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Fwd: General Anthroposophical Society expels 44 members of "L iving the Christmas Conference"

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  • Robert Mason
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    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 16, 2007
      --- News from NNA <news-owner@...> wrote:

      > Date: Fri, 16 Mar 2007 10:22:32 +0000
      > From: News from NNA <news-owner@...>
      > Subject: General Anthroposophical Society expels 44 members of
      > "L
      > iving the Christmas Conference"
      > To: robertsmason_99@...
      >
      > (Mailing list information, including unsubscription
      > instructions,
      > is located at the end of this message.)
      > __
      >
      > General Anthroposophical Society expels 44 members of “Living
      > the Christmas
      > Conference”
      >
      >
      >
      > DORNACH (NNA) – The General Anthroposophical Society (GAS) at
      > the Goetheanum
      > in Dornach, Switzerland, has announced the expulsion of 44 of
      > its members
      > because of their concurrent membership of the “Living the
      > Christmas
      > Conference” grouping. The expulsions will take effect from the
      > end of the
      > Society’s annual general meeting on 31 March.
      >
      >
      >
      > In a statement published today in the society’s newsletter,
      > “Nachrichten für
      > Mitglieder” (News for Members), the executive council accuses
      > the members of
      > the group of having waged a negative campaign against the GAS
      > which had
      > begun to sap the strength of the society. As a consequence,
      > the council had
      > been forced to act.
      >
      >
      >
      > “In our understanding of anthroposophy and the
      > Anthroposophical Society,
      > differing views are as much to be welcomed as constructive
      > criticism and a
      > culture of dialogue to resolve conflicts,” the statement says.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > “But when negative criticism becomes a matter of principle,
      > when a conflict
      > has lasted for almost twenty years and starts to paralyse the
      > life of the
      > society, then it is our responsibility, as the executive
      > council, to act.
      >
      >
      >
      > “After many years of trying, we no longer see any hope that
      > there might be a
      > possibility of reaching an understanding with the members
      > connected with
      > ‘Living the Christmas Conference’”, the statement adds.
      >
      >
      >
      > The moves to expel the members were initiated before Christmas
      > with a letter
      > inviting them to resign or face expulsion (for full text see
      > the end of this
      > report). At the same time the council offered each individual
      > member
      > concerned the opportunity of a hearing to explain their
      > position.
      >
      >
      >
      > According to GAS spokesman Wolfgang Held, the date when the
      > expulsions take
      > effect at the end of this year’s annual general meeting was
      > deliberately
      > chosen to counter any accusation by the grouping that it was
      > to be silenced
      > before then. This would enable them to have their say once
      > more.
      >
      >
      >
      > A total of 46 letters were sent out, but two members distanced
      > themselves
      > from the splinter group and were therefore not included in the
      > expulsions.
      > Following the hearings, a further letter was sent out on 14
      > March notifying
      > the members of their expulsion.
      >
      >
      >
      > “Living the Christmas Conference” accuses the executive
      > council of failing
      > to produce any concrete evidence against individual members
      > and merely
      > making “unfounded” allegations against the grouping.
      >
      >
      >
      > “In the hearings in January and February 2007, the executive
      > council was
      > unable to show behaviour by any of the members concerned which
      > was in
      > conflict with the tasks and aims of the General
      > Anthroposophical Society,“
      > the grouping says in first response to the expulsions.
      >
      >
      >
      > “On the contrary, the deep connection of the members concerned
      > with the
      > Anthroposophical Society and the impulse of the Christmas
      > Conference clearly
      > emerged in the discussions.”
      >
      >
      >
      > However, the executive council counters that membership of a
      > grouping which
      > attacks the GAS in the destructive and personalised way that
      > “Living the
      > Christmas Conference” has done in itself makes the members
      > liable and shows
      > their support for it: “They are members of an organisation
      > which for 18
      > years has polemicised in publications and on the Internet
      > against the
      > Anthroposophical Society. Some do it at the general assembly,
      > others in
      > other ways. But as long as they are a member of the
      > organisation they have
      > to bear some of the responsibility,” Held said.
      >
      >
      >
      > The statement describes the grouping as an initiative of
      > Werner and Michaela
      > Jordan, who had left the GAS in 1989 and had since then gone
      > about
      > demonising the executive council.
      >
      >
      >
      > The executive council accuses „Living the Christmas
      > Conference“ members of
      > having tried to dominate proceedings at annual general
      > meetings and similar
      > occasions to the detriment of everyone else. Despite
      > representing no more
      > than about 50 members out of 50,000, the group had submitted a
      > majority of
      > motions at such meetings since 1999.
      >
      >
      >
      > Of a total of 57 motions from members put at AGMs of the
      > society from
      > 1999-2006, 36 came from supporters of “Living the Christmas
      > Conference”, 21
      > from all other members.
      >
      >
      >
      > Despite the fact that these many motions and the insistence on
      > votes had led
      > to the necessity of much more formal procedures at these
      > events, it was
      > „Living the Christmas Conference“ which was accusing the
      > executive council
      > of leaving too little time for real dialogue: “The
      > contradiction in such
      > behaviour is just as apparent as the growing disenchantment
      > among the other
      > members with such behaviour,” the statement says.
      >
      >
      >
      > “For many members attendance at the AGMs has simply become an
      > embarrassing
      > experience,” it adds.
      >
      >
      >
      > When the Swiss Anthroposophical Society expelled the members
      > of “Living the
      > Christmas Conference” in 2002, “we still hoped for
      > co-existence and did not
      > take the same decision with regard to their membership of the
      > General
      > Anthroposophical Society.” But their paralysing activity
      > continued despite
      > many attempts at dialogue, the executive council says.
      >
      >
      >
      > A petition, supported by 850 members from Switzerland, had
      > called for the
      > expulsion of the members associated with “Living the Christmas
      > Conference”.
      > Of course there were also other voices who saw things
      > differently or who
      > understandably had fundamental concerns about any expulsions:
      > “We considered
      > and discussed these views and possibilities in detail,” the
      > statement says.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > As a consequence, the executive council will present the
      > following
      > resolution to the AGM at the end of March: “Membership of the
      > General
      > Anthroposophical Society is incompatible with belonging to
      > ‘Living the
      > Christmas Conference - Society for the Preservation of the
      > General
      > Anthroposophical Society of 1923 and 1925’”.
      >
      >
      >
      > Life in the society was being paralysed by the members of the
      > group through
      > their intolerant and formalistic actions. Indeed, the full
      > title of the
      > grouping indicated how they thought themselves in sole
      > possession of the
      > truth, the statement says.
      >
      >
      >
      > The resolution was not intended to exclude people because they
      > held
      > different views, but it was a matter of standing up to the
      > attacks
      > instigated by “Living the Christmas Conference“ on the
      > Anthroposophical
      > Society, the statement concludes.
      >
      >
      >
      > However, the matter is not expected to end there, with further
      > legal action
      > anticipated as a result of the expulsions. “But at least the
      > matter will
      > then have been removed from the body of the Anthroposophical
      > Society and
      > relegated to the sidelines,” Held said.
      >
      >
      >
      > END/nna/cva
      >
      >
      >
      > Full text of letter:
      >
      >
      >
      > Dear Member,
      >
      >
      >
      > The Executive Council of the General Anthroposophical Society
      > recommends
      > that you resign from the Society. Should you do so, we request
      > that you send
      > us your resignation in accordance with Section 5, Clause 1 of
      > the Statutes.
      >
      >
      >
      > Should you not wish to follow our recommendation, the
      > Executive Council
      > intends to expel you from the Society in accordance with
      > Section 5, Clause 2
      > of the Statutes.
      >
      >
      >
      > You have the opportunity to response by 5 January 2007 before
      > such a
      > decision is taken. If you would like a personal hearing,
      > please let us know
      > by the same date.
      >
      > In that event, the hearing would take place at the Goetheanum
      > on 15 or 16
      > January 2007.
      >
      >
      >
      > You belong to a grouping which for some time now, and
      > sometimes in a
      > polemical manner, has attacked the General Anthroposophical
      > Society from
      > outside and burdened it from within.
      >
      >
      >
      > Since 1993, these attacks from without have largely appeared
      > in the
      > periodical “Gelebte Weihnachtstagung” and, since 2002, on the
      > website
      > www.888GOYA.org. In both these places, two persons appear who
      > resigned from
      > the society in 1989 and who have since then attacked it from
      > the outside as
      > important opinion formers. They are Werner and Michaela Jordan
      > from Horgen.
      >
      >
      >
      > The strain on our society from within arises from the
      > excessive number of
      > motions and calls for votes at certain meetings, by which
      > means the grouping
      > is trying to determine the course of the meeting and
      > monopolise the
      > discussion contrary to the intentions of the Executive Council
      > and the
      > majority of the members.
      >
      >
      >
      > We look forward to your response.
      >
      >
      >
      > Yours sincerely,
      >
      >
      >
      > On behalf of the Executive Council
      >
      >
      >
      > Paul Mackay, Dr. Heinz Zimmermann
      >
      >
      >
      > + + + + +
      >
      >
      >
      > Item: 070316-01EN Date: 16 March 2007
      >
      >
      >
      > Copyright 2007 News Network Anthroposophy Limited. All rights
      > reserved. See:
      > www.nna-news.org/copyright/
      >
      >
      >
      > More NNA reports at: www.nna-news.org/en/
      >
      >
      >
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