A couple of weeks ago, I was elected as the 28th Chair of the Grand Unified Micronational. This organisation is six months away from its 10th anniversary, but as it so often has throughout the years, it continues to face the looming threat of inactivity. There are many reasons behind this problem, but exploring those reasons in detail is not the purpose of this statement.
Firstly, to the micronations of the world, I say greetings; yes, the GUM still exists, is still quietly ticking over, and still has 16 member states, which still makes it one of the largest micronational organisations in the world. However, despite its long history, the GUM still struggles to justify its own existence. In the eyes of my own micronation, the Empire of Adammia’s, foreign doctrine, we have always seen the GUM as a provider of useful services to micronations: a diplomatic platform, and a source of years of micronational experience and knowledge. Indeed, many GUM member states share this view.
Since the GUM was “rebooted” in 2016, there has been much talk about various projects which, on paper, make the GUM more valuable to its member states, and give the organisation a reason for existing. However, these projects have been mostly talk, with very little action. I believe the main reason for this is because the GUM has historically had a weak executive. Successive Chairs have neglected their role as the GUM’s chief executive officer, and have only done the “chairing Quorum” side of the job. Frequently, previous Chairs have blamed inactivity on the membership itself failing to get stuck in. This is not the GUM working for its member states – instead, this is expecting member states to work for the GUM.
Some older GUM members may remember the “back to basics” approach of my election campaign and ensuing term as the 20th Chair back in 2014. This is an approach I wish to return to. My first priority is to ensure that the basic principles of administration are being met. Our records are already mostly up-to-date, thanks to the excellent work of Jonathan Augustus as our Archivist. Proper communications is the next step: I have spent my initial couple of weeks in office tracking down the right people to give me access to this website, which has been neglected for almost a year, and I am now working on getting access to the GUM’s Twitter and Facebook pages, which have also been largely forgotten. Since we don’t currently have a Press Secretary, I am going to be assuming their functions until such a time that a candidate comes along who I can have confidence in to do the job consistently. In general, I will only be delegating executive functions to secretaries who I believe will be active; GUM secretary roles are jobs, not titles.
Getting the GUM’s communications infrastructure back up-and-running is important because it allows us to publicise the work which the GUM actually has been doing despite its inactivity – namely, the Diplomabear World Tour. Diplomabear is currently resting in Austenasia until their 10th independence day celebrations in September.
Another key goal is to get the new Guides project up and running. In the near future, I will be talking with MicroWiki administrators to get the basic infrastructure set up. I intend to be an early contributor to these guides, focusing on proper executive governance. It is my hope that by leading by example, I will inspire other contributors to write about legislative and judicial matters.
I will finish up with a few long-term goals. Currently, the GUM is at a low point in its membership, and the majority of its member states are inactive. Therefore, I intend to launch a large-scale outreach programme; I will be joining Skype rooms, Discord servers, and Facebook groups in order to provide an active GUM presence, and promoting the organisation on Reddit’s /r/micronations. I wish to expand the GUM beyond its historic MicroWiki base. Twitter-based micronations often get a bad reputation, but as I recently learned, some, such as Herbatrea, are as professional as the best MicroWiki nations. There are a few events which would take place after my term expires, but I intend to lay the groundwork for at least, and if I end up serving a fourth term I may end up seeing to completion. Firstly, I wish to hold a 24-hour Quorum to mark the GUM’s 10th anniversary in January. More importantly, however, is the proposed UK-based summit for 2019. This is obviously in the very early stages, and we don’t even have a confirmed month yet, but soon I will gather together a committee of some of the more experienced European micronationalists to begin planning this summit. Watch this space.