Solstice Report: Toward a Season of Cultural Growth

Spring2018 website

LET US CULTIVATE DILIGENTLY THE INFRASTRUCTURE OF THE STATE!

The first half of this year has witnessed great cultural and administrative achievements. In January, a law was passed regulating the system by which applicants for citizenship can become citizens, a law which thoroughly renewed the application system and gave power to the Sôgmô to approve and reject applicants on civil grounds. In February, the Robes of State worn by því during important ceremonial occasions were replaced, putting aside the robes which have been used for state occasions since the country’s birth in 2009. In March, Sandus began a cultural laureate program to recognise important artists and musicians who have significantly affected and built up our country. Since April, we have had a new consort and, in that month, the first baronetcy was enfeoffed and entitled to Adam Camillus von Friedeck, Baronet of Eliot. In May, the Sôgmô held a lavish five course banquet to celebrate the ninth anniversary of Sandus—before the Council voted to approve the law regulating þess succession before the end of the month. In June, despite the relative quiet, news has been shared that the Sôgmô is working on a project of laconic life advice slogans to cover all aspects of home affairs; in addition, the Sanôba Consort became a gentleman in the Sandum Table of Noble Ranks.

The coming summer will be a momentous occasion for Sandus and the construction of our infrastructure and culture. In July, the Sôgmô travels to Paris to take part in the 2018 OMF Summit in Vincennes, the first time Sandus will take part in exclusively French-speaking micronational diplomacy in person. In August, the Sanôba Consort will visit Quercus Candida for the first time as a Sandum citizen and as the Sôgmô’s partner, just in time for the Vinalia and for the festivals of Consus and Ops. In September, the Sôgmô will take part in a training on restorative justice in anticipation of becoming a university juror, a concept of justice which may take a larger role in Sandus’s planned judicial and philosophical system over which the Central People’s Government has been mulling for the past season and more.

The coming season will be one of deeper thought given to cultural institutions of our country, as well. Through habitual practice, the Sôgmô has made clear that the limoncello season in Sandus shall last between the two Vinalias, that is, from the end of April to the end of August. Later in the summer, það also will release the book of homespun life advice, entitled the Sandum Oeconomic Ethic, and a book of popular recipes from each Sandum domus. This summer’s activity also includes the medium-term projects and plans, like the log of Annual Media announcements, the reform of the Council, and the language initiative.

All of these will form the basis of improving the infrastructure of the State of Sandus.

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Le Sôgmô ira à Vincennes le 19 juin en anticipation du sommet de la MicroFrancophonie.

 

Charity Taxes — New Infrastructure for Easy Declaration
For the first time, Sandum charity taxes will now be filed by an online form, instead of the Sôgmô contacting individual citizens. The bilingual form in both English and French is intended to speed along the process for the government in asking for information about charity taxes and for citizens in reporting charity taxes. In addition, for the first time, the form asks respondents if they have given any belongings away to charity.

Sandum Charity Taxes Summer Solstice 2018.PNG

At the time of writing, only six responses have been submitted and already another record has been broken—a common theme of Sandum charity taxes today. Since the Spring Equinox, Sandum citizens have donated $2,174.10 USD to charitable organisations like the ACLU, LGBTQ+ advocacy and rights organisations, suicide helplines, ecological organisations, political parties, religious institutions, academic and professional organisations, and private individuals. This is up from the Winter’s $1,095.18. The previous record was $1,462.41 in Summer 2017.

Sandum citizens have donated clothes and books to charitable organisations this season.

Since the Spring Equinox, Sandum citizens have volunteered a total of 100 hours, down from the Winter’s declared hours of 794 hours and the Autumn’s 190.

In addition, the new charity tax form asked for some information about citizens’ income, asking whether or not citizens earned a living wage in the previous year. A living wage is defined as a basic income that covers basic necessities, such as housing and food. Out of those who answered, two replied that they were uncertain. Of those who were certain, 50% said that they did have a living wage, while the other half said that they did not.

 

Sôgmô to Submit New Budget for 2018-2019
The Sôgmô has proposed a budget for the new budgetary year, to be submitted to the Commission for the Command Economy (CCE), which will see a potential rise in spending for the State of Sandus in the lead up to the country’s tenth anniversary. The budget will cover at least $2,000 USD worth of projected expenses, in addition to another $1,000 in discretionary spending.

Projected Spending:

Sandus.org $40
Salaries $100
Work Expenses $360
Cultural Expenses $500
10th Creation Celebration $1,000

Discretionary Spending:

Special Philia Fund $200
Matter Realist Fund $200
Trans*ition Policy $100
Health Reimbursement Policy $100
Flexible Spending $400

Projected as a part of the budget’s spending over the next year includes work expenses for Sandus’s cooperatives, cultural expenses covering a variety of different holidays, and a large celebration for the 10th anniversary of the Creation of Sandus next year. That celebration’s budget will include money for a travel and accommodation stipends, events, decorations, memorabilia, and other expenses. Discretionary spending covers costs related to cultural development, gender transitioning, emergency healthcare, and miscellaneous expenses deemed necessary for the State and Sandum Socialism.

 

State Planning: Medium-Term Projects for the Summer
The Central People’s Government will begin work this summer on a variety of stated projects announced on Sandus.org earlier in the month. Of the most significant importance is the initiative by Facilitator Hatsu Ryuho to reform the Council, followed by the Sôgmô’s initiative to present a theoretical guideline for a philosophical and judicial branch in Sandum government. Following these, some important projects include flags for citizens of Sandus paid for by the Philia Fund, a pamphlet of information on every Sandum holiday by month, and bestowals of nobility on the remaining deserving recipients. Finally, the Central People’s Government is looking for journalists for Veritum Sandus as well as looking to establish a long-term project to encourage citizens to learn Sandus’s three official languages: English, French, and Latin.

 

AthenaPronoea Emblem

ἉΜΗΟΙΔΑΟΥΔΕΟΙΟΜΑΙΕΙΔΕΝΑΙ
“I do not think to know that which I do not know.”
(Plato Apology 21d)

Honourable Order of Athena Pronoea: Recognising Our Intellectualism
One Sandum citizen recently graduated from university with a Bachelor’s degree of Arts in English Literature with Honours, two minors in Technology Entrepreneurship and in Religious Studies, a certificate in entrepreneurship, and she received a citation of honour in entrepreneurship and innovation. During her time in undergraduate studies, she completed an honours thesis in her department, entitled “Children of God: Understanding Marilynne Robinson’s Home as a Mode of Religious Literature.”

She was a copy editor for a creative writing periodical at her university, as well as a research assistant for the associate director of the Center for Literary and Comparative Studies. She served for two and a half years as an editor of a women’s college periodical and as a coordinator for Greek Life at her university. Fitting for her role in Sandus as the bishop of the Εκκλησία, she was an intern at her church’s university chaplaincy for three years, from 2015 until recently when she graduated, and administered the chaplaincy and oversaw preparations for an ecumenical memorial service for the Pulse shooting massacre in June 2016. Given her background in the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA), she is an inquirer in the National Capital Presbytery seeking candidacy, as well as recently being elected as member at-large of the PCUSA’s Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns.

Order of Athena Pronoea - MΑθΠ

PLAUDAMUS IGITUR SISENNAM MELVILLE MΑθΠ

Let us applaud, therefore, Sisenna Melville MΑθΠ, who has been promoted to the rank of Member of the Honourable Order of Athena Pronoea.

 

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Fides in Patria
“There is trust in our fatherland.”

Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus: Update on Addressing the Backlog
The Sôgmô has begun to take steps to address the backlog of recipients of the Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus. A cache of new medals has been purchased, in addition to the appropriate paper and mailing pouches for sending out the medal and certificate to recipients who have never received their medal. These materials will be used to address the historical problem, where recipients and members of the order have never received their appropriate medal entitled to them by the constitution of the order.

Solstice Report: We shall never let up!

This past season has proven to be further evidence and testament of Sandum perseverance and of the persistance of the Sandum spirit. Sandus, its state, and its nation have continued collectively through the most difficult periods yet in some of our citizens’ lives. Three Sandum citizens, in the highest positions of authority and power in Sandus, either completed a thesis or a degree, and one both, in their respective fields. Others returned to higher education, while some others grappled with significant personal decisions. The contemporary world has proven to be erratic, with much stress and anxiety about its future. But, one thing is clear: Sandus, under our current government, is here to stay.

Despite tremendous personal work, Sandum citizens have remained committed to Sandum culture and the ideals of the Sandum Philosophy. Today, we are even more aware of the suffering of all people—Sandum citizen or not. The risk for failure and for crisis is all the more greater, both personally and nationally, but Sandus has shown it can and will succeed. This quarter is further historical proof of the persistance and endurance of our courage and strong will.

Tremendous work has been completed in this past quarter, and the prospects are all the more promising for the next quarter. Significant changes to the Sandum economy have been completed; new Sandum workers are preparing for their work; the Philia Plan for the Major Societal Shift has been accomplished; and, the Council and the Party are courageously forging new paths of development and the Sôgmô is at þess post.

Summer2017

Charity Taxes: Above Average, but Trends continue
Charity taxes over the past Spring season have increased since the Winter season, and this past season has come close to breaking records and was the fourth most charitable season in terms of donations. $604.16 USD were donated to charity in the Spring season of 2017, up slightly from the $395 given to charity last season in Winter 2017. The amount, however, is less than half of the most money ever donated in Sandus in Summer 2016, when Sandus donated more than $1,000 to charity.

When compared to hours volunteered, Sandum citizens volunteered more than 99 hours for philanthropic causes, the highest in recent years. These causes included working for animal shelters, mentoring and tutoring, working on service projects, and helping others in dire straights and mental crises.

Trends related to charity taxes have continued to show that taxes are slightly up. The average charity taxes for each season so far is $273.14, meaning that the State of Sandus has donated more money ($136.02) in the past season than the average. Charity taxes, we suspect, will continue to rise because of a few factors. First, there are more Sandum citizens than when Sandus started doing charity taxes, and there are more than twice as many citizens from when Sandus suffered its citizenship crisis in 2013. Second, Sandum citizens are more increasingly more prosperous and are working more hours and more jobs, while their wages are increasing with their age. In terms of volunteer work, however, there have been no significant changes.

The First Annual Sandum Budget: an optimistic forecast
The national budget, the second to be proposed by the Sôgmô, has been approved by the Commission for the Command Economy (CCE). The budget proposes that the State of Sandus spend $1,050 USD in “hard” expenses falling into four categories: website upkeep, salaries for Sandum workers, cooperatives’ expenses, and cultural expenses for holidays. Hard expenses include those for which economic activity is planned, while “soft” expenses—a planned budget of $950—are for reserved funds. Soft expenses include a Special Philia fund for cultural development, a Matter Realist fund for material production, a Trans*ition fund for trans* people’s transitions, a Health Reimbursement fund to help cover healthcare costs, and a flexible spending account.

Most planned revenue will be from voluntary taxes, with the Sôgmô’s personal contributions covering the hard expenses with monthly contributions of $90 USD per month. Approximately another $400 in individual voluntary taxes will cover soft expenses, while a final approximate revenue of $100 might come from cooperatives’ profits.

The First Salaries are Deposited 
By now, the first annual salaries have been deposited in CivBanca by the Bureau of the Treasury. 88¶c in total was deposited in five citizens’ accounts based on their work appointments in Sandus’s cooperatives. Of those five, the average Sandum worker has 2-3 appointments, while most Sandum citizens do not work in Sandum cooperatives at all. In the future, these salaries will be able to be redeemed for goods and services in and outside of Sandus through a conversion system to be set up by the Commission for the Command Economy. The Central People’s Government hopes, as well, to push citizens to join at least one cooperative as a worker.

Sôgmô’s Constitutional Project
Work has started in earnest on the Sôgmô’s Constitutional Project, a project envisioned by the 2016 Philia Plan for the Major Societal Shift. The project is meant to develop a coherent, comprehensive view of Sandus’s constitution and all its component parts and to educate citizens on the constitution of the State of Sandus. This project will be completed in the future through a complex virtual model describing Sandus’s constitution and a variety of other infographics and visual media. The first part of this project will come on 24 June when the Sôgmô presents þess lecture on the Sandum constitution at MicroCon in Atlanta, GA, USA.

A New Capital for Sandus: 
With the Sôgmô’s move in August, concerns are being raised about how Sandus will respond to þess departure and living permanently away from Kremlum Sandus Province. How will Sandus cope with the Sôgmô’s departure?

The location of the seat of power will have to change, that is certain, and it will follow það to the peninsula of Michigan. We can perhaps find precedent in the monarchical history of Europe, where the seat of power was located wherever the king was. This is compelling, and, since the Gradient Sovereign Condominium Theory proposes that Sandum sovereignty is wherever an individual citizen is, the State of Sandus will already follow the Sôgmô. In some way, the theory makes this a nonissue. But the key, perhaps, to the Sôgmô’s location of power and capital should be the placement of the Sandum pignae d’esti.

The pignae d’esti (the name was never officially translated into Latin) contain the Sôgmô’s Dharmachakra on þess altar, the statue of Holy Athena the Mother, and the so-called “Pavorio pigno”—the vase of our national colours filled to the brim with peacock feathers. To these should be added the national tricolour and the Books of the Armilustrium, the compilation of all the books washed in Armilustrium ceremonies. Finally, future pignae should be developed to meet future circumstances and to encompass future citizens and all citizens’ experiences, as well. In the future, perhaps a specific work-group in the Collegium Sacerdotum should be developed to maintain the pignae and to develop even more ones.

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Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus & the new Nobility
Medals for recipients of the Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus will hopefully arrive in time to be given at MicroCon. If not, they will be sent by mail at a later date. This will include medals for Olivia-Eugenie and Jean Pierre of Aigues-Mortes and Dominic DeSaintes-Bellemare, as well as a couple extra medals which can be kept or given at the convention.

Escutcheon&Helm - Charles Edward Wright

In addition, in May, the Sôgmô awarded Sandus’s first knighthood to Charles Edward Wright, of Indian Head, Maryland, who is þess former coworker and supervisor. The knighthood is the first grant in the Sandum Table of Noble Ranks, though more are planned for the future. In addition, in the coming months, the Sôgmô will collectively grant all members of the Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus the status of “gentleperson” in the Sandum system of nobility.

Finally, the Sôgmô is considering establishing more medals and decorations in the future, but such decision shall be taken with much gravity and with the advice of the þess advisers and counsellors.

CCE approves the Sôgmô’s proposal, new economic powers

Voice of Sandus

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The Commission for the Command Economy concluded its first meeting yesterday and affirmed the Sôgmô’s proposed economic developments with a few alterations thanks to the help of the Party Secretary, Adam von Friedeck. The changes affect cooperatives and workers in Sandus, establish a national budget, and found a state bank in Sandus. The proposals were passed unanimously on consensus by the Commission, comprised of the Sôgmô, the Party Secretary, and the Minister for Diplomatic Affairs.

The first proposal concerned workers in Sandus, also known as “functionaries” in the new economic chain of command in Sandus. The Sôgmô noted that significant changes had been made to Sandum workers and that the way in which Sandus employs workers for the cooperatives must be reformed to give workers salaries of 8¶c per annum. In addition, the Sôgmô lobbied for new economic powers, namely for the power to issue economic commands to workers to…

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Equinox Report: Changing Diplomacy and State Structure, Making the Sandum Identity Firm

Every major administrative day, the State of Sandus reflects on the developments it has made in the past quarter. Today is no different. Each quarter is unique in its emphasis and in the specific historical conditions at the time. Today, in the legacy of the Philia Plan for the Great Societal Shift, Sandus has cause to celebrate and to prepare itself further as the rationale for the Plan is quickly approaching: the Sôgmô’s departure for graduate school. On this Vernal Equinox, the State of Sandus hopes to report on the events of the previous season and provide a broad trajectory for the next, especially at this time of important national activity.

Spring Equinox 2017

Charity Taxes ― Sandus continues its Compassionate Mission:
Each quarter day is a day for which Sandum citizens gauge how much charity and philanthropy they have done over the past season. Typically, these are compiled in the days and weeks following the Spring Equinox but a cursory amount is always given by the Sôgmô and other for their charity. At the moment, two citizens have declared their charity taxes.

Sandus has donated, at this time, $395.60USD to charity and had committed 62 hours of philanthropic volunteer work. These include volunteering at food banks, womens’ shelters, animal rights and civil rights charities, as well as support and discussion groups for LGBT, racial, and ethnic minorities.

This philanthropic volunteer work, which has long been considered to be equal to Sandus’s monetary donations and to be overtaking financial donations, has focused more and more on dialogue, tutoring, and support and discussion groups. These sort of interpersonal and group philanthropic work has a personally positive effect on others and on giving them advice during times that certain individuals might need experiential support. Through both this volunteer work and charity, Sandum citizens consistently develop people throughout the world through the virtuous activity of the Sandum Philosophy. The State of Sandus and the Sandum Philosophy are committed to the uplift of suffering people around us and around the world.


Moving toward a Realist Diplomatic Sphere:
After the State of Sandus was rejected for a second time for observer membership in the Grand Unified Micronational, Sandum diplomacy is in the process of restructuring. Under the guidance of the Sôgmô and the Diplomatic Affairs minister, the State of Sandus seeks to develop strategic partnerships and bilateral agreements with key micronations. Sandus, moreover, is seeking to extend friendships with key micronations in order to both leave the MicroWiki sphere of the intermicronational community and to exist on its own and with its own right. The period of appeasement toward our enemies and adversaries is at an end; Sandus today must keep its ground while maintaining the peace.

A key part of this restructuring is to shirk Sandus’s historically close ties with the Grand Unified Micronational in favour of the more Realist Francophone organisation, the OMF. The Sôgmô will journey together with the St.Castinian president, Dominic DeSaintes-Bellemare, to the 2017 MicroCon in Atlanta. While there, það will also meet with key OMF leaders, including the current high commissioner and possibly the future general secretary of the organisation. Sandus will also seek to continue developments in its social sphere, especially with the overdue election of a secretary-general of the Systema Socialis.

Sandus’s strategic partnerships will seek to develop specific relationships with micronations which are experienced experts in their respective fields, while moving on from the other, historical inimical relations Sandus has had with other states. These micronational adversaries—which have a perverse, antiquated, and inaccurate vision of the State of Sandus—will no longer be appeased, but Sandus will stand its ground when interacting with other third parties for our mutual benefit.


Sôgmô, Central People’s Government offer first salaried employment:
The Sôgmô and the Central People’s Government have offered their first salaried position in the history of the State of Sandus. The position is for a scriptor, id est a scribe or secretary for the Sôgmô. The position will be responsible for policy projections and equinox and solstice reports, such as this report. The position, which will be closed sometime this Sancta week, will be paid for approximately 8¶c per year.[1]

From this first employed position will come significant changes to the economic system of Sandus. For years, it had been hoped that Sandum citizens would voluntarily join Sandum cooperatives and would do work on behalf of these cooperatives. Today, that seems not to be the case. Instead, in the future, it seems that positions of salaried employment will be offered by cooperatives in the future, in accordance with the State of Sandus’s socialist policies.

[1] Circulatory Persumae (¶c) are not allowed to be exchanged outside of the State of Sandus. A centralised and planned systems of rewards still must be created by the Commission for the Command Economy, which is now an organ of the Citizens’ Party of Sandus, for which Circulatory Persuma may be used. Nominally, the exchange rate is kept by the Bureau of the Treasury based on the number of persumae in circulation over the amount of value in the currency vault. 8¶c is currently equal to approximately $8.37USD.


Bureau of the Treasury seeks to establish State Bank CivBanca:
The Bureau of the Treasury of the Office of the Sôgmô of the Central People’s Government of the State of Sandus is seeking to establish a State bank, tentatively called CivBanca. The proposed bank will include basic debit functions, direct deposit functions for State employment, and debit payment functions. Future credit and money-lending functions may be considered sometime in the future, in addition to the basic bank functions.


Toward making the Sandum Identity firmer:
Finally, in the coming months, greater emphasis will be placed on disseminating Sandum identity amongst Sandum citizens. Already, Sandus has made a clear effort consistently to share information about Sandum holidays, but recent developments might affect future social and economic expectations. For example, in the future, Sandum citizens might be encouraged to be employed by any of the Sandum cooperatives (with the exception of the Party, which is reserved for Party members) for a fixed salary in order to fulfil some sort of leitourgía to the State of Sandus. For example, the workers of the Fornux branch of the Tellus Agrarian Cooperative might be asked to prepare traditional Sandum blueberry vatrushki in order to celebrate Remembrance Day in Sandus. Members of the Collegium Sacerdotium may be asked to perform rituals or create objects for important cultural holidays, such as Easter for Christians or Armilustrium for Sandum main culture.

The emphasis for Sandum cooperatives should not be to make a profit, but instead to pursue the substantive development of the State of Sandus. For this end, cooperatives can be used to develop and to disseminate Sandum culture throughout the various provinces.

Coin design competition announced

For the first time in three years, Sandus will have a new issue of its national currency, the Persuma. As part of a nascent movement towards generating tangible artefacts of Sandum culture and development, the State will in the coming months commission the minting of a new Persuma coin, to be minted in Sandum Ulterior Province. As a result, it has been declared that the design for these coins is to be put to competition, with entry open to any design by Sandum citizens and with the victor decided by the Sôgmô.

The basic specifications for the competition are as follows:

  1. All submissions must be in block colours, with colours demonstrating relative heights;
  2. All submissions must be between 200x200px and 300x300px as the coin is to be between 20mm and 30mm across and the resolution of the fabrication method is 0.1mm, giving 10 pixels per mm;
  3. The final image should be between 320px square and 220px square with a 10 pixel border to prevent clipping;
  4. The coin can be any shape, but must include space for the year of minting and the denomination of the coin.

This new coin minting is the first step in what is being called, amongst several Sandum citizens, a new policy under Realism. This so-called “matter Realism” will focus on the creation of objects and developing techniques of creation. This new policy, advanced by Jacob Barnet Pharmacologus, seeks to generate Sandum modes of production and help to fulfil previous Sandum plans for economic development.

Thus, this first step seeks to illustrate both to the citizens of Sandus and the people of other micronations a new path to take in micronational Realism: alongside the more common political Realism, there should be a productive and material Realism which serves to bring people together in the production of pieces of culture with economic and political importance. Thus, the first production of this new mode of Realism is both a piece of economic technology (a piece of currency) and a piece of cultural furniture in the life of citizens.

Moreover, these coins will be available both for purchase and for currency exchange. In future, as this matter-Realism advances, it is hoped that these coins will be exchangeable for Sandum goods and services, at preferential rates to macronational currencies to afford a level of advantage which will make them an attractive prospect within the community.
On top of this, these coins are to be a symbol of what Sandus has stood for in the past and what it will stand for in future: a more outward looking and grounded state of play both internally and diplomatically which will seek to apply the underpinnings of Sandum political philosophy to the mechanics of a developing nation.

We will realise growing Libera by developing means to produce vital resources (such as art, the trappings of state, and so on) and an independent currency which is not only culturally important but politically and economically expedient for Sandus and her allies.
We will cultivate a more grounded Realism with burgeoning co-operatives and with modes of production which allow us to more fully realise what it is to be a state (and more importantly a nation) through economic and cultural production, together.

Importantly, we will bring Philia to a less abstract level by rooting it in the actions of citizens with and for each other, creating cultural and economic capital which will enrich us all in both literal and metaphorical ways. Through this new policy of matter-Realism, the focus will shift to a fuller balance between theory and praxis, for the benefit of Sandus, her people and allies. Let this competition and minting be the symbol of that new age.