Our Work will further Our Revolutionary Struggle
Ave, Comrade Citizens!
Despite my authority as Sôgmô or as Acting-Secretary of the Party, I am still a proletarian. In defiance to criticism by outsiders of our State, who claim that the positions which I hold are incongruent with the Socialism of our State, I remain a hard-working proletarian. In dedication to my livelihood and to Sandus, our Nation-State, I have recently taken up two jobs — however, it is for Sandus that the bulk of my wealth and prosperity is dedicated to. (If you doubt that, perhaps you should note my latest purchases which have cost me much money: postcards for the Secession and business cards as Sôgmô.) I have recently found work at the library system of the University of Maryland, where I attend, and I have continued my employment at Papa John’s.
Yesterday evening, I attended a dinner with two professors who moved to the United States in the past few years from Italy. These two professors were frustrated how, in the United States, there is tremendous materialism and corporate culture which creates inequality. The materialist culture of the American culture, it was stressed in this conversation, is one in which helps to undermine the class consciousness of American workers and proletarians and leads to frustration and anger as Americans compete with one another for income; this system of wage and salary varies from many other places in the world, in which salaries and wages are capped at certain ranges per experience and expertise, by the way in which workers must compete with coworkers and argue with management for higher wages. In many places of employment in the United States, as well, the ability to advance one’s wage or salary is next to impossible and is found at rare times for only minor increases (for example, despite working very hard at Papa John’s for over a year and passing all the necessary requirements, I did not receive a wage increase from $7.50 to $7.65/hr due to arbitrary decisions by higher management beyond the general manager who accepted my wage increase). The fact that wage and salary increases must be competed for exacerbate a larger problem: the minimum wage in the United States is less than a survival wage. For example, in the past year of work at Papa John’s, I have dedicated much of my young adult life there and was regulated only to part-time status (it is actually restricted to work a full 40 hour work week at a place of employment as Papa John’s International) and I have still earned less than $5,000 — a sum that is ridiculous compared to the amount of work and time I have put into the place of employment. Considering the productivity of the corporation, Papa John’s can afford to give its workers a living-wage – especially when “Papa” John Schnatter lives in a castle! In many countries, there are laws in which CEOs of corporations can not earn more than some factor of the lowest worker’s wage or salary. Much in America, as well, revolves around work, as Americans strive to live as member of the bourgeois or socioeconomic elite classes. “Work” is transformed into much of our daily parlance – one might describe the very act of eating to be an act of work (for example, a waitress may say that a customer made “short work” of a meal). Despite being paid less in wealth compared to thirty years ago, American productivity has grown – a fact that further strikes contention in the lesser pole of economic inequality.
The conversation turned, then, to the quality of life in America compared to Europe and other countries. Two valid points were made, concerning the quality of life for Americans and for Europeans, in which it was pointed out that products are cheaper in the United States – thus, America can be seen as more prosperous – yet products are of greater quality in Europe – thus, Europe can be seen as having greater quality of life in terms of material culture (though materials may not be as abundant). Furthermore, while American workers’ lives often revolve around work, European workers’ lives may not. In the case of Italians, their sense of identity is closely linked to their region and local community, whereas Americans’ identities are linked to their work community. Furthermore, the right of workers to enjoy breaks and vacations is more respected in Europe, where shops may close in the evening and afternoon and whole shops may be closed during the months of les grandes vacances, whereas American workers must work long hours at all days of the year (as an example, Papa John’s is open from 10am or 11 and closes at 11pm or midnight all days of the year save Christmas). The prosperity of either system is a matter of cultural perspective: it is a cultural reaction to which one would prefer the American system, and another to which one would prefer the European system.
Of course, I would like to see Sandus as a perfect example of doing things in the European way, as I am far from being an American patriot (a fact that is very well known). None the less, there is some benefit to the American system: American work habit increases productivity; wages are granted to those who work harder, or – as was pointed out – exert their positions more; and, Americans are more prosperous according to the number of items they own. Yet, the European system has benefits: Europeans remain productive while encouraging a quality of life that does not rest on work; European perception and identity does not rest on the workplace but on cultural, religious, political, and disciplines; Europeans are more prosperous according to the quality of items they own. The bulk of this rests on wage and salary systems: American workers compete for wage increases, which results in contention between workers and economic inequality; European workers (with the exclusion, it was pointed out, of British salary systems) earn approximately the same per time of experience, which results in undervaluing hard work yet relieves the contention of workers.
But what purpose does this serve Sandus, a micronation?
Sandus is a micronation with a keen purpose, especially one that is becoming increasingly relevant in terms of socioeconomic terms thanks to plans and projects of the Office of the Sôgmô such as the 2015 Economic Goal and the All-Citizens United plan. First of all, this is telling for what sort of system of wage and salary Sandus will use in the future. Will Sandus be more American or more European? My answer, as a citizen of a country working to establish its civil society (and its society, first of all, which is more elementary than civil society), is that Sandus will be a hybrid. Wages or salaries in Sandus will have a cap, in which all workers receive the same nominal compensation for doing work; however, individual workers will be rewarded and compensated for harder work and for increased productivity. However, wages and salaries aren’t exactly the focus!
As the title of this piece suggests, our work will further our struggle. Our struggle is not for harder work, but for an increased quality of life: the focus of the Sandum Philosophy is to resolve our common human suffering – which we all share and suffer together – by resolving origins of suffering in the world around us and by teaching us how to resolve the origins of suffering arising in our minds. The focus of hopes such as the All-Citizens United plan or the 2015 Economic Goal is not to make more work for us, but to encourage the cooperation of Sandum citizens in forming one whole family of Sandus. This is why the All-Citizens United plan is not to focus on making more money for our wallets, but to increase the quality of our lives; the focus is not to increase the national gross product, but to increase the national gross happiness. This is why the planned budgetary allocations for money made from cooperatives and from donation taxes does not focus on sharing it with Sandum citizens, yet with investing it into funds to be shared with citizen to reduce the burdens of life. Sandus is currently working on developing basic economic cooperatives to produce wares that will (1) add funds to these shared accounts to reduce the costs of life’s burdens and (2) increase the welfare and quality of life for all Sandum citizens with their products. Take, for example, the recent Tellus Agrarian Cooperative work that will focus on growing mint in my college dorm. Though this does not directly contribute funds to those accounts and programs specified by the proposed budget allocations, this does increase the welfare of my livelihood as now I might have fresh mint for whatever reason; in the future, as well, I may turn this into a profit for Tellus Agrarian Cooperative. Simple solutions as these are micronational, not macronational, solutions to solving issues of livelihood and improving our quality of life. Other examples include a considered pottery cooperative that will more directly contribute income for Sandus and the regular micronational economic hallmarks of notaphilic economies (in other words, Sandus will sell NC¶ or non-circulatory persumae and stamps).
As the Sôgmô of Sandus, I have long dedicated my life and my work to Sandus. Sandus is my identity, possibly because I founded it. However, in the future, I hope to open up citizenship to others (which is increasingly likely) and I hope to create benefits such as the social welfare programs for Sandum citizens. Sandus must become more than a vocal micronation for socioeconomic progress: it must become a home to its people and encourage growth on social welfare terms. As the leader of Sandus, I hope to be more open as a micronationalist, to express my pride at being a Sandum citizen, and thus I hope to inspire the Sandum Philosophy and the Sandum Value in people around us. In Sandus today, as we celebrate the third anniversary of our Secession, we are making tremendous advances in motivating and engaging even non-citizens outside Sandum citizenship. As a social-progressive micronation, we are making in-roads in undermining systems of oppression and inequality — from sexism and racism, to class and social stratification. Our work is not one to increase the material wealth of Sandus or of any one of us individually, but is to increase the wealth of our quality of life — a wealth that is not measured in money or in product, but in happiness. With all this progress in terms of social and economic goals and with all this effort towards the alleviation of suffering, our work will further our revolutionary struggle — the revolutionary struggle of the Sandum Philosophy.
Under the guiding spirit of our Philosophy and motivated by the Party,
Comrade Gaius Sörgel P.
Acting-Secretary & Sôgmô