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On the Grand Unified Micronational and what plagues it

Article by His Grace Bradley, Duke of Dullahan

This is not a work to discourage micronations from formal association or to harass, attack or demean the GUM. This article is written out of the pure observation of someone who studies public administration and has seen trends that make the governance and maintenance of an organisation structured like the GUM impossibly hard. In this article I try to explain some trends and developments in both the macronational and the micronational world which might explain the hardships organisations like the GUM face.

We must never shy away from taking a good look at the works we joined or constructed. Even the oldest institutions and oldest buildings need mending so now and then. Forgoing a sharp critique of what is in front of you due to prestige and history is ignorance. Should we turn a blind eye to the errors and shy those who wish to aid an organisation then we are no better than the leaders of the OAM, who ignored clear signs even if they were shown by members.

To this end I will write about the history of the GUM, the functions it had and served and what it inspired. But also what difficulties it faces in today’s world. I ask all who take their time to read this to reflect on the GUM and the analysis I put forward and please draw your own conclusions.

The GUM, its history, significance, and prestige

The GUM was an organisation that bound together those who wished to communicate with each other. It became a club of high professionalism, learning and prestige. If you joined it you were of the higher classes of micronations who proved to be serious and stable. The GUM in this solved problems of diplomacy and allowed members to speak about and try and resolve issues in the community better and faster than could be done on the wiki.

For many the GUM was a learning ground. During its refounding it modelled itself like its previous incarnation with the vision of spreading professionalism, aiding in a formal diplomatic venue for micronations and offering a way for faster communication. The shear prestige that the biggest influential nations brought to the organisation in all its incarnations as well as its accomplishments in peacekeeping and development of micronations brought it great success. But here we can see the cracks happening.

What people sometimes forget is that a large part of the community wasn’t on Skype; Skype wasn’t even in the picture yet. The OAM was the biggest forum and organisation; it gave, like the GUM, a platform to communicate and share information with each other, something the Wiki couldn’t do. This was the most relevant and prestigious part of contribution these organisations gave the community.

Changes in activity and the role of conflict

The GUM never drastically evolved or faced the problems it had. Without it people felt there was no place for serious or professional diplomacy and discussions on their micronational development. But in times that it existed the most active days were those with conflict. I do not like to pad myself on my own shoulder but the State of Sandus and the Kingdom of Wyvern’s feud with each other was something that kept the community active, especially the GUM which was once a fighting ground for control between factions that disliked each other. These conflicts, which are not limited to the Wyvern-Sandus conflicts, gave purpose to the organisation. It gave relevance to an organisation that was being out competed by other venues that were less organised.

It was in our community’s culture to have conflicts, fights and arguments over nothing of importance. The admins and the GUM often called for peace and the return to calm micronational development. I once spoke with Emperor Jonathan Augustus of Austenasia regarding this topic. He seemed to notice that when we as a community began to disvalue conflicts and see them as idiotic child’s play on the internet, the inactivity rose sharply. Look at the Ideological conflicts, Black Marches, Yablokogate & the Leadership Scandal. These were the most active periods of time. The ‘’New Era’’ is one of the longest lasting and boring eras, and with it the GUM is faltering ever more.

Old age, no change, relevance issues and commitment

We see that organisation cultures are important. The GUM has a culture in its standards, behaviours and way of doing things. We can all see that it’s difficult to change the GUM and that has always remained the same in how it does things, even if the organisational structure is different. One of the cultural aspects that is the same but hurts it the most is the Chairman. The Chair is seen as the leader of the GUM and is tasked with the administration of the GUM. With this task the members see it as the Chair’s job to set the agenda, to set in motion activities and programs. The commitment of the members is low, it will also never increase. We tried hard, but to avail. Chair after Chair try and fail. We all try to change this, but a culture isn’t easily changed, especially when the ground cause is a world that is different than it was once.

Look around us, the world is faster and micronations on the Skype-part of this community are growing older, more busy. The youngsters do not always have the time either nor do they have the skills that we do. Look at who run the GUM or who guide the GUM from the sidelines. It is us, what these new ones call the Old Guard. If something is wrong with the GUM, Austenasia steps in and takes over to guide the GUM back to stability.

But should we? Isn’t it time that we let the GUM die and reform it into something that was tried once before? You see in the macronational world organisations and governments are having trouble with the governance of society as well. The complexity of the society has increased and the spread of data, information and knowledge is growing every day. Facebook, the Forum and Skype all provide venues where people can converse, enter into debates or share their development and news. In such a world the GUM makes itself obsolete. What relevance does the GUM hold? We have chats on Skype for informal diplomacy and chats/debates. We have the forum, wiki and Facebook for sharing our news and getting information, and we can use Skype for formal discussions as well. Why the need for structure in a society that moves from the traditional structures of hierarchy to complex networks?

The problems with reforming

Like I said earlier, forming a network out of the GUM in which the institutions are dropped is hard to keep as people desire to rebuild the old and try and give an old concept new life. Besides this it has been tried and then the relevance of the GUM slows down even more as other venues offer the same thing. But is perfect activity in a GUM network or discussion room bad? That is the question we need to ask ourselves.

To me it is simple. I have no time for the GUM and it adds nothing for me. Its surveys are meaningless if nothing is done with it, same goes for the guides. Quorums are barely even followed by half its members and many more wish to leave out of dissatisfaction. The Chair is the only person trying to pull the cart forward but no one pushes to help. Commitment is low and will remain this way. We must see reality. In a changing world where complexity and IT has changed the world of communication so drastically, should there be a GUM?

In conclusion

To recap, the GUM is an old institution that has lost its relevance and has its age-old problems still with it: lack of commitment, inactivity, losing more and more Old Guard and not able to address the lack of relevance for the organisation. With an evolving world of technology and communication we must face the facts that Discord, Facebook and informal Skype venues as well to some degree the Forums offer the same and even more then the GUM does; there are no commitments, people can put in what they like and take what they need at any time without the fear of being thrown out because of inactivity.

My suggestion is to make it a serious professional platform for sharing ideas, discussions and professional diplomacy. The Chair could be its admin, not its leader nor the leader of the executive branch. This might condemn the GUM to more inactivity, but it will solve the issues that are slowly killing it. Hierarchy in an organisation that only functions on the fuels of prestige and not purpose will eventually die.

 

 

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