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Rajneeshi Community

Thande

The Great and Powerful Wizard, Opnohop Moy
Published by SLP
#3
Good article.

On a point of pedantry, though, it was the Branch Davidians at Waco, not the Branch Dravidians. A Branch Dravidian would presumably be a speaker of one of the smaller branches of the Dravidian languages, although I'm not sure which particular branch it would be.
I always make that same mistake and I don't know why.
 

Agentdark

Member
Published by SLP
#6
Good article.

On a point of pedantry, though, it was the Branch Davidians at Waco, not the Branch Dravidians. A Branch Dravidian would presumably be a speaker of one of the smaller branches of the Dravidian languages, although I'm not sure which particular branch it would be.
The funny thing is I often even here people call it Dravidians in speech which is where it gets jumbled in my head.

This is one of those things where you go "no, NO, that was made up, it can't be real" but real, it is! The timeline horrors of this cult being the new civilisation post-nuke doesn't bear thinking about
Honestly of all the cults I will talk about I feel that the Rajneeshi's had the greatest chance of having a real functional government (well, them and other Ill get to later). But yes, it would be terrifying and surreal had they ended up being the nucleaous of a survivor state in the Northwest.
It does definitely look like they could have been able to essentially take the county over- they were already 10% or so of the population at the height after all.
From my research to me it was almost a matter of they had to act to early. Had they had more time to try to launch a county-wide takeover, IE another 2 years or so I think they almost certainly would have ended up with control over the County Board.


I am currently debating which Cult to do next. I have one on Adi Da submitted that will go up next week. If the Pandemic Allows it I plan to drive down to the Theosophical Society Campus for a bunch of "from my camera" photos. But we will see how that turns out
 

Agentdark

Member
Published by SLP
#8
Huh, weirdly enough the incorporation was recognised as legal, after the Rajneeshi's had departed. Imagine if another group had swooped in and bought it up at auction (there was only one bidder)...it wouldn't even have to be another cult.
Man I didnt think of it during the article, but if the church of scientology had realized this was an option...

Seriously an interesting point. Perhaps this gets bought up by a tech company or something.
 
#9
Man I didnt think of it during the article, but if the church of scientology had realized this was an option...

Seriously an interesting point. Perhaps this gets bought up by a tech company or something.
You mentioning Scientology reminded me of the Fountainhead Filibuster (granted they weren't the ones building a city there, but still)...maybe a bunch of 'patriots' are the ones to pool their resources. I seem to recall there were actual cases where Neo-Nazis moved into a community and tried to take control of its local government (I think they voted to disincorporate to stop it).

I could see a silicon valley techbro or two buying it and trying to create a new company town.

Or maybe some more idealistic types try to build more conventional utopian planned community? It'd be rather ironic if a socialist planned community sprung up from the ashes of Rajneeshpuram.

In the case of more fringe groups, I'm not sure where they'd get the seed money - it sold for $4.5 million IOTL, but it was valued a lot higher and there was only one bidder, the Connecticut General Life Insurance Company - I guess they could buy it from the CGLIC, they sold it on in 1991 at a loss. I don't know whether it would still count as a city, legally speaking at that point, though.

Regardless of whoever would move in to take it over, there would be a lot of friction with the existing local community, since (for obvious reasons) they have a lot of good reasons to be suspicious of new neighbours.

For more fantastical stories, Rajneeshpuram might be a good base camp for time-travellers (in the sense of an organised group, not just one or two people), assuming you have the money to throw around, for the aforementioned reasons.
 

BClick

One Million Americans
Location
Little Beirut
Pronouns
He/him
#10
I wrote a short AH piece about a (slightly) more successful Rajneesh invasion a few years back. The OTL story is mostly a fun historical curiosity, but if it really blew up there could definitely be longer-term consequences.

One part of the story that gets overlooked is that opposition to Rajneeshpuram's incorporation was based on practical concerns as well as the locals' distaste for the neo-sannyasins' lifestyle. The kind of intensive agriculture the cult was trying to promote really wasn't suited to the region (which is very dry and more appropriate for ranching) and would have put serious strain on the water table. That's why 1000 Friends of Oregon, the land-use organization, got involved in litigating the incorporation. Rajneeshee victory might have been an environmental disaster and also could have chipped away at the state's land-use planning system.

I never saw this aspect mentioned in Wild Wild Country, the Netflix documentary, which was well-made but a little too generous to the cult. Portraying the locals as a bunch of suspicious bigots who only disliked the Rajneeshees because they dressed funny is both-sidesing a pretty black-and-white situation.

From my research to me it was almost a matter of they had to act to early. Had they had more time to try to launch a county-wide takeover, IE another 2 years or so I think they almost certainly would have ended up with control over the County Board.
Too early and too aggressive. The cult's members were wealthy and well-connected, and they had friends in the Oregon establishment when they first settled there; if they'd waited until Neil Goldschmidt became Governor they'd even have a sympathizer running the state. Sheela's vitriolic TV appearances and the cult's violent expansionism are what drove away public sympathy. I own a vintage anti-Rajneesh pin that says I AM NOT AN OREGON PIG - made in response to Sheela's denunciations of local "intolerance."

You mentioning Scientology reminded me of the Fountainhead Filibuster (granted they weren't the ones building a city there, but still)...maybe a bunch of 'patriots' are the ones to pool their resources. I seem to recall there were actual cases where Neo-Nazis moved into a community and tried to take control of its local government (I think they voted to disincorporate to stop it).
This happened in Alpine County, California, in the 70s - the ringleaders made a similar mistake by acting too quickly and aggressively, and ended up getting arrested for electoral fraud. A few years earlier, LGBT separatists had tried something similar. Maybe not too surprising given Alpine County's extremely small population and California being a constant fountainhead of radical sociopolitical movements.
 

BClick

One Million Americans
Location
Little Beirut
Pronouns
He/him
#14
You know, this reminds me of the SSPX takeover of the area around St. Mary's, KS, and the tensions there with more mainstream and conservative Catholic and other elements. And unlike in Oregon, the settlers even succeeded in sending someone to the State Senate.
Really interesting stuff - I found this article about St Marys, is it accurate to what you know about it?