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Transparency in International President Election - A suggestion

Nov 03, 2011 10:42 PM
by MKR

In fifty days from now, the next General Council meeting will take place in
Adyar. TS was setup as a democratic body and the International President
and National Secretaries are elected by members; the former directly by
members around the world and the latter by the members in the Sections.

Last election of the International President and the subsequent events,
especially the attempt by a handful of Section leaders led by the leader in
the USA ultra secretly tried to seize control of the President by
disenfranchising all members in the International President Election,
showed a very serious Achilles heel in the current general process of
administration and the conduct of elections.

While the organization was supposed to be a democratic one, great secrecy
surrounds its operation both at the International and National level. This
trend developed and fine tuned over the years after the passing of the
Founder President Olcott. One of the Inner Founders foresaw the great risk
in this development and warned Annie Besant in the famous 1900 letter how
unnecessary secrecy has dealt a death blow to many organizations. This
warning was deliberately kept as a great secret by all administrations
until the full unredacted letter was published in 1987 by the Eclectic

We all know that the current International President is 88 years old and
even though she is in excellent health, statistical probability of a person
of her age continuing in excellent health is rather low. So no one should
be surprised if we wake up one morning to find the election process of her
successor has started. Let us look at the current election process from an
ordinary memberâs point of view.

During the last election, it is rather interesting how I found out about
the candidates. One day I got a form letter in snail mail from the leader
in the US discouraging me not to vote for the sitting president on account
of her alleged poor health. Till I got this letter, I was in total
darkness. Some who did not get the letter learnt about the candidates when
they received their ballot in the mail.

I also had no idea who was/were nominated by the President of the American
Section and the nominations from other Section leaders and General Council

The only group which was in total darkness until the receipt of the above
election letter or the ballot is ordinary dues paying members like you and
me. Those who are informally connected, knew about the nominees and in all
probability were worked on to vote for a particular candidate. (In Ernest
Woodâs book âIs This Theosophy?â there is an account of how it was carried
out when he ran for the office.) Taking ordinary members by surprise works
to benefit the organizational leaders since they are ahead of the game and
in all likely hood  have been actively working on the members of the other
related/parallel organizations through the informal connections.

In all the discussions during the last election and those following
elections, there was no mention of how this fine tuned process favors those
in power. The current process might have defeated the sitting president by
the votes of misinformed surprised members who might have believed the
allegations of poor health of the sitting president. Thanks to the Internet
forums outside the control of the organizational leaders; members
world-wide learnt about true facts and acted on them and reelected the
sitting president.

There has been much talk about the need to change the International Rules.
The changes, while ostensibly to improve them, one cannot rule out the
likely hood of the changes in reality may reduce the say of the members
world wide in the election.

In fifty days, the next meeting of the General Council will take place in
Adyar. Members do not know what is the agenda of the meeting. The agenda is
super secret as far as the dues paying members are concerned. The Section
leaders and their inner circle surely are aware of the agenda. It is time
to bring transparency to the election process.

Bringing transparency to the election process can be done without changing
any of the rules. The leaders should be motivated to take members into
confidence. Here are the steps that can be taken easily.

1. There is a deadline for nominations. The day after the deadline, each
Section can announce their nominations. Internet should be used to make the
info immediately available to the Section members. Currently Governments
and all organizations use Internet for quick and prompt dissemination of

2. Once nominations are scrutinized and validated and candidate list
finalized, the nomination details and candidates who will compete in the
election can be announced immediately at Adyar. It can be immediately
broadcast to the world using Internet.

3. The above will allow all members to evaluate the candidates and decide
whom they want to vote for. Every member - ordinary and those belonging to
inner circles will be treated on the level. (True Brotherhood in action.)

I hope some of the active General Council members who were clamoring for
changes in the Rules see the fairness of the above and discuss it in the
next General Council meeting and come to a common understanding so that at
the time of next election, all members would be treated fairly.


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