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TS Elections - Policy of Secrecy

May 10, 2008 11:39 AM
by MKR

In the International Election, this is the first time in TS history, a
sitting President is challenged in the election. Is this something that
could have been foreseen and possibly avoided? Yes.

What contributed to the current situation is the unnecessary secrecy in
which administration has been operating for a long time. The 1800 Letter's
warning to Annie Besant against unnecessary secrecy in another context has
finally come to roost.

In this age of Internet communication, for all democratic operations,
transparency is the built-in protection against any action by those in power
from making changes in the system detriment to the rank and file members.
All important work is done by the rank and file workers and keeping
operational policy details from them is not in their interests. It is not
difficult to see how these changes are made to perpetuate the direct or
indirect control of those in power or was in power.

The origins of the current problem can be traced to a little noticed change
made in the election procedure in 2006. I do not know how many members knew
about it. No member has access to the minutes of the GC meeting where policy
decisions are taken.

In the past elections, I read that the ballot used to have the just list of
names of candidates, just like the ballots in political elections. No resume
of candidates, no names of the nominators.

In 2006, I am told, a change was adopted by GC to add the names of
nominators to the ballot. The idea behind this is to influence the voters in
a very subtle way because many may not have known anything about the
candidates. By associating the nominators on the ballot, may new members,
especially the at-large members who may never have any contact with
candidates, will be more inclined to support the candidate supported by the
names that are familiar. At least in the TS in USA, over a period of years
it has been proven to be very effective in preventing anyone not supported
by existing or former leaders from getting elected to offices; thus a close
knit circle of people continued to exert their influence and control.

If the minutes of the GC was published (not the abbreviated ones which
discloses extremely limited info), someone may have asked who is behind the
changes and why? Since the minutes are kept secret and no information is
disclosed to the members, no one could have seen the red-flag. Continued
lack of transparency can only lead to a lot more problems in the future and
they could be detrimental to the interests of the members.

Is anyone thinking of this issue? Until and unless this issue is addressed,
any fantastic visions of the future with use of technology is not going to
help in either administering TS or broadcasting Theosophy. They will just be
continuance of old policies in new clothes.


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