Equinox Report: For a Spring of Improved Infrastructure

The winter brought with it more than just the cold this year. Sandum citizens, ever diligent in their multifaceted responsibilities, have been toiling away in their private lives, while the State of Sandus has been working away on the behalf of all of us. At the end of December, Sandus celebrated its traditional cultural events—from the Solstice to Christmas. And let us not mention that the past season has seen more than three New Year celebrations!

January brought with it her annual peace and concord—so that Sandus could labour away for the People’s weal. Sandus joined the GUM as an observer, while we set out to make plans for the momentous occasion of the tenth anniversary of Sandus in May 2019. What is more, the Sôgmô proposed to the council a new law governing the infrastructure related to citizenship and to immigration in Sandus—and this bill became the very first law passed by Sandus in the Council. In March, the first applicant under this new system became a Sandum citizen, raising our population to 13. February likewise saw the momentous occasions of the familiar festivals of the Parentalia, the Feralia, and the Caristia, the first occasion of Sandus celebrating African Diaspora Day, and the seventh anniversary of the Secession.

The past season has seen the increased institutionalisation of Sandum government with members of the Republic taking a diligent part in governance, in pursuance of the spirit of the Plan for the Major Societal Shift. Today, Sandum citizens take an increasingly active and diligent role in their government, and Party members are working carefully yet diligently to complete the Party’s platform. Moreover, Sandum faithful are today diligent in the fulfilment of the free and social endeavour of the State of Sandus—imbuing our State with compassion and diligence in accordance with our duties. With this experience of the budding of Sandum power, we ought to fertilise the ground of Sandum infrastructure and further develop the Sandum nation by all possible means.

We shall diligently cultivate the infrastructure of the State!
Nous cultiverons diligemment l’infrastructure de l’État !
Colemus diligente structuram Civitatis!

Spring2018.png

A Record of Hours in Winter 2018: Sandum Charity Taxes
The past few years have seen multiple records made on behalf of the Sandum institution of charity taxes, the requirement all citizens have toward donating money or time for compassionate activity toward others–or philanthropy. Derived from the Greek word which means, literally, “love of mankind,” this Sandum institution represents the literal fulfilment of our vows and duty as Sandum citizens—which we undertook the moment we became citizens.

Today marks the third season Sandus has donated over $1,000 USD to charity. Last winter, Sandus donated only $395.60 to charity, while this winter we have donated $1,095.18 to charity and philanthropic causes ranging from religious to environmental, humanitarian, and cultural nonprofit organisations—as well as smaller, individual events.

In addition, the past season has seen a remarkable event for volunteer work in Sandus. One of our citizens, Aaron von Friedeck, has dedicated the last three months to his religious calling, as he will do for the next two years. Aaron’s dedication to his convictions and to the betterment—spiritual and material—of other people recall Sandus’s own philosophical underpinnings. Our philosophy is predicated on the belief that all people in this world suffer. This precept of the Sandum Philosophy is not restricted to any one ideology, people, or religion, but is instead a maxim all people of the world can and should hold on to. It is not a nihilistic maxim, where all our actions are futile, but rather one where we, as one Sovereign People and as individuals with free will, can shape the conditions of our individual lives and of the society and culture around us.

Aaron’s charity does not stand alone, however. All Sandum citizens, from the oldest citizen to the newest, take part in it. This season saw Sandum citizens volunteering 794 hours of their own time to philanthropic causes, ranging from animal welfare organisations and political organisations to museums and shelters. This is the single most amount of hours volunteered in Sandum history, and is greater than the sum of all hours volunteered in the last two years combined. Even without von Friedeck’s mission, this season would have been the second greatest number of hours volunteered on behalf of our love for humanity.

Significant Improvements made to segments of Sandum Infrastructure
As mentioned in the introduction to this report, this past season saw the introduction of a new Sandum law to revamp the processes by which individuals become Sandum citizens. This law did away with the forms that once existed, creating new ones which would weed out applications contrary to Sandum laws. These forms have already had a great effect in significantly reducing the number of applications that must be denied. Moreover, this new law also adopted new mechanisms in Sandus to speed the process along and to ensure that Sandus was bringing in only the most committed, diligent, and intellectual citizens to our national philosophy.

But this law is only one of several actions to revamp Sandum infrastructure. We should also add that efforts are being made to improve this website, develop its pages, edit its information (if it is out of date), and to further clearly explain information related to our country. The website is not the only thing, however, which has been affected by these movements. Sandum media, too, has taken on a new aesthetic form and music popularly used in Sandus has been shared for important holidays. A greater effort has been made to translate Sandum media into all three official languages, in whole or in part, while more media has also been written in languages other than English.

The Council has also been the recipient of the State’s recent drive, and this will likely continue in the coming sessions. The Facilitator is taking over more administrative functions from the Sôgmô, while also encouraging new additions to the Council’s administrative rules—such as his idea of adding a quorum rule to motions passed by the Council.

Sandum government is also developing with more officials underneath the three leading offices of the Sandum Republic. The Sôgmô reorganised, in this season, the chargée d’affaires from the Office of the Sôgmô to the Ministry of Diplomatic Affairs, while also answering directly to the monarch themself.

Like the Sandum functionary, the State’s economic apparatus has also seen an increased interest. The newest Sandum citizen has actively taken an interest in Sandum economic affairs, while also showing an interest in Sandus’s political system. But other citizens, too, are interested in cooperatives. The Collegium itself, Sandus’s oldest cooperative tasked with religious and philosophical affairs, has demonstrated a renewed impetus for new work toward the Sandum Church as well as the newly established Sandum Sangha. Sandus is following the model of countless Socialist countries which have come before us, but is guided by our own philosophy—the bulwark of the Sandum State.

In addition to work done, there is work to do. In the new season, we plan to adopt a rigorous media campaign, revamp Sandus’s propaganda production, and further develop Sandus’s economic potential. It is important here to note that, as it is not guided by capitalist goals of maximising profit and squeezing labour out of workers, Sandus is primarily interested in providing these material and cultural benefits for the integration, development, and advancement of the State of Sandus and the common good. Last of all, the Sôgmô is also planning a new Sagamorial Consideration where það will explain the planning and theory behind an idea of a Sandum judicial or philosophical branch.

Ten Years of Sandus

Let the Planning begin! Preparing for the 10th Anniversary
Sandus’s tenth anniversary of existence will be on 26 May 2019, and the Sôgmô has invited all Sandum citizens, those both now and once upon a time, to come visit Quercus Candida and to celebrate Sandus’s first decade of existence. There is also an open invitation for interested friends and allies of the State of Sandus.

Planning will clarify the schedule and the best location for visitors to stay, but dates have already been chosen: 24 – 26 May 2019. Events will include dinners, discussions, tea, and a tour of the new Sandum capital.

Tax Titles: Hatsu Ryuho and Aaron von Friedeck
By a June 2012 decree, the State of Sandus bestows an extra name (agnomen) or title on individuals who have demonstrated a passion for charity and philanthropy. Only once before has a Sandum citizen taken an extra name, Adam Camillus von Friedeck. (Sisenna Melville was also offered one but declined.) Today, the Sôgmô offers two Sandum citizens the distinction of a tax title, one the offer of an agnomen and the other the offer of the title “the Caring.” This notice will be updated if they accept the honour.

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

Solstice Report: 75% Participation, Sôgmô’s Reign Unanimously Legitimate

Sandum citizens today are busier than ever before. There are more citizens who are active and engaged in the work of the Sandum government, from the Sôgmô to other workers in the Central People’s Government of the State of Sandus. Sandus, however, does not simply affect their micronational lives: it is also integrated with their quotidien and personal lives.

This Solstice has always marked one of the more important seasons for the State of Sandus. During the Autumn season, citizens take part in the nation’s most important cultural holiday, the Armilustrium, and engage in one of the most important democratic assemblies in our country: the Party Congress of the Citizens’ Party of Sandus. Moreover, it sees significant political and state holidays like the National Day of Socialism, Transgender Day of Remembrance, and Athena’s Day. But most significant of all administrative days is today, when the Sovereign People conclude their annual national referendum—the sixth, in today’s case—and vote on the legitimacy of the Sôgmô’s reign.

But, because of the tripartite Sandum Philosophy, Sandus lays claim to the spirit and message behind the peaceful and joyous winter holidays. We celebrate the social equality of the Saturnalia and we go beyond the progenitors of the holiday of yore in social equality—even striving to further and further than them. We remain mindful of the Christian message of the sort found in the venerated Victorian Christmas carol Good King Wenceslas:

Therefore, Christian men, be sure
Wealth or rank possessing
Ye, who now will bless the poor,
Shall yourselves find blessings.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Io Saturnalia!

Sôgmô C. Soergel Publicola

Winter Solstice

Annual Charity Taxes Up, 2017 Most Philanthropic Year Yet
One of Sandus’s most notable administrative features, and one which is always reported on the quarter-days between the different seasons, is the report on charity taxes. Since March 2012, Sandum citizens have been required to donate to charitable foundations or volunteer for philanthropic causes. Each one has to report the charity which they do as private citizens, and this report always includes the work which they do in the past three months since the previous solstice or equinox.

The past season’s monetary donations are down from those reported during the Autumn Equinox, but the hours of volunteer work have more than doubled. In the past season, we have donated $929.26 USD to charity, compared to the Summer’s $1,462.41. But, on the other hand, 190 volunteering hours were completed since 22 September, compared to the average 94.5 hours in the history of Sandus accepting charity taxes in the form of volunteer work. Sandum citizens have volunteered at houses of worship, animal shelters, and environmental programs—amongst others.

History of Sandum Charity Taxes by year

Charity taxes in 2017 are up to the highest they have ever been. While part of this increase is due to the rise in the population of Sandum citizens, it is also due to the fact that most Sandum citizens have grown older and have begun accepting higher paying jobs or are more financially secure. More and more Sandum citizens are working toward or have attained a higher education than secondary education.

 

Election 2017 Poster

Election 2017: Participation Up, Sôgmô’s Reign Unanimously Legitimate
Polls were open from 10 to 20 December 2017, with participation low for the first half and picking up significantly in the second half of the voting duration. By 15 December, only one vote had been submitted, representing a participation of 12.5%. By 20 December, six votes had been cast, or 75% of eligible voters.

Of Sandus’s population of 12 citizens, 11 are technically eligible, while three members of the Royal Family refuse to vote though the Sôgmô does submit a ballot. Sandum citizens have three voting options when voting on the Sôgmô’s legitimacy: yes, no, and abstain.

Of the six ballots cast, all voted in favour of þess legitimate reign. Five ballots were written in English, while one was in French; there were no extraordinary Latin ballots cast.

In the last section, the ballot turns to easement of the right to petition and to the election process itself.

What policies or concerns do you wish the Sôgmô to enact and conduct?

  1. I think the government is addressing issues in a healthy, productive manner. Further, the government seems to be handling the chaos caused by America’s current government very well. Sandus is weathering the storm well.
  2. Continued expansion to new members. Good job with that!

— Two petitions submitted in the 2017 Election

Sandum citizens are always given space, as well, to petition the Sôgmô confidentially and privately. Two petitions were given, one which was congratulatory and another which suggested that Sandus should continue expansion of citizenship. When asked how the voting process went, three ballots commended the electoral process for its ease.

The Sôgmô expressed a desire to expand Sandum citizenship to more people at the 2017 CPS Party Congress, so it is expected that Sandus will work to explain the naturalisation process for non-citizens, ease the citizenship process, and to approach others who share the values of the Sandum Philosophy.

 

throneofsandus_emblem

Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus: One New Membership Awarded, Four Upgraded
The Sôgmô, in þess capacity as Sovereign of the Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus, has awarded membership to one person, updated the citation for several current members, and has upgraded three members to the rank of Commander and one Commander to the rank of Elder.

Order_of_the_Throne_of_Sandus_3rdThe recipient of membership in the Order has run a micronation since 2001 which, in 2014, became an official nonprofit public benefit corporation in California in the United States. His micronation’s primary political mission is ecological and environmental. Their friendship with the State of Sandus was demonstrated in this past year with this new member meeting with the Sôgmô and becoming close friends with other members of the Organisation de la MicroFrancophonie. His reign, moreover, has seen thoughtful developments in the arts and an implicit dedication to LGBTQ+ micronationalists, while his government maintains three ecological campaigns, two of which are focused on Antarctica: Global Ecocide Prevention, Preserving and Monitoring the Ice Sheet, and Advocacy through Occupation. The Honourable Sôgmô, in þess capacity as Sovereign of the Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus, has awarded the rank of Member in the order to Grand Duke Travis of Westarctica.

For their roles in developing the Micronational Declaration on Ecological Stewardship, the Honourable Sôgmô, in þess capacity as Sovereign of the Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus, has instructed that the citations for four current members to include language “for the Declaration on Ecological Stewardship” in recognition of their service to micronational environmentalism:
Adam von Friedeck EOTS
Jean Pierre d’Aigues-Mortes COTS
Niels von Flandrensis MOTS
Thomas Harris MOTS

Order_of_the_Throne_of_Sandus_2ndIn recognition for their close friendship with the State of Sandus and for their role in the successful and diplomatic governance of the Organisation de la MicroFrancophonie (OMF), the Honourable Sôgmô, in þess capacity as Sovereign of the Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus, has promoted the following Members of the Order to the rank of Commander:
Dominic DeSaintes-Bellemare COTS
Jean Pierre d’Aigues-Mortes COTS
Olivier d’Angyalistan COTS

Order_of_the_Throne_of_Sandus_1stIn recognition of his role as Facilitator of the Council and the former leader of another Social State, the Honourable Sôgmô, in þess capacity as Sovereign of the Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus, has promoted the following Commander of the Order to the rank of Elder:
Hatsu Ryuho EOTS

 

AthenaPronoea Emblem

Honourable Order of Athena Pronoea: Party Secretary Promoted
The Honourable Order of Athena Pronoea is a recently established order of honour in the State of Sandus, established to laud and to recognise the high academic achievements of Sandum citizens in a country inspired by intellectualism and scholarship.

Order of Athena Pronoea - MΑθΠOne Associate of the Order has recently graduated with a Bachelors of Arts cum laude in History and Political Science. In recognition of his venerable academic achievement and the honour bestowed upon him for this accomplishment, the Honourable Sôgmô, in þess capacity as Sovereign of the Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus, has promoted the following member to the rank of Member of the Order:
Adam Camillus von Friedeck MΑθΠ

Equinox Report: A Season of Changes, A Lifetime of Sandum Traditions

The vernal equinox marks, in Sandus, the beginning of the cultural season—the winter, when our “doors are kept shut.” It is a moment of time when Sandus prepares for its most important cultural holidays: the Armilustrium, the Party’s Congress, Athena’s Day, the Winter holidays. But it is also a time of self-reflection and an inward turning toward Sandus.

The summer is always a very much diplomatic period for us. But this past season saw tremendously significant diplomatic and international events. The Sôgmô attended and presented at MicroCon 2017 and was awarded not an insignificant number of medals. One of our Sandum citizens publicly came out as a trans woman, and the entire country celebrated her; on the other hand, Sandus—along with several allies—condemned the US president’s decision to ban transgender servicepeople from the American military. We significantly reshaped our conceptions of the Sandum constitution, and formed the State Media Cooperative. The Sôgmô published a Sagamorial Consideration of the United States’ controversy over Confederate statues, especially after the attack in Charlottesville. On the more decorous end of our public work, we also created four instances of gentry among Sandum citizens.

The time now is to turn toward Sandum traditions and our culture, however. Yesteryear’s Philia Plan for the Major Societal Shift encouraged the move toward a cultural state. The constitution of Sandus will remain unchanged, but the conception guiding Sandus shall now be more focused on culture and less on our own state-building. Now, more than ever, this is needed for Sandus.

Pour la construction

BREAKING: Sandus breaks another Charity Tax Record
Sandus has broken yet another tax record, a year after its extraordinary record. The cornerstone of Sandus’s philanthropic mission, charity taxes, have significantly grown in the past season. This season’s charity taxes are rather more than those of the seasons in the past year, that is, those seasons since last Summer’s extraordinary donations of $1,118 USD. This season, $1,462.41 USD have been donated to charity, while 92 hours of work has been done in volunteering.

These numbers significantly surpass, and even double, the last year’s donations, with $604 and 99 hours in Spring, $395 and 62 hours in Winter, and $677 and 74 hours from last Autumn. Volunteering trends have continued, encompassing tutoring, organisational volunteer work, and other small acts of philanthropy.

Coat of Arms of Quercus Candida

The Coat of Arms of the new Sandum province, Quercus Candida.

New Province, New Capital:
Kremlum Sandus, the traditional heartland of Sandus since 2009, is no longer the official seat of power in the State of Sandus. Quercus Candida, Sandus’s new capital, was established this morning, on the Equinox, one month after the Sôgmô moved to þess new university to pursue a PhD. in ancient history.

MicroCon7

La Microfrancophonie ensemble: le Sôgmô est avec le ministre-président de Saint-Castin, Dominic Desaintes-Bellemare, et le prince d’Aigues-Mortes, Jean Pierre IV.

MicroCon 2017:
In this past season, the Sôgmô travelled to Atlanta from MicroCon 2017 with the President-Minister of St.Castin, a close Sandum friend and ally who is also a member of l’Organisation de la MicroFrancophonie. While there, það met with Sandus’s close Francophone allies and partners, including the Prince and Princess of Aigues-Mortes, met new micronationalists, and formed new friendships on behalf of Sandus.

Trans Rights, a Summer of Despair and Liberation:
The Summer has been tumultuous in terms of LGBTQ+ rights in the United States, our close partner in the condominium, but Sandus has cause to celebrate. Sandus and a throng of its allies condemned the decision of the US president to restrict transgender servicepeople from the US military. One of our citizens came out as transgender, reminding us of the immense bravery it takes to take such a leap—especially in such a political and social climate. An editorial was published, as well, listing Sandus’s own trans history.

Yet, this upcoming season is a time to remember our politics and the humanitarian mission of the Sandum State. In November, we have celebrate Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) since 2011, when the State of Sandus was founded. In Sandus today, trans history is Sandum history, and we are ever cognisant of that fact.

CCE & SMC—Developing Sandus’s Economic Framework:
The economic framework of the State of Sandus was updated in the past season to now reflect a new model of employment and work in the State of Sandus. The Commission for the Command Economy (CCE) met for the first time to approve the new appointment-based employment in the State of Sandus, whereby a citizen may be a worker of multiple organs at once and receive a basic salary of 8¶c from each appointment—a salary which can be used to purchase products based on conversion to other currencies from the Sandum circulatory persuma. The CCE also established a basic system of commands, whereby the Sôgmô may issue an economic command to be completed by Sandum workers of a particular cooperative. The CCE also approved the Sôgmô’s budget, which encourages Sandum cooperative to help to contribute to Sandum culture through specific initiatives.

In addition to the CCE, the Sôgmô established a pan-media cooperative, the State Media Cooperative. The SMC will undertake management of media organs in the State of Sandus, whereas those media organs derived from other cooperatives (Sacerdotiumthe Voice of Sandus, etc.) will have their editorial management overseen by the affiliated cooperative.

Future Plans: Affirming Our Culture through Holidays & Traditions
Following in the developments of the CCE this past Summer, the Sôgmô has signalled that the first economic command will be send to members of the economic cooperatives and the cultural cooperative of the Collegium Sacerdotum to plan for celebrating the Armilustrium (19 October). Following this, and pursuant to the budget approved by the CCE, more projects will be enacted to encourage participation in other significant Sandum holidays—from the Armilustrium to Athena’s Day and the Winter Holidays.

throneofsandus_emblem

Awarding the Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus—Addressing the Backlist:
Awards of the Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus (MHOTS) have been on a backlist since 2011, when the order was established. Some recipients have received their awards, while many others have now. Finally, the Sovereign of the order, the Sôgmô, will work to address this backlist and to send out the medal and associated paraphernalia to recipients of the honour. After MicroCon 2017, we have seen just how significant and important these marks of distinction and honours are.

In addition to the order, other honours are being planned for the State of Sandus. There are, in addition to the practical awarding of instances of nobility, the awards to be given by the Party and Council, as well as a new order for Sandum citizens only in recognition of their academic achievements.

Our Trans* History: from the Transition Policy to the Denton Protocol

On Wednesday 26 July 2017, the American president Donald Trump announced that the United States Armed Forces “will not accept or allow Transgender individuals” to serve in any capacity, citing “the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender (sic) in the military would entail.” The decision comes after months of talking about the costs of transgender people serving in the military and focusing predominantly on healthcare costs, although most estimate that 0.005-0.017% of the military’s healthcare costs of $49.3USD billion would cover transition related costs. Trump’s presidential announcement, as well, marks a clear break from the presidential candidate, who promised to be the “best president for LGBT (sic)” during the campaign season. Instead, his administration has removed protections for transgender students in schools, undone employment nondiscrimination executive orders for federal employees and contractors, and instated this most recent ban on transgender service-people in the US Armed Forces.

The decision to renew a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for American transgender service-members is starkly different from the State of Sandus, the other condominium partner according to Sandus’s Gradient Sovereign Condominium Theory.

Since 2012, the State of Sandus has offered a policy to help cover the costs of starting one’s transition by covering the cost of chest binders for transgender people up to $50USD. This policy also covers cosmetics and other necessary undergarments and garments for transgender people who have started to transition and need essential clothing for the process. In 2014, the policy was funded by Sandus’s first budget and has been funded again this year by the first annual budget.

TransgenderDayofRemembrance

An official poster for Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Sandus also marks several transgender days of recognition, including Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) and Transgender Day of Visibility. On 23 November 2013, to commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance, Sande Amici, a Sandum focus group on Second Life, held a discussion “Gender Identity in the Ancient World” on analogues of transgender identities in classical antiquity.

Sandus has drawn criticism from conservative micronations for its out-spoken stance on transgender issues. In March 2014, after months of recurring attacks and slurs against transgender micronationalists, Sandus and Zealandia jointly condemned transphobia in micronationalism, but refused to single out specific micronationalists. Finally, in response to refusing to use transgender micronationalists’ appropriate names, styles of address, and office titles, Sandus promulgated the Denton Protocol in order to exert diplomatic influence on those unnamed micronationalists to address transgender micronationalists correctly. The move drew the ire of conservative micronationalists and the frustration of their more moderate partners, but the Protocol worked: by the end of the year, transgender micronationalists started to be addressed appropriately and the diplomatic crisis was resolved for the time being.

But Sandus has even been ostracised from segments of the intermicronational community for its pro-transgender stance. In July 2016, after Sandus had applied to become a member of the Grand Unified Micronational, the GUM Quorum of Delegates, championed by the then-GUM Chair Shane Cahill and Austenasian Emperor Jonathan, rejected Sandus’s application while citing concerns over Sandus’s adherence to the Denton Protocol, despite assurances that the protocol would be irrelevant to Sandus’s activity in the organisation and despite the fact the protocol had not been used in two years. And, when Sandus applied to observe the GUM again in January 2017, Sandus’s application received the same result: rejection. This time, however, others began to take note of the absurdity of the decision and Sandus received the support of the Lord Spiritual of Mercia, an opponent of the Denton Protocol, who stated that the GUM’s accusations were “baseless and sensational.”

GovermentLogo S8gm8

The Office of the Sôgmô’s logo includes the Sôgmô’s official pronoun, það.

That Sandus should be a strong proponent for the transgender community is obvious given that LGBT people comprise a majority of Sandum citizens. The Sôgmô, who is both bisexual and androgynous, uses the Icelandic neuter pronoun “það” as a gender neutral pronoun for því personally and officially for State business. Some micronations, moreover, have responded more positively and respectfully than others. Exempli gratia, when the Sôgmô visited the Emperor of Angyalistan in Vincennes, France, the Emperor addressed the Sôgmô by þess official pronoun. Sandum citizens, as well, have historically been congratulated by their comrade citizens and by the Sôgmô personally for their bravery in coming out as LGBTQ+, such as with peregrina citizen Artemis Baca.

According to a March 2015 poll held on the occasion of International Women’s Day, a super-majority of Sandum citizens thought that Sandus was a postgender society.

Although a majority stated they believed in traditional gender roles, 67% of Sandum citizens who responded to the poll stated that they thought that Sandus is a postgender society, that Sandus should be a postgender society in their opinion, and that they believe their macronation (the United States) should be more of a postgenderist society. Sandus’s policies towards postgenderism in Sandum society and culture appear to be seen positively by Sandum citizens according to this poll.

Postgenderism is a sociopolitical and cultural movement for the voluntary elimination of gender-based discrimination and of gender in human species through the application of biotechnology and the undoing of socialised psychological gendering. By comparison, 59% of foreign micronationalists responded that their micronation should be a postgender society.

With this history and public opinion in the State of Sandus, it is no wonder that Sandus is a prominent proponent of transgender issues.

Sôgmô presents on the Sandum Constitution at MicroCon 2017

The Sôgmô attended MicroCon 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, from 23 to 25 June 2017, representing the State of Sandus and meeting with a multitude of Sandus’s friends and partners. The experience was the first diplomatic meeting for Sandus with several close allies, such as Saint-Castin and Aigues-Mortes. It was also a meeting again with some nations Sandus has already encountered, such as the Aerican Empire and Molossia.

The Sôgmô was received at the Ruritanian Empire’s embassy in Atlanta, Georgia, for a reception with Queen Anastasia of Ruritania before the conference. There, the Sôgmô met with and encountered a variety of micronationalists.

At the conference, the Sôgmô listened to a variety of presentations on micronationalism in general and specific micronational projects, before það presented þess own paper on the Sandum constitution. The presentation, which focused on Sandum history and the State’s constitutional development, was well-received and was applauded by many heads of state and of government. A multitude of conference attendees approached the Sôgmô to congratulate það and to ask for þess intellectual opinion on a broad range of topics.

Read the paper here.

The Sôgmô then met with a variety of micronationalists at a gala held that evening.

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All attendees considered the meeting a huge success for intermicronational diplomacy and, in particular, that it was a wonderful diplomatic success for environmentalist and French-speaking micronations. A large section of the micronations which attended, perhaps even a majority, could speak French—and it was rather frequent that individual groups would join together from a variety of different nations to discuss certain matters in French. In addition, attendees were asked to sign th 1933 Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, which was also signed at the previous conference in 2015. In addition the Micronational Declaration on Ecological Stewardship, which the Sôgmô signed for the State of Sandus and for the Kingdom of Überstadt as a social citizen.

The Sôgmô finally met the Prince and Princess of the Principality of Aigues-Mortes and the President-Minister of the Republic of Saint-Castin, close allies of the State of Sandus in the MicroFrancophonie.

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.

GUM rejects Sandum observer application

In a controversial move, the Grand Unified Micronational’s (GUM) Quorum of Delegates has narrowly rejected the State of Sandus’s application for observer membership by a margin of 6-8 with 3 delegations abstaining. News of the vote and its outcome was conveyed to the State of Sandus through official channels by the GUM Chair, King Adam of Überstadt, and by the GUM Vice-Chair, Emperor Thomas Merrell of Zenrax. The news was then conveyed by the Sôgmô to the Council directly, the direct democratic body which had approved the application. The Sôgmô has asked for an audience and meeting with Diplomatic Affairs minister Jacob Barnet Σαρκαστικός in response to the news ahead of þess trip to Reykjavík, Iceland.

Sandum Government responds to Accusations:

The Sandum application became surprisingly controversial quickly following news that the Council had approved Sandus’s move toward reconciliation with the GUM. Two member-states, Wyvern and Austenasia, are known opponents to the Sandum application, based on the controversial Denton Protocol of which Sandus is no longer a signatory. Both members hastily began levelling unsubstantiated accusations against the State of Sandus, including such things as blackmail and the release of private information.

When pressed to provide evidence for their claims, neither Wyvernian delegate Bradley of Dullahan nor Austenasian delegate Jonathan Augustus could provide any, the Sandum government has said. A few delegations approached the Sôgmô for information and to inquire about the veracity of some of the claims, at which point það responded. Vice-Chair Merrell was the most receptive, inquiring about specific points of Sandum policy and asking for assurances about Sandus’s use of the controversial provisions of the Denton Protocol—to which Sandus is no longer signatory. At several times, the Sôgmô reasserted Sandus’s unwillingness to use the controversial “last resort” policy which was designed to protect the privacy and security of transgender micronationalists. Despite assurances that the policy would be overridden by the GUM Charter, which already has provisions which meet the guidelines of the policy, the Austenasian and Wyvernian delegations still peddled accusations which proved convincing to members of the GUM in their 14 January vote.

In the case any party should not respect the preferred names, gender pronouns, and other communicated elements of LGBTQ+ identities and peoples, a signatory to this protocol may refuse to recognise the preferred name, style of address, or pronoun of the violating official in a way synonymous with the violation of respect dealt by the other party as envisioned by this protocol. In other words, should any no-signatory to this protocol refuse to respect the gender identity of another official whose government is a signatory to this protocol, the signatory government may refuse to use and communicate preferred names, styles of address, and titles of the violating official.

Article 3 of the Denton Protocol, the controversial provision in question

Much of the background over the controversy dates from summer 2014 and a particular international accord intended to protect LGBTQ+ micronationalists. Sandus and Zealandia signed the Denton Protocol on 27 July 2014 in order to seek cooperation in protecting LGBTQ+ micronationalists from unprecedented attacks and breaches of diplomatic decorum. The Protocol’s infamous Article 3 explains that, “should any no-signatory to this protocol refuse to respect the gender identity of another official whose government is a signatory to this protocol, the signatory government may refuse to use and communicate preferred names, styles of address, and titles of the violating official.”

Under this provision, Sandus notified only two micronational leaders—Bradley of Dullahan of Wyvern and Yaroslav Mar of Lostisland—of being in violation of the protocol, which was designed to protect transgender micronationalists and to have their names, styles, and offices be respectfully used by those who refused to use them. These two micronationalists had previously requested to be addressed by certain names and styles, such as not using the traditional Sandum honorific of “Monsieur” in favour of the English “Mister.” As a result of the protocol, Veritum Sandus published of Dullahan’s macronational name and categorically refused to address either Mar or of Dullahan as “Mr.” until they should abide by the protocol and traditional diplomatic conventions to respect an official’s name, style, and address. The move was intended to apply diplomatic pressure on the targeted officials to address Zealandians Charlotte Lindström and Dylan Grönsson by their official names, titles, and styles, though it was envisioned for future use beyond the two Zealandian leaders.

On 5 August 2014, Sandus and Ashukovo concluded high-level diplomatic talks whereby Sandus would discontinue its use of the controversial provision of the Denton Protocol and Veritum Sandus would amend its articles to reflect the desires of Mar and of Dullahan, while the intended targets would acknowledge and use Lindström’s and Grönsson’s official names, titles, and styles. The policy was used by Sandus for only 10 days and was ended through negotiations, and yet is still used as justification by some micronations to alienate Sandus from the intermicronational community.

Sandus’s opponents claim that the State violated common intermicronational conventions on decorum by using the controversial provision, while the Central People’s Government argues that it was defending the same conventions by respecting the privacy and security of transgender micronationalists. Many of the recent accusations range from accusations of blackmail to leaking private information of micronationalists in general, a claim which the Sandum Central People’s Government has vehemently refused.

Here is a list of some of the accusations with editorial from Veritum Sandus:

  • Sandus releases private information to blackmail and to coerce its opponents.
    This is a stretch and is not specific, but we assume the accusation refers to the Denton Protocol and its infamous Article 3. The key statement here appears to be in relation to Bradley of Dullahan, who was targeted by the Sandum government and refused to honour his requests to be addressed by his micronational pseudonym and requested honorific. The Sandum government has called this particular accusation “laughable,” stating that anyone could verify of Dullahan’s identity by searching for him on Google or on any other social media.
    If one reads the text of the provision, furthermore, it does not authorise the release of “private information,” but authorises the signatories to respond in kind and to refuse to address one with a lofty micronational title (like “Duke Bradley of Dullahan”) until one complies with the other provisions of the protocol.
  • Sandus is willing to blackmail and leak information.
    Jonathan Augustus claimed that Sandus was willing to blackmail and leak information, but was not clear in how that was or in what way Sandum policy does so. This accusation appears hyperbolic and takes one of the Sôgmô’s comments in a private and confidential conversation (which was shared to the GUM Quorum) out of context. The Sôgmô’s comment was that Sandus still retained the policy provisions of Article 3 of the Denton Protocol on the books because they might hypothetically need to be invoked for use outside the GUM, since the GUM Charter already has provisions which make the article redundant. The Sôgmô clarified that the policy was a last resort and has not been used or invoked since 5 August 2014. Since the Austenasian Emperor claimed that Sandus was “willing to use it on non-members,” the Sôgmô has ardently asserted that the State of Sandus is not “willing” to use the policy and would prefer not to appeal to it, given its controversy.
  • Sandus still abides by the Denton Protocol.
    This is partially true, but not technically. After controversy over Sandus’s application in July 2016, the State of Sandus announced that it would no longer be a signatory of the Denton Protocol, but would exercise similar provisions if ever needed. This does not mean, however, that Sandus still actively uses the protocol or its provisions. The provisions of Article 3 have not been used by any Sandum organ since 5 August 2014 and the Sôgmô has repeated stated that it is a “last resort,” noting how controversial the policy is.
  • Sandus would have contributed to the ongoing diplomatic crisis in the GUM.
    This is a concern which was raised by multiple people, and which did not reflect Sandus’s rationale for applying to the GUM once more. Sandus applied to become an observer member in the GUM, not a full member, so its role in the organisation would have already have been minor. Furthermore, it was explained to the GUM Vice-Chair that neither the Sôgmô nor the Diplomatic Affairs minister intended to serve as Sandus’s primary delegate, instead hoping to fill that role by another citizen from the Council of the State of Sandus. Both Sandum leaders publicly acknowledged their time constraints which would keep them from activity in the GUM, hoping that a more junior Sandum delegate would be found to fill the role.
  • People are still wary of Sandus because of the Denton Protocol.
    While this is obviously true of delegates of the GUM, the Denton Protocol is not a contentious issue outside of the organisation. Apart from being invoked by certain members of the GUM for its usefulness as a tactic against Sandus’s involvement in the organisation, the protocol has been hardly discussed since August 2014. The only times it has been officially discussed in the past two and a half years are in July 2016 and now in January 2017.
  • Sandus should have been rejected as a matter of principle.
    Some have claimed that Sandus should be rejected as a matter of principle, but the Sôgmô’s open letter to the GUM delegates questions what sort of principle that would be. The rationale for rejecting Sandus has been because its rarely used policy seeks to coerce people into addressing certain micronationalists by their appropriate names, titles, styles, and pronouns: an issue which has already been resolved by intermicronational conventions on diplomatic decorum, including the GUM’s own charter. In other words, Sandus’s policy follows the principles of the GUM Charter.
    The Sôgmô has also questioned the principle for rejecting Sandus, both because of Sandus’s national philosophy and because of the GUM’s own principles. Þess open letter to the organisation, first of all, delved into some of the sincere beliefs of the State of Sandus and its national philosophy, while also explaining the rationale for Sandus’s involvement in the organisation. There were no indications of some of the nefarious worries voiced by delegates. Second, the GUM Quorum of Delegates has voted in violation of their organisation’s own self-reported principles. The GUM Charter states that the organisation “may not involve itself in the domestic policy of its member states without their consent,” yet the Quorum of Delegates has voted to do the same for a senior applicant which has a long history of involvement in the GUM. The GUM vote is a violation of the principles of the organisation and has necessarily involved itself in the policy of an individual nation—a breach of the spirit of the principle, if not its specific language.
  • Sandus’s policy is no longer needed, since transgender micronationalists are now respected.
    While this is true of the GUM, which already has similar provisions to protect transgender micronationalists, this is not necessarily true outside of the GUM. Some still continue to refuse to use transgender micronationalists’ names and pronouns, and their styles and official titles. Others begrudgingly use them. Many transgender micronationalists have voiced to the Sandum government private concerns about coming out as an LGBTQ+ micronationalist based on the social climate of the MicroWiki and other intermicronational communities. The State of Sandus, moreover, has long been a supporter of LGBTQ+ causes. This particular Sandum policy is kept on the books in order to be used in extremely grave and rare circumstances—indeed, it has never been used since August 2014, because it has never been needed to be used.
    In view of these provisions, Sandus supports conventions on diplomatic decorum which include respecting micronationalists’ titles and names, but acknowledges the policy as a necessary tool to ensure that the convention is used appropriately and fairly for all. Sandus also respects standard informal practices on keeping micronationalist’s private information private, but argues that Sandus includes transgender micronationalists as targets of those practices by not sharing information that they are transgender and other information of their “macronational” person.
  • Sandus should be kept from the GUM since it leaks information.
    Sandus has never leaked information it has held from the GUM. Sandus has received leaked information from other parties and delegations within the GUM, but it has never been the source of a leak. Furthermore, Veritum Sandus has only ever published leaked material from the GUM when it has judged that grave and serious violations of proper protocol and due process have been committed.

The Sôgmô had requested that the originators of these accusations should contact það and that all delegates should raise their concerns directly with the Sandum government, rather than rely on unsubstantiated accusations at their face value. Only a handful of GUM delegates did so, yet none of the accusers contacted það.

The détente between Sandus and the GUM has now stalled:

The move was expected by the State of Sandus to be a further move of compromise and of reconciliation after last year’s rejection. On Christmas day, the Sôgmô received a personal letter from Austenasian Emperor Jonathan, sent by means of the official Austenasian email, seeking forgiveness and hoping for a personal reconciliation between the two leaders. Though the letter was modest in its tone, it was seen as a show of good faith to which the Sôgmô immediately responded, also hoping for a rapprochement between Sandus and Austenasia. Austenasia’s recent diplomatic overture follows negotiations held in October 2016. Sandus was also engaged in earlier high-level but secretive talks with Wyvern in the late summer. Though those talks eventually stalled, they were seen as a first step done in good faith toward resolving the pernicious diplomatic discord between Sandus and Wyvern. Zealandia also announced a change of diplomatic policy on 10 January 2017 with respect to Sandum-Zealandian relations under their new Nymoria government. The Zealandian letter represented a change to which the Sôgmô expressed hope towards in improving bilateral relations between the two countries. Before Saturday’s decision, Sandus had hoped to start Sandum observership in the GUM as a first means toward a hopeful détente with the three nations—a détente which has now been cast into uncertainty.

Following these Austenasian and Zealandian overtures of reconciliation and forgiveness in the new administrative year, the Sandum government was hopeful that Sandum membership in the organisation, albeit in a liminal and largely inactive role, would encourage such a détente between Sandus and its foreign adversaries to strengthen and grow with increased diplomatic exchanges and communication. Instead, the application—approved almost unanimously by the democratic assembly of the State of Sandus—ignited a new controversy. Both the Austenasian and Wyvernian delegations abruptly changed their states’ seemingly evident policies of peaceful coexistence and went on the offensive, seeking to disrupt any chances of Sandus’s observance of the GUM and hope for establishing strategic partnerships. Their efforts have proven convincing to a faction of GUM members, reported by some to be comprised of younger members of the organisation. While a narrow majority did not vote for Sandus’s application to be rejected, with six members voting in favour and three voting in abstention, the opposing member-states won the vote.

Sandus sought observer membership, rather than full membership, as a means to extend the olive branch with its hostile enemies and to signal that Sandus was not interested in hostility with the nations which had previously opposed its membership. The decision to apply, though, was intended to develop peaceful friendships and strategic partnerships with more micronations in the new Gregorian year, according to a public letter issued by the Sôgmô on 12 January. The application was supported by majority of the active population of the State of Sandus, representing a sincere democratic will to make significant yet limited diplomatic headway in resolving Sandus’s conflicts. Instead, the Central People’s Government of Sandus has claimed that the State has been provoked by unsubstantiated claims (see above) and by the resumption of an unwarranted and misled controversy.

In the past half year since the news of our failed Grand Unified Micronational application, we have had time to reflect on Sandum foreign policy and our goals for our policy. After our rejected application, in July 2016, the Council decided not to apply to become observers in the GUM. After speaking to Diplomatic Affairs Minister Jacob Barnet and since Adam Oberstadt has recently been elected Chairman of the GUM, I believe it is time that we consider to apply for observership once more.
I motion that we apply to join the Grand Unified Micronational as an observer.

C. Soergel P., on motioning to the Council to join the GUM as an observer

Adam Oberstadt recused himself from voting because he is also king of Überstadt, a citizen of Austenasia, and chairman of the GUM. This constitutional arrangement was established in response to his foreign roles and his roles in Sandus as a social citizen and as Secretary of the Citizens’ Party of Sandus.

Furthermore, the Central People’s Government publicly announced that neither the Sôgmô nor the Diplomatic Affairs minister were intended to be the primary delegate of the State of Sandus to the organisation. Both cited their busy work schedules and preparation for post-graduate programs. An alternative delegate was meant to be found, if the Sandum application was to be approved by the Quorum. The Sôgmô had even assured the GUM Vice-Chair that the State was intending a limited yet strategic partnership with the GUM and between Sandus and certain GUM member states. Það had even specifically informed him of the possibility of the Sandum delegate not being a high-ranking member of the Sandum government.

Micronationalists, Sandus React:

The Sôgmô has been relatively quiet on this new wave of anti-Sandum sentiment in the GUM. Þess lone statement has been to the Council of the State of Sandus, where það said that “[það regrets] to inform you [the Sandum people] that for a second time in the past year our application for membership in the Grand Unified Micronational has been rejected.”

The Royal Mother, too, has taken an unprecedented stance in expressing her disappointment at the Quorum’s decision—the first time she has ever spoken publicly in Sandus. She stated that it is “unfortunate” that Wyvern and Austenasia are not living up to the good faith constructed by negotiations conducted in August 2014 and October 2016. She concluded by saying that “we thought these issues were done and over in August 2014,” but that clearly they are “stuck in the past.”

Sandus will continue to abide by the results of both negotiations in addressing micronational leaders by their proper titles and pseudonyms in exchange for their doing the same with regard to transgender micronationalists, though the Royal Mother noted that Sandus should still not be reprimanded for acting in good faith and in accordance with the terms of historic negotiations from 2014 and 2016.

King Adam of Überstadt, who is also Chairman of the GUM, issued this brief statement on behalf of his kingdom following the news: “We are disappointed in the Quorum’s decision to reject the Sandum application, and will continue to support our allies.”

Bee Rodgers Albina, a former Sandum citizen and former head of state of the Republic of Roseland, expressed her surprise at the result.

I can’t see any reason why Sandus must still be excluded from the Grand Unified Micronational, considering they’re one of the oldest and most well-developed state (sic) in the MicroWiki community. It seems to me that it’s a political play by the more conservative of the community, while the younger nations seem to just not know what they’re talking about but just hear bad things through the grape vine.

Bee Rodgers Albina

The Mercian Lord Spiritual, Richard Hytholoday, has expressed his support for the Sandum cause, noting this despite the political divide between the two countries. He noted that “personal differences should not come between the diplomatic process,” and expressed his intention for a show of solidarity and good faith ahead of the two leaders’ meeting on Monday in Reykjavík.

Kossian Anax Lucas Campos stated that it was a shame that “some delegations decided to campaign against a nation which would have greatly benefited the GUM and helped further develop micronationalism.”

Emperor Thomas Merrell of Zenrax, who is also the Vice-Chairman of the GUM, stated that he regretted being unable to gather enough support for the Sandum application. He welcomed Sandus to apply again in the future, when many delegates will likely view the State of Sandus differently.

Kit McCarthy, President of the Republic of Mcarthia, expressed his nation’s disappointment in the rejection of Sandus, which he called a “highly respected, well established community member.” He added that, “while concerns were raised, these were in my opinion soundly dismissed.”

Zealandian Foreign Minister Charlotte Lindström explained that Zealandia did not oppose Sandus’s membership and that “it was a disappointment following our overtures of rapprochement.”

Wyvernian delegate and prime minister, Bradley of Dullahan, refused to provide a comment when asked by Veritum Sandus. Other micronationalists were asked for comment by Veritum Sandus but have not responded to the request.

Sôgmô, D.A. Minister to consider policy response:

The Sôgmô and Diplomatic Affairs minister Jacob Barnet will meet in the next week to consider changes to Sandum foreign policy as a result of the rejection of Sandus’s application to the GUM. The Sôgmô has implied that Sandus will seek to “walk away” from the GUM and its long history with the organisation, while still forming strategic partnerships with certain member-states of the organisation. More significant still is Sandus’s foreign policy stance towards the MicroWiki community in general, which the Sôgmô considers to be increasingly distant. Það previously spoke of reasserting Sandus’s cooperation with the Francophone organisation l’Organisation de la MicroFrancophonie (OMF), of which Sandus has been a proud member, and will likely reiterate that policy after the most recent controversial rejection at the hands of the GUM. The two Sandum leaders will determine what exactly this shall entail in terms of diplomatic policy, but it will likely mean developing more bilateral relationships, seeking specific policy developments in the OMF and in the Systema Socialis based on common ground, and working to develop diplomatic friendships across political and cultural divisions.

It is expected that the policy of rapprochement with key members of the GUM’s opposition to the Sandum application will be complicated by this upset, though the Central People’s Government has reiterated its hopes for reconciliation with Sandus’s historic partners and allies, including the Commonwealth of Zealandia.

Solstice Report: Sôgmô’s reign legitimate, the Party unanimously ratifies Constitution

Each Winter Solstice, during the holiday season, the State of Sandus holds an election to determine whether or not the reign of the Sôgmô Gaius Soergel Publicola has remained legitimate. Often this is a time of much strenuitas as Sandus prepares the Winter and for the cyclic return of the Spring. Each year, Sandus gathers together to hold elections and national referenda on a variety of subjects. Of course each year the Sôgmô’s reign is asked to be legitimate or not, but some years there are other pressing matters which are included on the ballot. In 2014, a referendum approved the Sôgmô’s plan, approved by the Party, to complete the transition to a republic by adding the Council to the State of Sandus’s constitution. Today, the national election does a similar function.

In order to better preserve and to protect our republican constitution, voters in the State of Sandus have unanimously approved the Sôgmô’s continued reign. Members of the Citizens’ Party of Sandus moreover have unanimously ratified the Constitution of the Party presented to the Party by the Secretary Adam Camillus von Friedeck. Today, Sandum citizens have cause to celebrate—for today Sandus has exercised once more its republican power.

Best of Days

Charity Taxes — Trends continue despite slowdown from the Summer:
Each season, Sandus gives money to charity—but the past season is one pressed between family and charity. It is stressed both by work and the season, with its holidays and the Party Congress or the Winter Solstice elections. This season, however, trends have continued. Charity is down from the last season’s momentous, ground-breaking, and award-making charity of more than $2,000USD donated to charity.

This season was the second highest amount of charity ever donated, and some citizens are still expected to declare taxes. $677.30USD was donated to charity in one way or another this season, while Sandum citizens also took part in at least 74 hours of volunteer work. Some citizens also donated food to a food bank, in addition to other volunteer work for various other social causes. Sandum citizens took part in political rallies, cultural events, and other community-specific events that improved the welfare of Sandum citizens and of others, thus striving to fulfil the philanthropic mission of the State of Sandus.

Sôgmô’s reign found unanimously legitimate:
The citizens of the State of Sandus have voted unanimously in stating that the reign of the Sôgmô Gaius Soergel Publicola is legitimate. Five votes were cast in support of the þess reign, which was established by the laws of the State of Sandus on 13 April 2011. In September 2011, það voluntarily passed a law establishing the annual elections on the Winter Solstice to determine whether or not his reign would remain legitimate. In the law, if þess reign is illegitimate, then það must submit constitutional amendments which would prevent þess abuse of executive power to a new election in order to restore legitimacy to þess reign.

The Sôgmô’s reign has always been supported by the national referenda.

Citizens’ Party of Sandus unanimously ratifies Constitution:
The members of the Citizens’ Party of Sandus have unanimously ratified the constitution planned for at the last CPS Party Congress. The new constitution goes into effect immediately and further clarifies the work of the Party Secretary while also creating new organs in the Party.

Membership in the Party in the future will be granted by the Central Committee for citizens who “express a commitment to socialism, proletarian democracy, and individual liberties.” All current members retain their membership.
The Party Secretary presides over the Party and the meetings of the Central Committee, promotes the Party’s platform on other state organs of the State of Sandus, and liaises with the Sôgmô.
The Central Committee is the Party’s new executive organ, composed of the Party Secretary and two other members which they appoint. It is tasked with the “perpetual assessment of Sandum affairs, advocacy for proletarian interests in policy-making, and seeking the perspectives of Party members.”
The Party Congress retains its role in function as the annual deliberative assembly of Party membership.
The Party Platform is the Party’s detailed policy agenda, written by a committee of volunteers from the Party and possibly amended by the Party Congress.

2016 Winter Solstice Elections summary report:
Five ballots were cast in the election, two on the original bilingual ballot and three on an emergency English ballot made because the original ballot had failed. No ballots were spoilt; four ballots were in English, while one was in French. Five votes were cast in support of the Sôgmô’s legitimacy. Three Party members took part in the election, all of which voted for the CPS Constitution. No petitions were filed, and two voters responded that the voting ballot was easy to use.

Citizens’ Party concludes VI Party Congress

congress2016

The Citizens’ Party of Sandus has concluded its Sixth Party Congress on 5 November 2016 under the slogan “Securing the Party’s Future and the People’s Prosperity.” This congress has been considered important for its role in establishing the Party’s platform and constitution. These two important by-laws for the Party were meant to be drafted earlier in 2016 after the Fifth Party Congress in November 2015, but were not due to the Sôgmô’s and the Secretary’s busy schedules. Now, these documents will be drafted ahead of the Winter Solstice election in December.

Also a matter of important concern was Jacob Barnet’s Matter Realism and how it is to be reflected in Sandus. The discussion however was not concluded, meaning that it is a discussion bound to continue in the future. It was decided however that the Party would receive certain select policy decision-making powers, especially taking over the role of the Commission for the Command Economy (CCE).

Sandus&PartyFlag

The Congress was opened by Party Secretary Adam Camillus von Friedeck at 11:12 SLT. The Internationale was recited at 11:13 and was followed by a statement by the Secretary on the role and work of the Party. Discussion began by 11:32.

The first matter on the agenda was the Party’s platform. Attendees of the congress were asked about the role and functions of the Party in the Sandum constitution, what the platform would say about the Party’s role, and what the constitution of the Party might include on this subject. All agreed with the long-held view that the Party exists as a think-tank and planning organ. It was agreed that it should develop a central committee to bring continuous governance to the Party both in its meritocratic function as a advisory body and as a planning organ. In addition, it was decided that the Party should take over certain policy areas, especially concerning the economy and security. The Party will take over the functions of the CCE, will perform state security functions, and will also have a limited diplomatic role — for example, both now and in the future, the Minister of Diplomatic Affairs should be a member of the Party.

Next the Congress considered the matter of ideology. It was decided that the Party would continue to abide by the broad and wide-ranging Socialist view established by the Fourth Party Congress in 2014. In addition, the Party denied liberalism to be added to the platform, instead giving preference to Socialist personal liberties.

Third, the Party determined that a select group of Party members would draft the platform and the constitution of the Party. Next, it was decided that both documents would be ratified at the Winter Solstice election ahead of the Winter Solstice on 21 December.

The Party then moved from considering the platform to the constitution, saying that the constitution would not be a long document but would be authored in the vein of the Sandum Founding Law. The constitution would include sections on the Secretary’s role, the role and composition of the Central Committee, and also the procedure for developing Party policy.

The last section to be discussed was on Matter Realism, with a recess from 13:07 to 14:25 SLT. No decisions were made from this discussion, though there was some reconciliation amongst the two factions of Matter Realists and Cultural Realists.

Finally, at 15:12, the Party Secretary began the electoral process for a new secretary. Adam Camillus von Friedeck nominated himself as a candidate for the next term. At 15:22, the Secretary moved to vote and, at 15:23, he was unanimously elected by acclamation.

At 15:38, the drafting committee was composed by those in attendance.

The Sixth Party Congress was adjourned at 15:44.