by The One-Winged Rainbow Shark of Erinor. . 274 reads.

The Southern Journal - Monthly Digest - July 2020

Monthly Digest - July 2020

Monthly Round-up

July has been another busy month in the South Pacific. Here are some highlights!

Elections, Elections, Elections!

July saw, not only the Delegate election, in which Amerion triumphed over PenguinPies to succeed Aumeltopia as Delegate, but also the beginning of another hotly contested (and slightly fraught) Local Council election, though the outcome of the latter will not be determined until early August.

Independence Day

With the region forgetting to celebrate Coalition Day back in June for the second year running, extra focus was put on celebrating Independence Day, with a successful festival run by MoRA fellows lead by an assured Royaltica. The festival included many games and quizzes and the unveiling of the LadyRebels Statue of Liberty, designed by Phanama.

Assembly Activity

Though very little was put to vote during July, the Assembly did see a resurgence of debate, including a return to the topic of splitting the Ministry of Regional Affairs, an ongoing semantic discussion at the heart of the proposed legislation to protect whistleblowers and in-depth scrutiny of the proposed Commission of Inquiry Act.

The South Pacific Coral Guard

The Committee on Regional Security officially launched the Coral Guard program at the start of the month. Allowing member nations to hold more endorsements than the majority up to a newly defined Coral Guard cap, the initiative has yet to have any nations inducted into it, as the CRS continues to process the first wave of applications.

High Court Activity

By Rabbitz

Since early May, the High Court of TSP has seen an unusual spike in activity including, but not limited to the delivering of sentence cases, a new form for case submissions, and, astonishingly, a new appointment to the High Court. The most peculiar part of this spike, however, is that it took so long for sentence cases to be issued for two court cases.

During a Discord interview with Chief Justice Kringalia, he answered my question over why it took so long to give sentence cases to the court cases of New Haudenosaunee Confederacy vs. Concrete Slab, submitted November 28th, 2018, and Roavin vs. Aav Whitehall, which was submitted July 30th 2019:

“While the Judicial Act does say that a sentence must be delivered separately from a verdict, the Court had missed that particular provision and was operating under the understanding that it was all one single process. That is why sentences were delivered as part of the verdict not only for Concrete Slab, but also for Aav Whitehall. The issue was pointed out later on, but 2019 was a very difficult year and as a result barely any work was done. In the past few weeks I decided that it was time to get the Court's affairs in order, which led to the posting of all pending sentencing cases in coordination with Justice Nat.”

How did this judiciary requirement get missed when the court cases were going through the motions? The Southern Journal recognizes that real-life priorities come first before NationStates-related priorities. However, Kringalia promised that he’ll clean up the High Court and get everything up and running again.

Also in the High Court, Chief Justice Kringalia recently announced that a Case Submission System has been completed which allows a user to input the details of a court case, then auto-generate the code for it. This makes drafting a court case much easier, and allows all those submitting cases to meet the standard of what a court case should look like.

Finally, Ebonhand has recently been appointed as a High Court Justice as of June 7th, 2020. This appointment was soon followed by the resignation of long-standing Justice, Rebeltopia, who announced that his resignation was due to real-life affairs. Ebonhand had this to say about the appointment:

“I filled out the application in mid-March and thought nothing of it. I had always enjoyed the court functions of TSP going back to my days as a law clerk under Kringalia in 2017. Flash forward to mid-May, I was informed that my application would be moving forward by the Cabinet and there was a certain feeling of shock and awe when I was told, because I had forgotten about the application to some extent, and the high court has a strong reputation of hearing cases and delivering verdicts (all in a professional manner), so the notion I would be joining them was a feeling of preparation. Since I have joined the court I have jumped in literally headfirst into the work present for me, which the region will see soon.”

In summary, the High Court has seen more than its fair share of action lately with a revival of proper court procedure and an exciting new appointment.

Rabbitz Wins June Chair Election

By Erinor

As well as the most contested Cabinet election in recent years, last month also saw an election for Chair of the Assembly after the conclusion of a successful term by newly-elected Minister of Military Affairs, FiHami. Due to be opened at the same time as the Cabinet election at the very start of the month, excitement over the former caused the Chair election to be overlooked and was delayed until 15th June. Despite this, there were a number of strong nominations put forward straight away, with many seeking a return of Council on Regional Security member and former Chair, Amerion.

With Amerion declining his nomination, and many speculating (correctly, it would seem) that they had their eye on the July Delegate election, it was up to Rabbitz and Royaltica to step up to the plate and run for this vital position within the Coalition. Whilst Rabbitz had just recently run for the position of Minister of Regional Affairs and currently held the position of Local Councillor, neither candidate had held an elected office in the forumside government and so there was much interest in their campaigns.

Both campaigns focused heavily on the basics of the job and on maintaining administrative standards from previous terms. Royaltica’s campaign was notable for its simplicity and clarity, especially in light of their relative newness to the region and to our electoral system. It was, however, Rabbitz’ relatively higher experience and familiarity as a regional name that won the day, with them achieving seven more approvals than their opponent and officially became Chair of the Assembly on 23rd June.

Since taking up the role of Chair, Rabbitz has been following through on their campaign promises by ensuring that their first vote went through in a timely fashion and the amendments were filed appropriately - something that hasn’t always been the case in past Chairs. This publication hopes to see Rabbitz improving their skills whilst in this role and continuing to serve the Assembly with pride.

Interview with Chair of the Assembly Rabbitz

By Erinor

With last month’s Chair of the Assembly election behind us, we thought we would take the time to sit down with the newly elected Chair, Rabbitz, in their plush burrow, to try to get to know them and their plans for the role a little better.

Your name and flag will be familiar to many, but why in particular did you choose to go with the rabbit theme?

I was pitching possible names for what I call my nation, and since I adored the cuddly animal that is called "rabbit", I decided to go with something of that sort. I also wanted it short and simple so it would be easier for people to remember, so I went with Rabbitz.

My flag, before I changed it, was the same exact image that I used for my Discord avatar to date of this interview. 'Twas a simple adorable rabbit wearing a king's robe and a crown. I decided to stick with that, modified the colors, got an .svg file of an adorable rabbit, made the flag using a flag maker, combined them both using InkScape, and then I resized it and shipped it out into a .png.

Why did you decide to run for Chair of the Assembly this election?

I did it mainly because I wanted to get more involved in the forum-side rather than the game-side of TSP.

Do you have any long-term plans for that, or are you just hoping to see how things go?

Hoping to see how things go mainly.

What do you anticipate being the biggest challenge for you as Chair this term?

Maybe time, but since it's summer currently, I don't think that'll be much of an issue.

Are there any things you plan to do differently from your predecessors?

Not really as there isn't much I can change as Chair is mostly just a paper-pushing job.

Your previous elected office was on the Local Council. What did you enjoy most about that role?

Probably protecting something that I've been on for almost 3 years now.

What was it like working with the dreaded Auphelia?

It's like working with a walking thesaurus!

You were involved, as was much of the Assembly, in the MoRA split debate which caused so much tension earlier in the year. As Chair, how would you deal with a similar situation arising over any issue now?

I would deal with any issues arising from the debate with respect using the powers given to me as Chair of the Assembly by following standard procedure for any proposals going to vote.

As well as Chair of the Assembly, you've also been appointed as a Cabinet intern for the term. What do you hope to learn from the current Cabinet and do you think it will prepare you for a Cabinet ministry in some future term?

I hope to learn about how the Cabinet functions when the entire Cabinet is set with a goal in mind. I know it will prepare me as I get to see what the MoRA sees as when they are actively participating in the government to get an experience of what I should do when I'm a Minister.

Now for a little more about the player behind the flag. You're known for your cello playing skills across NS, especially after your performance at Pacific Con. How long have you been playing?

I have been playing since I was 9, so about 7 years to date.

What's your favourite piece to play and why?

My favorite piece is probably Allegro Appassionato [Saint-Saëns] since it's a brilliant work and a very emotional piece to play, and that could be said the same for Élégie [Fauré].

Who's your favourite composer?

My favorite composer is either Bach, Saint-Saëns, Haydn, or Dvořák. I love their style, their harmonization and melodies, and their ability to create not just a piece, but a story using music.

If you were to be still playing this game in five years’ time, what would you like your legacy to be in TSP?

I actually don't know what my legacy would be… I was actually planning on moving on from TSP after I think I have done all I could for TSP. At this point, I'll try to fix whatever problems that arise during my term as Chair.

And finally... Cake or Pie?

Cake but it must be an ice cream cake. The regular frosting on cake does not taste natural.

So, there we have the new Chair of the Assembly: taciturn, focused, ambitious, talented on the cello…but, most importantly: ice cream!

Summer 2020 Delegate Election - Comments

By Royaltica

In the recent race for the Delegacy, beginning on July 1, we saw the candidates, Penguin (PenguinPies) and Amerion, try to gain the support of the region at the conclusion to Somyrion (Aumeltopia)’s term as Delegate. Many were nominated, including members of the Council on Regional Security and former Cabinet ministers, but only two stepped up. Voting took place across two rounds from July 8 to July 18, and Amerion came out on top to become Delegate-elect of the South Pacific. In an interview with Penguin, Amerion, and Somyrion, we asked how each of them felt about the election.

Interview With the New Delegate — Amerion:

Royaltica: Let’s start with a simple question. Why did you want to run for Delegate?

Amerion: To strike fear into the hearts of those who oppose me and to give love and loyalty to those who embrace my benevolent autocracy!

Royaltica: How did you feel when you discovered the region supports you in becoming the next Delegate?

Amerion: As though a weight was lifted off my shoulders. It would have been somewhat unpleasant to destroy Antarctica. If I can’t have it, no one can! Muahahaha!

Royaltica: Do you think Penguin would have been a good Delegate too?

Amerion: Penguin would be an amazing Delegate!

Royaltica: Why?

Amerion: She has good people skills and is well-liked — important attributes to have in the Delegacy.

Royaltica: Why did you think you were going to be a good Delegate at the beginning of the election?

Amerion: Because Amerion is always perfect.

Royaltica: Thanks for your time!

Interview With the Other Candidate in the Election — Penguin:

Royaltica: Why were you unsure in running for Delegate?

Penguin: I was unsure because when going against such a well known figure like Amerion, who is not only awesome but talented and perfectly suitable for the position, it really causes one to wonder if there is a chance for a little Penguin like me.

Royaltica: How did you feel when you discovered the region supports you in becoming the next Delegate?

Penguin: Shocked and honored. I know I tend to stay mostly in the background now and only speak when telling people to watch their language, but to know that there are people in the region who actually would support me in this endeavor really made me feel liked and valued.

Royaltica: Do you think Amerion will be a good Delegate?

Penguin: Oh, I think he will totally make a Pietastic Delegate. I was proud to run against them and happy that they won. If I had any doubts about it, I would have thrown a cake.

Royaltica: Thanks for your time!

Interview With the Previous Delegate — Somyrion:

Royaltica: Are you happy with Amerion as Delegate?

Somyrion: I’m not just happy, I’m filled with a sense of excitement and content at knowing with confidence that Amerion will be an amazing successor.

Royaltica: Who else, besides the two, would you have chosen to run for Delegate?

Somyrion: Seraph (Erinor) and Jay (Qvait), but they’re both occupied already. So… this was the perfect election.

Royaltica: Do you think Amerion will bring the South Pacific to new heights?

Somyrion: If he doesn’t himself, I’m sure His Supreme Dastardliness will hire a latter-day Procrustes to make sure all South Pacificans are brought to new heights!
(Bonus points to anyone who gets the Greek mythology reference)

Royaltica: Thanks for your time!

Amerion ran a strong, confident campaign, and, while Penguin’s was less assertive, she still put up a fight for the seat. Out of 150 votes in the second round gameside poll, however, Amerion received 94 and Penguin received 56, giving Amerion a clear mandate for the position. The transition period began immediately, with Amerion closing the gap between his third place ranking on the World Assembly endorsements census and incumbent delegate Somyrion. At the time of writing Amerion still needs around 70 endorsements to claim the Delegacy to which they have been elected.

Interview with Delegate Aumeltopia

By Proctethia

We’re currently in the middle of our summer Delegate election so we thought now was a great time to get to know our outgoing Delegate - Aumeltopia/Somyrion - before he stands down.

Hello, Somyrion. Let's start with a nice and simple question - how are you?

Well, I'm usually not a terribly emotive person, so I'd just respond 'good' and be done with it! But to be a little fuller with my answer, I'm currently upbeat but a little tired and annoyed at myself for not getting more done today.

I hope you will be feeling happier soon. The Cabinet elections ended about two weeks ago. What do you think of our new Cabinet?

At the beginning of the Cabinet election period, I was honestly a little worried about what this Cabinet would look like, what with Omega unexpectedly stepping back from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and so on. But it quickly turned out that my concerns didn’t matter, because we ended up with an absolutely amazing Cabinet. I could speak to each minister’s virtues at some length — Nakarisaune’s common sense and even hand, Erinor’s inviting tone and well-thought-out plans, Qvait’s inquisitiveness and consensus-building, and FiHami’s smart enthusiasm and goals. I’ll say that I wish I had been able to serve in a Cabinet this awesome in one of my terms as a minister. I’m glad that all the members of this Cabinet are committed to embracing defenderism, and I have every bit of confidence that they will continue to make TSP a stronger, more enjoyable, and more welcoming place. All South Pacificans should share that confidence.

As the new Cabinet begins, your second term of delegacy nears its end. What have you enjoyed most as the Delegate so far?

I’ve enjoyed the little things most, I think. The day-to-day job of Delegate isn’t naturally very interesting — in fact, it’s almost easy to forget about it sometimes, except for remembering to endorse daily and making sure to talk at least a bit on multiple of TSP’s platforms. So the most enjoyable bits are the unexpected highlights that aren’t a typical part of the job. Some of the telegrams I’ve received as the delegate have been exceptionally funny (kudos to the Great Parkguinius for definitely the best telegrams). I’ve enjoyed lightheartedly ‘appointing’ players to different ridiculous jobs in the Delegate’s Biscuit Distribution Centre. I also can’t deny that seeing TSP’s endorsement numbers go up so quickly during the Drewpocalypse was quite a thrill, even if I really had very little role in making it happen.

What impact do you think you've left on the region?

In general or specifically as Delegate?

As Delegate.

I don't often think about what specific legacy I want to leave or effect I want to have on the region, so this is a hard question. As I play this game and do things in this region, I think more about how I can join in on an effort to push something along in a direction I think it should go than about what change I want to effect myself from conception to completion. When some people campaign for an office, they make sure to develop an overarching theme around which to structure their goals. When I campaigned for Delegate, neither time did I have any such theme. I had lots of little ideas about how things should go in each area I thought was important, but I didn't set out to have a clear and cohesive impact as Delegate.

Yet, while thinking over my terms as Delegate a couple days ago, I realized that in fact they have had sorts of themes -- themes that only become clear in retrospect. My first term was all about developing our WA presence from the perspective of endorsements and SWAN; my second term focused on developing our WA presence from the perspective of voting and OWL. It's certainly not exactly how I had planned for things to turn out; not the themes I would've imagined when writing my campaigns either time. But those themes may well be my "impact" on the region: after all, a legacy is really just the theme of what actually happened.

So, if the impact of Erinor's delegacy before me was to prove that the South Pacific could be a leader in the WA and that previously unthinkable WA achievements were thinkable, I guess I would say that my impact has been to make that previously unthinkable not only thinkable, but typical. I hope that my time as the delegate has developed our WA presence so that, forever in the future, delegates are not just applauded for, but expected to be super-active tarters and engaged WA voters.

What do you like most about TSP?

Well, I think what I like most about TSP is definitely, unsurprisingly, our community. I've often had a hard time finding a community to fit into in real life, so I appreciate that especially greatly. From passionate political debating to conlanging to endlessly rehashing voting methods, TSP is truly a unique place and I feel uniquely comfortable here. It's the people I know here, whom I enjoy working with and hearing from, who make me love TSP.

But I'd also be remiss not to mention one aspect of TSP in the present moment that I especially like: we're number two. (In endorsements, in an active WA department, etc., that is.) I've always felt there's something special about second place -- all the benefits of being at the top without the baggage of the number one position. In TSP's case, it means we're not resting on our laurels right now in any respects. We've made great strides, but as number two in the world we still have something big to work for. We're still in a position of transit, striving to reach progressive goals, rather than floating aimlessly with no clear target. We know we can be the best, so we're driven to make our versions of things -- SWAN, OWL, etc. -- even better than anything any other region has done. It's the enterprising spirit of an ambitious new player who knows they're almost there but can't stop working yet. I think that mindset has benefited TSP greatly and continues to do so. I hope that my successor in the delegacy keeps up that striving spirit. As I wrote in my campaign for delegate last January, it's all about continuous upwards motion.

TSP’s heartwarming community is a favourite to most, but it is interesting to see that you also like the ‘second place’ aspect.. What advice would you give to future Delegates?

Don't let yourself slack off. It's something I've been guilty of myself a few too many times. Unlike a Cabinet position, where there are often clear measures of the work you're doing in your ministry server or the content you've created and published, the delegacy is very self-contained, and as a result requires a lot of self-motivation. The position is what you make of it, and you're the main person holding yourself to account. There are no structural expectations beyond simply sitting on the seat, only the weight of precedent from previous delegates. If you want to take the initiative and set up a WA event of some sort, that's great, but no one will really complain if it doesn't go through because you don't have to make that specific thing happen to be a good delegate. All that means that if you do want to make something successful, whether it's keeping up your endotarting or constantly relaying government messages to the RMB, you have to hold your own self to account. You have to not let yourself slide, just like the Assembly wouldn't let the Minister of Military Affairs slide if they didn't carry out any military operations for a week or two. That's something it took me a while to realize I had to do, and I think future delegates would do well to keep it in mind from day one, as they plan what they want to do in the position.

Before we sign off, we must ask the most important question of them all. Cake or pie?


Thank you for your time.

Aumeltopia has served TSP well and we’ll all miss him as the Delegate. He believes TSP is going to be left in strong and capable hands. Over his term he has done many things, but most importantly, he has helped the biscuits rise up against the Cakeitalists and the Pieletariet.

Breaking Down Barriers

By Erinor

In my four years in the South Pacific, it has been my privilege to witness old hands developing new skills and for highly talented players to join us from other regions, sharing their expertise and their labours of love. I have seen the quality of our presentation increase dramatically, the complexity of and range of activities in our festivals and events has grown almost exponentially and our integration efforts, whilst still a long way off from where we might like them and far from comprehensive, have still come along in leaps and bounds in terms of the technology and skill put into them. There is, however, another side to all this and it’s one I felt I needed to express as it relates, in no small part, to why I have tried to take a different approach to running the ministry than my immediate predecessors.

The problem with ever-increasing skill and professionalism in our government and independent output is that newer players, especially those in younger age brackets (although, as a thirty-something I’m often shown to be miles less talented than some of our teenagers) have ever-greater hurdles to leap over to be able to compete with what has gone before, or even to meet the mark of the region’s expectations. Whether or not the region really expects such is actually besides the point. For every player inspired by the complexity of our creativity, there’ll be others who look at it and think they will never be able to contribute to something which looks and feels so professional. Our aspirational approach to media, events, government announcements - whatever - can become, rather than a beacon to draw players in, an artificial barrier to entry: as much a demotivator as motivator.

So, what can we do to prevent this? Well, firstly, I think it would be wrong to simply tone down our efforts. That we’ve achieved some amazing things with the time and talent of our players is not something to be ashamed of, but rather celebrated! At the same time, however, we need to be more understanding of less experienced and renowned players and give them a little breathing space to grow and develop.

I’ve tried to take this approach in my leadership of the Ministry of Regional Affairs so far, giving greater free reign to our writers, artists and event planners so that they can show what they can do, whilst also encouraging an understanding, proportional response from the region in how it gives feedback and criticism, as, indeed, I am doing now. We should not expect every article to be perfect, nor every festival to be Pacific Con. We should encourage newer players for their efforts and gently guide them towards ever-more-perfect works in the future by sharing our own talents and skills with them. We can maintain a culture of continuous regional improvement by allowing the less professional and artistically excellent to sit alongside our Mona Lisas and, in some ways, through a culture of shared development, allow them to reflect some of the glory themselves.

And if we can achieve this with our cultural efforts, then perhaps we can be more generous in our response to those seeking elected or appointed offices, balancing roles out more so that there are smaller, less vital roles which newer players can inhabit and make their own; where mistakes can matter less and be learned from more easily. There is no denying that some of our roles and structures are incredibly daunting and we shy away from handing them to newer players with good reason. Perhaps there are better ways we can apportion our government responsibilities so that newer players don’t already have to be brilliant to be considered? Let’s break down the barriers to entry, bit by bit, until our region can live up to its democratic promise more fully; allowing players of all kinds the chance to grow and develop into the South Pacifican leaders of the future.

The Role of Compassion in a New Defender Moralism

By Anonymous

For some time I’ve found myself seeking a better model of R/D than those offered by any major defending organization. Neither, the model that finds R/D to be just part of a game, nor the model that accuses raiders of deeper evil sit well with me. The former flies in the face of my beliefs in self-determination and reads as an arrogant effort by the R/D community to place the self-determination of others beneath their own sense of fun. The latter flies in the face of my inability to see people as inherently good or evil, rather just shaped by their social conditions into identities, actions, and behaviors.

Upon reading Erinor’s “In Defense of A New Defender Moralism”, I found myself largely agreeing, but identifying a crucial difference in terms of how I justify a tolerant moralism: a greater emphasis on attempting to empathize with individuals than on the rights of communities.

Communities certainly deserve respect. However, the arguments raiders give often tell us that the regions they raid are “mostly inactive”, that raids “actually increase activity”, or that natives “can just move elsewhere”. These arguments are rarely fully true and, even if they were, do not speak to the effect raids have on individuals.

Raids, beyond any reasonable doubt, often cause meaningful emotional distress to natives and this observation is the core of why I believe all raids — griefing, occupation, Delegate-bumping, tag raiding, and all other adjectives intended to sell us on the idea that this raid is acceptable — are wrong. Natives often indicate that they want the disruption to end, that a raid has hindered the plans they had for their region, that their region’s growth was inhibited by the raid, or that they feel intimidated or scared by raiders. Even if their community was not what the mainstream NationStates Gameplay community would describe as “active” or “well-developed”, that doesn’t make the feelings of the natives as individuals less valid. In contrast, it makes the determination that the fun of the raider outweighs the distress of the native profoundly arrogant.

Those (the original article included) who make excuses for short term, tag-only, non-griefing, [insert adjective here] raids are missing this crucial piece. No matter how insignificant or easily reversible a raid is, it always runs a significant risk of hurting others. Whenever a Condemn resolution is drafted after a small region is tag raided, the collective laughter at the expense of the author, often a relatively inexperienced player trying to make their home, is cruel. Perhaps the offense committed does not merit a Security Council Condemnation, but its writing certainly demonstrates a legitimate distress, and therefore harm, caused by the raid.

Is there such a thing as an ethical raid? I guess a raid that occurs with express prior consent from an overwhelming majority of the natives in the region where one could be confident beyond a shred of a doubt that no one will ever resent the raid. At that point, the raid is more of a joint regional event than a raid and I'll never object to that.

This brings me to how I feel about raiders. I think there is something genuinely gross about reveling in native distress. I also recognize that many raiders probably don’t actively revel in native distress, although they certainly perpetuate it. Mostly, while I reach an unwavering conviction that raiding itself is deeply wrong, I have extreme difficulty saying it makes someone a bad person. Broadly, I’m not sure what it means to be a bad person (or a good person for that matter). However, that doesn’t mean I don’t try to do good and avoid doing wrong, including as it relates to defending in NationStates.

Raiders are also people who are full of complexity. When raiders explain why they raid, I really think I understand. The same compassion that calls me to sympathize with natives also calls me to sympathize with raiders as people. If raiding is where someone found their sense of community and home, I understand why they raid. I just wish the world was full of more opportunities for all people to find their communities, their friends, their home. I think raiders themselves have every right to find happy internet homes with friends who support them and activities that entertain them. I just wish those communities were not built on deliberately causing distress to others. Despite my tolerance for raiders, I will always believe that raiding is wrong and describe it as wrong.

It is from this recognition that I believe defenders must focus first on their own communities. The best strategic and paradigmatic response to raiding is to make more, stronger, diverse communities built on compassion and friendship. Communities where you play games and people randomly ping you sometimes and you feel like there are all these people with whom you share something small but important. For those who enjoy an R/D game, maybe these communities defend. But more importantly those communities should be built on a defender ethic of supporting their members and allowing their members to live more fulfilling lives.

When PIGs Fly - The Union of Democratic States

By Kanglia

A longstanding ally of the South Pacific, The Union of Democratic States has seen a resurgence of activity during the last year. As both a proud Legislator of TSP and of the UDS, I feel as though I can shed some light on the uniqueness of the region. In addition to my own insights and knowledge, this article will feature insights from Dome artan, a rising star and current Delegate & Vice President of the region; The Noble Thatcherites, Founder of the region and one of the most prominent members of the history of the region; and Khevo, one of the few members of the region from the very beginning, who has been very active throughout NationStates in the defending sphere.

A Brief History

The Union of Democratic States was founded in late 2015 by The Noble Thatcherites. I myself moved into the UDS in 2016, and already found a bustling and thriving community. The region itself was based heavily in regional law (I spent much of my early days writing legislation) and was marred by very consistent Constitutional Conventions (think Grand Councils, but more frequent). The UDS was still very successful, however, and quickly jumped onto the NSGP scene. Key NSers such as Kuriko & Arkadia Universalis were extremely influential players in the UDS, with Kuriko founding the UDSAF, which I would take over in early 2017. Ark was the region's first Delegate, and to this day maintains an important role in the OOC administrative team in the region.

In late 2017, after long-standing good relations between the UDS & TSP, the Treaty of Democratic Unity was authored and passed through both regions. This is one of my proudest accomplishments as a member of the region.

I would leave the UDS later on in 2017 to join the South Pacific, and NS entirely in early 2018. In my absence, Thatcher also left the region and moved to Europeia. Khevo remained in the region, citing the “very open, close-knit community.” After going through another Constitution and revamping the executive and renaming it the President, the region would elect North Plegia as the first “President” in February of 2020.

That would lead us to the present day. Currently, Phoenix Coalition is in his second term as President, having just won reelection with 69% of the vote. The Legislative branch is led by Glaciosia, Speaker of the Senate, and yours truly as the Chairperson of the General Assembly. The Union of Democratic States Armed Forces, or UDSAF, has seen a revitalization under the watchful eyes of Comlogical and myself, and the region as a whole is in the best state that I can remember. Although the drop off from the Drew Rush was significant in terms of total nations, the activity levels in terms of both active citizens and members of the RMB have increased significantly. Overall, enthusiasm is very high for the region, and a large part of that can be attributed to one man, the WA Delegate of the region, Dome Artan.

The PIG: How EndoBacon Captured the Region

Not long after I returned to NationStates and the UDS, I discovered a nation by the name of Dome Artan. Dome was already serving as a Senator in the region. Shortly after encountering him did I realize that he was an incredibly quick individual, understanding of how the region operated or at least should operate. Also, shortly after my return, it was announced that Dome would become the new WA Delegate of the region, a position that Asdersland had held for 469 days. Almost immediately, Dome implemented the program Promoting Influence Growth or PIG for short. With a cute pig mascot named Hamlet, the Union’s levels of endorsements grew exponentially. At the time of this writing, the region is ranked 7th for most World Assembly Endorsements(NS goes by average per nation of course.) This rapid growth is thanks to Dome’s hard work, and Dome himself admits he was heavily influenced by TSP’s own endorsement program.. “However, I was still pretty new to NS! I wasn't sure what exactly I was supposed to be doing as Delegate”, Dome said, even though you’d never know his NS “youth” by talking to him. Dome followed by saying that he “did the logical thing and looked at the feeders, especially our good friends in TSP.” This led him to the SWAN program, which left him, as he put it, “entranced.” The PIG program followed, with Dome also admitting that establishing the program with any hint of unique elements to it was incredibly difficult. It is undeniable that this program has been effective, with the number of endorsements for both the Delegate and other members of the region skyrocketing since the program’s creation.

Visiting the Union

Thanks in part to the Drew Rush, the UDS has grown rapidly in terms of activity, with the RMB, main discord server, and RP servers bustling more than ever. The Unioncraft server, dedicated to Unionists and friends who play Minecraft, has also thrived recently. When asked why the UDS should be a destination for TSPers Dome notes the similarities between both regions in terms of NSGP, with both regions being “staunchly democratic and defender” and that visiting from both sides “can only benefit our regions.” Thatcher notes that TSPers should consider visiting the UDS for “our shared heritage.”

As for the aforementioned Unioncraft server, of which Thatcher is an admin, it came out of the interest of many citizens to start a Minecraft community based off of a spawntown. This server however is open to all friends of the region. As Thatcher says, “Unioncraft has an open community where anyone is allowed to join so long as they subscribe to the mission of the server and pledge to obey server rules.”

When asked what makes visiting and becoming a part of the UDS so reasonable, Khevo responded that it all translates to the culture. “[T]he culture of a UCR is much different to that of the GCRs, and I feel the smaller size and relative lack of history makes it easier to simply join in and get involved at a high level.” Khevo is entirely correct on that statement as well, it’s very easy to get involved in the UDS, thanks to the extremely friendly community, and the welcoming and easily accessible government structure. But even if you’re just looking to visit, the open and all-inclusive nature of the UDS ensures that you’ll have a good time!

Independence Day 2020: A History

By Roavin

"Independence Day" - these two words in combination have many meanings. There are multiple movies with that name, even more songs with that name, and quite a few holidays in otherworldly realms. The reason is simple - the independence of people, be they represented by real bodies outside of this game or by the nations that participate in this slice of virtual reality, is incredibly important. It's not a surprise that it’s often celebrated, and we here in the South Pacific celebrate our own version of it.

But why do we celebrate it? 17 years ago, the Coalition of the South Pacific was a fledgling democracy fighting for its life in the volatile primordial landscape of our virtual world. It's a bit hard to imagine now, but back then, the various regimes across GCRs weren't as solidified as they were today. Many battles small and large were fought whose effects are still relevant. For example, even to this day, many NationStates players are at least peripherally aware of the August Revolution, in which the old government of the Pacific was overthrown and replaced by the New Pacific Order. The South Pacific was no exception, and we were subjected to quite a bit of turbulence in those days.

Let's set the time machine to 2003. In early June, the Coalition was founded, but soon faced significant troubles, as within the first two weeks the region was couped, owing to a game glitch, by The xyz affair. Our very own Tsunamy, then of tender years, reached out to other places for help, including the West Pacific where his plea was heard by LadyRebels of the Atlantic Central Command (ACC). ACC was one of the earliest invader groups and at or near the height of its power at the time. They quickly moved in and helped the Coalition regain control, but soon after placed one of their own operatives by the name of Alpha c into the Delegacy, who flew the flag of the ACC over the region. While they let the Coalition remain to manage the day-to-day operations of the region, ACC was the boss.

On July 14, 2003, Alpha C was ejected from the UN (which we now call the WA), and a few delegacy changes occured in the ensuing chaos, but ACC soon regained control. During the game update in the early hours of July 19th, none other than LadyRebels took the Delegacy. She wasn't just any ACC operative, but a very high-level member of the organization — so high-level, in fact, that she had been in the running to become the High Commander of the ACC, and lost that election by only a single vote.

The situation was not good for the fledgling Coalition, because, once again, ACC had one of theirs in the Delegacy. Holding the Delegacy meant even more then than it does now, because back in 2003 influence was not part of game mechanics, and the Delegate of a region could eject and ban with almost no limits; furthermore, ACC had a large network of nations to draw upon to support their operatives in the Delegacy, and the flailing little government of TSP could never muster the kind of resistance that was needed against the professionals in ACC. The Coalition was destined to play second fiddle to the ACC, left alive only for as long as it was convenient.

A few days after taking the Delegacy, Pilmour, the High Commander of the ACC, ordered LadyRebels to tear down the flag of the South Pacific and reinstall the Atlantic flag. LadyRebels wrote back:


The culture we all know and love here in the South Pacific today had its roots way back in 2003 even - silly by default, serious when needed; a family of artists and artisans, bickering in one thread while hugging in the other, and looking for a veritable good time for themselves and for others. In 2005, Sir paul called us "Bleeding Heart Partying Isolationists (with lampshades)". LadyRebels became so enamoured by this aspect of the South Pacific, little though it was at the time, that she didn't have the heart to keep the Coalition under the boots of the ACC as a mere chess piece in these invaders’ evil machinations. Instead, she threw away all her clout and all her standing within ACC and rejected them, putting the Coalition first.

Many things have changed in those 17 years. People have come and gone. Not a single word of the original Charter remains. We've gone through several shifts in NationStates ideology - isolationist, manifesto thumpers, unaligned, now defender. We've had victories and defeats, we've laughed and we've cried, and we've grown a lot. Many have tried to overthrow or change us from the outside, or unduly influence us from the inside, but none of those attempts ever succeeded in making a long-term impact. We've made our mark on this game for many reasons, not the least of which is that we are the oldest extant democracy in the game, and the oldest extant GCR government. And even through all of that, at our core we've always been the bleeding heart party family, now as then.

Atlantic Central Command failed not long after. The region Atlantic Central Command is now in the hands of the South Pacific. And the Coalition? Well, we're still here, strong as ever, free and sovereign, and that was only possible because of LadyRebels' sacrifice in the form of those two letters almost exactly 17 years ago now, which gave us the gift of independence.

July Creative Competition: Atlantis

As a new initiative for the Southern Journal, we're introducing a monthly competition for you all to showcase your creative talents. Each month there will be a theme and you then have complete freedom to submit whatever creative work you like: poetry, prose, painting, performance art - whatever you feel inspired to do - it doesn't even have to be a medium beginning with p!

This month's theme is 'Atlantis' and you can send submissions to our editor, Minister of Regional Affairs Erinor up to and including Sunday 23rd August. You may submit as many entries in as many different media as you like. The winning entry(ies?) will be published in next month's monthly digest!