The concept of election in the Baha’i Administration which was introduced by Shoghi Effendi was exactly the same as Bolshevism, the communist form of government adopted in Russia following the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. All his tactics and those of the members of the National Spiritual Assembly are very much akin to those of the Soviet government of that time.
Let us read the following passage, as quoted by Lady Ruth White in her book ‘The Baha’i Religion and its Enemy the Baha’i Organization’, under Chapter II.
During 1926, when I visited the Bahai Assemblies in all the large cities, on my way to California, I perceived that so subtly had a transition been made from the original principles of Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l Baha that the teachings had become completely inverted with few of the Baha’is realizing this. In fact, I saw scarcely a trace of the Baha’i teachings evidenced anywhere. To be sure I heard much talk about universal peace and the brotherhood of man, and many other principles that are commonly talked about by the votaries of dozens of sects and reforms today. But talk about these principles is worse than ineffectual when people act in a narrow sectarian way, as the Baha’is were, and are doing, in violation of the universal principles of the Bahai Religion.
From everything I observed I knew that Shoghi Effendi had made a very careful study of Bolshevism, not in order to combat it, as Abdu’l Baha said we should do, but in order to imitate its methods, and apply them to the Administration of the Baha’i Organization. This despite the fact that Abdu’l Baha said:
“The future is bad…Nations should strive to extinguish this fire (of Bolshevism) so that it would not spread to other countries. It will soon affect other countries…for the mass of people have a Bolshevik tendency.” (The Light of the World)
I happened to mention this in one of my talks. After the lecture I was approached by one of the members of the Assembly and informed that Shoghi Effendi had forbidden this to be mentioned—that everything of a political nature must be eliminated from discussions. Naturally, he would require such restrictions, as his tactics and those of the members of the National Spiritual Assembly are very much akin to those of the Soviet government today. In the New York Sunday Herald of March 17, 1929, there appeared an article by E. A. Ashmead-Bartlett, C.B.E., who left Russia only six weeks ago. He was formerly a member of parliament on political, economic and military conditions in Russia. He shows how nine people are keeping 140,000,000 people in subjection, and the method that they use in election is so identical with that which Shoghi Effendi has imitated, hoping that he, too, may in time become a dictator on the same colossal scale, that I here quote it in part:
“But in reality, changes in the Politique Bureau are only brought about by the members themselves. They name their own list of candidates and the delegates vote as they are told. No opposition group would dare put up candidates of its own choice…”
“The Politique Bureau now consists of nine persons, who form the Supreme Governing Executive …” “The latter’s duties are considered very important and consist of studying the rolls of all those employed on local Soviets or in factories to find out if they are strict Communist….”
“When issues have to be voted on, the procedure is simple and effective. The chairman reads out the motion and then demands those who are against it to raise their hands. The delegates know too well what will happen to them if they oppose a motion once it has been adopted by the platform and sit in silence.” “When the government has had enough of these meetings, which are liable to drag on interminably, all it has to do is to close the restaurant and then the delegates are very pleased to clear out of Moscow. The whole farce is a magnificent piece of stage management to make the delegates—and the people they represent—believe they really have a say in the councils of the country. In reality they have none.”
“It is easy to understand how all the real power in a government thus organized lies in the hands of the party chiefs, who control the machine. Stalin is to-day the master mind and possesses a supreme knowledge of the party organization owing to the many years he spent as secretary under Lenine. No change of policy can be brought about without the consent of the “Big Nine” and any proposals they make are automatically indorsed by the All Union Congress of Soviets.”
Shoghi Effendi conducts the Baha’i elections in the same manner, and it is more of a farce than that of the Bolsheviks. Like them he studies the roll of the Baha’is and, through a system of espionage, he knows every shade of belief among them. He selects those who lean most favourably towards him, and the voters have no more to say about who is to be elected than the Russian people have under the Soviet regime. And like the Soviet government his chief aim is to suppress man’s freedom of conscience. There is no greater violation of the Baha’i teachings than this. The following excerpts from the writings of Baha’u’llah and of Abdu’l Baha show the necessity of man’s exercising his freedom of conscience:
“Since men differ in their degree of knowledge, if two persons should be found to possess different viewpoints as regards the degree and station of the Manifestation of God, both are acceptable before God, for, in accord with the blessed verse: ‘Verily, we have created souls different in degrees;’ God has created men different in understanding and diverse in manners. But if those having two points of view engage in conflict and strife while expressing their views, both of them are rejected. For, by knowing the Manifestation of God it is intended to unify the hearts, cultivate souls and to teach the truth of God, whereas, conflict and strife of two persons with two different points of view would do harm to the Cause of God …” (Baha’u’llah in The Brilliant Proof, page 28 by Mirza Abul Fazl)
In the following talk given by Abdu’l Baha in 1912 he further elucidates this subject:
“…… know ye that God has created in man the power of reason whereby man is enabled to investigate reality . . . He has endowed him with mind or the faculty of reasoning by the exercise of which he is to investigate and discover the truth; and that which he finds real and true, he must accept…He must not be an imitator or blind follower of any soul. He must not rely implicitly upon the opinion of any man without investigation; nay, each soul must seek intelligently, and independently, arriving at a real conclusion and bound only by that reality. The greatest cause of bereavement and disheartening in the world of humanity is ignorance, based upon blind imitation. It is due to this battle prevail; from this cause hatred and animosity arise continually among mankind…”
“God has given man the eye of investigation by which he may see and recognize truth. He has endowed man with ears that he may hear the message of reality and conferred upon him the gift of reason by which he may discover things for himself. This is his endowment and equipment for the investigations of reality. Man is not intended to see through the eyes of another, hear through another’s ears nor comprehend with another’s brain. Each human creature has individual endowment, power and responsibility in the creative plan of God. Therefore, depend upon your own reason and judgment and adhere to the outcome of your own investigation; otherwise you will be utterly submerged in the sea of ignorance and deprived of all the bounties of God. Turn to God; supplicate humbly at his threshold, seeking assistance and confirmation, that God may rend asunder the veils that obscure your vision. Then will your eyes be filled with illumination; face to face you will behold the reality of God and your heart become completely purified from the dross of ignorance, reflecting the glories and bounties of the kingdom.”
“. . . It is the duty of everyone to investigate reality, and investigation of reality by another will not do …”
(The Promulgation of Universal Truth, Discourses Abdu’l Baha; pages 285-287-288)
The above article has been sourced from The Caravan Magazine, Volume 3, Edition 3. Click here to download it for free here!