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Saturday, 22 December 2012
Life After the CoS series - Mike Goldstein PDF Print E-mail

Part 4: Independent Field vs. CofS

A war raged between the independent field and the CofS. I kept in good communication with other independent delivery facilities, but I didn't get involved in these battles. I had engaged in my share of skirmishes with the suppressive elements of the CofS while I was a member. Now that I was out of the CofS, I was no longer interested in having any involvement with them.

I could certainly understand the field's upsets and had sympathy for their cause. But when I'd been a member of the CofS, I fought with the purposes of correcting the organization and being allowed to do my job. Failing to accomplish these purposes, I left that group and continued my work elsewhere. I had no interest in wasting my time further with the CofS.

I kept Survival Services away from what I considered to be unproductive distractions that didn't forward our current activities. In or around 1985, many independent centers and their clients were launching their own offensive against the CofS. They had teamed up with a lawyer by the name of Michael Flynn, an old nemesis of the CofS. They were putting together a class action suit and were trying to get as many independent people and groups involved as they could.

People working with the lawsuit contacted Survival Services with a heavy push for our involvement. We were told that the CofS would eventually be taking legal action against all the independent centers. And, since we could never hope to fight the CofS alone with our limited resources, we would have to join together with the other centers in this class action suit. Only together could we survive, because individually, we'd surely be destroyed.

Feeling isolated and scared, many members of my staff met with me, asking what we were going to do. I was certainly concerned about our survival, but there were points in the lawsuit that didn't sit well with me. For example, the suit sought back wages from the CofS. When in the Sea Org, we were only paid $10 per week, which was far below minimum wage. It was true that I only made $10 a week, but I had gone along with that while in the Sea Org. I could have left because of this, but I chose to stay. I didn't feel right asking for more money now. The only reason that I would do such a thing would be to keep Survival Services from going under.

As I paced around the room, with members of my staff waiting for a decision, I felt as if I was between a rock and a hard space. All of the sudden, something quite amazing occurred. In mid-stride while pacing, I seemed to "go somewhere else". In this other place I was not confused, and calmly assessed the situation.

I knew that getting involved with this class action suit was not right for me. True, my refusal to go along with the lawsuit could mean that Survival Services might not survive. LRH use to take actions that on their own merit were unethical, but put in the context of "the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics", these actions were justified. This was just another way of saying, "the end justifies the means", a common justification for all sorts of atrocities committed throughout history.

All of the sudden, I knew that the statement, "the end justifies the means", was just not true. The end does not necessarily justify the means. If I had to compromise my integrity in order to keep Survival Services afloat, then Survival Services should not continue. Let it die. At that instant, all my confusion was gone, and I knew exactly what I had to do.

An instant later, I knew that Survival Services would be fine.

When I turned my attention back to my staff in the meeting, I realized that no time had passed during this strange incident. The entire event had occurred during the time it took for one of my feet to hit the floor! I told the staff that we would not be participating in this lawsuit and why. I then assured them that Survival Services would not go out of business. My staff accepted my decision.

It turned out that Michael Flynn left the lawsuit after the CofS paid him off for other legal suits he had brought against them. The class action suit was later dropped. It is interesting to note that all of the centers involved with the lawsuit eventually disappeared, and only Survival Services remained.

During our operation as an independent center, we didn't get a lot of flack from the CofS; certainly not as much as other independent centers. A few spies were sent into the center, but they were easy enough to spot. There were a couple of break-in attempts that were foiled without incident.

When the form of our independent center ended, it was not because of anything done by the CofS. It was a necessary evolution, which I will explain in a later series.



 
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