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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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MicroWorld Newsbites – January 2017

CALSAHARA

  • On 24 January, Dictator for Life Travis McHenry – who formerly served as King Montague I from 2009 to 2014 – resigned as Calsahara’s head of government. The Calsarahan government is now entirely in the hands of McHenry’s son, King Nicholas. McHenry remains a Calsaharan military officer and webmaster of the nation’s website.

DELVERA

  • On 19 January, it was announced that a new Delveran colony founded in the American southwest had experienced success with crop growing.

GRAND UNIFIED MICRONATIONAL

  • 2 January saw the first Quorum of the new Chairman, King Adam I of Überstadt. Thomas Merrell of Zenrax was appointed Vice Chair, Bradley of Dullahan as Chief Justice, and Emperor Jonathan I as Archivist.

JUCLANDIA

  • After three years of relative diplomatic inactivity, Juclandia has announced that it will “take her head out of the sand” and engage with the international community of small nations, partially in an attempt to help combat a perceived drift towards far-right and far-left politics; “our culture, our values and our principles can help others moderate their own discourse”.

MERCIA/SANDUS

  • In the third week of January, Lord Spiritual Richard of Mercia and Sôgmô Will Soergel of Sandus met in Reykjavík, Iceland. The two leaders discussed matters of national importance and toured the local area.

MOLOSSIA

  • A new information sign has been erected at the Molossian border with the US. Previously, information brochures were available for passers-by to take, but these would often run out.
  • On 26 January, President Baugh of Molossia announced the construction of a Friendship Gateway in a symbolic gesture of opposition to plans for a US-Mexico border wall. The gateway is “to symbolise inclusiveness and openness”, and donors who buy a brick for the gate will have their names inscribed on a plaque.

ONGAL

  • On 25 January, the Principality of Ongal issued its first gold currency, golden Dukats made of 14 carat gold. The coins were issued in celebation of the marriage of a princess in the ruling family.

Christmas 2015 celebrated in Austenasia

The Christmas trees in (left to right) Terentia Town Hall, the Imperial Residence, and New Richmond Town Hall.

The past few days have seen Christmas celebrated across the Empire.

On Christmas Day, Friday 25th, the populations of Wrythe and Zephyria attended a morning service at Carshalton Methodist Church. The Imperial Family then had Christmas dinner at the residence of the Boxalls (the maternal relatives of the Emperor).

On Boxing Day, Saturday 26th, roles were reversed with the Boxall family being hosted at the Imperial Residence by the Imperial Family. Also joining them was Princess Consort Hannah, the Emperor’s unmarried partner.

Emperor Jonathan I published his third annual Christmas broadcast on YouTube on Christmas Day, which can be heard here. In the speech, he reflected on the events of 2015 and on the meaning behind celebrations and anniversaries.

Furthermore, Pontifex Maximus Alexander III (also known as Bradley of Dullahan) published a Christmas encyclical, which can be read here.

The Austenasian Times wishes all its readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Bradley of Dullahan appointed Pontifex Maximus

Bradley, Duke of Dullahan in 2012.

Duke Bradley of Dullahan, the Prime Minister of Wyvern, was yesterday appointed Pontifex Maximus after Lord Admiral Joseph Kennedy resigned from the position.

The Pontifex Maximus is appointed by the Emperor to serve as a sort of “philosopher/theologian-laureate” for Austenasia. Lord Admiral Joseph transitioned the position into its current form in January, and on 1 July resigned in order to allow the appointment of a successor more suited to the new duties of the office.

Emperor Jonathan I has appointed Bradley, Duke of Dullahan, as the Lord Admiral’s successor as Pontifex Maximus.

Lord Admiral Joseph had held the office of Pontifex Maximus since January 2014 as Pope Alexander IV (the title of “Pope” having been retained from the position’s days as a Wilcslandian institution).

In what is sure to look odd on lists and timelines, Duke Bradley has succeeded him as Pope Alexander III, reassuming the name that he held during his previous brief month-long stint in the office in early 2013, when it was a mere ceremonial title bestowed by the King of Wilcsland.

The Duke of Dullahan has been known in the past for making controversial statements about Islam, and, although an atheist, has described himself as “culturally Calvinist” and contributed to several theological debates from a pro-Calvinist perspective. Whatever he writes as Pontifex Maximus is likely to raise much discussion.

New South Scotland invaded as Zealandia condemned for aggression

Despite being roundly condemned by numerous national leaders for her aggression towards New South Scotland, Queen Astrid of Zealandia this morning sent Zealandian troops into the Austenasian crown dependency.

Announcing that she had renamed the land “Nyaskane”, Queen Astrid – also known as Anna Lindstrom – claimed to have annexed it into Zealandia, a claim unrecognised by the international community.

Claims that this has been done in accordance with the principle of self-determination have been ridiculed, with nobody living on the land and there being no citizens of New South Scotland registered with the Austenasian government.

Much confusion has resulted from claims by Queen Astrid she had been “pressured unfairly into dismissing half our government”, asserting that Emperor Jonathan I had been pressuring her to sack her Prime Minister and two high-ranking military officers. The Emperor has clarified that he suggested she dismiss an officer who she had complained was actively trying to depose her, and challenged her to produce any evidence that he had ever done anything more, stating that neither of them had “never even mentioned” the Zealandian Prime Minister.

After the Queen Astrid suspended the treaty allowing ZDF personnel to be present in New South Scotland, the Emperor gave 24 hours for them to leave the area before he would consider their presence a violation of sovereignty, a situation which Queen Astrid compared to the British colonisation of Australia (not the troops occupying the land, but being given time to leave).

The actions of Zealandia have been condemned by the international community of small nations:

  • Sir Joseph Kennedy, in his capacity as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Ashukov Federation, calling Zealandia “a nation known for its crippling instability, frequent constitutional changes and frequently-deposed incompetent government members” stated it “has no right to” New South Scotland and that Ashukovo “will stand with Austenasia, no matter what”. He further stated that Astrid had “decided to invade a territory that has never, isn’t, and will never be Zealandian. Is it not ironic, then, that the Zealandian queen called the Austenasians “imperialist”? Therefore, I call on the Zealandians to do the right thing; stop this nonsense. New South Scotland rightfully belongs to Austenasia, you are violating the territorial integrity of Austenasia and international law.”
  • King Adam of Überstadt stated that “the Kingdom of Überstadt condemns the Commonwealth of Zealandia and calls upon Her Majesty to remove her forces from New South Scotland and return the same to civilian rule at the soonest possible time.”
  • Duke Bradley of Dullahan, Chairman of the Grand Unified Micronational, condemned the “childish actions” of Zealandia.
  • Sir James Puchowski, Premier of Landashir, stated that “the way that Zealandia is behaving is something I find shocking and rather idiotic… [and] it stands nowhere within the guidelines of professional conduct. The Queen has always been the sort to act erratically and sporadically without warning and especially without any rational thought… [and] I condemn the aggression.” He later added Zealandia’s actions were “not impressing anyone and this is really really sad.”
  • Sir Sebastian Linden, Federal Councillor of Francisville, condemned Astrid’s “acts of aggression towards the Empire of Austenasia”, calling them “inconducive towards fostering a spirit of co-operation and development”.
  • President Hogg of the micronation Algasia stated they would “lend any diplomatic support available to ending this whole matter and will support Austenasia.”

Emperor Jonathan I has given the following statement:

It is with great sadness that Our Imperial Majesty has seen the betrayal of our former friend play out before us. Astrid has lied to us, to the Zealandian government, and to those who have tried to help the situation through mediation. Her lies about us cannot be tolerated – nowhere did we pressure her to dismiss the members of her government that she claimed, and we challenge her to prove otherwise. While we advised she dismiss an officer attempting to depose her, this was advice given in a spirit of friendship after she informed us and our Privy Council that she was at risk of losing her throne. We cannot now help but think that this was a ruse to cause us to say something of the sort which she could present to her government as proof of “imperialism” – even she does not seem unstable enough to promote an officer if he had genuinely attempted to overthrow her mere days ago. It is clear that, far from having been forced by her government to invade New South Scotland, she has manipulated them into doing so by feeding them lies about Austenasia. The occupation of New South Scotland is illegal under international law. It is sovereign Austenasian land, and never has been Zealandian. The principle of self-determination has no relevance, there being no New South Scotlander population; Astrid’s claims to herself be a citizen of New South Scotland started only yesterday, after the crisis had begun, having never before claimed this status (which, if she held, would anyway make her guilty of treason for encouraging foreign invasion). Her claims of Austenasia being imperialist and aggressive are so laughable and hypocritical that we would debase ourselves to dignify them with a response. Furthermore, we dishonourably revoke Astrid’s honour in the Austenasian Order, and relinquish our own knighthood from her deceptive nation. In conclusion, the occupation of New South Scotland is an affront to the majesty of the Empire and the customs of civilised nations. However, it is not that which pains us, but the lies, deceit, and betrayal from somebody who for so long has claimed to be our friend. If that friendship was a ruse, a mere trick to be able to occupy some land, then we must condemn Queen Astrid and her actions as truly despicable.

ICJA

Wrythe, 3 June 2014

Joseph Kennedy becomes Pope

19 January 2014 1 comment
noaerykp

A stylised portrait of Joseph Kennedy, the new Pope Alexander IV of the Divine Church of the Parva-Religions.

Joseph Kennedy yesterday assumed the role of Pope of the Parva-Religions.

The Pope leads the Divine Church of the Parva-Religions, an institution designed to promote the culture (specifically religious aspects) of small nations.

Kennedy, who is Governing Commissioner of the Austenasian Crown Dependency of New Richmond, has taken the papal name of Alexander IV. He is the eleventh individual to hold the office, which derives its origins from a cat-worshipping cult founded in 2004 in a predecessor state of New Wessex.

Kennedy’s predecessor, Pope Ezekiel I (better known as Richard Cunningham), founded the Church of the Parva-Religions together with Bradley of Dullahan last June. Formerly, the Pope was a spiritual advisor to Declan I, King of New Wessex, chosen by him from the members of the Orlian College of Cardinals, a body which was theoretically meant to advise him on the culture of Orly but only ever contained foreign leaders who he had appointed to the group as an honour.

After the liberation of Orly from his rule last year, an argument between Declan and the cardinals resulted in them breaking away from his control under the leadership of Bradley of Dullahan, who together with the then pope founded the Divine Church by merging the Papacy with the College of Cardinals to create a single and independent institution.

Currently, the Divine Church is in somewhat of a state of disarray. The responsibilities and functions of the former cardinals within the new system are not thought to be precisely delineated, and Kennedy was not elected to the position but was simply nominated by two former popes after the office had been left vacant for over two weeks after the resignation of his predecessor.

Kennedy has stated that he wishes to reform the governing body of the church, and to make its “presence in the [MicroWiki] community more known”.

Crown Prince appointed Acting Chair of the GUM

HIH Crown Prince Jonathan has become Acting Chair of the Grand Unified Micronational in the midst of a controversy which has brought turmoil to the organisation.

Controversy over the expulsion of Sandus and Juclandia from the GUM at the turn of the New Year has continued unabated with frequent arguments having taken place until a few days ago over Facebook between Will Sörgel, leader of Sandus, and GUM Vice-Chair Bradley, Duke of Dullahan, who supported their expulsion.

Logs released by Haakon Lindstrom of Zealandia point to the expulsion of Sandus and Juclandia having been a calculated decision by Chairman Yaroslav Mar and the Vice-Chair made for political reasons. Some of the published logs show the GUM Security Council at first proposing to offer mediation to the frequent arguments, but Mar interrupting the discussion to propose Sandus be expelled.

Lindstrom claims that he was pressured into “removing Sandus and Juclandia as a sort of return for the votes in favour of my election as Secretary of the Security Council” by Mar and the Duke of Dullahan, who he states “did wrong and have to be held accountable”. It has been pointed out that Lindstrom also held grudges against the two expelled nations, but he has since apologised for what he called “disgraceful conduct” and resigned as Secretary of the Security Council.

This controversy has not stayed within the GUM. There has been a widespread loss of support for the organisation, with Renasia, Amager and Uberstadt withdrawing. Friday evening saw demands for early elections, and at 14:02 GMT earlier today Chairman Mar resigned, stating that he had “zero rights to remain” in office “after essentially betraying the Quorum of Delegates”.

In his resignation statement, Mar stated that he wished Crown Prince Jonathan, who was serving as Supreme Judge, to “pick up the baton” – the Duke of Dullahan automatically became Acting Chair upon Mar’s resignation, but resigned himself 46 minutes later.

Crown Prince Jonathan has thus become Acting Chair of the GUM. Quorum will be held tomorrow, in which a replacement Vice-Chair and Supreme Judge will be selected to support the Crown Prince during the rest of the term. Elections are due to be held in March, but it is possible that they may be called forward.

Crown Prince Jonathan has served two terms as Chair in the past, both widely regarded as highly succesful – the first saw a revision of the outdated original constitution and a large increase in membership and activity, and the second saw the only in-person Quorum meeting of the organisation’s history and a special 24 Hour Quorum which raised over £80 for various charities. The Crown Prince has stated that, “with the support and dedication” of member states, he will “attempt to oversee the restoration of respect and integrity to” the GUM.