One-on-One: Primo de Aguilar

CS: Thank you for sitting down with us, Primo. It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly 4 years since we last talked! A lot has happened in that time, but perhaps nothing more significant than the end of Alexandria, your long-time micronational home where you were a fixture of political and national life. Would you tell us about how you learned of its fate and your initial reaction to the news?

PdA: My initial reaction was shock, followed by sadness. I suppose since one puts a lot of effort and emotion to a character (at least I do; I suppose I am living vicariously through my characters) I went through a sense of what it feels to be suddenly stateless.

CS: Now, just over six months later, with the shock well settled, are you disappointed with how things worked out in Alexandria? What would you change if you had the time back?

PdA: I like continuity and closure in my narratives. It was sad to see Alexandria go, what with its history and culture and semi-stable postmodern urban constitutional monarchy with a pan-European flavor. There was a point when things were starting to get a little too predictable, though. I liked how the parties and personalities developed. Losing the First Consulship was expected, but I also got the feeling that Primo would have tried another final run (or a last gasp) for the office before finally retiring from public life. He’s had an amazing run from backbencher to First Consul.

CS: When Alexandria ended, you became a refugee of sorts and landed on the shores of Constancia where you’ve taken a leading role in its government and development. What drew you to that micronation?

PdA: It looked interesting and seemed to have a lot of areas where development could occur.

CS: What areas for development particularly interested you?

PdA: Constancia didn’t have a very detailed history – that was something I wanted to try my hand with, not to mention the fact that just about everything in Constancia could have used further detailing. There were some fascinating questions that could produce far more fascinating answers: why settle in the middle of Eura, for example; what were their cultural influences that remained to the present day, how did previous nation-states influence the evolution of the Free and Associative Kingdom?

CS: I think its safe to say that despite the Alexandria stressor, you and Edgard remain as close as friends as ever. I understand that you’re participating in his latest micronation, Caputia, as the Minister of Reconstruction and Infrastructure, under the moniker of Gerhardt Seydlitz. Would you tell us more about what you hope to accomplish in Caputia?

PdA: Well, there is the part of fixing the administrative and economic structure through legislation, and with the ruined cities, there is something of a sandbox to play with. I view this as a lens of seeing how differing personalities and factions can attempt to come together after a civil war to rebuild and form cohesive policy, it’s having a front seat to seeing how interpersonal dynamics play out into sociopolitical outcomes. Remember that this is a country struggling to pull itself together after a civil war, with all the pressures that brings. Can Seydlitz get things done while in office, or will his youth and relative inexperience be his downfall amidst the fickle attention span of the Parliament and public? We’ll see how that goes.

CS: While Caputia is not the successor state to Alexandria, I can’t help but feel the Alexandrian “vibe” in its structure and operation whenever I visit the forums. Is there a sense of “this is our chance to fix what went wrong in Alexandria” amongst the participants?

PdA: It’s entirely possible; let’s not forget that there is still a substantial in-game Alexandrian diaspora which may be an in-game factor, but I don’t necessarily agree with the premise that Caputia is Alexandria 2.0. There may be similarities, but they have separate histories and influences that lead both nations to separate paths.

CS: Can you provide an example of the differing histories/influences behind Caputia v. Alexandria?

PdA: Alexandria had a very (primarily Western) European flavor – Franco-Belgian-German – with the attendant love for French-style socialism and hard-right nationalism (Alexandria’s had governments of both extremes). Alexandria better exemplifies the Septum Juncta in Uno principle: Individuals identify more as Alexandrian first, and regional or provincial second, with the monarch not just as the head of state, but the continuing personification of the Empire.

Caputia doesn’t have a specific reference, although it could be vaguely similar to Europe. Whether the existing “moderate” administration, or government of national unity will soon split into various ideological parties still remains to be seen. Both countries have had very bloody civil wars, but in Caputia, I see individuals identifying first with their regions or provinces or even cities, and as subjects of Caputia, second. I foresee that the abrupt demise of the crown (death spare the Queen!) without clear issue or a generally-accepted heir would lead to the immediate fragmentation of this latest national experiment. The existing Queen is essentially a compromise candidate, after all, the sole Caputian whom the disparate warring factions hate the least. It’ll probably take a generation to bury the blood-feud enmities, or it may only cause these deep-seated grudges to fester. Only time will tell!

CS: You’re a busy man on the intermicronational stage these days as well in your role as the Secretary-General of the Micras Treaty Organization, which has suffered from spurts of inactivity over the last year. Can you explain for our readers how you see the Organization remaining relevant in the community?

PdA: The General Treaty requires an overhaul, what with most business focused on admittance of members. It also exercises very little power over its members, which essentially makes it a global, somewhat exclusive, debate club and YAMO. An organization is only as strong and as relevant as its members want it to be.

CS: Are there any personal reflections and wisdom on your last four years in micronationalism that you’d like to share with our readers?

PdA: It’s a hobby, it helps pass the time, it enables people to come together to co-create interesting things, whether it be narratives or govsims, or to express personal frustrations with national policies. Some have fantasy sports leagues, this is fantasy statecraft. It is also a good entry-level for those interested in real-world political or governance work, although on a considerably smaller scale.

From a civics perspective, it is a great educator, because ultimately, the fate of the country rests on you, its citizen (or subject). Your participation and contributions, as well as engagement with others, determines and reflects the strength and vibrancy of the nation.

One-on-One: Primo de Aguilar

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