Aurovillage 19 A
Updated: Feb 23, 2022
This post is in two parts, as it has become very long. In part B, I will dissect the “update” that our victorious Aurovillagers have added to their online petition. In this part A, I will give some more background so that it is easier to understand the enormous absurdities of their claims.
As I have said in former posts, the Aurovillage strategy to remain in power is twofold: a legal battle to get some kind of official approval of their ownership of Auroville (coming with the right to rule over it), and a media misinformation war, to make the public opinion believe that black is white, that they are the victims and the government is the bad guy. If this wrong perception becomes the dominant narrative, it just might influence the judges.
The online petition is part of the second arm of their fight: getting a lot of “support” for their very touching but completely false story.
The legal fight is at the moment only about cutting trees and damaging “forests”. They have not dared to go to court over the Auroville Foundation Act yet. That will come when the tree cutting case is lost. What needs to be understood is that as long as nothing is happening (or allowed to happen) in Auroville, THEY WIN. It doesn't matter for what reason nothing happens: every day that the mess is not cleaned up, that development is stalled, that they are not kicked from their thrones, is another day in which they can convince themselves that what they believe is real and will continue to be real.
The court case in the National Green Tribunal has done exactly that: it has stalled the work of the clearing of the last stretch of the Right of Way of the Crown Road. They will almost certainly lose the case, but it has bought them already 7 weeks of freezing of the works in Darkali. And most importantly: it bought them hope, and 7 weeks of prolonged cult life.
They are spending all their energy to find ways to make the cult live on. Find ways to stall, to freeze, to “pause” the total collapse of their Aurovillage.
An action that was started immediately in that famous first week of December, was to have the Residents' Assembly “decide” that we needed to stop the works. They know that words have huge power, and in a disinformation war, you better choose them carefully (which they do, in every publication, we'll go through that in part B). So they did not want to use the word “block” or “stop”, but just use the sweet and inoffensive word “pause”. Isn't it very rational and harmless to ask for a “pause”? Who could object to a little “pause”? Just a little break, a little breather. Let's have a “pause”. Just for a decade or two. Remember the scene where the witch gives the apple to Snow White? We're on that level of sweet and innocent here. It's like the word “temporary” in Auroville. The Aspiration huts were “temporary”, intended for 2 years. They stood and were lived in for 40 years. The “temporary” permissions to live on the Crown or other roads or sensitive areas were also given for 2 years. After more than 30 years, people now need to be forced by authority to honour the agreements they themselves made. So they held an “RAD”, a Residents' Assembly Decision-making process. The details of this “activity”were dealt with in the last post already. What is important is that they now want to force the Governing Board to actually obey their dictate, and “pause” the works indefinitely. Why? Because the Residents' Assembly, according to them, decides what happens in Auroville. The three Aurovillagers that are part of the Working Committee (the fourth Auroville Foundation body created in the Foundation Act) have written to the Secretary that “the RA is an entity created by the Auroville Foundation Act and it is an authority like the Governing Board and the International Advisory Council. It is not a body that has only an advisory position and its view according to the spirit of the Act should be taken into consideration.” This is the opening shot of the battle to alter the Auroville Foundation Act. They make a claim that is clearly not supported by the text written in the Act. In fact, they claim the opposite of what is written. As explained in episode 17, the Act gives a few “functions” to the Residents' Assembly, and no powers at all. None of the functions entails any decision making. The closest we get to some semblance of decision power is the option to formulate the Master Plan, which was done twenty years ago. The Governing Board took the formulated plan, had it reviewed and approved and gazetted. So that function is now void: it's done already. However, even there the Residents' Assembly did not have any real power: the Governing Board could have decided to change it fully or disregard whatever the Residents' Assembly proposed, if they had found it to be unacceptable.
The other functions are advisory to the Governing Board, as consultants for the Governing Board, or by following the rules decided by the Governing Board. To claim that that is “an authority like the Governing Board” is a very bold lie. Because if it is not a lie, then the only alternate explanation is that they are too dumb to understand the Auroville Foundation Act.
Now, in order to make sure that you don't just have to take my word for it, here is the actual text, from the horse's mouth. Yes, the Auroville website actually has the whole text online: https://auroville.org/contents/540. I strongly recommend anyone to read it fully, so that they can see and understand what kind of nonsense is being said about a rather simple legal text. I also very much recommend to start with reading the actual words, before you get into imagining what magical thing its “spirit” might be. I'm sure we'll hear a lot more about this spirit from the Aurovillagers in the coming months anyway.
If you don't have time to read the full Act, then read only Chapter 3. And if you don't have time to read that whole chapter, then here are the relevant parts: 17. Powers and functions of the Governing Board.—The powers and functions of the Governing Board shall be—
to promote the ideals of Auroville and to coordinate activities and services of Auroville in consultation with the Residents' Assembly for the purposes of cohesion and integration of Auroville;
to review the basic policies and the programmes of Auroville and give necessary directions for the future development of Auroville;
to accord approval to the programmes of Auroville drawn up by the Residents' Assembly;
to monitor and review the activities of Auroville and to secure proper management of the properties vested in the Foundation under section 6 and other properties relatable to Auroville;
to prepare a master-plan of Auroville in consultation with the Residents' Assembly and to ensure development of Auroville as so planned;
to authorise and coordinate fund-raising for Auroville and to secure proper arrangements for receipts and disbursement of funds for Auroville.
19. Functions of Residents’ Assembly.—(1) The Residents' Assembly shall perform such functions as are required by this Act and shall advise the Governing Board in respect of all activities relating to the residents of Auroville.
(2) In particular, and without prejudice to the foregoing powers, the Residents' Assembly may—
allow the admission or cause the termination of persons in the register of residents in accordance with the regulations made under section 32 [section 32 gives the Governing Board the power to make the rules for admission or termination in the register of residents];
organise various activities relating to Auroville;
formulate the master plan of Auroville and make necessary recommendations for the recognition of organisations engaged in activities relatable to Auroville for the approval of the Governing Board;
recommend proposals for raising funds for Auroville for the approval of the Governing Board.
3) For the purpose of carrying of its functions, the Residents' Assembly may establish such committees as it may consider necessary which shall represent it in relation to the functions to be performed by the Governing Board. This is not difficult to understand, even though it's still a form of legalese. It's all clear: the Governing Board has powers, the Residents' Assembly has functions. The Governing Board authorises and coordinates, gives directions and approval, monitors and reviews, secures proper management, and – oh joy – ensures the development of Auroville as planned! In a bit of a contrast, the Residents' Assembly advises the Governing Board, may allow admissions and terminations (according to the rules set by the Governing Board), may organise activities (and god knows we're good at that!), may recommend fundraising proposals, may make recommendations for organisations to be recognised, and – oh joy – may formulate the Master Plan! I ask each one to draw their own conclusion about the above statement of the three members of the Working Committee, and see if it is a truthful description of what we just read. Their precious “Spirit of the Act” seems so far rather absent. No doubt they will inform us soon about its whereabouts.
It is in the same light and understanding that all their statements must be read. Everybody can make claims, but do they stand up to scrutiny? Are they backed up by actual facts?
Their main propaganda is not on social media, where comments might show that they are not speaking for the whole of Auroville, and that they are making statements that might not be true. The petition of which I spoke at the beginning, was created very quickly after they had suddenly been ignored as rulers of Aurovillage. Please check the statements for yourself, and give attention to the wording. Words are very important, with the choice of words, a lot is being suggested that is not literally said. That is ALWAYS how propaganda functions: what is being suggested is the real message. What is being shown is only the vehicle to drive that message home. [ASIDE: Here is a little information that should be common knowledge but is widely unknown: the “inventor” of modern propaganda is Edward Bernays. He was the “double” nephew of Siegmund Freud. Freud and his sister had married a woman and a man who were also sister and brother. Their child was Edward Bernays, who was then a nephew of Siegmund Freud both on his mother's side and on his father's side.
Bernays moved to the USA, and with his psychological understanding, was able to change the world forever. He started applying subliminal messages in advertisement, which appears to have been rather dull “before Bernays”: companies or sellers would mainly boast about the qualities of their products and claim how beneficial they were. “After Bernays”, advertisement would be about pictures of scantily clad women, role-models, suggestive situations, and all kinds of things that make us react animal-like: it is supposed to rouse greed, lust, hunger, all basic instincts that should normally have no part in buying a product. Bernays' biggest influence was probably in the political application of propaganda. He proclaimed openly that a small “smart” (read: shrewd and devious) elite has to rule the dumb and numb masses. So-called for the benefit of all, but clearly much more to the benefit of the elite. WWII gave the word “propaganda” a very negative connotation, and Bernays “rebranded” it as “PR”. Yes, “public relations” is a euphemism for ordinary propaganda: influencing people's actions by influencing their thoughts and understanding of reality.]
In part B we're going to take a look at the famous petition that our distressed Aurovillagers had launched, in order to somehow have an “argument” that if many people believe something, it must be true. It is by now signed by more than 50,000 good-willing persons, and we have no space for correction or commenting where we can inform all these people that they have been fooled by a cult.
The number of the signatories is quite symbolic. Auroville is meant for a population of 50,000 people. The Aurovillagers have always claimed that it is an absurd and ridiculous amount of residents for Auroville. Not manageable. What they mean of course is that if we need so many people here, the fact that they occupy vast pieces of land all by themselves is going to become very, very clear, and unjustifiable. Because everybody else will have to live in small flats. The whole idea of a city is against their doctrine. So the whole idea of 50,000 people is also not acceptable to them. So it needs to be very difficult to join Auroville. Many who have been called to Auroville over the past decades can testify to that. After 50 years, we're only a meagre 3,000, and that's because they had to let SOME people in. Now they have the “support” of 50,000 people who do not live here and have no idea about the reality of what living in Auroville is like. 50,000 people they could trick into believing their sad ecovillage sob story. 50,000 declaring “I support you”, totally ignorant of what they are in reality supporting. Deceived with the simple message “The government bulldozes our ecovillage”. That's literally all these signatories understand of what is happening here. How could you blame them? They have no way of knowing what is really going on. It is a textbook example of how you can fool people with next to nothing. Edward Bernays would be jealous. Or maybe proud.
[To be continued in part B]