Summer Solstice Report: Cultural Activities Up, New Initiatives

This Spring was a momentous occasion for the State of Sandus. Not only did we celebrate for the first time the Veneralia, but we even marked important events in the history of our micronation like the eighth anniversary of the Foundation of the State of Sandus, the Royal Couple’s first anniversary, and Labour Day. But we even marked the remarkable event of our tenth anniversary in our capital, surrounded by friends and family, with much excitement and joy!

Spring 2019, with all its hard work in our private and public lives, is over. The days are becoming warmer and will now become shorter, and today we turn again to matters of our State.

In the coming season, we have much work left to do in our valiant efforts to uplift our citizens and the world and to alleviate suffering. In Summer 2019, we will have the immense pleasure of sharing our vision with the micronations of the world at MicroCon 2019, where we will be joined once more by other fellow citizens, friends, and family. Our business at this year’s meeting will be nonstop; we will certainly tire but will be refreshed by the vigorous activity of our colleagues and comrades.

Below, we have detailed here some new initiatives. They are, alas, not complete, but are only the beginning of more good things to come. These include new initiatives around language learning, cultural events and holidays, communal events like vacations together and a reading group. Not included are many things: an upcoming furtive royal event, a citizen’s wedding, and a new art and design magazine.

In our small nation, which we have built with our minds and our hands, we are the masters of our own creation—the sovereign masters of our lives! Let us live that way.

Sandum Citizens celebrated the Tenth Anniversary of Sandus this season. The Sôgmô is joined in this photo by Party Secretary Adam Camillus von Friedeck, Sandus’s newest citizen Jan DeWitt, and former Facilitator of the Council Hatsu Ryuho.

Charity Taxes: Coming Soon

Well, the Summer Solstice crept up on us! This section will be updated later.


Sandus celebrates 10 Years

Citizens came from across North America to take part in the tenth anniversary celebrations of our micronation on the weekend of 26 May 2019, Sandus’s Day of Creation. Independence Day festivities began on 23 May when Party Secretary Adam Camillus von Friedeck flew in from the Pacific Northwest, and in earnest on 24 May when a group of citizens and Sandum-affiliated people took part in a celebratory dinner at a local Korean barbecue restaurant. A schedule was shared with participants welcoming them to Ann Arbour, Quer, and times were in Sandum Local Time or UTC-5, not ETD or UTC-4. (Sandus does not observe daylight savings.)

See photos of the event here.

On Saturday 25 May, citizens and friends joined for breakfast and took part in a televised conference, “Sandum Micronationalism in the Age of Moral Cowardism.” The theme of the conference centred on the rise of xenophobia and right-wing populism throughout the world in recent years, and Sandus’s stalwart resistance to that force. The Sôgmô presented a paper, “Love It If We Made It: Sandum Micronationalism as Satire and Resistance,” that discussed our micronation as an artistic and cultural expression of political resistance. The Party Secretary then shared his paper, “Activist Micronationalism and Historical Memory,” on how Sandus curates and responds actively to local historical memory. Finally, Sandus’s newest citizen, Jan DeWitt, who became a citizen in time for the anniversary celebrations, shared his paper, “Caesar & Trump: The Paradigm of Tyrannicide and Moral Cowardism.” Finally, all three fielded questions from the audience and highlighted how Sandus and micronationalism generally has a role to play in civic society as a form of free, artistic speech that overturns the essentialism of nation-states. The entire conference had undertones urging Sandum Realism, seeing that Sandus’s goals are not grandiose but rather communitarian and collective.

The Tenth Anniversary Medal, designed by Dominic Desaintes.

Tenth anniversary medals were shared at the conference, in addition to flag pins and postcards produced exclusively for the tenth anniversary.

After the conference, members toured Ann Arbour and visited Zingerman’s Delicatessen, a local famous eatery. This was followed by a tour of Main Street and a trip to the local TeaHaus where citizens enjoyed tea and fine pastries. In the evening, after some free time, citizens reconvened to watch the 1959 movie the Mouse That Roared to add some levity to their day!

The morning of Sandum Independence Day, Sunday 26 May, was spent at the Sôgmô’s Tibetan Buddhist temple in the area. Citizens journeyed there for a morning sadhana service, followed by a short dharma talk and meditation by the resident lama. They heard the story of Marpa Lotsawa (‘the Translator’) who journeyed from Tibet to India in the 11th century to retranslate the Tibetan Buddhist canon, which became known as the “New Translation.” Marpa became one of the lineage founders of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, a New Translation school. (The Sôgmô is from the Nyingma school, the only Old Translation school.)

Following this, citizens went to Aut Bar, a local LGBTQ+ bar in Ann Arbour, for brunch. Next, they toured the local farmer’s markets and groceries before heading back to the Appartements du Sôgmô to prepare a communal meal shared among themselves and others. During this “Kitchen Agreement” dinner, citizens talked about cultural activities, events, and the importance of sharing food with one another as a sign of friendship, love, and community.

The tenth anniversary activities ended that evening and everyone had a fun time! All citizens who joined in wanted another occasion to meet and to have fellowship with one another again, and even thought of preparing a communal trip sometime in the near future to the Balkans.


Cultural Events, Holidays up Significantly

In the last year, attendance at Sandum cultural events and holidays have been up significantly in the State of Sandus. The Sôgmô has entertained dozens of people at their official residence for a multitude of Sandum holidays, ranging from major State holidays to days of recognition. This emphasis on Sandum cultural events and holidays was called for in the 2017 Philia Plan for the Major Societal Shift, a governmental plan that encouraged cultural development and a reduced reliance on administration and bureaucracy.

The holidays that have been celebrated and commemorated in person include the Armilustrium and Remembrance Day, two of the most important Sandum State holidays. But they also include holidays that are newly celebrated with physical events, like the Day of Mourning for the Annexation of Hawai’i that commemorates the illegal American occupation of the Hawai’ian Islands. Recently, the Sôgmô even celebrated the Veneralia, the festival of the goddess Venus held on 1 April. The holiday has been cast as a Sandum response to the increasingly commercialised Saint Valentine’s Day.

The holidays have had the added benefit of communicating Sandum ideals and values to a wider audience of people beyond those who are micronationalists. And the ideas so integrally a part of our micronation have been received and accepted by more people outside of the micronational community, who have come to recognise and reflect on the communitarian and progressive policies we advance in the State of Sandus.


Sandum Reading and Cultural Group announced

A long-anticipated project is finally here. The Sôgmô has announced today the creation of a Sandum reading and cultural group. The group, which will have its own facilitator, will meet on Google Hangouts to discuss books and other cultural media. Its mission is to be ultimately determined by its members, but its drafted mission is to build an integral community of socially-conscious, civic-minded, and justice-oriented citizens through monthly meetings to discuss media from a diverse background.

Each month will have a specific focus and readings should be manageable for all participants, since many citizens are academics who must read and study much already. Some ideas include Sarah Bakewell’s biography of Montaigne, watching documentaries, or reading US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo’s poetry.

The facilitator position will be advertised in the Council and will be selected by a democratic vote in the Council, or by the Sôgmô’s appointment. The position will be annual and will be salaried at 8¶c.


Sôgmô elected OMF Deputy Secretary of Culture and Francophonie Development

The Sôgmô has been elected unanimously to the position of Deputy General-Secretary in Charge of Culture and of Development of the French-Speaking World in the Organisation of the MicroFrancophonie (OMF). In this stead, the Sôgmô will lead the OMF’s cultural policy and initiatives, and það has hit the ground running by announcing that July will be the OMF’s “Month of Micronational French-Speaking Gastronomy.” More such commemorative months will happen over the course of the year, and það will speak with other members at the upcoming 2019 MicroCon to discuss other possible initiatives.

The Sôgmô is one of a handful of French-speakers in the State of Sandus. Though French is one of three official languages, it is spoken by a minority of citizens, and is of equal proportion to those who know Latin in the country. Sandus is also a founding member of the organisation, which was established in May 2016.


Sandum Language Learning Initiative:
Connecting Tutors, Cutting Costs

Language acquisition is important in the State of Sandus, both for political and also social reasons. It is of increasing importance that Sandum citizens learn multiple languages, especially Sandus’s three official languages (English, French, Latin), in a world that is increasingly polarised and globally-connected. Moreover, an internationalist country like Sandus seeks to upset the linguistic hegemony of English as a new koine and lingua franca by encouraging language acquisition. Language learning is not just about connecting people through language and sharing Sandum values: it is also about uplifting Sandum citizens, educating them in new and profound ways, and cultivating their positive social mobility.

In pursuit of these causes, the Sôgmô has announced a new language learning initiative in the State of Sandus, similar to the financial initiative that helps citizen and non-citizen trans people transition. That initiative gives applicants up to $30 to $40 for transition-related materials like chest-binders, clothes, or cosmetics, and it is financed by the Sôgmô personally. To date, close to half a dozen people have taken advantage of the fund.

This new initiative will do something similar by covering up to half of the cost of language-learning textbooks, or up to $50 USD. The new initiative will also help connect citizens to tutors, with preference given to other citizens, who can either teach them a language or help them study. Finally, it will also seek out free tools to encourage language-learning and will seek alternative means to finance language-acquisition, such as encouraging citizens to apply to the Classics microgrant fund Sportula.

As a part of this initiative, the Sôgmô is considering adopting regional languages of unofficial status on the State-level but that are cultural languages relevant to individual provinces. This follows a similar current that has been developing in Sandus lately, to increase provincial cultural identity with symbols and also to breakdown behemoth provinces like Sandus Ulterior, or Further Sandus, into more region-specific provinces, like Kremlum Sandus and Quercus Candida. Provinces, then, will have regionally-relevant cultural languages and languages that are spoken en masse by the region’s population.

Language is an important part of current Sandum policy, too. The Sôgmô has recently begun a project to translate for free other micronations’ mottoes, titles, et cetera into Latin for them. Dismayed by the fake Latin many micronations use to aspire to a higher level of prestige, það begun the project to increase the prestige of micronations in general. To date, about a dozen translations have been made.


Workers receive annual salaries

Sandum workers have received their annual salaries based on their employment in the Central People’s Government and Sandum cooperatives. Receipts will be sent out to them individually from the Sôgmô acting on behalf of CivBanca.


The Sôgmô’s Summer Honours List

Ahead of MicroCon 2019 in Hamilton, Canada, invitations to new members in Sandus’s newest order have been sent out with more on their way, and new commendationes and ovationes will be made for the occasion. And, finally, new members have been made in the Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus, Sandus’s most senior order of honour.

Ovationes and Commendationes

Sandus’s newest style of award and honour is the commendatio, or “commendation.” Based off of the Roman epistolary genre, this honour is comprised of Latin letters patent that are recognitions of specific actions and deeds on behalf of Sandus and larger efforts. They can also be joined with ovationes, or “ovations,” which are short Latin speeches that traditionally end with the phrase “plaudamus igitur…” (“let us applaud therefore…”). These honours are similar to the distinction of “mentioned in dispatches” (MiD) found in other countries.

Today, three people have been recognised with commendationes and one with an ovatio.

King George 2.0 of Slabovia for his work with MicroCon 2019
Chancellor Rankin MacGillivray for his work with MicroCon 2019
Party Secretary Adam Camillus von Friedeck cum ovatione for serving the Party for five years

L’Ordre Annonaire Fraternel du Bol en Bois

Work on the Fraternal Annonary Order of the Wooden Bowl, as the order is known in English, has been slow since a standard translation of the order’s founding ordinance took a while to be formally corrected for good, legalese French. The editing work lasted until late in the Spring. The order’s official business language, after all, is French and the original document used a Medieval French document as its model until this idea was scrapped.

But now work is going ahead before this year’s Chökhor Düchen holiday that marks both the Buddha’s first teaching the Dharma and the order’s official business holiday. The chivalric charitable order is meant to be made up of members who have both a creed related to Sandus’s philosophy and who have been initiated into their religion’s teachings.

The order has three members already, two seigneurs and one chevalière bannerette.

Gaius Soergel Publicola, seigneur et souverain
Adam Camillus von Friedeck, seigneur et trésorier
Sisenna Melville, chevalière bannerette

Three others have been invited, and eight more are set to be invited soon.

Chevaliers bannerets

Hatsu Ryuho, former Facilitator of the Council
Dominic Desaintes, President-Minister of Saint-Castin
Olivier, Emperor of Angyalistan

Chevaliers

Invitations have not yet been sent out to chevaliers, but they will be in the next few days.

Honourable Order of Athena Pronoea

The second most prestigious order in Sandus based on precedence automatically gives ranks based on educational achievement. It is the only order in which the Sôgmô does not hold the highest rank despite being the order’s sovereign, and today some new members of the order outrank the Sôgmô.

Knights

Jacob Barnet Pharmacologus Σαρκαστικός MΑθΠ – Master’s degree of Science in Medicinal Chemistry
Jan DeWitt KΑθΠ – Master’s Degree of Arts in Latin

Associates

Oliver Armstrong AΑθΠ – pursuing B.A.

Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus

Each solstice and equinox, the Sôgmô can award membership and new ranks in the Most Honourable Throne of the State of Sandus. Today, það does that with two foreign micronationalists with whom Sandus has become increasingly friendly since 2017, and again with two others—one who has now become a Sandum citizen and his non-citizen-but-affiliated wife.

These four people will now become members of the Most Honourable Throne of Sandus.

Queen Anastasia of Ruritania for her work on MicroCon 2017
King George 2.0 of Slabovia for his friendship and work on MicroCon 2019

Jan DeWitt for his work on constitutional theory and friendship
Natalie Ritsema for her self-sufficient and cultural work and friendship

Founding Law signed on this day 8 years ago

On 13 April 2011, the State Caucus of Sandus, the provisional body that oversaw the transition from Sandus as a colony of the Federal Republic of St.Charlie to a fully-fledged sovereign state with a constitution, enacted the Founding Law of the State of Sandus.

This basic and supreme law of the land established in its ten articles and preamble Sandus’s current socialist constitution and laid the basis for the evolutionary transition from monarchy to a republic. The law lays forth Sandum citizens’ common rights, freedoms, and obligations, as well establishes the basis of Sandus’s economic and social policies. In terms of politics, the Founding Law established the principle that the Sôgmô maintains the legal and political supremacy of the State of Sandus. The law even foresaw the development of our tripartite national philosophy comprised of Buddhism, Socialism, and Sancta (a term that has been defined as pluralism and multiculturalism).

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Long-Awaited Constitution Project issues first edition

The Sôgmô’s Constitution Project has issued the first edition of its literature and graphics on Sandus’s unwritten and republican constitution. The project was planned by the 2016 Philia Plan for the Major Societal Shift, a plan that anticipated the Sôgmô’s departure from Kremlum Sandus for graduate school. Now, a year and four months after þess departure, the project has begun.

Read or download the project’s first instalment here.

The plan explained that the Sôgmô will work “to make an interactive infographic of the structure of the Central People’s Government and of the interconnect web of relations between the constitutional organs of the State of Sandus.” That graphic, the plan continues, should “reconstruct the relationships between the many organs of the State of Sandus, their relative hierarchy, and their powers, duties, and jurisdictions.” The graphic will be made available for all Sandum citizens, applicants for citizenship, and individuals interested in Sandus.

SCP1-1 Our Republic's Three Branches

The first graphic in the project is about the general structure of Sandus’s three branches of government, divided into the Citizens’ Party of Sandus, the Central People’s Government, and the Council. It even includes the hypothetical Senate, an emergency body comprised of necessary leaders from each house of Sandum citizens that was planned for in the 2016 Philia Plan for the Major Societal Shift. The body does not exist.

(Note: the Central People’s Government sometimes refers to only the Sôgmô’s branch and also to all three branches, but never to provincial governments.)

SCP1-2 the CPG & its Division of Powers

Next is the Central People’s Government and its division of powers. All three have some form of legislation in Sandus: the Party (and the Sôgmô) has state planning, the Sôgmô has decrees, and the Council has its decisions (i.e., resolutions) and laws. In turn, these four types of legislation affect the Sôgmô’s branch, as is made clearer with the next slide.

(Economic commands are treated here and in the next slide as specific economic plans.)

SCP1-4 the CPG & the Command Economy

The Sandum command economy, with its coöperatives and workers, falls under the direction of the Sôgmô. Both the Sôgmô and the Party can draft and issue plans and economic commands (both derived from plans and from citizens’ individual or collective needs), which then are sent to coöperatives. Commands flow down the chain of command in coöperatives to individual workers or whole work groups who produce a product that goes to the recipient (an individual, collective, or another coöperative if in an economic chain). That recipient directs CivBanca, Sandus’s bank, to send circulatory persumae to the coöperative to redistribute.

SCP1-3 the CPG & the Heir Election Process

The May 2018 law on succession institutes Sandus’s first law on the succession of the Sôgmô. In it, a process begins with the creation of a caucus of five interreges who are the three top-most Sandum politicians and leaders of the three branches of government (the Party Secretary, the Sôgmô, and the Council’s Facilitator) plus two appointed interreges: one from the Sôgmô and another from both the Party Secretary and the Facilitator.

This caucus creates a long list of candidates in the spring of ever fifth year since Sandus’s creation (2019, 2024, and so on). In the summer, the caucus interviews candidates and creates a final short list of three to five candidates, which is sent to the Party Congress in November to review and to select its top two candidates. Both candidates, then, wage campaigns for the Winter Solstice Election, where Sandum citizens with suffrage (i.e., cives and peregrini who meet the requirement) elect the Heir elected.

SCP1-5 the 'real' Office of the Sôgmô

The Office of the Sôgmô, which is the top most office of the Central People’s Government, is divided into three major categories: functionary (or ministerial) government, provincial governments, and cooperatives. This slide shows what bodies do exist alongside the three hypothetical divisions.

In the functionary side of the CPG exist one ministry (Diplomatic Affairs), one independent bureau (the Treasury) with its one division (CivBanca), and a separate body of individual chargé(e)s d’affaires (i.e., bureaucrats with specific charges and duties).

There are four provinces in provincial government. They are technically not part of the Central People’s Government but are under the Office of the Sôgmô since Sandus is a unitary state. There are, however, no praetors—either elected or appointed by the Sôgmô.

At the bottom is the “economic branch” of Sandus’s government, since Sandus has a Socialist command economy. Sandus has three economic coöperatives (Tellus Agrarian, Erganê Artisanal, and State Media Coöperatives) as well as one cultural/religious coöperative (the Collegium Sacerdotum, or the “College of Priests”). Only the Collegium Sacerdotum has internal subdivisons with two work groups (known in the college as “sodalities”) and a chain of command of workers (the Sacer Flamen, the major Flamines like the Bishop of the church, and individual members or sacerdotes).

SCP1-6 Sandum Table of Noble Ranks

The final slide of the project’s first edition is a rehashing of two appendices of the Sandum system of nobility. In the future, when more entitled and enholden barons and baronets exist, the project will include those titles and all the different decorations in the State of Sandus

Sôgmô releases Holiday Message early

The Sôgmô has released þess holiday message early on Christmas eve and in text, rather than the custom of sending a video in the early morning of 25 December. The message cites Royal Family events on the eve of Christmas and the Dies Natalis Solis Invicti as the cause for the break from tradition.

Read the Sôgmô’s annual Holiday Message here.

In the message, það talks about Jesus’s message and how Christians’ views are like those associated with all Sandum citizens, and mentions a story from þess recent nyungné, a Tibetan Buddhist fasting ritual, about how Jesus’s story is accessible to people across a variety of different boundaries. Það talks about how this season is one meant for family, both born and chosen families, and marks how important the New Gregorian Year will be as we mark the 10th anniversary of the Creation of Sandus.

Solstice Report: Sôgmô’s Legitimacy Unanimously Supported, 88.9% Participation

The Autumn season is one of the busiest times for Sandum citizens, and this has certainly been the case for us this year. We have celebrated the Armilustrium with much fanfare and joy, we have held a successful CPS Party Congress, and we have just finished an election that was the most participated in our history. Sandum citizens are becoming more and more committed to our humble micronation and are more and more interested in its independent cultural and social message.

A successful Autumn will mean a busy Winter, too. As this report discusses below, Sandus and her citizens will have much on their plates in the New Gregorian Year: a new government official will have to find her way to plan holiday celebrations and share holiday spirit; a body of five interreges will interview and select candidates for the position of heir who will take up the position of Sôgmô when það passes; and, new honours, awards, and prizes will be given and established in the New Year.

It is the Brumalia season in Sandus, also known as the “Halcyon Days.” Taking part in the spirit of the season, we are pleased to announce that Sandus has passed another major milestone in the history of its charity tax system: in 2018, Sandus has donated more than $5,000 USD to charitable foundations (sometimes to individuals themselves) and volunteered more than 1,000 hours!

Winter Solstice

Charity Taxes: Sandus has donated more than $5,000 in 2018!
Sandus has donated more than $5,000 USD in the past administrative year of 2018. After donating $1,095 in the winter, $2,174 in the spring, and $1,628  in the summer, recent reports are showing that (with only two citizens reporting) Sandus has donated $1,543.65 in the autumn—putting Sandus more than $1,400 over the $5,000 milestone! Never before have Sandum citizens donated so much money in one year alone. Sandum citizens donated to religious organisations and communities (Buddhist temples, Christian churches), museums, human rights organisations, wild life and environmental charities, organisations dedicated to LGBTQ+ equality and anti-Semitism, and other political charities.

History of Sandum Charity Taxes (2011-2018)

Sandus has earned $6,441.62 in 2018! This number may increase as more citizens declare their charity tax contributions.

Sandum citizens, likewise, volunteered more time this year than in previous years. 136 hours were volunteered for the benefit of others in the last season alone, with Sandum citizens volunteering time to political campaigns in the United States, serving as officials in student organisations, providing education, and going beyond the expectations of their job titles to serve others—without financial reward.

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Election 2018: Sôgmô’s Legitimacy Unanimously Supported, 88.9% Participation
The Sôgmô has received the unanimous support of the Sandum people to continue to govern and reign the State of Sandus. 88.9% of eligible Sandum voters turned out to vote for the Sôgmô’s reign, the highest turnout ever recorded. Eight votes in total were cast.

Five of those eight votes cast were also ballots for members of the Citizens’ Party of Sandus. They voted in the election on the Party’s Platform which was recently drafted by Party Secretary Adam Camillus von Friedeck. The ballots cast unanimously approved the Party Secretary’s platform.

Read the new Party Platform here.

Two petitions were cast, as well. One concerned diplomatic relations with the country of Aabaro, while the other petitioned the Sôgmô to review citizenship law to make it easier to become a Sandum citizen. This petition will be addressed by því over þess winter holiday.

Quot estis in convivio: Sôgmô creates, appoints Feaster
At the November 2018 Party Congress of the Citizens’ Party of Sandus, Party members focused on encouraging cultural cooperation and integration between citizens. A variety of solutions were discussed—encouraging “Sandum-adjacent” people to apply for citizenship, giving gifts to Sandum citizens, encouraging participation in holidays and online discussions—but one solution focused on creating a functionary, bureaucratic office to hold joyous events for all Sandum citizens involved.

On 20 December, during the Saturnalia, that position has now become the “Feaster,” or epulo in Latin after the Ancient Roman college of priests. The Sôgmô created the position yesterday in a decree announced on Sandum media.

Sisenna Melville, who is also the Bishop of ἡ Ἔκκλησία τῆς Σανδῆς (the Church of Sandus, a sodality of the Collegium Sacerdotum cooperative), has been appointed the first Sandum feaster.

The feaster is broadly charged with performing holiday duties, such as planning events and sharing information on the holiday—as well as sharing the spirit of the holiday! Special tasks include preparing for and celebrating important Sandum holidays, whether with other Sandum citizens or non-Sandum people, and consulting one-on-one with Sandum citizens on how to share the holiday spirit.

Melville will be compensated with the standard worker’s salary of 8¶c, and is entitled to (but does not automatically receive) a knighthood. (She already has one as virtue of her bishopric.) As a knight, she will as feaster receive a special charge of a patera or chalice on her coat of arms, and Feasters also receive an official carol.

Heir Needed: Caucus of Quinque Interreges to sit in 2019
The search for the Sôgmô’s heir has begun.

According to the May 2018 law on succession, the process for finding an heir lasts one year. It begins in the December before the anniversary of Sandus’s creation divisible by five (2019, 2024, and so on) with the sitting of a caucus of five interreges. The caucus is comprised of the three major Sandum officials in our republican constitution (the Sôgmô, the Party Secretary, and the Facilitator of the Council, also known together as the “Three Grand State Officers”). The Sôgmô appoints one interrex, while both the Party Secretary and the Facilitator appoint the fifth.

The caucus is comprised of the following members:

  1. The Sôgmô: Gaius Soergel Publicola
  2. The Party Secretary: Adam Camillus von Friedeck
  3. The Facilitator of the Council: Hatsu Ryuho
  4. Fourth Interrex: Sisenna Melville
  5. Fifth Interrex: Jan DeWitt

The caucus will meet for the first time in the New Gregorian Year.

Over the course of the next year, the Caucus of the Quinque Interreges, as they are officially known in this capacity: draw up the relevant criteria for someone to be a Sôgmô; brainstorm a long list of candidates; perform interviews and hold public meetings, if necessary, and reduce the list to about three to five candidates. The caucus then presents the list to the Party Congress of the Citizens’ Party of Sandus in November, and the Party then selects two candidates to be put on the ballot of that Winter Solstice’s election.

The winner of the election becomes the new heir.

But the position of heir only lasts five years or at the Sôgmô’s pleasure, since það can choose to prorogue the heir’s five year term and can be sacked by the Sôgmô. At any moment the Sôgmô may meet þess demise, however, and the heir elected will automatically become the Sandum monarch for life or for as long as they reign legitimately. The idea is both to have a flexible political system where there can be contingencies while also allowing for the heir elected to train and to learn how to be a Sandum monarch appropriately.

Former heirs who have honourably resigned (that is, are not sacked) receive the title of “heir sine officio” for life and are entitled to a knighthood.

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The Sanôba and the Sôgmô

Sanôba will visit Quercus Candida for January 2019
Sanôba Oliver will visit the Sôgmô next month for several weeks before his university returns to session in February. He will live at the Appartements du Sôgmô in the capital for three weeks and will later return to live with the monarch for the summer. It will be the second time he will have visited Sandum land since becoming Sanôba in April, two days before the Day of Foundation. The Sôgmô recently visited Minnesota in the United States, where the Sanôba is from, to celebrate American Thanksgiving with him and his family.

The royal couple met online several years ago in 2010 through a mutual friend, who was at that time a Sandum citizen. Both kept in touch over the years and they first met in person in March of this year, when the Sanôba visited the Sôgmô in Quercus Candida. They began dating a month later, two days before the Day of Foundation, on 11 April.

New Fraternal Order, Honours, and Nobles to come in 2019
In the upcoming year, the Sôgmô has announced þess intention to found a new fraternal order, to establish new honours, and to create new nobles and knighthoods.

New Order: the Fraternal Annonary Order of the Wooden Bowl
The Sôgmô has announced that they will create a new chivalric order dedicated to the purpose of philanthropy, charity, and almsgiving under the title of the Fraternal Annonary Order of the Wooden Bowl (Ordre annonaire fraternel du Bol en bois). The order will be comprised of members of three ranks: Chevaliers, Chevaliers banneret, and Seigneurs. Each member, too, is entitled to a squire who will receive a ribbon. The order’s official business will be done in French, and members may communicate in any language they please so long as it is translated into the record in French.

The name of the order refers to the wooden bowls carried by Buddhist bhikkhus to receive alms. Companions of the order, as members will be called, must pay dues according to their rank so that the order can donate the money to a charitable foundation. (The amount will be determined by an arcane formula tied to the value of French francs in 1945.) The order will meet to collect money, make decisions, and donate the money to a specific charity on the Tibetan Buddhist holiday Chökhor Düchen, or the ‘Festival of Turning the Wheel of Dharma,’ which occurs on the fourth day of the sixth Tibetan lunar month. This will be 6 July in 2019, the first time the order will meet.

Table of Dues by Rank

Rank Francs due (1945 value) Conversion (1₣ = 0.6714$)
Seigneur 25 16.79$ USD
Chevalier banneret 15 10.07$ USD
Chevalier 10 6.71$ USD
Squire 5 3.36$ USD

Membership will be capped at fourteen, not including squires: two seigneurs, four chevaliers banneret, and eight chevaliers.

New Honours: Commendationes, Ovationes, and Party and Council Honours
The Sôgmô will award new, extemporaneous honours in the form of commendationes, Latin letters of recommendation. These letters patent will be awarded for extraordinary actions on the part of Sandum citizens and non-citizens alike to reward and acknowledge outstanding character and virtue.

Commendatio example
An example of a commendatio given to the Sanôba.

Some commendations may be awarded with ovationes, meaning that they will be accompanied by a speech or a public statement. These commendations and ovations may be presented and given at public intermicronational events, such as next year’s 2019 MicroCon in Hamilton, Ontario, in Canada.

Other honours are possibly in the works for the Party and the Council. Already, the Council awards a laureate prize to important and significant artists and craftspeople, effectively making them national artists. But other honours may include a prize given by the Party Congress in recognition of outstanding achievement for the betterment of Socialism and Socialist and proletarian peoples. An award from the Council may recognise work done on behalf of the State of Sandus and may praise the work of particular citizens.

New Nobles: One Knighthood, Two Baronets, and One Baron next season
In the New Gregorian Year, there will be four new nobles in Sandus. One knighthood will be awarded to a non-Sandum citizen who has been a sound adviser to the Sôgmô on matters of constitutionalism and on thinking of new micronational alternatives. Two baronets will be awarded to the Sôgmô’s longstanding advisers and veritable friends—both of whom are Sandum citizens. And, finally, one barony will be awarded to the Sôgmô’s most trusty adviser and friend.

Adam Camillus von Friedeck will become Sandus’s first baron in the New Year, in recognition of his long and dedicated service to Sandus and to the Sôgmô. Although he will not receive an entitled and inholden barony, his personal grant of the rank of baron reflects his long tenure as Sandus’s second Grand State Officer, the Party Secretary. He already holds a baronetcy as Baronet Eliot and is a member of the gentry.

Hatsu Ryuho will become Sandus’s second baronet and will be known as Baronet Wexford. His entitled grant of a baronetcy reflects his service to the Social System as former premier of Kumano and his long-term service as Sandus’s third Grand State Officer, the Facilitator of the Council. This will be his first noble rank.

Oliver Armstrong will become Sandus’s third baronet. Although he will not receive an entitled grant of a baronetcy, his close proximity to the Sôgmô as the Sanôba and as the Sôgmô’s boyfriend are the grounds for such a high Sandum noble rank. He is already a member of the gentry.

Jan DeWitt will receive an offer for knighthood on account of his close and intimate discussions with the Sôgmô on Sandum constitutionalism. A scholar of Roman constitutionalism and political culture, DeWitt will be Sandus’s second non-citizen knight.

Quot estis in convivio: Sôgmô creates, appoints Feaster

PateraDetailed

Detail of a patera, a symbol of the feaster, depicting Athena.

At the November 2018 Party Congress of the Citizens’ Party of Sandus, Party members focused on encouraging cultural cooperation and integration between citizens. A variety of solutions were discussed—encouraging “Sandum-adjacent” people to apply for citizenship, giving gifts to Sandum citizens, encouraging participation in holidays and online discussions—but one solution focused on creating a functionary, bureaucratic office to hold joyous events for all Sandum citizens involved.

On 20 December, during the Saturnalia, that position has now become the “Feaster,” or epulo in Latin after the Ancient Roman college of priests. The Sôgmô created the position today in a decree announced on Sandum media. Continue reading

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

Armilustrium 2018

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.

Armilustrium Invitation - Redacted

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!

 

Citizens to Receive Free Flag Pins

On 29 September, the Sôgmô sent out a poll in the Council asking for citizens’ opinions on two flag pin designs, one including a flag pole and one without; citizens voted overwhelmingly for a design without a flag pole. The flag pins, which are to be manufactured to celebrate Sandus’s 10th anniversary, will be given to Sandum citizens free of charge, while the remainder of the 100 pins will be given to allies of Sandus and to friends of the Sandum People.

Sandus’s 10th anniversary will be celebrated in May 2019.

Proof-1
The Council’s winning design features a waving Sandum Bicolour without a flagpole.

Equinox Report: For A Familiar Autumn

Autumn has long been considered a season for us that has held much cultural importance. It is a cosy time, a time well spent betwixt rouge falling leaves, with hot drinks on a cool night, and socialising with friends and family during celebrations of our holidays like the Armilustrium or the National Day of Socialism. It is a season spent with our family, which in Sandus is a combination of our ascribed and chosen family. It is a time spent in the wonders of nature and rejoicing and being thankful for our humble lives—lives we labour for and we control in our small, fiercely-independent country.

This equinox marks not just the beginning of Autumn, a season which is very joyful and nostalgic to many Sandum people, but today also coincides with a Sandum holiday celebrated now for five years: Celebrate Bisexuality Day. Celebrated here since 2013, this is a holiday that has been part of Sandus’s cultivation of a distinct culture, as here it is a day to not just celebrate bisexuals but also celebrate bisexual themes in art and in our lives. A third of Sandum citizens are, after all, bisexual, while a half of Sandus are LGBTQ+.

This celebration during a time of equal day and night relates our country to themes of liberality, to openness and tolerance, to a conscious, purposeful, intentional life. It is a calm life, spent without reservations and without regrets.

Aequinoctium.png

Charity Taxes: $1,600 USD, 88 hours volunteering
With only a few charity tax declarations in, this past Summer has been another record breaking season for the State of Sandus. Of only three charity tax declarations so far, Sandum citizens have donated $1,628.71 USD to charity in the past season, as well as volunteered their time for 88 hours total. This means that this past season was the second most charitable to date, and puts the State of Sandus within $100 of donating more than $5,000 USD to charity in the last year!

As more declarations are made, this section will be updated.

Three Officers of State support Council Reform
Over the last season, the Facilitator of the Council and the Sôgmô have prepared plans for a reform of the Council, Sandus’s democratic assembly. On 11 July, Facilitator Hatsu Ryuhu published a four-point plan for the Council’s reform, which include:

  1. The Sôgmô has a ceremonial and emergency role as head of state and chairperson of the Council, while the Facilitator will become Speaker.
  2. The Speaker will be elected for six months.
  3. Citizens who are members of the Council will be known as Councilors.
  4. There will be an annual Speech from the Throne on the State of the State, sometime near the Spring Equinox.

The Sôgmô has produced a bill which has been shared with the other Officers of State that builds on this plan, with some modifications. In it, all three Officers of State have a role to play in the Council, a new office of a chargé·e d’affaires where councillors are deputised to perform and exercise a function, and an established constitutional convention has been written down. This plan will be presented at the upcoming Party Congress in November 2018.

CPS Party Congress 2018 poster.png

Party Congress 2018: For the Sandum Cultural Worker
The 2018 CPS Party Congress now has a set date, 3 November 2018. The congress will focus on the election of the Party Secretary and especially on the theme of cultural production. While last year’s theme was focused on the subject of the Sandum identity, relatively close to this year’s theme, the theme of this CPS Party Congress focuses on the production of culture and specifically on how Sandum citizens construct culture in Sandus.

The sitting Party Secretary has begged the question about how we shall commemorate our tenth anniversary “in a way that aligns with the Sandum philosophy.” To what extent is Sandum citizenship about producing culture? How is culture a production, and how does that production relate to the intellectual production prevalent in Sandus today?

All these questions and concerns will be the subject of the Party’s congress in November.

State Media Cooperative plans Council, Party logos
The SMC has planned logos for the Council and the Citizens’ Party of Sandus, which are meant to focus on simplicity and on the symbols related to the constitutional organs. The proposed logo for the Council features a letter C in the shape of a Roman comitium, an architectural structure that was used for elections and assembly meetings during the Roman Republic. Thus, the symbolism of the Council’s logo reflects the classical republican nature of the Sandum constitution.

The Party’s logo features the English abbreviation of the name of the Party, CPS, in lower case below the Party flag. The simple logo is meant to reflect the wordmark for the State of Sandus with changes in font and style, which is meant to represent a cohesive political vanguard in the State of Sandus.

These logos are expected to be presented and possibly approved by the relevant organs by the end of the season.

Preparing for October: Armilustrium Planning and Getting the Public Involved
During this season, the Sôgmô introduced an informal Facebook chat group meant to encourage discussion with many Sandum citizens at once, and the group has already led to some changes in how Sandus is run. In a discussion on how to encourage citizens to take part in Sandum holidays, Sisenna Melville recommended encouraging people to create rituals for the holidays and publishing them in advance of the holiday.

Only important holidays are expected to follow these programmatic ends, and these may include:

  • the Armilustrium, 19 October
  • Athena’s Day, or Sandum Thanksgiving, 29 November
  • Christmas, 25 Decemer
  • Festival of Peace, mid-January
  • Losar, or Tibetan New Year, February
  • Regifugium/Matronalia, or Sancta New Year, 1 March
  • Minervalia, 19 March
  • Passover, March-April
  • Easter, March-April
  • Veneralia, or Sandum Love Day, 1 April
  • Lemuralia, part of Remembrance Day, 7-15 May (on only the odd numbered days)
  • Lammas, 1 August
  • Yom Kippur, September

These holidays, and maybe more, will be some of the first examples of rituals produced under this new system. Sisenna Melville has offered to produce the first ritual for the Armilustrium, and the Collegium Sacerdotum is taking offers for the others.