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Members' freedom is the life of the TS

Oct 15, 2008 10:30 PM
by Pedro Oliveira

The nature and the timing of the amendments to TS Rules proposed by 
Betty Bland, John Algeo, Tran-Thi-Kim-Dieu and Wies Kuiper should be 
examined objectively. When someone, who was a candidate in a 
Presidential election and soon after the results are declared, 
launches attacks at a sister TS Section (Indian) and at the 
international Executive Committee, which is appointed by the General 
Council, it becomes clear that that person has not accepted the 
election results. 

The next step was Algeo's attempted formation of a "caucus" within 
the GC. He obviously never consulted the Chair of the Council, who is 
the President, about it. He unilaterally attempted to form a lobby, 
with the help of his supporters, within the Council. His contempt for 
the constitutional authority of the President again shows that he did 
not accept the results of the elections, which were determined by the 
vote of the majority of TS members. 

Bland-Algeo-Dieu-Kuiper's decision to propose substantial amendments 
to the Rules of the TS very soon after a bitterly fought Presidential 
election, including the termination of direct voting by members in 
the Presidential election, is one of the most astonishing acts of 
political violence in the history of the Theosophical Society. And it 
is not difficult to see that the hurry to do so is directly connected 
to the notion of Algeo's perceived majority within the General 
Council on the basis of the number of nominations received by him 
before the elections. I say "perceived majority" because it becomes 
evident that any General Secretary who votes for such proposal would 
be betraying the trust of his or her own members, after all the Rules 
of the Society provide for the democratic election by members of 
Lodge/Branch officers, General Secretary and the international 
President. As a General Secretary is elected by the members why would 
he or she deny them the right to elect the international President?

The Bland-Algeo-Dieu-Kuiper proposal, if successful, would certainly 
disrupt and destroy the very fabric of brotherhood without 
distinctions which has been the foundation of the TS from the 
beginning. For brotherhood implies and includes self-expression, 
freedom of thought and freedom of choice. It is, as one teacher 
said, "the only secure foundation for universal morality." A society 
in which its members cannot have a say in the election of its 
President can never be a brotherly society. It may be a regimented 
body, but it can never be a body of seekers after truth.

In his Inaugural Address (February 1953), N. Sri Ram wrote: "The 
Society is even already a unique organization. There are so many 
National Societies, each autonomous. Each Lodge, each member is 
autonomous ? or should be. There is freedom for each and all, and 
there ought to be also a complete openness of mind. But how are these 
Sections and Lodges held together? Not by rules and constitution. 
What is to prevent their breaking away and declaring their 
independence, as did the various parts of Alexander's empire after he 
passed away? The only thing that holds this world-wide organization 
is the life which flows through the Society and the response which 
the members all over the world make in their freedom to the impact of 
that life." 

Pedro Oliveira

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