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Towards Democracy League

A movement created at Krotona, Ojai, California, in early 1920. It had as its object “The promulgation and application of the Ideals of Democracy in the Theosophical Society (TS) and the Body Politic.” Some of the League members were in disagreement with certain aspects of the administration of the America Section and considerable disharmony occurred leading to the removal from office of a number of TS members. These included, The National Secretary, Foster Bailey and Alice Evans (afterwards Alice Bailey).

Its establishment was announced by C. J. Vliet of Hollywood, California, in January 1920. He stated that:

In order that the American Section TS may better accomplish the important task allotted to it by the illustrious founders of our Society . . . it is obvious that the TS must take its place with those who are striving towards world democracy.

To this end a band of harmonious and constructively inclined F.T.S. at Krotona (Hollywood) are endeavoring to promote that brotherly tolerance which expresses itself through a spiritually democratic form of government and for this purpose have founded a league, particulars of which are appended.

The object of the League was to be achieved by:

1. Publishing “lectures by Annie Besant and other leaders of democracy.”

2. Using the services of F.T.S. as lecturers. Membership was one dollar at the time of its inception.

The year being post-WWI, the League attempted to bring forth questions that the members perceived as demanding the immediate attention of the TS. These included:

1. The neutrality of the TS.

2. A revision of the By-Laws of the American Section TS.

3. The position of the American Section TS in regard to Krotona.

The issue raised here was the authority imposed by the Esoteric School (E.S.) of Theosophy. This is discussed in Alice Bailey’s autobiography. She mentions distress caused by the claims by the members of the E.S., their perceived mediocrity, and her anger over the claim by the Secretary of the E.S., that no one could be a disciple of the Master of the Wisdom unless that person was notified by Annie Besant. This was the period that Bailey was said to have made her first contact with The Tibetan (November 1919), although she considered herself a disciple of Master K. H. (Koot Hoomi) well before that time.

At the Annual Convention of the Theosophical Society in America held in Chicago in July 1920, the League was condemned and L. W. Rogers removed three heads of departments at Krotona. After this serious setback, the membership of the League merged with certain members to form what was known as “The Committee of Fourteen Hundred.” This name was derived from the number of votes cast opposing the then administration. The votes supporting the administration numbered 2,100. The League ceased to exist sometime after that Convention and the Baileys left The Theosophical Society; they then formed the Arcane School which still maintains a lovely meditation center at the Eastern end of the Ojai valley in southern California.

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