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Bradley of Dullahan publishes GUM Chairman manifesto

June 24th will see voting open for the June 2019 election for the position of Chairman of the Grand Unified Micronational.

Bradley, Duke of Dullahan

Four candidates have so far announced their intention to run, although nominations do not officially open until the 10th.

The last time that four candidates stood for the position of GUM Chairman was in June 2009, making this the most competitive election in a decade.

The four candidates are Nicholas Randouler of Posaf, Thomas Bainbridge of Hrafnarfjall, Austin Jaax of Iustus (who also serves as Governing Commissioner of Kingeston), and Bradley, Duke of Dullahan, the Prime Minister of Wyvern and incumbent Austenasian Minister of Defence.

The Duke of Dullahan has selected Lady Vice Admiral Eryn Lewis, who serves on the Austenasian delegation to the GUM, as his running-mate, with a pledge to nominate her for the position of Vice Chair if he is elected.

If she becomes Vice Chair, Lady Vice Admiral Lewis will be the first female member of the GUM’s leadership.

The Duke of Dullahan yesterday published his manifesto for the election, which is reproduced below:

The Grand Unified Micronational is a great force of good in this community. Bringing together many different types of people and micronations. Through each encounter in the GUM we learn from each other and develop ourselves. It is my firm believe that I can be a force for development, stability and progress for this organisation. With my Vice-Chair choice I know I picked someone with new ideas and someone very different from myself. That makes our team not only unique but dynamic. I believe Eryn and I can make progress and we’ll do it together with the Quorum!

Below are our stances on a few topics and I’ll name a few of our plans. Should you have questions do not be afraid to ask me:

Dynamic & involved staff

I believe a good Chairman holds meetings and discusses all kinds of policy choices with his staff. They do not only perform their duties but are also the direct advisors. I believe that the Staff should consist out of people from our organisation who have ambition, plans and vision. Who want to do something or learn how the GUM works. We need to be a learning organisation above all. Should I be elected I will seek a team consisting of various people who can aid me and have plans of their own. I will listen to them and incorporate them in my platform. Why? Because this is a team effort!

Staff and the Leadership

Currently the Associate Justices are part of the Staff. But the Charter clearly separates them from the leadership. I wish to separate the two and create room for the staff members and one for the Supreme Court members to discuss things. The Chair, Vice-Chair and Supreme Justice shall, for practical means be in both channels.

Regarding the vacant Secretaries, we shall strive to fill the vacancies with ambitious and visionary delegates from both the Old Guard and the New Guard. Together we shall form a staff that works together and meets and discuss regularly. We believe firmly in teamwork. That’s why we expect the staff member to propose propositions in these staff meeting or outside it in the Staffroom.

In the staff the Vice-Chair hasn’t played a role. That is a choice each Chairman can make. I believe the Vice-Chair can be of great value and aid to the Chair. The Vice-Chair shall not only act as the Chair’s replacement but also of first advisor and manager of the Staff. We believe the Chairman should make use of the hands he is given in his Staff.

Secretary for Micronational Development

When elected we will strive towards creating a new Secretary, the Secretary for Micronational Development. Through awards, events and other means this secretary should pursue the sharing of knowledge and the reporting or sharing of micronational development. Each three months the secretary shall than announce a winner of an award in certain fields of micronationalism, such as diplomacy, culture, military development or politics. Positive rewards can be beneficial for the development of micronations. The Micronational guides for example are also a part of this Secretary’s responsibilities.

Sharing achievements and development

Like we said, we like it when nations share their ideas and development. The new secretary shall responsible for this. But we must also look at the lounge, is it really the place for sharing it? Maybe we should design a seperate channel to post it. I believe it merits a good chat in Quorum regarding how we can share our activities. Quorum for one is not the place to do this as Quorums will only take more time on an evening. When elected the Staff and the leadership shall come with a proposal to Quorum regarding this topic.

The GUM as a mediator

Our organisation has a historic role in helping mending schisms in our community or aiding in the resolution of conflicts between two micronations. We should keep doing this and work to aid in a positive way to the development and integrity of our community. The Staff and the leadership shall all have a role to play in this.

The ‘Old Guard’ teaches the ‘New Guard’

As many know I am of what is named the Old Guard, a group of micronations who has been active in this community for over 8 to 9 years. We have always played our part in the GUM and have guided new nations that join our community. Sadly this sometimes causes conflicts due to the new nations time to adjust to our ways of doing things. Making sure that the understanding between nations is found will be my top priority. The new nations should be able to learn from the Old Guard and the Old Guard should not react too harshly when mistakes are made. Like micronational war, we have all done it and we all regret the fake wars.

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Austenasia, Flandrensis and GUM sign convention condemning falsehoods and sockpuppeting

16 September 2018 2 comments

Daniel Morris, foreign minister of Flandrensis, signs the Wrythe Convention.

Several small nations and independence movements yesterday signed the Wrythe Convention, a treaty denouncing and condemning falsehoods and intentional deception within the community of small nations.

The Convention was signed yesterday at a gathering at the Imperial Residence in celebration of Austenasia’s tenth Independence Day.

A link to the text of the Wrythe Convention can be found here.

The treaty condemns sockpuppeting, identity theft, false claims and deceptive exaggerations, practices which have unfortunately become common within the micronational community over the past few years, with many entities making fictional claims in an attempt to boost their esteem.

One individual in particular engaged in all of the said practices, James Klaassen-White and his “Kingdom of Catan”, is specifically singled out and condemned by the Convention as having “not had the decency to cease such behaviour after it has been exposed”.

Klaassen-White is well-known in the micronational community for his absurd claims and hostile behaviour to those who question them, having infamously claimed to have gained recognition from the UK and USA via photoshopped letters, spent £30 million on a navy, and creating a fake social media account with stock photos which he later “killed off” by falsely claiming it to have been a victim of the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing.

The Wrythe Convention’s first four signatories were Austenasia, Flandrensis, Adammia, and the GUM (the Chairman of the latter signing on behalf of the organisation of 22 members).

Adammia has aided in the fight against online deception by Catan before, having previously informed a person claimed by Klassen-White to have been Catan’s “Prime Minister” that the latter had stolen his name and photographs from social media, much to the surprise of the individual involved, who of course had no knowledge of Klassen-White’s claims.

The Wrythe Convention was also signed by Wildflower Meadows, as well as Lundenwic, Sakasaria, and New Westphalia.

The treaty has been left open for signature, and those who have signed encourage other nations to do so as well.

Joint statement released for first Carshalton Day

A view of central Carshalton

Emperor Jonathan I has, along with Queen Emma I of Copan, published a statement pledging to revitalise the political and cultural life of the Carshalton Nations.

This declaration comes on the fifth anniversary of the Liberation of Orly, when the nation freed itself from foreign rule.

Earlier this month, Parliament declared 24 June to be eligible for adoption by local authorities as the public holiday of Carshalton Day, to commemorate the anniversary of the Liberation as well as to celebrate the shared history and culture of the Carshalton Nations.

The Carshalton Nations are the small nations based in and around Carshalton, and are generally taken to consist of Austenasia, the Grove, Copan, the Midget Nation, and – historically speaking – Rushymia. The Principality of Wildflower Meadows is sometimes also included due to its close connection to Austenasia and its claims to lands (Wandleside and Forestedge) which are very close to, but not actually in, Carshalton.

The declaration released earlier today was more a reflection on the past and a pledge of intent rather than a concrete plan or manifesto, but the Emperor has revealed to the Austenasian Times that a recruitment drive is planned for the two Orlian nations, as well as for the upcoming rebirth of Rushymia.

The declaration can be read in full below:

Five years ago today, the nation of Orly was liberated from the yoke of Wilcsland in events which have gone down in history. That day was one of genuine solidarity between the small nations of Carshalton against the threat of external subjugation. At the time, one may have believed it to be the start of a golden age, free of foreign interference, with the small nations of Carshalton flourishing in peace under the protection of Austenasia. Alas, such was not to be. While the past five years in Carshalton have indeed been peaceful, they have also been increasingly stagnant both politically and culturally. Austenasia has grown exponentially across the world, but in its place of origin it has shrunk with the cessions of Zephyria and Thanasia. As for Orly, a nation which upon foundation based its identity on the concept of students meeting after school will inevitably experience the demographic process of its population maturing, and – with careers, children and university – being unable to meet as frequently as they once did.

Today is the first time that Carshalton Day has been officially celebrated. Looking towards the future, we pledge to have Carshalton and the local area be witness to a flourishing of activity as we undertake plans to breathe new life into the local nations.

Five years ago saw Carshalton shake off outsider rule. Today shall be the day when its nations shook off the yoke of stagnancy and inactivity. The Carshalton Nations bear witness to a cultural heritage of over two decades, and we shall together ensure that these nations not only survive, but prosper.

Kingdom of Vikesland dissolved

King Christopher I, the first and last monarch of Vikesland.

In an announcement yesterday evening on Facebook, King Christopher I of Vikesland announced the dissolution of the kingdom.

The now former king stated that it had become “painfully clear that I could no longer move Vikesland forward and give it the time and resources needed to make it a worthy micro state in the future. My film career and that thing we call life unfortunately needs my attention more. With those left helping me in agreement, we have decided to shut down Vikesland and go our separate ways.”

Initially founded in 2005 as the Principality of Vikesland, the nation rose to fame after it was featured in the 2006 book Micronations: The Lonely Planet Guide to Home-Made Nations, and the then Prince Christopher was hosted in a high-profile state visit to the Republic of Molossia in June 2008.

Further achievements of Vikesland include sending its flag to the edge of space by sponsoring a launch by a private spaceflight company in August 2008, and engaging in an aid mission to rural Cuba in February 2009.

In October 2009, Vikesland became the first nation with which the Empire signed a formal diplomatic treaty, having entered into a state of mutual recognition in June earlier that year. The leaders of both nations continued to maintain friendly contact, exchanging Christmas cards and the like.

Messages were sent to the now former King Christopher by Emperor Jonathan I and Prime Minister Lord Admiral Kennedy, thanking the King for his nation’s friendship with Austenasia.

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.

 

 

Calsahara conquered by Westarctica!

 

Grand Duke Travis addresses his forces in the Westarctican command tent.

Last Sunday, October 29th, forces of the Grand Duchy of Westarctica invaded and conquered the Realm of Calsahara.

A Westarctican force of seven was led by Grand Duke Travis himself, and met with no opposition as they invaded and secured Calsahara, an area of land bordered by California.

Calsahara was proclaimed a colony of Westarctica, to be administered by a Viceroy and Captain-General, the first land claim of Westarctica outside of the Antarctic continent.

Calsahara was founded in November 2009 by the now Grand Duke Travis, prior to his return to the Westarctican throne. Travis reigned as King Montague until his abdication in favour of his son Nicholas in November 2014.

The former King continued to control Calsahara as head of government until January 2017, when he resigned and relinquished all power to his son.

However, several months of ineffective governance followed, leading Grand Duke Travis to decide that it would be in the best interests of Calsahara for it to be incorporated into Westarctica. The former King Nicholas – also a Prince of Westarctica – now serves as Viceroy of Calsahara.

James von Puchow reports on Catalan referendum

James von Puchow reports on experiences as an accredited international visitor during the Catalan referendum on self-determination; October 1, 2017.

Following an open invitation by the Government of Catalonia – the Generalitat – for members of the international public to observe the planned self-determination referendum in Catalonia on Sunday 1 October 2017, I attended several polling stations on the day of voting across north-eastern Catalonia.

Based in the coastal town of Vilassar de Mar, I was part of a group of people from Scotland who made use of their accreditation to ensure that the vote taking place was conducted according to transparent principles whereby voters were registered, given free access to the ballot box and were not restricted in voting for one of either options available on the ballot paper.

Whilst I am able to confirm that voting took place in the dozen polling places I visited and consulted, and that there were clear contingency plans in place to prevent individuals from having more than one cast vote assigned to their Spanish ID number, I regret the police violence on the day of voting which not only resulted in several hundred voters being injured, but also prevented many others from attending their polling place to vote for fear of being hurt.

It is of course understandable that many on the day will have not turned out due to their principle opposition to the referendum being held, as the Madrid central government did conclude that this poll went against the Spanish constitution and principles of permanent unity of the autonomous communities which make up the state, I did meet voters who turned out to vote against independence – many of whom had decided to camp outside polling places with fellow residents the night before 1 October to make sure there was peaceful resistance to any attempts to shut down the referendum.

Although my sympathies for Catalan independence and a democratic consultation being held are known, my role in Catalonia during the referendum was to act impartially and allow for a vote to take place – be the final result a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to an independent Catalonia in the form of a republic.

It was upsetting however to witness the consequences and aftermath of police action, for example, in the town of Sant Julia de Ramis, where the national police had smashed open glass doors, ripped the shirts of those forming human chains, bruising and cutting those who peacefully resisted the seizing of ballot boxes and voting materials. I maintain that if the Spanish state was authentically steadfast in not recognising the result of any referendum on independence, it would have let the referendum in Catalonia take place as planned and ignore the declared result.

It should be underlined that I am most of all in favour of an accorded referendum being organised between the administrations of Barcelona and Madrid, and am highly worried that any declaration of independence based on the events of 1 October in the coming days will make any attempts of talks near impossible.

This being said, Madrid and the conservative Spanish government appear unwilling to allow any consultation, and the Generalitat is clear in its demands for questions of Catalan independence to be addressed. A current stalemate is not healthy for what I hope to be a modern European democracy, and it is highly unfortunate that any actions by either administration from now on will prevent all voices in Catalonia being heard – be they for independence, federalist, or, in support of continued unity within Spain.

I urge the Austenasian Government to watch events closely as either the birth of a new European nation or a crackdown on the pro-Catalan independence movement forms the narrative of this chapter in the history of Catalonia. Questions regarding Catalans’ rights to self-determination, their right to vote and right to express themselves are not just questions to be addressed within the confines of the Spanish constitution as these are rights we all have as citizens of the modern world. It is ultimately heartbreaking to have watched scenes of extremist pro-Spanish protestors in Barcelona use fascist salutes in defiance of this referendum – as police stand by doing nothing – yet at the same time witness members of the public be attacked in broad daylight for simply holding a ballot paper.