Why the Sandum government is difficult to define
Ave, Sandum Citizens!
Recently, the Honourable Party Secretary James Thompson and I the Sôgmô had a few conversations over Sandum government, especially concerning the common description of the government as being an elected monarchy. At first, I was quite offended, to say the least: I am one who dedicates much time to my state, I am one who does the bulk of the work, I am one who is often in the lead of the government and country. I felt quite betrayed, to hear this from one whose position is meant to advise me, not seek my overthrow. Yet, despite my emotions, Comrade Thompson raised good points and made my consider, “is the classical definition of Sandum government correct?”
I remember quite well, 2011 seeming to be as yesterday, what I thought the government would be defined as. Indeed, that is perhaps the first thing we think of in micronationalism: what definition of government a state has – we think, ‘my nation is a republic, theirs is a monarchy’. But what happens when those definitions no longer fit? I recall, even in April 2011, that no definition fit. Eventually, I sufficed myself with this over-simplification: “Elected Absolute monarchy with Socialism”. As with my discussions with Comrade Thompson, who prides himself with his ability of ideology, I should seek to provide a rationale. Several facts must first be known to understand why this selection was made:
- The term monarchy is derived from the classical, generic term that encompasses rule by one individual; however, this candid definition does not seek to relate how much power the monarch has (in our modern era, constitutional monarchs have little power whereas absolute ones have much more power; in terms of tribal monarchies, where decisions are more discussed by a council, the powers of a chief are weak). Rather, in terms of the Realism of the Secession – which, at that time, stressed my role in the creation of Sandus, my role in power, and my role in culture -, this sort of monarchy is perhaps the more modern, constitutional, and cultural position of a monarch, where the monarch serves more a culture position as a fount of honour.
- Elected absolute monarchy is often easily able to be applied to an elected presidential republic (with no or a weak legislature, as we can see in places like the Russian Federation where much power is invested in the presidency). Indeed, looking back to history, the Roman office of the Rex (or king) was divided into the dual-office of the Consuls under the Republic and, later, back into the Imperator of the Empire. However, one often-overlooked fact is that: 1) the Rex was elected by the Senate, 2) Consuls were elected by the Senate and were historically derived from the office of the Rex, 3) Emperors were still officially elected under the Principate era.
Perhaps by understanding my role as “fount of honour” and the role of the office as being like that of an ancient Roman king (or even a Native American chief, who too was elected), one can come to appreciate the reasons behind this definition.
None the less, the definition is misleading in the direction of the modern context, shaped by centuries of feudalism, chivalry, and Western Capitalism – three things which are very unlike Sandus.
Perhaps a better, newer definition is this: “Socialist Presidential Republic or Elected Absolute monarchy with Socialism”.
In this way, others may be able to see the close relation between kings and presidents (especially as most micronations are without the Enlightment’s importance on separation of powers) and, perhaps, will read this editorial and come to understand why Sandus can be classified by both definitions.
There are, however, some things which are necessary to clear up, which originated from this definition of “Elected Absolute Monarchy”. They are as follows:
- In Sandus, all people are equal. Thompson used the position of the Sôgmô to state that our culture was bourgeois (I infer he means that the culture is controlled by those who own the means of production). I must argue this very sincerely, for the fact that I am elected. I do not own the means of production; rather, the State does. I do reign over the State and the Central People’s Government, just as a president does (“reign: to exercise sovereign power or authority”), but I am elected to that position, like a president. I am not bourgeois by fact that I am working-class, that I do the staunch majority of work in the State in reality, and that I do not own the means of production: the State does.
In conclusion, all Sandum people are equal yet the Sôgmô is primus inter pares (first amongst equals or peers, often considered in such a way due to experience or prestige derived from the past).
- The Sôgmô’s power is not absolute: it is checked by the people themselves. The people exercise this check on the Sôgmô’s authority by voting but primarily by petitioning. The term is used rather liberally: any citizen that expresses any opinion on a policy is listened to. Only rarely does the Sôgmô go completely against the views of the people and only once has this happens so far. Another check is exercised by the Party and, especially, by the Party Congresses that are convened in November and April. A further check is being considered: a directly democratic council that will meet once a month, presided over by the Sôgmô, and which will seek to advise the Sôgmô, further file petitions, and exercise the people’s will. Though this council would not have the same powers of a legislature in the modern world, it serves as a proto-Parliament for our country and, none the less, is an exercise of a check on the Sôgmô’s power.
In conclusion, the Sandum people exercise their own check on the Sôgmô’s power by: electing the office, petitioning the office, participating in the Party, and – perhaps in the future – serving on the monthly parliament that will advise the Sôgmô.
- The reason why Sandus has a strong presidential or monarchal system is because of the nature of our country: the Sôgmô is its founder; according to the Realist ‘Activation Energy Theory’, Sandus hasn’t the correct amount of political energy to sustain a republic or, even, a direct democracy; many the citizens who are active (i.e., consider themselves Sandum and speak on micronational issues often) are not necessarily engaged (i.e., do not have the efficacy to see their power in policy – though it exists – or do not have the dedication to work for the policy of their government); and, the culture of the country stresses the role of a national figurehead. Furthermore and finally, we had a position in the past (the Sanôba and Phanem Representative of the People) that was elected and meant to directly serve the People; however, this position was discontinued due to a lack of people able to perform those tasks.
Therefore, in Sandus, it is not that we refuse republicanism or democracy, it is that the nature of the state and of the country do not allow a republic or a democracy – of the traditional sense – to form in a sustainable way. None the less, we have – in our State of Sandus – created our own, unique republic which 1) guarantees the equality of the people, 2) affirms the role of democracy, and 3) is socialist in virtue and nature.
In our State, may we continue to perpetuate the Sandum-independent vision of glorious history from ancient Rome to pre-Columbian America!
May we continue to advance our State through evolution done with pensive attitude and a spirit for equality and people’s welfare!
– Sôgmô Sörgel.