Essian Democrats scold Frisch

RÉMA – After a crushing defeat in last month’s elections in which it secured only 2 seats, the Essian Democrats Party is hoping to capitalize on a failure by the victor, and head of government (heaminister), James Frisch, to convene parliament.

In a sternly worded editorial yesterday in local media, party leader Horatio Eden implied that Frisch had undemocratic motives in stymieing parliament’s opening. “When attempts were made by his Lordship to open [the parliament], the Heaminister rejected them,” charged Eden. Eden suggested that the Essian Commonwealth’s monarch, whose reserve powers include convening parliament, was influenced by Frisch to not do so until an as-of-yet chosen date. Frisch has not responded to the accusation as of press time.

For Eden, there is only one solution to the situation, and it is not to negotiate with Frisch to resolve the matter. Rather, Eden proposes that the Green Party members of parliament, who form a majority with 6 seats, abandon Frisch and join the Democrats. He suggested that his party was ready to govern and would, within a week of assuming the majority position in the parliament, set a date to convene to debate four pieces of legislation his party has drafted.

“[Our parties] have very few differences insofar as legislative agenda,” said Eden, “If the [Green Party members] truly wish to see an active Essian government, they will see it – as we do – as their civic duty to provide [the Democrats] with the legislative mandate required.”

New Israel declares independence from Würtige Empire

WÜRDIGELAND – New Israel’s Emperor has declared independence from the Würtige Empire, citing a desire to not be dominated by Würtige and its legislature’s intention to override certain New Israeli laws.

A vassal of the Würtige Empire since September 2014, New Israel’s Emperor, Markus Abernathy, announced earlier today that he was unilaterally seceding due to comments made by several individuals within the Würtige legislature dating back to an August 3rd discussion regarding New Israel being granted memberstate status. That status, since granted with the unanimous approval of all individuals involved and confirmed by a treaty, is now in dispute as a result of Abernathy’s discovery of the comments leading up to the legislature’s vote on the matter.

Abernathy, in a post to the MicroWiki Community forums, shared copies of the unedited chat logs that included the comments. The logs appeared to be authentic and those involved have not protested otherwise since their publication; however, those involved in the conversation decried the loss of privacy caused by the sharing. Given that the unedited logs contain irrelevant and personal discussions, the Coprieta Standard will not be providing links to the unedited logs.

One comment made by Richard of Mercia, particularly noted by Abernathy in his announcement to declare independence, was regarding a desire to grant New Israel’s status change within the Empire as a symbolic gesture of dominance. The move would “show [Würtige’s] dominance in the wake of the Freedomian Aggression (referring to Abernathy’s previous controversial micronation),” Richard said; however, he also acknowledged that New Israel and Abernathy’s involvement would nonetheless be a positive addition to Würtige over and above any such symbolism. That was however proved insufficient to detract from the seriousness of dominance comment, which only served to re-open old wounds from a period of conflict between the two micronations from 2013 until New Israel when became a vassal.

Abernathy’s announcement also contained excerpts of comments by Arthur Labão, Würtige’s Emperor, and James Frisch. Labão seemed resigned to the need to accept New Israel as a full memberstate, and stated in a somewhat defeated manner that “We’ll just have to hope we can overrule [Abernathy’s] insanities,” referring to certain laws within New Israel that would clash with Würtige’s fundamental legal principles. Frisch meanwhile suggested that the “New State Joining Treaty,” as it is colloquially known, be amended to require only a two-thirds majority to overrule any such conflicting New Israeli law. While reasonable to except a memberstate to comply with its fundamental legal principles, Labão’s comment appeared to only inflame Abernathy.

“Several provisions of the Würtige Constitution violate deeply-held religious and political views of [New Israelis],” Abernathy said, suggesting that New Israel could not adhere to such provisions. “In conclusion, the policies of the Würtige Empire are irreconcilable with the Word of God and the Constitution of the Holy Empire of New Israel,” Abernathy stated defiantly as he declared independence.

To observers, it is not clear why New Israel consented to join Würtige as a constituent memberstate while having such irreconcilable differences with the Empire’s fundamental laws and policies; however, it is clear that Abernathy regrets that decision and wishes his micronation to regain its sovereignty.

The manner by which Abernathy is seeking to attain that goal – through a unilateral declaration – has nonetheless caused a row with Würtige officials. “I have no problem with New Israel declaring independence … but for heaven’s sake do it legally,” pled Richard, referring to the New State Joining Treaty’s specified process through which New Israel could achieve sovereignty. That procedure requires a simple majority of the residents of New Israel to vote in favour of the measure, allowing it to secede lawfully with or without the consent of the Würtige government.

Shortly before press time, Abernathy announced that he had no intention to comply with the secession provisions of the treaty. “Those who oppose this move simply view the matter in a different way,” he said. He further charged, with evident emotion, that “the evidence I have provided shows that the majority of the Würtige leaders violently oppose the existence of [New Israel];” however, the willingness of those same leaders to unanimously vote in favour of New Israel’s full memberstate status, which provided New Israel with stronger representation and rights as compared to that of a vassal, challenges that allegation.

Freedomia embarks on “Postalympics”

In an attempt to placate his concerns about a lack of activity in the micronation, Freedomia Emperor Mark Williams has embarked on a campaign to encourage increased posting by citizens on the national forums. Williams’ efforts have culminated in his declaration of a “Postalympics” competition amongst the Freedomian citizenry. The announcement of the competition comes as Williams becomes further alarmed that the success of his micronation will be tarnished by a poor post-count at the national forums.

Concerns by Williams over the level of posting at the forums became more visible near the end of August this year when, on August 18, he made a public appeal to the citizenry to make at least ten posts per day each. That appeal was quickly followed by several citizens making often nonsensical or irrelevant, to the micronation’s development or governance, posts consisting of a handful of words in an attempt to placate Williams.

Unsatisfied with the success of his initial post drive, which resulted in little additional quality content being solicited from the citizenry, Williams on September 2 declared the start of a “Postalympics” in which he set a goal for all participants to contribute a collective 2,500 new posts by December 31 of this year, or the equivalent of 409 new posts each based on the five citizens who typical make use of the forums. As an enticement, Williams is offering each person who meets the 409 post goal a monetary bonus in Freedomian Burgins (currency), a guaranteed nomination for the 2013 Freedomia Awards, the grant of the Freedomian Medal for Activity and increased real estate standing. Williams has further committed to having a celebration party on the forums or via Skype if the 2,500 new post goal is achieved, as well as having a 2012 Activity Memorial constructed.

Williams has set no guidelines for the Postalympics in terms of quality or relevance for posts made under the competition, and at least one citizen, James Frisch, has already taken advantage of the lack of guidelines, making – by his own admission – irrelevant posts simply to achieve a post-count rather than contributing content of relevance and utility to the micronation’s development or governance. This prompted Williams to ask Frisch if he “would mind doing some government stuff as well?”

Williams is not the first micronationalist to hold a belief that a forum’s post-count is an important (if not the most important) measure of a micronation’s overall success, and that post competitions will result in real quality development. That belief is a long-established concept dating to the early day of Internet forum-based micronationalism in 1999.

Many micronations, especially early Simulationist micronations that dominated forum-based micronationalism in the 2000s, have, over the years, launched similar initiatives. The results have generally been negative, as certain citizens took advantage of them, much as Frisch has done in Freedomia, by making posts of few words that would barely escape being classed as spam at many Internet discussion venues.

As a result, the concluded initiatives were found to have typically made no beneficial contribution to the micronation’s development, despite the architects’ belief that citizens would increase posting in furtherance of the governance and development of the micronation. That discovery eventually would lead to a refinement in the concept involving the introduction of quality controls, but requiring citizens to make thoughtful posts in return for a reward was quickly found to be equally unsuccessful, due to the concept of “you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink.”

Whether the Postalympics result in a real net benefit for Freedomia in terms of quality remains to be seen. Meanwhile, Williams’ obsession with post-count as a real measure of micronational success continues.