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

Armilustrium 2018

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

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

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

Armilustrium Invitation - Redacted

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Armilustrium!

 

Citizens to Receive Free Flag Pins

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

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

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

Equinox Report: For A Familiar Autumn

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

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

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

Aequinoctium.png

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

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

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

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

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

CPS Party Congress 2018 poster.png

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sandus, Überstadt developing academic certificate

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sôgmô & Slabovian King meet, MicroCon registration expected in September

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

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

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

38901267_2305051769511248_8979012535428579328_n

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

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

Slabovia (est. 1984) sees changes since 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MicroCon 2019 will take place 19-21 July 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[SC] Greeting & Addressing the Sôgmô and the Sanôba Consort

Like most heads of state and of government, the Sôgmô has a specific style of address when one greets það, and for the first time the Appartements du Sôgmô (the current seat of sagamorial power) in Sandus’s capital province, Quercus Candida, have clarified the ways to address the Sanôba Consort.

There are no obligatory manners of addressing and greeting the Sôgmô, but there are distinguished and traditional ones which are considered to be respectful if one uses them. In Sandus, however, it is traditionally and (in the case of titles of nobility) legally forbidden to correct another individual if they have mistaken one’s style of address. This means that, while the correct use of our styles of address are appreciated and considered respectful, not using them is not offensive.

Other titles and style of addresses in Sandus, as well as their rules and regulations, can be read about in the Decree on the Sandum System of Nobility.

 

37758471_2066971610229449_1642316646980780032_o-e1533919117374.jpg
© UniCORN, Thibault Plaire

the Honourable Sôgmô Gaius Soergel Publicola

Coat_of_Arms_of_SoergelCoat_of_Arms_of_Sandus

There are no specific physical gestures that must be made to the Sôgmô, and bowing or prostrating is specifically discouraged. The Sôgmô may bow their head slightly and place their right hand over their heart, but the most common action is just to shake hands in the common modern way. If the Sôgmô is meeting with French-speakers, they might perform a bise.

When meeting the Sôgmô, the correct form of address is ‘the Honourable Sôgmô,’ and subsequently either simply ‘Sôgmô’ or ‘Comrade Sôgmô.’ When referring to the Sôgmô in a spoken conversation, the Sôgmô’s pronouns in the third person are ‘he,’ ‘they,’ or—especially when referring to the constitutional office—’það.’

‘Your Excellency’ or, when referring to the Sôgmô, ‘His Excellency’ are not traditional in Sandus, but are still appreciated as tokens of respect. Referring to the Sôgmô as ‘Your’ or ‘His Majesty’ is expressly discouraged.

 

Sanôba Consort Oliver

the Faithful Sanôba Consort Oliver Armstrong

Oliver ArmstrongCoat_of_Arms_of_Sandus

As with the Sôgmô, there is no specific physical gesture that is traditional when meeting the Sanôba Consort, though a simple handshake may be exchanged.

The Appartements du Sôgmô have recently clarified that, when meeting the Sanôba Consort, his style of address is ‘the Faithful Sanôba Consort’ and subsequently ‘Sanôba’ or ‘Sanôba Consort’ afterwards. His third person pronoun is ‘he.’

As a member of Sandus’s gentry according to the Sandum Table of Noble Ranks, he may also be addressed as ‘Mister Armstrong’ and ‘Oliver Esquire.’

 

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

sommetomf2018vincennes

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

PRÉPARATIONS: Það receptum est

37604884_656062824726288_5394141223382417408_o

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

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

DAY ONE: Saturday 21 July 2018

37488703_2268101476539611_7234222031804301312_o.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

37644042_2268146873201738_2865903072415055872_n

Participants received a complimentary gift.

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

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

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

37729371_10217132079353383_916563930980024320_n

© UniCORN / Thibaut Plaire

DAY TWO: Sunday 22 July 2018

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

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

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

PROVINS: Sôgmô with heads of Angyalistan and Saint-Castin

37686293_10217122632957229_407699083378032640_n

Inside Angyalistan’s Imperial Car

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

37642100_2270087456341013_7439921557641625600_n

Angyalistan’s Imperial Couple

THIRD TIME’S A CHARM: Þess last dinner

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

37623913_10217105784056017_2729246786538438656_n.jpg

The Sôgmô with the Sandum Bicolour

ANALYSIS

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

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

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

Now to the OMF in particular.

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

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

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

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

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

37758471_2066971610229449_1642316646980780032_o

© UniCORN / Thibaut Plaire