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Diplomabear arrives in Wrythe

Emperor Jonathan I holds Diplomabear in Parliament Hall, Wrythe.

Diplomabear, a well-travelled teddy bear which started its journey in August 2012, arrived yesterday morning in the Imperial Residence.

The Diplomabear World Tour was started by Pierre d’Égtavie, leader of Egtavia, after said nation was annexed by St.Charlie in 2012. With Egtavia no longer in control of its own foreign policy, Diplomabear served as a means of forging unofficial, friendly ties with other small nations around the world, to which it was sent on condition that it would be passed on to the government of another.

With the dissolution of Egtavia in 2013, Diplomabear became a symbol of diplomacy and friendship between small nations as a whole.

In early 2015, Renasia – the country in which Diplomabear was then being hosted – dissolved, and Diplomabear was assumed lost forever.

However, in August 2016, Emperor Jonathan I was able to contact a former Renasian official and have Diplomabear recovered and sent on to Überstadt, restarting the tour, this time under the direction of the Grand Unified Micronational (GUM).

After some other stops, Diplomabear has now come to Austenasia, arriving at Wrythe yesterday morning.

This is the second time that Diplomabear has been to Austenasia, having also been hosted at Wrythe in 2012, making the Empire the first destination which Diplomabear has visited twice.

Emperor Jonathan I has published a photograph to Facebook showing him holding Diplomabear in Parliament Hall in the Imperial Residence. The Emperor is wearing the Egtavian Star, a medal presented to him by d’Égtavie while Egtavia was still independent.

Some of the other twelve destinations visited by Diplomabear include Molossia, Landashir, Wyvern, and Zealandia.

 

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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.

 

 

MicroWorld Newsbites – May 2017

ASHUKOVO

  • On 19 May, President Edward Jacobs announced an election to be held on 18 June, with the victor to take office the following week. One week later, a poll showed 56% of those polled supporting the Conservative Party candidate Manolis Afentoulis, who is running against Orthodox Party candidate Jacob Huff.
  • On 22 May, Akebar – an enclave of Yorkshire with a population of 16 – was annexed by the Ashukov Federation. Akebar had previously been a part of Ashukovo before the collapse of the first incarnation of the Federation in 2015.

FLANDRENSIS

  • On 22 May, Flandrensis updated its Constitution for the ninth time since the Grand Duchy’s foundation in 2008. Two major changes concern the country’s monarchy: from now on the Grand Duke will be elected rather than inherit the throne, and the new position of Chief Magistrate replaces the monarch as head of the judiciary. The Flandrensian constitution was last replaced in July last year.

GRAND UNIFIED MICRONATIONAL

  • From 6-7 May, the GUM held its second 24 Hour Quorum, a charity event during which a conversation between at least five people was sustained for twenty four hours over Skype. Thirty three people took part, and roughly £158 ($203 USD) was raised for various charities via participants being sponsored. The first 24 Hour Quorum, on which this event was based, took place in August 2012.

MERCIA

  • On 23 May, an Act was signed granting autonomy to the Mercian territory of Uberquiesenberg, which is politically left-wing in comparison to the other areas of the country.

MOLOSSIA

  • On 26 May, Molossia celebrated its 40th anniversary; the following day, a celebration attended by over 50 people – including Grand Duke Travis of Westarctica – was held in the Republic’s Red Square with a tour, barbecue, and speech by President Baugh. A commemmorative coin and stamp have been released.

SANDUS

  • On 22 May, Sôgmô Gaius Soergel decreed that the academic robes worn at his recent university graduation will be henceforth used as his official regalia, which had previously been plain blue robes.

USKOR

  • On 23 May, Uskor implemented a policy whereby all plastic bags must be collected and recycled as part of an effort to make the country more environmentally friendly.

WESTARCTICA

  • On 24 May, Duke Wolf Tulier of Waesche stepped down as Prime Minister, a position he has held since 2010, to become Minister of Defence. Grand Duke Travis credited Tulier with “quite literally saving Westarctica from destruction”, referring to his role in combatting the instability that plagued the nation at the turn of the decade.

WILDFLOWER MEADOWS

  • On 12 May, Wildflower Meadows celebrated a year since its foundation. Princess Hannah and her fiancé Emperor Jonathan I celebrated with a meal out in Deva Victrix the previous evening, and visited Chester Meadows – the site of the principality’s foundation – on the anniversary itself.

MicroWorld Newsbites – March 2017

ARBOREA

  • Over 18-19 March, Tsar William I announced a travel ban for Arborea based on bad grammar. People unable to differentiate between “your” and “you’re”, “there” and “their”, and other similar words will be refused entry to the nation.

DELVERA

  • On 6 March, military reforms were approved aimed at culling expenses and streamlining the chain of command. All military branches have been consolidated into a single command, uniform regulations have been changed, and an aptitude test established for all troops.

FLANDRENSIS

  • On 18 March, Grand Duke Niels announced that the country’s demonym in English would be changed from “Flandrensisian” back into the original “Flandrensian” due to popular demand from citizens.

GRAND UNIFIED MICRONATIONAL

  • On 28 March, Adam I, elected Chairman in December, resigned from the role due to an inability to spend sufficient time fulfilling the office’s duties. Vice Chairman Henry Clement has become Acting Chair, and will serve as such until the next elections in June.

MERCIA

  • On 29 March, Mercia decreed the formation of an Emergency Government after five months of government inactivity. Politicians from across the political spectrum have been appointed to the cabinet, which will be seeking to simplify and revive the nation’s legislative process.

MOLOSSIA

  • On 12 March, Molossia announced the creation of the Molossia Salt Mine, more properly known as the Merry Molossia Re-education and Rehabilitation Facility. The mine will ostensibly be worked by criminals sentenced to forced labour, but Molossia has a crime rate so low that this seems unfeasible. Nevertheless, salt from the mine is now on sale through the Molossian official website.

ÜBERSTADT

  • On 23 March, King Adam I spoke in the United Nations General Assembly Hall on Überstadt’s place in the world, having been invited to the venue as part of the United States’ Model UN conference

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.

Adam takes charge of GUM

[Disclaimer: The Austenasian Times does not by publishing this article recognise the claim of Thomas of Zenrax to imperial rank.]

The Occidental Chronicle

ROSEWOOD – King Adam of Überstadt is the 25th Chair of the Grand Unified Micronational after winning half the vote in a three-way race. He assumed office on 25 December at 00:01 UTC, relieving Acting Chair Jonathan I of Austenasia.

Adam received nine of 18 votes, with three member-states not voting. King Eden of Edenopolis placed second with six votes, and Emperor Thomas of Zenrax came in third with three votes. Seven votes were sufficient to guarantee victory, which Adam attained two days into the week-long voting period.

Eden found some of his strongest support among younger members, while nations often counted among the so-called “old guard” of the MicroWiki community tended to favor Adam. Such preferences were not without exception. Paravia, Roseland, and Shorewell, all founded since 2014, voted for the winner. The new chair will still face a generational gap in the organization, and will have to avoid…

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MicroWorld Newsbites – July 2016

FLANDRENSIS

  • On 5 July, Flandrensis updated its Constitution for the eighth time since the Grand Duchy’s foundation in 2008. The revision has served mainly to insert the Grand Duchy’s environmental mission into its constitution, including a ban on tourists visiting its Antarctic claims and the statement that Flandrensis is the “only country in the world that doesn’t want its land inhabited by people”.

KUMANO JIRITSU

  • On 21 July, O-Hatsu Kenji-sama resigned as Kumano’s head of state. Senate leader Dr. Yamamoto Seiji has been appointed acting Sendatsu Daimyo (head of state) until elections take place in September or October.

LADONIA

  • The Ladonian cabinet has appointed Indonesian resident Cornelius Marpaung as its Minister for Anime and Hetalian Affairs. Other unusual cabinet posts in Ladonia include a Minister of Thermonuclear Eye Protection and a Minister of Raccoons and 42.

ONGAL

  • On 2 July, Ongal issued a claim to West Antarctica, i.e. those areas of Antarctica not already claimed by the seven UN member states of the United Nations which are signatories to the Antarctic Treaty. The Empire is unlikely to recognise this new claim, as the territory in question is already claimed by Westarctica, Flandrensis, Campinia and Arkel, all of which are states Austenasia has treaties with recognising their claims.
  • On 6 July, Prince Milomir I met with former monarch of Bulgaria, Simeon I, at the National Museum of Military History in Sofia. The meeting was of an informal nature, with Simeon of Bulgaria not representing his country in any official capacity.

SANDUS

  • On 3 July, a membership application to the Grand Unified Micronational by the State of Sandus was rejected. On 27 July, the Empire suspended diplomatic relations with Sandus after its head of state Will Soergel published unfounded and untrue accusations that Emperor Jonathan I had masterminded a “conspiracy” to persuade GUM delegations to vote against Sandus.

WYVERN

  • On 27 July, the Statenraad of Wyvern decided against talks with Sandus which had been proposed in an attempt to resolve long-lasting diplomatic hostilities between the two states, considering it extremely unlikely that such talks would result in any meaningfully positive outcome.