Baha'i writings denounce communism?

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Baha'i writings denounce communism?

Postby Zazaban » Thu Aug 24, 2006 2:53 pm

I read somewhere that Baha'i writings say somewhere that communism is evil. is this true?


"The chief idols in the desecrated temple of mankind are none other than the triple gods of Nationalism, Racialism and Communism, at whose altars governments and peoples, whether democratic or totalitarian, at peace or at war, of the East or of the West, Christian or Islamic, are, in various forms and in different degrees, now worshiping."
(Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come, p. 113) Published in 1941

and even

The rise and fall of Communism
...absolute equality is just as impossible, for absolute equality in fortunes, honors, commerce, agriculture, industry would end in disorderliness, in chaos, in disorganization of the means of existence, and in universal disappointment: the order of the community would be quite destroyed.
('Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, 1904-6) [9]

Movements, newly-born and world-wide in their range, will exert their utmost effort for the advancement of their designs. The Movement of the Left will acquire great importance. Its influence will spread.
('Abdu'l-Bahá in January 1920, quoted in World Order of Bahá'u'lláh) [10]
Justice and equity are twin Guardians that watch over men. From them are revealed such blessed and perspicuous words as are the cause of the well-being of the world and the protection of the nations.
~ Bahá'u'lláh

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Postby Baha'i Warrior » Tue Aug 29, 2006 9:16 am

I don't know if I'd use the word 'evil', but it can be classified as "anti-God," as put by Shoghi Effendi (see quote below—aren't they the same?). Evil is probably too strong of a word in this context, but I could be wrong about that.

    "The Church has a new danger to face in land after land—determined and hostile attack. From Soviet Russia a definitely anti-religious Communism is pushing west into Europe and America, East into Persia, India, China and Japan. It is an economic theory, definitely harnessed to disbelief in God. It is a religious irreligion. . . It has a passionate sense of mission, and is carrying on its anti-God campaign at the Church's base at home, as well as launching its offensive against its front-line in non-Christian lands."

(*bold emphasis added)

(11 March 1936 to the Bahá'ís of the West, published in "The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh: Selected Letters", pp. 181-83) [35]


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Postby Zazaban » Tue Aug 29, 2006 11:37 am

I am a semi-supporter of communism... I support some of it's ideas but not all. :(
Justice and equity are twin Guardians that watch over men. From them are revealed such blessed and perspicuous words as are the cause of the well-being of the world and the protection of the nations.

~ Bahá'u'lláh

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Postby Baha'i Warrior » Tue Aug 29, 2006 2:03 pm

Don't get me wrong, though. Communism has some good aspects to it, so every single one of it's ideas aren't "evil," at least I do not interpret the Baha'i writings as saying that. (To my fellow Baha'i friends: please feel free to correct me if I am wrong.) A Baha'i federation will borrow the good things from different systems of government.

Zazaban wrote:I am a semi-supporter of communism... I support some of it's ideas but not all. :(

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Postby brettz9 » Wed Aug 30, 2006 1:24 pm

Hello all,

A few points...

One, the citation by Baha'i Warrior is not from Shoghi Effendi, but is Shoghi Effendi citing others... His main point in that context was to show the threat of materialism faced by the Churches, though he does go on to describe the various forms of materialism as "strange and corrupt doctrines" and "dangerous and treacherous philosophies"...

A Persian Baha'i friend told me (I don't know if it is authentic or not) of an apparent statement by 'Abdu'l-Baha that communism was a kind of tree which had one good fruit, whereas the Baha'i Faith offered many kinds.

Although 'Abdu'l-Baha repeatedly indicated that communism would not work due to the need for some differences in society and due to force not being a suitable means to bring out generosity in the rich, He did envision that extremities of wealth (as well as poverty) would also need to be mitigated--including by the force of taxation, to some degree (certainly a progressive, rather than flat tax): ... ec-10.html

(Note that the above is an older translation...Redistribution of Wealth, item no. 9 purports to be an updated translation of part of this talk, though it seems to differ considerably. This work is also in "Star of the West", vol. 13, no. 9 (December 1922), pp. 228-29. Further details on this future tax can be found at and linked pages.

Another point we might bring out is that extreme capitalism is also criticized in a number of places. Also from The World Order of Baha'u'llah: "excessive growth of industrialism and its attendant evils"...See also Century of Light...

No country in the world is wholly state owned or wholly capitalistic. There is nothing in the teachings against Socialism--only against an extreme redistribution of wealth, and naturally also against state-sponsored disbelief (but even in this, discretion and tact in arguing for religious openness is called for--see 'Abdu'l-Baha's argument occupying much of the last portion of the official (abridged) version of A Traveler's Narrative.)

best wishes,

Sean H.
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Postby Sean H. » Wed Sep 13, 2006 2:56 am

communism and fascism are both outgrowths of romanticism, which was a movement that attempted to reject the "conditions of modernity" (industrialization, capitalism, democracy).
- ... ?id=dv4-27
- ... scism.html

The Origins of Fascism

Fascism made its appearance as a dominant force between 1922 and 1945, with paler reflections coming before 1922 and after 1945. It was essentially the experience of one generation, largely European, but not entirely so. Its orgins are plural, divergent, and imprecise.

I. Questions of Definition

Simply listing some of the movements which made their appearance in this time will make that point rather clearly:

1. Action Francaise (ultra-conservative, secular Catholic French nationalism)
2. Karl Lueger (pan-German, anti-semitic Catholic socialism, largely in Vienna)
3. d'Annunzio (electoral rodomontade in Trieste, influence on Mussolini)
4. military pronunciamientos in Spain
5. Mazini and his "Young Italy"
6. Frankfurt Parliament (Einheit, Freiheit, Macht)
7. Burke and Carlyle.

The latter three are more problematical than the first four examples of fascist ideas and movements. We could add many more examples to this list, and no doubt will as we go along.

Communism is an international doctrine which has gradually been adjusted to differing natinal circumstances. Fascism is the exact opposite: it is a series of non-intellectual, even anti-intellectual national reactions artificially united and transformed into an international doctrine by the facts of power. The history of fascism, as an ideology, is largely the history of this transformation.

II. International Doctrine

1. The liberal breakthrough of the mid-nineteenth century generated the
intellectual raw material of fascism. Liberalism was largely the work of the educated middle classes.

2. The old elites of Europe (aristocracy, landlords, churches) nursed their
wounds and meditated revenge on the upstart bourgeoisie.

3. Many of the fascist ideas were simply absurd archaisms, eg. the racist
theories of Gobineau, who sought to preserve the hierarchical principle by associating it with a Teutonic master race.

4. No one could have predicted that the heraldic archaisms of Young England, the hierarchical clericalism of Pius IX, the anti-semitism of Gougenot de Mousseaux, the racialism of Gobineau would become part of a 20th century myth which would nearly conquer the world.

5. But circumstances would change. The bourgeois triumph would become a bourgeois retreat. That same European bourgeoisie, which had been liberal in its days of triumph, would, in its days of retreat, borrow and reanimate these phantoms generated byt he retreating forces of an older regime.

6. Some political thinkers did indeed foresee the future:

Lord Acton predicted that the organic structure of society would become
impatient with continuous laissez faire. Jacob Burckhardt believed that the liberal, democratic juggernaut was leading to disaster and would in the end be overtaken by very illiberal, undemocratic drivers who alone would be able to steer it. And these new masters, unlike the old ruling dynasties, would be Gewaltmenschen, terrible simplifiers who would "rule with utter brutality."

Burckhardt even predicted that this brutal tyranny would first appear in
industrial Germany.

7. In the 1890s Burckhardt seemed an unduly pessimistic Cassandra. In 1918 the Cassandra had become a prophet - the economic foundations of liberalism had begun to crack.

8. In 1917 the Russian Revolution had broken out. From 1917 to 1923 the Russian Communists preached not socialism in one country but world revolution. This was the catalytic force which gathered up the intellectual debris of the Gobineaus and the Gongenots and rearranged it in a new, dynamic pattern. Faced by the terrible threat of bolshevism, the European middle classes, recently so confident, took fright.

So, fascism as an effective movement was born of fear.

Each stage in the rise of European fascism can be related to a moment of
middle-class panic caused either by economic crisis or by its consequences, the threat of socialist revolution.

1. The success of the socialists in the Italian elections of 1919 made Italian fascism a political force.

2. Hitler's Munich Putsch in 1923 came in the year of the great inflation when the communists figured on seizing power in Berlin.

3. Hitler's rise to power in the state followed the great depression of 1929 to 1932.

4. The Spanish Falange was a response to Spanish anarchism. Franco's coup was the response to the electoral victory oft he Popular Front.
European fascism, then, was a political response of the European bourgeoisie to the economic recession after 1918, or more directly tot he political fear caused by that recession. So, above all, it was anti-communist. This anti-communism was one oft he few things that made it international. Other than that and its social base, it was heterogeneous and varied widely from country to country.
. . .

III. Clerical Conservatism
1. Clerical conservatism was a direct heir of the aristocratic conservatism over which the bourgeoisie triumphed in 19th century. The Rerum Novarum of Pope Leo XIII (1891) gave clerical conservatism its charter.

2. In 1920 the Church everywhere sought to resist socialism and offered the alternative of an ordered, hierarchical, undemocratic, corporative state. This notion of a state found realization in Spain, Portugal, Austria, and Hungary.

3. These countries established clerical conservative states largely because their social structure had not changed very much since the 1890s.

4. In the highly industrialized countries the middle class was not only the
effective ruling class but had also absorbed large sections of the other
classes. In these countries the landed classes were turned into tributaries of the middle class. The middle class in industrialized countries also drew to itself, largely out oft he working class, a large "lower middle class"
(artisans, shopkeepers, petty civil servants, skilled workers).

IV. Dynamic Fascism

The lower middle class, in fact, provided the social force of "dynamic fascism".

The 1890s were the incubatory period of fascism. There were at least three prominant philosophers who became the teachers of this new generation of fascists. The ideas of these teachers were, of course, frequently grossly perverted by their pupils:

1. Georges Sorel: illusions of progress; necessity of violence; utility of myth

2. Vilfredo Pareto: the iron law of oligarchy; perpetuation of the elite

3. Friedrich Nietzsche: idea of the superman as a law unto himself

Thus fascism proper, what we can call dynamic fascism, was a cult of force, contemptuous of religious and traditional ideas, the self-association of an inflamed lower middle class in a weakened industrial society. This is radically different from ideological conservatism, the traditional clerical conservatism of the older regime, now modified and brought up to date fort he 20th century. both are authoritarian and both are hierarchical, but that is were the similarity stops.

The differences were, however, confused by their common front against communism in the 1920s and sometimes the confusion was deliberately designed by the fascists themselves. For instance: Hitler, the fascist, posed as a conservative to get power. General Franco, the conservative, posed as a fascist to get power.

This confusion was exploited by the dictators Hitler and Mussolini: in each case the Catholic Church played a significant and positive role. it did so because with the conservative classes generally it supposed that dynamic fascism could be used as the instrument of clerical conservatism. In each case the calculation proved to be wrong. The Church by its opportunism gave itself not a tool but a master.

Both in Italy and Germany the fascist party moved into power through a similar door. The door was held open for it by the Catholic Church. Like the church, the conservative classes in both Italy and Germany supposed that, by patronizing Mussolini and hitler, they had enlisted mass support for a conservative program. These vulgar demagogues, they thought, could be used to destroy socialism at the grass roots, or rather, in the streets. Then they could be discarded. In fact the reverse happened. It was the conservative patrons and their ideas who were discarded, the vulgar demagogues that survived.

This happened because neither Hitler or Mussolini were interested in being conservative rulers. Both were revolutionaries who relished the possibility of radical power. In both Italy and Germany the fascist dictators saw a basis for that power - the lower middle calss made radical by social fear. Themselves familiar with this class, its aspirations and fears, they believed that they culd mobilize it as a dynamic force int he state and therby realize ambitions unattainable by mere conservative support.
. . .

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