überstadti academics have tentatively committed to teaching at least one class in 2019 during the springtime. Such classes could include humanities classes on the history of micronationalism, micronational themes in literature, an introduction to law, and a micronational communications class. What is more, both academics have agreed that, despite being the instructors of a course, they will also be students in whatever course they teach while both institutions are working toward developing the certificate program further. In other words, both will be the facilitators of learning—striking the balance between micronational colleagues and successful intellectuals and educators.

Academics and intellectualism are important to both countries, as both their leaders are pursuing graduate-level education. Sandus, in fact, even has a national order of merit tied to educational attainment; it is the only order in which the sovereign of the order is not automatically the most senior rank. The Sôgmô’s family all outrank það.

Sôgmô & Slabovian King meet, MicroCon registration expected in September

The Sôgmô and the King of Slabovia, George I & II, met Friday to visit, share dinner, and to discuss micronational news and events. Both monarchs visited a local restaurant in the Sandum capital province, Quercus Candida, and walked around the province’s only city, Ann Arbour.

The Sôgmô was joined by the Sanôba Consort, Oliver. It was the Sanôba’s first official micronational engagement.

Both leaders primarily discussed planning for the 2019 MicroCon in Hamilton, Ontario, as well as local, international, and intermicronational politics.

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(L-R) The Sôgmô and Sanôba Consort of Sandus with King George I & II of Slabovia.

Veritum Sandus sat down with the king in a local café in Quercus Candida, Sandus, to ask him a few questions.

Slabovia (est. 1984) sees changes since 2015

Slabovia is a micronation founded officially in 1984 which today now has around 50 citizens. King George’s first coronation was in 1998 and his reign lasted until 2010, when another king, King Penny, briefly ruled before George returned to the porcelain throne in 2011 as “George 2.0.”

The country began, like many micronations, as a running joke on a forum between four founding friends—George, Rankin (now Slabovia’s chancellor), Pat, and Dave. The latter two have taken a step back from running the nation in recent years.

In 2015, Slabovians became increasingly aware of the existence of micronationalism beyond their own borders and proceeded to make contact with other micronationalists in time for the first MicroCon in 2015, which was organised by Molossian President Kevin Baugh. When interviewed by Veritum Sandus, King George reported that since 2015 Slabovia has become increasingly interested and inspired by the intermicronational community, leading the country to develop along more serious lines. Or, as he put it (in the typical Slabovian manner of wordplay), “we’re upping our micronational standards, so up yours.”

Since then, Slabovia has seen development along more serious and realistic lines. Foreign relations was one of the starkest differences King George described, saying that the nation was not even aware of other micronations existing before 2015 in the lead up to MicroCon. Now, a little over three years later, Slabovia has taken up the mantle of organising the 2019 MicroCon in Hamilton, Ontario, a distinguished international honour for an otherwise well established micronation which has made itself stand out in micronationalism in such a short time.

King George stated that it was at least partly due to their history of almost thirty five years of existence that convinced Kevin Baugh of Molossia that the country was ready to organise the third MicroCon.

Next, King George remarked that Slabovia now has its own law of succession because of this change toward a more serious micronationalism, where the king selects the heir who is thus ratified by the people, while the king can remove their heir from succession at their own will.

However, as a micronation made in humour, especially Canadian humour, the country remains a primarily amusing nation project. The nation identifies as somewhere between British dry humour and the blatant, bombastic comedy of the United States, the King described, and he continued that due to this light-hearted history there has been some push-back on some of the more serious and realistic projects the King has suggested since 2015. In other words, think Family Ties and Michael J. Fox, we were told.

But Slabovia’s newest project is delving into one of the micronation’s cherished areas. As philately, or the study of stamps, is to Padrhom, so is phaleristics to Slabovia. The King revealed that he had been in talks with his chancellor to establish and to unveil a new micronational phaleristics institute or museum, where micronations can present, explain, and exchange information about their medals and honours.

MicroCon 2019 will take place 19-21 July 2019

King George 2.0 announced to Veritum Sandus that MicroCon 2019 will take place on 20 July 2019, meaning that events will begin on 19 July and last until 21 July in Hamilton, Ontario. The specifics about the hotel will be released in September, when the information and website for the convention and conference will be set up online and be made public. Hamilton is centrally located near Niagra Falls, close to both Toronto and Buffalo, NY. The city also has its own international airport, serviced by Air Canada, Sunwings, Swoop, Westjet, and even Norwegian (starting 31 March 2019 from Dublin).

The conference and all major events will take place in the same hotel, unlike the 2017 MicroCon which had events in separate locations in Dunwoody and Tucker, Georgia, United States.

Both the Sôgmô and the Sanôba Consort have stated that they will attend the 2019 MicroCon. King Adam I of Überstadt, both a Sandum social citizen and a close Sandum ally, said he would also likely attend.

King George expects the convention to have 50-100 participants coming from across North America and Europe. At least half a dozen micronations have already committed to attending. All signs point to the third MicroCon increasing in size from the second, which was already larger than the first.

At the recent 2nd OMF Summit in Vincennes, France, almost half of the organisation’s members stated that they would attend the 2019 MicroCon in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Sandus will be joined by its French-speaking allies from Saint-Castin, Aigues-Mortes, Angyalistan, Flandrensis, the Formori nation, and possibly others like Padrhom.

The first few days of the convention will include one or more day excursions with transportation arranged by the United Slabovian Empire to the environs of Hamilton, such as a winery tour, a tour of the local zoo or aquarium, or a Toronto Blue Jays game, all followed by an evening reception at the hotel.

The second will see the conference itself, with talks, a catered lunch, and a meet and greet session at the end, before a short break for dinner and dance. At the dinner, medals are expected to be exchanged, as has become customary at previous MicroCons.

Finally, on the third day, there will be open time and possibly other planned events, though the king informed us that other details have not yet been finalised. At the 2017 MicroCon, the remaining participants who had not left by then went to enjoy a bowling contest.

Some have already asked where MicroCon will be in 2021. After the 2017 MicroCon, however, a committee was set up of former MicroCon organisers and they will decide what nation will organise the 2021 MicroCon. This decision will take place at the 2019 MicroCon, however. The committee, he said, would ask for bids to organise future MicroCons, meaning future organisers must submit a proposal to the committee. “A bit like the IOC (International Olympic Committee),” the king said, “minus the corruption.”

REPORT: Sôgmô participates in the 2nd Summit of the OMF

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The Sôgmô has participated in the second summit of the Organisation de la MicroFrancophonie, a major intermicronational organisation for French-speaking micronations with members from the Americas, Europe, and Africa. The meeting was organised by the Empire of Angyalistan for the organisation near the location of their embassy in Vincennes, France. The Sôgmô attended the summit representing our country, which is a founding member of the organisation.

PRÉPARATIONS: Það receptum est

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The Sôgmô with Grand Duke Niels of Flandrensis, Prince Jean Pierre IV and Olivier de Constance of Aigues-Mortes, and Minister-President Dominic DeSaintes at the Aigues-Mortes embassy in Paris.

The Sôgmô met first individually with Minister-President Dominic DeSaintes of Saint-Castin on the evening of Thursday 19 July, after það had arrived from Reykjavík. Both toured the districts of Le Marais and Saint-Germain-des-Prés before returning to share a bottle of wine with Prince Jean Pierre IV of Aigues-Mortes in the evening. The following evening, on Friday 20 July, það returned to visit Jean Pierre IV with all other participants for a reception at the Aiguesmortais embassy in Paris.

DAY ONE: Saturday 21 July 2018

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Sandus was front and center at the meeting of the OMF.

The summit began on Saturday with remarks made by General Secretary Olivier, Emperor of Angyalistan, and by High Commissioner Jean Pierre IV, Prince of Aigues-Mortes. These were followed by a formal introduction of participants including some well-known Francophone micronations which are not members of the organisation, like the Principality of Laàs or the famous Republic of Montmartre which was founded in 1921. A short teaser for an upcoming documentary by the society Vie des Hauts was shown to the audience, which included clips of various micronations and interviews with many well-known micronationalists from around the world.

Next, the OMF held a lively general assembly to discuss a resolution concerning fake news, though discussion was bogged down because of competing purposes for individual micronations who were present. A resolution which focuses on education for a critical attitude toward media, however, was supported by the Sôgmô and by many of the delegations involved in the debate.

Following the debate, participants left for a lunch session which provided an opportunity for the Sôgmô to speak individually with more participants, including General Representative of Padrhom and the Grand Duke of Flandrensis, about matters ranging from micronational politics to amicable person topics. The Sôgmô, unaccustomed to the lack of air conditioning found throughout France, left the dining hall twice to speak individually with other leaders, like the Minister-President of Saint-Castin and the Prince of Aigues-Mortes.

Upon leaving the lunch, delegates left to see and observe a local exhibition of micronational stamps at a local hair salon.

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Participants received a complimentary gift.

Arriving back at the summit location, delegates met with Léo Delafontaine, author and photographer of a book on micronations. He had previously photographed the Sôgmô and many other participants in 2012 at the Second PoliNations conference on micronations in London.

Finally, the first day of the summit concluded with individual papers given by three speakers and micronationalists. Olivier de Constance of Aigues-Mortes gave a paper entitled, “Micronations, Fiction or Reality,” arguing that the micronational mentality is a way of life and thus real. Grand Duke Niels of Flandrensis spoke on the history of the internet on the growth of micronationalism and the effects of different digital platforms on micronational business, ranging from Skype to Facebook, as well as highlighting the growth of provocative diplomacy on social media platforms; his talk, given in English, was translated into French by Olivier de Constance. Finally, Prince Vincent of Hélianthis presented the results of surveys given over a week under his capacity as Assistance Secretary of Human Rights on topics related to bioethics, ranging from genetic modification of food to matters of reproductive health.

In the evening, participants had a private dinner in Paris.

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© UniCORN / Thibaut Plaire

DAY TWO: Sunday 22 July 2018

Attendees of the Sunday session of the summit were exclusively OMF members, allowing for the day to begin with a debate on the work of the secrétaires-adjoints of the OMF. Participants not only critiqued the work of the deputy secretaries, but also discussed solutions about the business of the organisation as a whole. During this session, some thought was given about a commemorative week to promote the organisation’s values of human rights, human dignity, and pluralism. Discussion on the deputy secretary of diplomacy prompted the Sôgmô to offer þess services in acting as the OMF’s representative to the Organisation of Independent States, an intermicronational organisation of Russophone micronations.

Finally, the Summit ended with an exchange of medals, the signing of bilateral treaties, exchanges of protocols, and photos with micronations’ flags.

The summit was followed by a brunch which was well attended and provided an opportunity for the Sôgmô to be interviewed by a local TV station, Vincennes TV. In the afternoon, participants attended a tour of the local castle, its keep (le Donjon), and the Sainte-Chapelle of Vincennes where a manor was first built by the French king Saint Louis—founder of Vincennes and of Aigues-Mortes.

PROVINS: Sôgmô with heads of Angyalistan and Saint-Castin

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Inside Angyalistan’s Imperial Car

On the Monday following the summit, það informally visited the Angyalistani imperial residence and went with the Emperor and the Castinian Minister-President to Provins, a medieval town and former capital of the Duchy of Champagne in the Middle Ages. All three had lunch in the town and learned more about the role of the town in 12th century fairs and the role of the fairs in the European economy of the time, as well as the town’s downfall because of changing trade routes by the 13th and 14th centuries. All three enjoyed their time climbing the Tour Césare and making music in the Saint-Quiriace Collegiate Church, a fantastic example of an unfinished Romanesque church with Gothic and Baroque features.

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Angyalistan’s Imperial Couple

THIRD TIME’S A CHARM: Þess last dinner

At last, in Tuesday evening, the Sôgmô visited with the Minister-President of Saint-Castin in Le Marais before returning back to the embassy of Aigues-Mortes in Paris for them to enjoy a bottle of wine together with Prince Jean Pierre IV. Later in the evening, they were all joined by the Imperial Couple of Angyalistan at a local restaurant, before það returned back to þess accommodation near Vincennes. While at the restaurant, discussion centred around social and cultural topics, as well as topics about LGBTQ+ life in all appropriate countries. At last, the Sôgmô bid all four farewell and mounted the train back to Vincennes, only to begin þess 13 hour trip back to Quercus Candida, Sandus, the next day.

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The Sôgmô with the Sandum Bicolour

ANALYSIS

The Sôgmô’s visit to Vincennes to take part in the second summit of the OMF is a real representation of where Sandus’s international loyalties lie. Increasingly alienated from the old MicroWiki community, Sandus has been received more amicably by Francophone micronations than by its old friends and allies who are or were historical members of the GUM. Pushed out by the diplomatic efforts of countries like Austenasia, Sandus has turned its back on the MicroWiki community for the greener pastures of the OMF—where micronationalists are older, more Realist, and more practical about the aims and goals of their micronations. This change reflects the general Realist outlook of Sandus on micronationalism, that micronationalism ought to have a practical end and is accompanied by a change in mentality and culture, as opposed to the goal of the GUM to educate younger micronations and to (historically) represent a bloc of “Old Guard” micronations.

The growing diplomatic movement, however, has not been completely of Sandus’s volition. On multiple occasions, Sandus was forcefully ostracised from some historically significant micronational venues to the nation. In June and July 2016, only a month after Sandus helped to form the OMF, Sandus’s GUM membership application was denied because of what the Central People’s Government has claimed was false reasoning and misled politicking. When the State applied again in January 2017, a second application was denied. Finally, in January 2018, the State opted for observership, but many GUM members voted for Sandus because a delegate other than the Sôgmô, who later became inactive, was promised to chair the Sandum delegation. While the Sôgmô was meeting with OMF leaders on Sunday, the GUM voted to recognise that Sandus’s observership had lapsed without contacting the country’s delegation or government to prorogue membership, unlike what the previous chair had done.

These actions have been done because some MicroWiki participants see Sandus as a pariah, an image shaped by misleading media and conversations made by several micronationalists who have historically been opposed to Sandus. The 2013 media project, “Is Sandus Aggressive?,” examined the problem, analysing and comparing the diplomatic situation with Sandum laws and policies. It concluded that the rise of the importance of the Armilustrium after 2012 has nipped in the bud any legitimate claims of Sandum interference in a nation’s domestic policies. That project and the State have argued that disapproval or discontent with a micronation’s internal politics is not an intervention into a micronation’s sovereignty, but is instead Sandus’s sovereign right to manage its diplomatic affairs, to levy complaints, and to opine. Thus, Sandus’s disapproval for Austenasian imperialism has been construed as an attack on Austenasia, rather than a disagreement over the role of imperialism and federalism in micronations.

Now to the OMF in particular.

While the members of the OMF maintain their independence in diplomatic policy, þess visit and the summit represents a growing, broader platform upon which OMF members can collaborate on diplomatic and significant political matters. This is somewhat paradoxical. The role of the organisation as a single diplomatic force was discussed and disregarded during debates at the organisation’s summit, opting instead to work broadly on “micronational affairs” versus “diplomacy.” But, at the same time, the organisation discussed specific points on which members can cooperate and collaborate together to provide a single message on a problem, as the organisation has done before with projects like #PasdePlanèteB or with blocking communication and diplomacy with nations like Pavlov and Lostisland. Internal discussions still focus on providing a concerted effort to achieve aims, as was the case when a member posted a provocative and inflammatory image in April and members of the organisation—while defending the organisation as a bloc on the outside—condemned such flagrant behaviour in the privacy of the OMF.

The OMF, moreover, is a site in which micronations can collaborate despite differences in micronational attitudes and systems of government. Micronations which have jocular and light-hearted roles, like Aigues-Mortes, can still collaborate with serious micronations, like Sandus or Padrhom, on topics related to fake news by finding common ground. In a part of the general assembly, Olivier de Constance mentioned that the Principality cannot rightfully tell its citizens not to consume or to share fake news, but did appear to agree that the Principality could encourage a critical attitude toward media. Instead of controlling member-states’ sharing of fake news for fear of restraining freedom of expression, as the initial draft for a resolution suggested, members noted the right of citizens to respond to fake news and to write media in response. The assembly’s debate found common ground amongst member-states by suggesting a common platform to encourage expression in media while also educating citizens on the necessity of a critical and discerning attitude toward media.

In addition to responding to fake news, the organisation also sought a new project to laud pluralism and diversity, and even encouraged tongue-in-cheek alternatives in order to do so. One such project seeks to encourage the organisation’s values of human rights and human dignity, while playing to a real world perspective on micronations in an effort to jump-start debates and discussions. More about this soon. This project and others are examples of the way in which the OMF acts as a common discussion platform and as a platform for a common message, despite our many differences.

The OMF’s biennial summits also encourage real cooperation between individual micronations. In one case, the Sôgmô agreed to phone periodically with Prince Vincent of Hélianthis to simply share news and to discuss contemporary politics, while also serving as a way for það to practice their French. In another, Sandus, Saint-Castin, and Aigues-Mortes are planning a joint media platform, about which more information is coming. In yet another, the Sôgmô and Grand Duke Niels of Flandrensis talked about their common role in the OMF as members whose native languages are not French. These are but more examples of how the OMF can lead to Realistic solutions for its common micronations and members.

Time will tell where the third 2020 OMF summit will be located and if a Sandum delegation will attend, but already multiple members have promised to be present at the 2019 MicroCon in Ontario, Canada, with the Sôgmô. Until next time — À la prochaine fois.

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© UniCORN / Thibaut Plaire

Sôgmô à Vincennes: Verre de paix contre la tempête de Washington

The Organisation of the MicroFrancophonie will meet this weekend in Vincenne to share micronational ideas and to discuss together political subjects about the world, at the same time that the presidency of Donald Trump is heating up for his press conference in Helsinki with Russian president Vladimir Putin and for having invited him to the White House. Between these two sides, the American one and the micronationalist one, one can see that the micronational system can work more friendly, more respectfully, and more diplomatically than a president of a macronation. For “career micronationalists,” it’s probably not a surprise. What is more, a country like Sandus, which is known by several English-speaking micronations as “aggressive” (we never know why), will finally meet the majority of members of an organisation which we created as a founding member, despite the fact that we are not a French-speaking country by upbringing but by education.

Yesterday, I was received well by two micronational heads of state, HSH the Prince of Aigues-Mortes and HE the Minister-President of Saint-Castin. We traversed Paris and the Seine, we dined humbly together according to Sandum custom, and we drank a bottle of rosé wine which came from the Camargue region where Aigues-Mortes is located. Our intimate discussion is confidential because it was between heads of state, but it was very amicable and not at all like that of the fat American prince with his G7 and NATO allies. In the same week that he described Montenegro as an aggressive country that could begin another world war, French-speaking monarchs and presidents will have had a pleasant and productive weekend, where each person can discuss micronational ideas ranging from the ecological role of micronations to the culture of our nations. As pacifist countries, we do not have reason for sabre-rattling.

For us Sandum people, this visit is perhaps a little more important because we wish to distinguish ourselves from Americans and from Trumpian diplomacy. For a country comprised of Americans and totally of English-speakers, it is very important to distinguish between our micronation and our macronation. The former is a polity where one goes according to their accord and their intention, the latter is outside of our control except at the ballot box. For the majority, and it is the same for those who come from the UK, we are not content being our macronationality because of its history, its conservative politics, its xenophobic diplomacy, etc. But it is here in Sandus where, like the lyrics to le Chant des partisans, “each person knows what they want and they are doing”—and we know that we are completely dissatisfied with the American president.

With a light hand, now, we would like to say that we are not American but Sandum, that we are French-speakers because of our education, that we are human like everyone else. (This is perhaps difficult to understand for the racists found in the US and who voted for the worst American president in recent history.) We reject with incredulity the 45th American president’s politics. We stand for Sandum ideals: compassion, socialism, and pluralism. We have stood, we stand now to protest, and so we will stand for strike action against the government of Donald Trump.

Comrade C. Soergel P.

Voice of Sandus

Sandus&PartyFlag

L’Organisation de la MicroFrancophonie se rencontrera ce week-end à Vincennes pour partager les idées micronationales et pour discuter ensemble aux sujets politiques du monde, en même moment que la présidence de Donald Trump se réchauffe pour son discours à Helsinki avec le président russe Vladimir Poutine et pour l’avoir invité a la Maison blanche. Entre les deux côtés, celle-là américaine et celle-ci micronationaliste, on voit que le système micronational peut travailler plus amiablement, plus respectueusement, et plus diplomatiquement qu’un président d’une macronation. Pour les “career micronationalists,” c’est probablement pas une surprise. De plus, un pays comme Sandus, ce qui est connu par plusieurs micronations anglophones comme pays “agressif” (on ne sait jamais pourquoi), il rencontrera finalement la plupart des membres d’une organisation ce que nous avons créé comme membre fondateur, malgré que nous ne sommes pas pays francophone par naissance mais par éducation.

Hier, j’ai été bien accueilli par deux…

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Sandus applies for GUM observership

The Council of the State of Sandus has approved a motion to apply to become an observer of the Grand Unified Micronational, one of the leading intermicronational organisations in the MicroWiki community. The decision comes after three votes in support and two in abstention. The motion was supported by the Sôgmô and the Diplomatic Affairs minister Jacob Barnet and, after the motion’s passing, the Sôgmô submitted an application to the Grand Unified Micronational this evening.

The motion comes as Sandum chargée d’affaires Artemis Baca is slated to serve as the primary representative of Sandus in the organisation, if the application is accepted. The Sôgmô reiterated þess unwillingness to take the top position in a possible future Sandum delegation, citing graduate school work and attention to Sandum domestic affairs. As Sandus’s chief representative abroad and as head of state, however, the Sôgmô will be attentive to the work of any Sandum delegation to the GUM.

This comes after the Sôgmô published an opinion piece last week detailing þess support of Duke Bradley of Dullahan’s and Emperor Jonathan of Austenasia’s opinions on the issues plaguing the Grand Unified Micronational. Both Wyvernian and Austenasian leaders had agreed that the organisation fared best under times of ideological difference, but the Duke of Dullahan concluded that the time had come to see the organisation be let go and to be born again. Það pointed out the obvious solution would to be encourage ideological heterogeneity in the organisation and revealed that there was a movement in Sandum government to apply again for GUM observer membership.

Sandus applied to be an observer previously in January 2017 and to be a full member in June 2017. Both applications were rejected at the time, but the active members of Sandus are rather confident that this time the application may be successful.

As an observer, the State of Sandus would have no voting powers in the organisation but may address the Quorum of Delegates, the main assembly of the organisation, with the chairperson’s consent. While only one delegate may observe the Quorum, as would be the case of Artemis Baca, the Sandum Diplomatic Affairs minister Jacob Barnet or the Sôgmô may serve as staff in the organisation’s lounge where diplomatic discussions are often held. Sandus will have to continue to demonstrate its willingness to observe the GUM every three months, a function which will likely be carried out by the Minister of Diplomatic Affairs.

Soergel: of Dullahan’s solution on the GUM fundamentally correct yet flawed

More than a month ago, Bradley of Dullahan wrote an op-ed in the Austenasian Times. In it, he explained how both he and the Austenasian emperor, Jonathan, had agreed that the intermicronational community fared best when engaged in active, and sometimes heated, intellectual debate. Both hold that the community was more active when engaged in the Great Ideological Conflict from 2010 to around 2012, with remnants continuing on even to the present day, and that today fewer such ideological conflicts happen to such an ardent and intellectual degree. But, while these conflicts were at times over things of little importance, as Dullahan notes, they were significant to us young micronationalists. Social scientists have long been aware of the positive side effects of conflict, such as those which happened during the GIC, and it is no wonder that we too would consider them productive. In retrospect, these conflicts were not terribly intellectual and both sides mostly rehashed ideological jargon and arguments used in the Cold War and those made by contemporary socialist/communist and libertarian politicians. Unfortunately, this includes me, too.

But it would not be right to downplay the importance of these intellectual discussions, especially at the age at which we had them. When I was in my teenage years, as many micronationalists start, these intellectual debates were incredibly formative—not just for Sandus, but for me personally. They opened me up to a wide range of intellectual viewpoints, from political and social ones to religious and to those covering even minute topics, and I had these conversations even with those with whom I agreed. In my case, I have found that discussing one’s point of view—whether or not controversial, whether or not my own view is completely fleshed out per se—is helpful to understand the complexities of social and historical reality. Often, these realities cannot be reduced to a single statement or argument. Discussing one’s point of view unabashedly, nevertheless, helped to introduce me to increasingly robust thinking and debate over time—and micronationalism was my forte into this realm of thought.

The textual form of this line of argumentation was also helpful, too, even if conversational in the form of a chatroom, because it made me think about my prose and liberated me from anxieties about others’ interpretation of and likely scorn towards me. Learning to debate orally—and to debate well—is something which I am still working on as I grow older where it has become increasingly important, but I have our ideological conflicts to look up to as examples.

Many know that I count micronationalism and, in particular, my micronation Sandus as the reason for my increasingly higher education. I mentioned it in high school in several projects, and these projects and points of view freed me from the monotony of secondary education and made me an independent thinker. My university entrance essay was on Sandus even, and, since I was passionate about how Sandus had changed my analytical thinking, I believe I was admitted for that reason. And, when I went to interview for my Ph.D. program, I again brought up my micronation (though with some prodding by the professor who was interviewing me). My fellow graduate students, too, had interrogated me about Sandus. Taken aback, I explained how micronationalism was the basis for my intimate inquiry into classical constitutionalism and into Roman religion. So, even though I may disagree thoroughly and ardently with Bradley of Dullahan’s personal ideology or that of Jonathan of Austenasia, I respect both and their ideologies whenever I have found it based on sound argumentation. Here more than ever. However, we have much more than micronational activity at stake here: we have the coming generation of micronationalists, their micronations, even their education, and the ultimate shape of the movement.

In other words, we three would agree that the intermicronational community fares better when made up of heterogeneous ideologies and with a certain amount of intellectual debate.

This does not mean that I encourage another “Great Ideological Conflict,” or anything like it—nor do I think that is what Bradley of Dullahan suggests. Rather, I encourage intellectual discussion—perhaps purposefully seen that way—meant to build up our micronations and to make us think about the ideas and theories that go into their physical and metaphysical (i.e., intellectual, spiritual, et cetera) construction.

Moreover, there has long been a misconception that heated intellectual debate and even heated diplomatic discussion can border on violation or infringement of a micronation’s sovereignty. One might believe, wrongly, that voicing opposition to a nation’s internal policies is a violation of a micronation’s sovereign inviolability. This is certainly not the case, as states can legitimately voice diplomatic opposition to other states’ internal politics without violating that state’s sovereignty. There are valid cases for arguing that a violation of a state’s sovereignty has occurred, but registering private and even public disapproval is not one of them. Many are to blame for this misconception and, sadly, I must include myself there again.

Instead, I understand—as I believe Bradley of Dullahan and Jonathan of Austenasia do, too—that a robust intellectual discussion on the part of micronations is a healthy and constructive element of micronationalism. Rather than switching to and fro’ one micronational project to the next or having little allegiance to one micronation alone, these conversations should encourage one to develop their own exclusive project and their own personality, and to defend it reasonably. The result is more than just a more developed micronation, it is also an increased sense of belonging to one’s micronation and to the group of friends one forms in the course of these debates. I still count Jacob Barnet (Tierney) and Adam von Friedeck as some of my two closest friends because of them.

This point is true of the intermicronational community broadly, and even in some successful intermicronational communities and organisations. While the community can be broadly or narrowly conceived (based on differing scales from the broad compilation of all micronations to one specific site), one exclusive community (like MicroWiki) or organization (like the GUM) fares better with unlike-minded people. The result includes more conflict and division, sure, but conflict is bound to happen anyway.

L’Organisation de la MicroFrancophonie, the intermicronational organisation of French-speaking micronations, is one such community that does not shrink away from conflict. Instead, even the leading members argue and disagree with one another, despite otherwise being close friends. The result has meant a robust community full of French-speaking micronations, Francophile micronations, and other such observer states. The OMF has an astounding presence, as well, that goes relatively unrecognized among many English-speaking micronationalists. Since having been founded in May 2016, the organization has hosted close to or more than half a dozen in-person events across Europe and will hold its second plenary convention in July 2018. At the 2017 MicroCon in Atlanta, too, there were so many OMF members present that at times more than half the attendees were speaking French. And, yet, the organization thrives because there is a certain degree of disagreement among its membership which polemicises its business with respect to internal and external affairs. It makes its business all the more active, all the more serious, all the more important.

Yet the GUM is not the OMF, that is for sure. The average age of members is different, as is their purpose (the OMF lacks an educational purpose as found in the GUM), but their micronations are overall as professional and realist as the GUM aspires to be according to its principles.

Thus, I am convinced that the rationale undergirding Bradley of Dullahan’s opinion is fundamentally sound, yet what he suggests is flawed. His point in his op-ed was that debate yields micronational activity, yet he concludes that the GUM must decay and be revived again. I do not quite understand what new advice he suggests when for a fifth time the GUM is supposed to be reborn. Non sequitur. It does not follow. Is this the state which Sandus’s adversaries in the GUM wish to accept passively—one of fatigued withdrawal? These are certainly not the staunch and difficult-to-deal-with opponents of mine I recall.

Perhaps Duke Bradley and Emperor Jonathan ought to follow their own advice and encourage the sort of heterogeneous ideological membership found during the times when the GUM thrived, rather than waiting for the GUM to expire terminally for a fourth time. Next month will mark one year since Sandus applied to be an observer in the GUM, after Sandus’s membership application had been previous rejected in earlier in June 2016. These two rejections came after all assurances had been made to members that Sandus would respect the principles undergirding the GUM Charter, and yet a majority of GUM members rejected Sandus for political reasons—with the same Duke Bradley of Wyvern and Emperor Jonathan of Austenasia spearheading the offensive.

What strikes me is that both have apparently and expressly seen what would make the GUM be lively again and be revived once more, but they both seem to ignore the obvious solution and prefer instead to see their pet organisation whither away. That is, both seem to be adamant that Sandus should never reclaim its rightful place as a participant in the Grand Unified Micronational, even though we have demonstrated as early as June 2009 that she is deserving of participation in the GUM. I say both as Bradley authored the piece, while Jonathan presumably edited and published it.

Today, a new grassroots movement is growing in Sandus which seeks that we apply for observership once more, almost a year after it was rejected. This movement will undoubtedly make the same assurances as before. (1) Sandus and Sandum foreign policy forbid doxxing, as much for transgender micronationalists as for the micronationalists who are worried by Sandus’s possible presence. (2) Sandus abides by the protocols established in the GUM Charter with respect to recognition of names, styles, and titles—and this goes both ways. (3) Sandus will not be represented at the GUM by the Sôgmô as a primary delegate and, (4) if we are accepted as an observer, Sandus will have no administrative capacity or voting rights in the organization anyway since we will not be members.

Allowing Sandus into the GUM as an observer does not magically absolve either party of what each sees as attacks against it, nor does rejecting Sandus mean that we will be simply willed away—never to be a problem again for Austenasia or Wyvern. Sandus is resilient, but so are they—and so too should the GUM be. I think all parties agree on that. Yet both statesmen have seen what is beneficial for the GUM at this stage in its inactivity: intellectual, ideological debate. If the Council of the State of Sandus should approve a decision to apply for observership in the GUM, then I anticipate both Austenasian and Wyvernian delegates will acquiesce to what they have foreseen as beneficial for the GUM: letting in a heterogeneous micronation like Sandus. Our record, our long experience of participation in the GUM, and our profound constitution approve fervently.


Finally, I feel the need to respond to our critics who will undoubtedly wonder why we keep trying. The reasons are multiple, and I can express my own personal reasons—such as above—as well as some of Sandus’s national interests.

The GUM is an organisation with an incredibly important legacy for the State of Sandus. It is an organisation in which Sandus “grew up,” an organisation which Sandus and the Sandum delegation helped to administer for several terms and at various times. But, moreover, it is an organisation whose purpose and message—of professionalism, of realist micronationalism, of educational potential for new but tried micronationalists—Sandus endorses and embodies.

But Sandus has also wanted to be a member for other reasons historically. The useful experience of the GUM was most important for Sandus’s development, and even today I revel in the idea that Sandus and Sandum diplomats might be able to engage with similarly- and dissimilarly-minded micronationalists in one convenient, discursive venue. Others exist, sure, but none advance the same rationale for professionalism and seriousness as that historically found in the GUM. This is useful for state-building, as I have tried to made a (simple) case for above.

Why now, though? Sandus has a new generation of micronationalists who are wholly unfamiliar with diplomacy or intermicronational politics, but it also represents a new challenge to the Sandum citizen. One of the citizens of this generation, though a diplomat in her own right, is otherwise new to Sandus’s diplomatic affairs. Moreover, there is still a state-building need for Sandus: though Sandus has a Ministry of Diplomatic Affairs, there is no clear system by which diplomats conduct business. So far, Sandus has operated as an “in tandem” system, whereby diplomats conduct business one after another, together, never alone. Diplomats have not had the sort of autonomy necessitated by true diplomacy. This goes for all Sandum officials, too, not just diplomats.

There is also another, simple, and practical reason for why now: this citizen in particular is an employee of the Central People’s Government of the State of Sandus, but she has requested a change in her official responsibilities—from clerical “scribal” work to diplomatic work. As a chargée d’affaires, i.e., a functionary, she is meant to operate independently in a centralised governmental system, which means she is the perfect candidate to represent the State of Sandus as an observer in the Grand Unified Micronational. As she receives a salary, too, for her work, we are more committed to finding her a diplomatic mission—whether as the primary delegate of the State of Sandus to the GUM or as a liaison with the MicroWiki community. Plus, this should resolve the individual personality issues involved with Sandus’s previous rejections. While I would anticipate some involvement of my own, being a professional academic rather leaves little time to handle the minutiae of intermicronational politics.

It is becoming more and more apparent why Sandus must develop a healthy system with centralisation, worker’s democracy, collegiality, and worker’s autonomy within our republican constitution. But, as I advise others to pursue intellectual debates, it is only fitting that I should follow my own advice. The same is true for Bradley of Dullahan and Jonathan of Austenasia, who seem to be aware of what path is needed for our community at this point in time. I hope that they do as they say.

C. Soergel Publicola
Sôgmô