Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Organizational Forerunners to the RPF.

Organizational Forerunners to the RPF

     During the very period when Hubbard wrote about brainwashing
in the late 1960s, he also established a number of formal
structures within Scientology designed to both punish perceived
deviants whose job performances were deficient and train people
for necessary jobs that the organization needed. Having been at
sea from late 1967 (Atack, 1990: 176-177), Hubbard's punishment
and training programs reflected the needs and conditions of
maritime life. On January 4, 1968, for example, Hubbard created
what he called the "Mud Box Brigade," which was a punishment
assignment to any Sea Org member whom Hubbard determined was "a
freeloader who is loafing on post and drifting with the wind"
(quoted in Hubbard, 1976b: 341). The unsavory jobs involved
cleaning the area where the ship's anchors dragged in mud (the
mud boxes), along with "fuel lines, water lines, bilges, etc."
(quoted in Hubbard, 1976b: 341). These were difficult, dirty, and
somewhat dangerous assignments, but within a few years they would
be taken over by inmates in the RPF's internal punishment
program, the RPF's RPF.
     Certainly by early 1969, Hubbard had in place two training
projects--the Deck Project Force (DPF) and the Pursers Project
Force (PPF), but he abolished them on March 25, 1969 (Hubbard,
1969). Apparently the DPF had trained Sea Org members on various
ship duties, and the PPF presumably trained people in areas of
ship finance and supply (see Hubbard, 1976b: 429). Likewise, some
time before early April, 1972, Hubbard had a training program for
household services called the Stewards Project Force (SPF
[Hubbard, 1972a; 1976b: 501). He also had a program called the
Estates Project Force (EPF), which (as we must reconstruct from a
later document), did such work as painting and sweeping (Hubbard,
1977: 1). Until the advent of the RPF, the EPF also received Sea
Org members for (what Scientology called) "retreading." These
staff needed constant supervision, were making obvious problems,
or were performing their jobs without enthusiasm (i.e., were
suffering from "robotism" [Boards of Directors of the Churches of
Scientology, 1977: 1]).
     Apparently, however, Hubbard reinstituted the DPF, because
by early 1972 it had a function beyond mere training. In addition
to new recruits, the DPF received Sea Org members who were
questioning authority. In the peculiar logic and language of
Scientology, these people had "interiorized." That is to say,
"the person is finding counter-intention in the environment which
coincides with his own (this is reasonableness), and his
attention becomes directed to his own counter-intention rather
than to his objective" (Hubbard, 1976b: 437, quoting a Flag Order
from September 23, 1969 [emphasis in original]). Said plainly,
these people were questioning aspects of Sea Org life, and were
finding things in the external world to reinforce their internal
doubts.  Consequently, the DPF was "to rehabilitate and
exteriorize their attention" by getting them to do work
assignments (Hubbard, 1972a; see 1976b: 133). Again said plainly,
the intent of the program was to get a person to stop looking
inward and (re)learn to accept the orders that the organization
and its leaders demanded.
     With this goal in mind, Hubbard imposed a system of rewards
and punishments called "ethics" on people within the DPF that
paralleled the system under which ordinary Sea Org members
operated. Overseeing DPF ethics was a person who had the title,
the "Deck Project Force Master-At-Arms [DPF MAA]," and he or she
was responsible for making "ethics real to DPF members by
removing counter-intention and other-intention from the area, and
by getting each DPF member to crank out products with an honest
uptrending statistic" (Hubbard, 1976b: 133; quoting a Flag Order
from February 20, 1972). In other words, the MAA was to remove
any ideas that were out of alignment with Scientology's goals
through the use of the reward-and-punishment "ethics" system.
Lateness, poor work performance, negative attitude, etc., were
"out-ethics" actions that warranted the MAA to assign the
offender to a lower ethics condition, which involved penalties on
a gradient scale of severity. The offender had to work off these
hours-long penalties or "amends" after the normal eight-to-ten
hour work day (see Boards of Directors of the Churches of
Scientology, 1973). Supposedly the completion of these amends
taught people about the consequences of not showing continual
increases in the output of their jobs, which supposedly was due
to personal intentions that allegedly were out of harmony with
Scientology's demands. In the DPF MAA's ethics assignments we can
hear the echo of Hubbard's ideas about brainwashing, which he
first discussed in 1955 and elaborated upon in the late 1960s.
This staff member was to physically wear down people when trying
to get them to renounce their private doubts, with the goal of
getting them to completely embrace the collective goals of the
     Apparently the DPF's regime of hard work in harsh conditions
continued into the early 1980s, since the account of Birgitta
Dagnell about her time on the DPF in Denmark bears remarkable
similarities to RPF accounts. According to her own statement, she
was among the eighty-two former Guardian Office members sent into
the Danish DPF by the new leadership of the Office of Special
Affairs in 1982. The crowded conditions, the poor food, the
exhausting hours, the assignments involving "cleaning toilets,
corridors[,] and hotel rooms[,] or some painting and construction
work" (Dagnell, 1997: 3) were the same for RPF inmates in other
parts of the world. So were the "gang-bang sec checks" (which I
discuss later) and the demand the "we 'recognized' that we really
[were] that bad and evil" (Dagnell, 1997: 4), which she
experienced during what she thought were going to be auditing

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