Sunday, June 17, 2007

Rabbi Raps Amma In Hotel Labor Dispute

File under: Amma All-Over-The-Planet and The Siddhi of PR

She may have (purportedly) dumped millions into tsunami relief in India, but it appears Amma doesn't much care about the working poor in the United States:
Amma arrives in Los Angeles Sunday as part of a ten-city U.S. tour, and will spend five days at the LAX Hilton. The second-largest hotel in Southern California, the LAX Hilton is the subject of a boycott [over the hotel's union-busting tactics] endorsed by dozens of elected officials and religious and community leaders throughout the state.
Included in this group is Rabbi Michael Lerner, the editor of Tikkun Magazine and a leader of the progressive Jewish community in Southern California. Amma wanted to present him with an award, ostensibly to honor his work as a spiritual leader, but probably because her people saw his community as a big, fat, juicy target for their own fundraising efforts. That ain't gonna happen now:
Amma, there is no possibility of creating a more loving and caring world that I know you are so committed to so long as spiritual leaders like yourself fail to link spiritual ideals to concrete social justice for poor and working people.
Oh, smack!

And this spiritual conflagration is only just getting started. Get ready for a raucous protest by the striking hotel workers upon Amma's arrival, which is probably going down as we write this. It will probably be the first time she has had to face a crowd which reviles her. And seeing the abject hypocrisy of her refusal to relocate her event to support the less fortunate, this certainly won't be the last time we hear about it.

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24 Comments:

At 6/18/2007 4:12 AM, Anonymous Oops said...

Oops. Jody. Wrong again. I arrived here in LA with the Amma group and there was no such protest. In fact a whole group of Hilton Hotel workers came for Amma's darshan.

 
At 6/18/2007 5:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I'm no fan of jetset gurus, but are you kidding? India is rife with leftist agitation of every stripe, (hint to American 'social justice' advocates: look what its done for India!)

Anyone in India sees more hostile crowds in a single day than Americans see in their whole lives.

And 'Amma' is a fisherwoman, the toughest people and the hardest foul-mouthed bitch-slappin women in India.

I once knew a hardened US Vietnam vet who jumped in terror off a train in India just because the way the ordinary folks were lookin at him.

Because of who Amma is, I don't doubt stories that her brother wanted to kill her, but was killed by her father. Surviving an Indian fmaily is a quest in itself!

 
At 6/18/2007 6:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on Rabbi!!!

 
At 6/18/2007 8:03 AM, Anonymous Betty said...

Thanks, Jody, for this. It seems to me that we are growing up regarding spiritual teachers. Lots of Indians seem to worship them on one side of their brains and ingorne them on the other. It's time for us to realize that teachers like Ammachi and Karunamayi, etc. are traveling corporations that run on slave labor, in which the slaves are controlled by love and fear. They exist primarily to raise money for the teachers, their families and a few hospitals in India, not for the poor and needy in our country. If you have been to Ammachi's property in the Bay area you would see that it is likely worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Why not sell it and give the money to the poor in our country.

Because to them, we exist only to hand over our money not to receive anything but superstitious crap in return.

Off with their heads!

 
At 6/18/2007 8:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Devotees of Amma believe She IS God. Amma allows her devotees to deify her as if she were the one and only God-in-the-flesh on the planet right now.

How then, does her explanation of "not wanting to get involved in a labor dispute while a visitor to the United States" fly with them?

If she were Kali, as some claim, wouldn't heads have rolled at that LAX Hilton already?

 
At 6/18/2007 8:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A modern day profit, she is.

 
At 6/18/2007 9:00 AM, Blogger jody said...

In fact a whole group of Hilton Hotel workers came for Amma's darshan.

Yes, it appears the hotel management did a great job making one of their cash cows feel welcome.

 
At 6/18/2007 9:28 AM, Anonymous holycrap said...

This is in line with what Betty brought up. A friend and I, out of curiosity, looked at the Ammachi retreat fees last night for the Northeast tour. We came to a jaw-dropping conclusion. Ok, here goes:

If you are are two adults staying in the same room, your fee EACH (including accommodations) is $310. So that's $610 that they get for two adults in one hotel room. Say you have two couples. That's $1220 that they get per room. Normal hotel room rates are $110 regardless of how many are staying in the hotel. This indicates they are making a profit of over $1000 per room. (Maybe more depending on what kind of deal they have with the hotel).

Now, here's where it gets interesting. The MA Center charges children different fees based on their AGES:

5 and under: $125
Ages 6-12: $195
Ages 13-17: $240

That said, if you are a single mother with a baby, a pre-teen and a teen and you would like to attend a retreat with "your guru", it's gonna cost you $800 for TWO nights and an extra $110 if you want to stay for the Devibhava night. Now, we are talking close to a grand for three nights.

If you are a single person, and you want to have the room to yourself (i.e. don't want to share it with a stranger) it's gonna cost you $415 for the two nights.

Do you see what's going on here?

What the hell is going on here?!!

Don't take my word for it. Go look at the retreat fees and whip out your calculator. Between the retreat fees and the expensive items in the store, the food, donations etc. etc they must be bringing in 5 million dollars or more at every tour stop.

The net worth of the Ammachi corporation has got to be higher than that of Bill Gates and Donald Trump combined. Alllllll of that money goes back to India. In the late 1990's Amritapuri was the SECOND largest receiver of foreign funds in India. Do you think they are number one now?

 
At 6/18/2007 11:24 AM, Anonymous holycrap said...

Hey Jody I was curious if the Ammachi gestapo has ever contacted you about the things you write here? From what I have read here and there online, they are notorious for trying to shut up anyone who gives Mama bad press. That's why you see so little bad press. Huh.

 
At 6/18/2007 11:43 AM, Blogger jody said...

I was curious if the Ammachi gestapo has ever contacted you

Nobody from Amma's org has made contact with me. They'd be better off not doing so, as it's only going to give me more material to work with. I have some fairly well-placed contacts in the media world, so it's not difficult for me to expose shady dealings if that's what it came to.

The bottom line is that I'm just some jerk with opinions with only a few folks paying attention to them, so I'm no threat to Amma's mission. If they see me as a threat, they've got way deeper problems than I've imagined.

If they try to silence me, it will only bring more eyes to my efforts here. As I said, they are better off allowing the minor nuisance of my commentary rather than turning it into the major case I promise it will become if they try to do something about me.

 
At 6/18/2007 12:15 PM, Anonymous anon. said...

Surviving an Indian fmaily is a quest in itself!


Yeah, I'd prefer to survive a dysfunctional, broken, self-hating american "family" with multiple divorcees, anyday. enough with the crappy generalizations, dumbass.

 
At 6/18/2007 4:34 PM, Anonymous Media Circus said...

If they try to silence me, it will only bring more eyes to my efforts here. As I said, they are better off allowing the minor nuisance of my commentary rather than turning it into the major case I promise it will become if they try to do something about me.


Are you serious? LOL! I would say that you are barking up the wrong tree, but that is your natural voice.

Your piddly threat is like tinkling in the ocean.

Media contacts? Like what, in the Santa Fe Community College for Retards Channel?

I don't hold your behavior against you because I realize it was caused by childhood trauma; your parents spanked you when you fell on your head and broke the cement.

Thanks for the laugh!

 
At 6/18/2007 4:44 PM, Blogger jody said...

I would say that you are barking up the wrong tree

Someone asked me if I had been contacted by the org. I confessed that I had not.

Your piddly threat is like tinkling in the ocean.

That's what I said.

Media contacts?

Yes, very good ones, not to be disclosed until they are needed.

I don't hold your behavior against you because I realize it was caused by childhood trauma

We are all the result of our childhoods, traumatic or otherwise. However, my railing against the big-time holy hookers like Amma was the result of a more recent development in my life. You know, a scales falling off the eyes sort of thing. Those who are still scaled are not going to get it.

 
At 6/18/2007 7:05 PM, Anonymous Mata Ki Duniya said...

Get your hands out of your pants and stop wanking off. You are a WHITE wanna be asshole. You know nothing of India and Hinduism so get a life, silly cross dressing wanker who doesn't wash his butt.

You will never be a Hindu so stop acting like you know, dumb Gorrah.

Chup Raho Gada! Fucking skin head.

 
At 6/18/2007 7:16 PM, Blogger jody said...

Ahh... the love of Amma coming through one of her devotees:

Get your hands out of your pants and stop wanking off.

In my world, masturbation is healthy. But I promise you this: I will never be wanking off when I am writing this blog.

You are a WHITE wanna be asshole.

I am a white asshole with opinions. There's nothing else I am or want to be.

You know nothing of India and Hinduism

Actually, I do know some... but certainly not enough to be anything more than some wanker with his opinions.

so get a life, silly cross dressing wanker who doesn't wash his butt.

I haven't performed as Kali in a long time. And I will also promise you this: I wash my butt every time I go number two.

You will never be a Hindu so stop acting like you know, dumb Gorrah.

I have never wanted to be a Hindu.

Chup Raho Gada!

God bless you, too!

Fucking skin head.

Actually, for a man my age, I have mountains of hair, thank Mother!

 
At 6/18/2007 7:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Jody, here you see the kindness Amma teaches. I wonder who the actual faces are behind those posts? Obviously, they are close to Amma otherwise they wouldn't be so angry, right?

In fact, I would venture to say that the closer they are to Amma, the more hateful their attacks on you will be.

Why don't you keep going with these Amma posts until the ashram actually does contact you or you get threatened by her devotees. I guarantee you it will happen eventually. (If not already, judging by these comments). Then you can have yourself a nice big lawsuit and retire in the locale of your choice.

Just be careful. Realize you are dealing with the religious equivalent of the mafia. I'd hate to see something go terribly wrong, but I also appreciate you speaking up.

 
At 6/18/2007 7:34 PM, Blogger jody said...

I'd hate to see something go terribly wrong

My life is in the hands of Mother Kali. Whatever She wills is going to be my fate.

 
At 6/18/2007 8:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(Because I know you said something last week about monitoring comments), I hope you are not restricting some of these hate-filled devotees retaliations. If I were you, I would put all of them out here for everyone to see.

 
At 6/20/2007 3:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>>"Media contacts? Like what, in the Santa Fe Community College for Retards Channel?"<<<

Nice! very compassionate!
varahi d.

 
At 6/23/2007 7:33 PM, Blogger Lights said...

I was struggling not to comment on this, but I had to clear up the fact that Amma doesn't charge anything.

Anyone who shows up can get a little bit of love from this woman who was doing this long before the universe decided to reimburse her for it. I first saw her a couple years ago, with $10 in my pocket, $4 of which went to getting a hearty Indian meal. I parked on the street and left with $6 still in my pocket.

I felt it had been a good value. ;)

As I understand it, it's free for 3 of the 5 nights she's in town.
I've seen her stay up all night, hugging until everyone who's shown up has been received.

Her organization rents the Hilton Grand Ball Room (not so shabby) to accommodate everyone who comes. Again there is no charge and no one has ever asked me for money. Last year, when I did give a donation ($5), I had to ask someone where to leave it.

From what I understand of the retreats, they include all the meals. So what should it cost for 3 days at the Hilton, classes in the grand ball room, with meals included?

And I guess some of those commenting seem to think it's not a good value.

OK.

If you want it to be about a unique experience, you can go and have that experience. If you want to go and look for how the organization manages to pay for the whole event, it can be about money. Because, after all, it's not like staying at the Hilton is free.

 
At 6/23/2007 7:50 PM, Blogger Lights said...

I did have a comment on the labor issue. I don't feel she's taking sides by honoring her contract with the hotel that she signed 2 years before the labor issue arose.

It's a little like this incredibly destructive war you and I are financing in the middle east--and it is primarily to secure oil. And while most of us hate that, we continue to give these oil companies money so we can put oil in our cars? Does it mean we support the war?

It certainly does.

You see?

The world isn't set up so that Amma or anyone else can walk through it without stepping on some insect somewhere or doing some bad. All that can be done is enough good that by the time we're gone, we've left more good than bad.

And, Jody, you seem pretty bright, help me understand why, with all the graft and deceit in our government, crumbling health care, and a precarious environment, would an issue like this get so much of your attention?

It's like you feel you've found a hatch that's a little squeaky... but, honey, we're on the Titanic.

 
At 9/22/2008 1:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Jody, holycrap et al,

There is a bit of a mistake on the
retreat vs regular expenditures at
the LAX Hilton:
First, the retreat price mentioned
is for hotel room, all meals, and use of the facilities for the entire retreat, not just for one night.
Also, if there are more than 2 people in a room for the retreat, the price for the 3rd and 4th person goes DOWN---they pay something called the "off-site" rate. It has always been this way; I have attended retreats since the early 1990's! The 3rd and 4th persons pay 180 or so for the entire retreat-NOT for just one night---180 or 185 is their entire fee for all the hotel, meals, and access to the hotel's standard amenities.
Also, the Hilton's CONVENTION rate is about 110 a night; the standard rate is actually closer to 200 a night.
Certainly the MA center is making some money on this, but not as much as oops calculated. The money is used to rent the Hilton's facilities which ain't cheap in any case.
One year the MA Center sent all the Los Angeles retreatants a letter saying that they had overcharged us all by eleven dollars! They are apparently suppsed to break even. So they sent us each a free book, the price tag of which in that year was eleven dollars!

 
At 8/06/2009 1:14 PM, Blogger Elizabeth Daniels said...

You are dreaming, AMMA has never given out an award ever. The Rabbi is a media maven, runs a magazine, and made up this story.

As for the labor dispute, that is true. Amma continued to give out hugs and raise money for the poor in India despite the dispute. But thanks to people just like us, Indians are far more exploited than our own poor. They probably made the shirt you are wearing from the gap, or maybe one of their children did.

 
At 8/06/2009 1:50 PM, Blogger jody radzik said...

You are dreaming, AMMA has never given out an award ever.

I'm not dreaming, just reading: http://bit.ly/Tzr9C

"Rabbi Michael Lerner, the editor of Tikkun Magazine, announced this week that he is declining an award from Amma because of her decision not to respect the LAX Hilton boycott."

Take it up with him.

 

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