Organisation of Auroville
An amusing definition occurs to me: a divine anarchy. But the world will not understand. Men must become conscious of their psychic being and organize themselves spontaneously, without fixed rules and laws - that is the ideal.For this, one must be in contact with one's psychic being, one must be guided by it an the ego's authority and influence must disappear.
The Mother on the organization of Auroville
There will be no politics
There will be no politics.
The town will be directed by a Municipal Council, a committee of technicians, headed (in order to avoid any arbitrariness) by two people in authority who are no longer imprisoned by the mind, who possess true knowledge.
Any regulations will be as liberal as possible and very flexible. Rules should arise according to the requirements. Plasticity and swiftness are needed in order to keep up with world-movements, so as not to fall behind the universal progress.
Truth is a totality, not exclusion.
Future man will not be an intellectual.The rules of life within the city should comply with those of the country.
A sort of plan or general map
- ...And everyone classifies himself, by himself, according to his own receptivity and the quality of that receptivity - or else his refusal or incapacity."
All degrees are there, of course. When it's a refusal or incapacity, then the person flees BY HIMSELF, saying, 'They're fools, they are trying to do something impossible and unrealizable.' (I know many such people, they think they have superior intelligences.) But even to place themselves, it's people themselves who will do it... [Y.] came with the idea of a hierarchy. I said, 'Yes, everything is always in a hierarchy, especially all conscious individuals, but not out of any arbitrary will: it's people themselves who spontaneously take their place without knowing it, the place they must have. It's not,' I told her, 'it's not a decision, we don't want categories: this category, that category, and so this person will go here, that person will go there - all that,' I said, 'is mental constructions, it's worthless!' The true thing is that NATURALLY, according to his own receptivity, his own capacity, his inner mission, everyone takes up the post which in the hierarchy he truly and spontaneously occupies, without any decision.What can be done to make the organization easier is a sort of plan or general map, so that everyone need not build his position but will find it ready for him - that's all.
The current situation
The March 2015 Auroville Retreat saw fresh energy from youth and adults toward better integration of Auroville youth and youth concerns in the decision-making bodies of Auroville.
Auroville's territorial outline as a model for its administrative structure, by Christoph
To render AV's organisation a bit less weird - presently the divine anarchy reigns in its infernal mess version - ;) - here is an attempt to do something fundamental about this situation proposing a hierarchical governance system that is based on AV's territorial outline and on a cybernetic circle between maintenance, monitoring and development.
Whatever AV’s internal organization might look like, it will have inevitably some kind of a structure: a framework establishing a hierarchy for the institutions and defining specific areas of work and responsibility. Once the structure is in place, the various institutions can be set up and eventually methods envisaged that regulate membership in these groups.
The problem is to come up with a structure that is not just a more or less arbitrary and artificial concept, but something that stems from within Av and that could embody both Av's spirit and its' ground realities. This quest for a somehow “indigenous” structure can be resolved quite easily by taking Av's territorial outline – a center surrounded by five zones – as a model for the structure of its administrative system. In this way it's Av itself that gives the structure for a simple, hierarchical and over-all framework for the management of all its affairs. Since the territory is structured into a center, a residential, an industrial, an international, a cultural and a green zone, likewise all activities of Av can be structured in these six areas of activities that are coordinated by a center. The thus resulting administrative system not only covers the different territorial areas of the city but simultaneously organizes also all the different types of activities. A system built according to this model is pretty simple since it consists basically of six groups – a residential-, an industrial-, an international-, a cultural- and a green-group, all coordinated by the central core-group.
The management group at the center is taking care of the overall coordination of the whole, while the five “sector”-groups are taking care of the functioning of the five different areas of activities and of the five different territorial zones. On the grass root level there is lots of freedom to start spontaneously activities, ensuring thus the right of free grouping of the residents. In fact there is space for a virtually infinite variety of groups engaged in work, which might pop up and sometimes also perish, while the managing groups on the sectors and the centre are permanent institutions guaranteeing the stability of the system.
This system of administration provides also a naturally structured hierarchy of authority: each spontaneously formed work-group, unit, service or activity has its primary reference point in the specific sector group where the activity operates or where its work relates to, while the five sector groups have their natural focal point in the core group. The discussions and the decisions will flow in both directions: from the bottom to the top and from the top to the bottom, but whatever issue might pop up, it will find immediately its proper place to be dealt with.
Maintenance, development, and monitoring groups
Since organizing any activity (be it a unit, a projects or a service) involves always three quite different tasks: the day-to-day-running, the improvement and thirdly the evaluation of the activity, it seems natural and suitable to split up the administrative groups accordingly into a maintenance, a development and a monitoring group. The monitoring groups would be also the proper place for discussing and deciding upon on conflict and controversy. The division of all the six main administrative groups (residential, industrial, international, cultural, greenbelt- and core-group) into maintenance-, development- and monitoring-groups aims to ensure transparency, balance and control of powers. This feature recalls the traditional division of political powers into executive, legislative and jurisdiction and resembles the functioning of self-regulating systems ('cybernetic circles') in physics and biology.
Concerning the method of how to find suitable members for serving administrative office, Av's history shows quite evidently that the persons fit to manage emerge always in their specific work place, where they become quite naturally the leaders of their work groups. Becoming a “head" of a work-group should qualify for becoming a candidate for the sector-group in which the activity relates to. Consequently, having been (s)elected into a sector-group should qualify for becoming a candidate for the core groups. This “flow of people from the bottom to the top” ensures that only persons which have proven their ability to work, to create, to motivate, to guide and to unify in the day-to-day work will arrive eventually the management groups. This method of (s)election of the members of the decision-making bodies has been a quite common practice in Av since the early days, while there has been always uncertainty about how this upward flow of “heads” or leaders should be institutionalized.
While public elections usually bring about propaganda and manipulation and are thus an obstacle for talented persons to emerge, there is nevertheless the need to endow the members of decision making groups with the legitimating power of the approval of the residents. Since the members of the administrative groups are representing areas of work - and not people and their opinions - the formation of a caste of “professional” politicians that is interested mainly in maintaining and increasing personal power and wealth, should be possibly avoided. Maybe it might be appropriate that the members of the sector-groups are being elected by the residents, while the membership in the core groups could be decided through a combination of the residents’ vote and the recommendations of the sector-groups. Furthermore it might be feasible that the (s)elected members of the administrative groups split up themselves into their respective departments of maintenance, development and monitoring, allowing the persons (s)elected to decide among themselves who is going to be part of which department.
The administrative system derived from AV’s territorial division into six sectors establishes accordingly a residential-, industrial-, international-, cultural-, greenbelt- and a core-group. These administrative organs are taking care simultaneously of the different areas of the territory and the various areas of activities, guaranteeing an all-inclusive internal organization based on areas of work. The division of the groups into maintenance-, development-, monitoring- departments provides for a balanced division of powers and creates self-regulating circle for continuous adjustment and improvement.
Since this system derives from AV's territorial structure, it is quite self-evident and as easy to legitimate as it is easy to explain why there are institutions like an international group or a core development group.
Groups organizing activities on the grass-root level can be set-up freely and spontaneously in autonomy according to the need of the situation, giving each individual the right to join, to leave or to start an activity. The candidates of the residential-, industrial-, international-, cultural-, greenbelt-groups could be found through a selection process among the members of the various work-groups on the ground level. Candidates for these intermediate decision-making bodies are necessarily members of one or more work units, where they had given prove of their capacity of management in the actual day-to-day work. These natural candidates are (s)elected into their respective sector group by an electorate that might consist of the entire residents. The candidates for the core groups are to be found among the members of the sector groups, and the process of selection could involve both the Resident's Assembly and the sector-groups making sure that only particularly competent candidates are put into office.
This administrative system leads to a total of 18 management groups: the five sector groups and the core group multiplied by their three departments of maintenance, development and monitoring, and it covers not only the entire territory, but at the same time also every existing or future activity, be it an unit, a service, a project or whatever.
Now you might say, sounds all very nice and maybe this is a good system and maybe we should give it a try, but what to do with all our administrative groups we have set up meanwhile in all these years? We cannot just forget about them and start an entirely new system from the scratch. And what about those groups which have been mentioned in the Foundation Act or have been set up by the Governing Board, like Famc, Wc, L'Avenir, etc?
In fact, the eventual implementation of this new system will have to be done carefully and gradually in a transition period, in which basically all the present administrative groups will either dissolve into the new groups, or will disappear or will become subgroups of the new groups.
Just a few examples: 'L'Avenir' equals 'Core development', 'Av-Council' could be very well become 'Core Monitoring', 'Famc' and 'Wc 'could merge into 'Core Maintenance'. The 'housing group' would split into 'Residential development group' concerning all newly planned housing projects - obviously under the general coordination of 'Core development' - whereas the management of existing accommodations would fall into the realm of 'Residential Maintenance'. Last not least, 'Residential Monitoring' would keep an eye on what's going on and would give suggestions and advice for improvements.
Obviously there might be better ways to organize Av's administration, and we all are looking forward to see some practical innovative and attractive proposals, but this system should work pretty fine.
- MCW03, XIII, p. 225, 28.12.1972
- Gazette Aurovilienne, 19.8.1966
- Mother's Agenda, VII, 1993, 11.10.1967
- Voices of Auroville Youth