Poland’s Tea Party Movement


(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

On a rainy day in April 1990, I journeyed to the outskirts of Warsaw to one of those functional Communist-era apartment building complexes to meet with Antoni Macierewicz. The opposition leader’s apartment contrasted sharply with its grim institutional surroundings. It was an aristocratic enclave full of books, antiques, and prints on the wall. Macierewicz himself exuded an Old World kind of charm that Polish intellectuals worked so hard to preserve during difficult times.

A long-time dissident, Macierewicz had been something of a leftist in the 1970s, supporting the Revolutionary Left Movement in Chile and protesting the U.S. war in Vietnam. He was a key figure, with Jacek Kuron and Adam Michnik, in the creation of the Committee for the Defense of Workers (KOR) in 1976 and then Solidarity in 1980.

Over the years, however, he’d moved steadily rightward until he’d become, by 1990, a leading figure in a coalition of conservative Christian groups. These groups had cooperated with Solidarity during the 1980s. But now that Poland had put the Communist era behind it, Macierewicz was staking out a distinct political terrain for his version of clerical anti-Communism.

Government policy, he told me that afternoon in 1990, should follow Church teachings, and so should instruction in public schools. The economic reforms that Poland was then undertaking were not, he argued, sufficiently anti-state, for they did not guarantee access to capital and ownership to the largest number of Poles. And the new Polish state, stripped down to its minimal functions, should make a clean break with the past to eliminate any lingering influence from former Communist functionaries.

Perhaps naively, I didn’t see much of a future for Macierewicz and his Catholic nationalists. The last thing I imagined Poles wanted after 1989 was to swap one variety of political intolerance for another. Poles were overwhelmingly Catholic, of course. But church attendance was far from universal — 53 percent in 1987 — and religious zealotry was a distinctly minority passion.

Meanwhile, most Polish voters were gravitating toward the middle of the political spectrum. Solidarity politicians were establishing a set of center-right parties, and the former Communists were struggling to rebrand themselves as a center-left party (though “left” and “right” meant something quite different in terms of actual policies in Poland at that time). And indeed, in the next parliamentary elections in 1991, Macierewicz’s forces in Catholic Election Action managed a mere 8.7 percent of the vote for the Sejm (though the coalition captured a bit more, 17.4 percent, for the Senate).

But Macierewicz himself vaulted into the position of minister of internal affairs in 1991. The following year he released the infamous Macierewicz List, which identified 64 members of the Polish government and parliament as former secret Communist agents. Even more controversially, he accused then-president Lech Walesa of also being an informer.

These claims produced immediate outrage — from those who believed that the government was unacceptably compromised as well as those who were appalled that such unvetted accusations were made public. A successful no-confidence vote in parliament led to the resignation of the government and the abrupt end of Macierewicz’s term in office. A subsequent parliamentary inquiry concluded that only six of the 64 had signed any agreements with the secret police, and Macierewicz also had to face charges of publishing state secrets.

Macierewicz had established a reputation as Poland’s Ted Cruz — a firebrand willing to take down his political opponents even at the cost of his own position.

But it gets worse than that.

Macierewicz never met a conspiracy theory he didn’t like. In the 2000s, he was still convinced that a majority of Polish diplomats were former Communist informers, earning him a skeptical appraisal in a U.S. diplomatic cable. He believed that the Russians were behind the 2010 airplane crash in Smolensk that killed then-Polish President Lech Kaczynski and many other prominent Poles on their way to a commemoration of the Katyn massacre. And, in an infamous interview with the right-wing Catholic Radio Maryja, he put in a good word for the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, adding that “Polish experience, especially in recent years, shows that there are such groups in Jewish circles who think in a cunning way and act deliberately to the detriment of, for example, Poland.”

It would be nice to report that Macierewicz remains at the fringes of Polish politics, that his past actions and rhetoric have disqualified him from serving in high positions. But that would be wishful thinking.

As of last December, Antoni Macierewicz is Poland’s minister of defense.

Reading the Tea Leaves

Poland is frequently held up as the success story of Central Europe’s transition from Communism. It has experienced relatively steady economic growth, even during the financial crisis of 2007-8. It has implemented a successful political decentralization plan. It continues to boast a thriving civil society.

But in the parliamentary elections last year, the right-wing Law and Justice Party (PiS) capitalized on widespread resentment and anger not only to come in first, but also to secure the country’s first parliamentary majority in the democratic era. As with the victory of Viktor Orban’s right-wing Fidesz party in Hungary, PiS has set about to transform the country into what Orban has famously called an “illiberal democracy.”

The appointment of Macierewicz as defense minister is only the tip of the spear. Poland expert David Ost, writing in The Nation, argues that Poland’s PiS is pursuing

an uncompromising revolution from above that abandons the institutions of liberal democracy and any ethos of compromise in favor of an unchallenged monopoly of power. The new authorities call for a “strong” state instead of a “lawful” state, to be guided by “Polish values” and “Christian traditions,” deeply hostile to any political opposition, and imagining itself in a historic battle with a Europe committed to “totalitarian” ideas like gender equality and resettling refugees.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the twin brother of Lech who died in the Smolensk air disaster, is the force behind PiS. He has remained in parliament to control the party while elevating the more diplomatic Beata Szydlo as prime minister and getting his attack dog, the Cruz-like Macierewicz, appointed as defense minister. Together, they are presiding over a transformation in Poland not unlike what the Tea Party would dearly like to accomplish in the United States.

Let’s begin with Macierewicz and his obsessions. As an opposition politician, Macierewicz refused to accept the official version of the Smolensk air disaster, holding hearings in parliament that featured “experts” who relied on Internet photos rather than site visits. Macierewicz rejected the notion that some combination of fog and pilot error caused the Tupolev 154 plane to crash, the conclusion of the official investigations of both Poland and Russia. Instead, like something out of House of Cards or Madame Secretary, he has insisted that an explosion caused the crash and the Russians were behind it.

Macierewicz’s determination to reopen an official inquiry into Smolensk is sure to aggravate the already dicey relations between Moscow and Warsaw. As importantly, it will polarize what is already a deeply divided Polish society. “Smolensk” has all the hallmarks of the “birther” movement in which facts count for a lot less than insinuation. Just as only one-third of Republican voters believe that President Obama was born in the United States, nearly one-third of Poles believe that Lech Kaczynski was assassinated. The Russians are not the only evil-doers in this drama. If the official Polish inquiry was flawed, the previous government of Donald Tusk and the Civic Platform (PO) — the chief political opposition to PiS — emerge as dangerous co-conspirators.

The enemy within is the real focus of Poland’s Tea Party. For instance, Macierewicz has undertaken a purge of the military as if it were populated by Communist-era appointees rather than officials designated by the previous center-right government. The purge included the rector of the National Defense University. The new government even went so far as to conduct a raid on NATO’s Counter-Intelligence Center of Excellence, which is based in Warsaw, to replace its head. This is how coup leaders, not democratically elected governments, go about the business of cleaning house.

On military issues more generally, Macierewicz wants to nearly double the size of the Polish army, and he’d trade participation in the coalition bombings in Syria for the stationing of NATO units in Poland. If the reopening of the Smolensk inquiry doesn’t deepsix relations with Moscow, this buildup on Poland’s eastern borders will do the trick. After seething over various official efforts over the last couple decades to repair relations with Russia, Macierewicz is after nothing less than a revival of the age-old hostility between the two countries.

Kaczynski Settles Scores

In the early 1990s, the politics of revenge in Central Europe were clear-cut. The new political elite took aim at the former Communists, lustrating them out of government, stripping the party of its assets, and throwing a couple of the top leaders in jail (or attempting to). But as opposition coalitions fragmented into a kaleidoscope of parties, the politics of revenge in the region became increasingly complicated.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski and PiS have broadened their campaign of revenge far beyond Communism. They have scores to settle with former allies as well.

Take, for instance, the campaign against Lech Walesa. The august Polish leader has always been firmly on the right side of the political spectrum. But he and the Kaczynski brothers crossed swords in the 1990s. It’s no surprise, then, that new charges of Walesa as a Communist collaborator surfaced just this month. Kaczynski and company maintain that the Solidarity movement unnecessarily compromised with the Communist Party during the transition period — keeping General Wojciech Jaruzelski as president rather than throwing him in prison, for instance, and allowing the nomenklatura to cash in on the new capitalist economy. Walesa’s collaboration in the 1970s is supposed to represent the fatal flaw of the accommodationist wing of Solidarity.

The historical revisionism of PiS is part of what the Germans call kulturkampf, or cultural struggle. Their goal is to “purify” the country of Poles of the “worst sort,” as Kaczynski has described his opponents.

In uglier days, the “worst sort” of Poles might have been Jews, who were accused of being Communists or rapacious capitalists or simply disloyal “outsiders.” Today, the enemy is a motley collection of liberals, secularists, critical intellectuals, and cosmopolitans. Poland’s Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski has warned against “a new mixing of cultures and races, a world made up of bicyclists and vegetarians, who … fight all forms of religion.” With the Communist bogeyman gone, the best that PiS can come up with is bicyclists and vegetarians?

To combat these threats to Polish society, PiS began to ram through legislation in a top-down effort to remake Polish society. Like Fidesz in Hungary, PiS has first targeted the constitutional court, which represented an obstacle to its revolutionary program. PiS doesn’t have a large enough parliamentary majority to easily change the Polish constitution. So it pursued two strategies — to pack the court with its appointees and slow down its functioning by requiring two-thirds majority rulings rather than a simple majority as before.

Other legislation has included a law giving the government greater surveillance powers as well as the authority to appoint the heads of public media. It’s as if Viktor Orban and Fidesz have served as unofficial advisors because PiS is following virtually the same playbook. No surprise, then, that Kacyznski met with Orban for six hours in January. And five years ago, the Polish politician declared: “Viktor Orban gave us an example of how we can win. The day will come when we will succeed, and we will have Budapest in Warsaw.”

That day has come. And this time the European Union is reacting. Writes Jan-Werner Muller in The New York Review of Books:

Unlike in the case of Hungary, the European Union has reacted quickly. Leading EU figures declared that fundamental democratic values were threatened by Warsaw. And on January 13, the European Commission was sufficiently concerned to open a “probe” into the workings of the rule of law in Poland, a step that is unprecedented in EU history.

It’s not just Poland’s internal politics that worries the EU. The Union has encountered considerable pushback from Central European countries, including Poland, about accepting their fair share of refugees coming from the Middle East. Poland, with a miniscule immigrant population, has also seen a large outflow of population over the last two decades. In other words, there’s plenty of room for newcomers.

But Kaczynski has made clear that refugees are not welcome. “There are already signs of emergence of diseases that are highly dangerous and have not been seen in Europe for a long time: cholera on the Greek islands, dysentery in Vienna,” he said during the 2015 election campaign. “There is also talk about other, even more severe diseases.” This rhetoric echoes Nazi descriptions of Jews as carriers to disease. The more moderate of the anti-refugee politicians in Poland have, like Donald Trump, argued that only the Christians among the asylum-seekers should be allowed in.

The success of PiS is not simply a function of the failures of the previous center-right government of Donald Tusk, who decamped in late 2014 to become the president of the European Council. Rather, as in Hungary, the Kaczynski crowd has benefited from the collapse of the left in Poland.

When it was in charge, the left embraced a pro-West platform of austerity economic reforms, accession to NATO and the EU, and a (relatively) tolerant set of cultural policies. The support for “shock therapy” cost the mainstream left its base among those who have not benefitted from economic reforms. This opened up a vast opportunity for right-wing parties that have fed on anger and resentment of the “losers of transition” — farmers, industrial workers, pensioners — by offering, like the Tea Party, vaguely populist economic policies.

In this Polish culture war, however, the “worst sort” of Poles are fighting back. Demonstrations have again become commonplace in Warsaw, and the liberal left is banding together in the face of the new threat.

Macierewicz and the other Mad Hatters of the Polish “Tea Party” movement will no doubt do a lot of damage during their tenure in power. But perhaps, as in 1992, they will overreach and be overwhelmed by a backlash that will prove powerful enough, finally, to push Poland kicking and screaming into 21st-century Europe.

John Feffer is the director of Foreign Policy In Focus.

  • czarnajama

    Don’t forget the previous PiS stint in power, 2005-2007. At least then it was in a minority and had to forge an exotic coalition, but in 2007 the voters resoundingly threw PiS out of power. The 2015 vote was mainly a natural swing of the political pendulum, but immediately after the election Kaczynski had his hardliners take up leading positions and did things which were not really expected. Oddly, the most active parliamentary opposition now comes from the hard neo-liberals, inheritors of the same 1990 gang mentioned in the article. The left is in total disarray and even decay, despite attempts to forge a broad left alliance. The history of citizens’ movements in Poland, such as KOD, is not encouraging.

    • BruceEWoych

      This is a very good assessment czarnajama, it seems deception and poltical bubbles are more the norm that real continuous reform. The question of citizen representation appears to be at the heart of the crisis.

      Party ideology is a virtual regime and para-authoritarian gaming system
      of power capture. It is a threat to real constitutional and democratic
      individualized freedom and liberty not a defense for mistaken
      libertarian identity politics. Strong man government promises thrive on a
      platform of reform and rule of law that promises stability that
      contradicts actual free society. Strong Man authoritarianism thrives on
      disorder and promises only order in return for conformity and
      compliance. In fact such “reform” is reactionary and confrontational
      with an agenda that constricts and consolidates power in fewer hands
      with stricter social order and a crony distribution of rewards in the
      form of select delegated power positions of rank and file privilege. How
      can Poland forget how “Party” politics has worked in their history.
      Neo-conservative or neo-liberal are each the same (so-called) elite
      pedestals of power over working people. Under one system extremists
      convince people they must accept state political authority, rule of law
      and oppression. Under the other they are sold the “free” market idea of
      austerity and economic suppression. In both cases “conformity” and
      “reforms” are instituted to arrest and deliver (new or renewed) forms of
      progress and progressive social order. In both cases false fronts,
      straw man deceptions and false flags fly to confuse the populous and
      achieve selective advantage and private interests over power relations.
      In both cases virtual political autocrats and economic oligarchs seize
      opportunity, set up administrative and crony managerial delegates and
      legitimate a closed state over an open political society. Demographic
      social regression is the outcome and democratic abuse is the preferred
      method of sustaining a class minority (or party power) rule that
      “justifies” than legitimates restrictive enclosures of privatized
      interest in the name of the National state security and social
      stability. Strong man or straw man, the system of survival is rigged
      and gamed from inside and outside and only well educated communication
      distributed intelligently among working class people will maintain a
      reality checks and balance against deception, corruption and basically
      more of the same power exclusion that has recurred over the past century
      of historic cycles. Freedom does not come in bubbles of wishful
      thinking. Real Freedom comes from due diligence, constant vigilance and
      due process of constitutional law.

      A society that prays together used to stay together.

      Tell me then…, why isn’t that working now?

  • Zygmunt Stolarz

    The article contains nothing but character assassinations. Silly and not even worth engaging in polemics. I feel pity for the author.

    • http://www.paulfrantizek.com/ Paul Frantizek

      Yes, never have heard of ‘Foreign Policy in Focus’ – I found this through RealClearWorld – and being interested in European politics, I gave it a read. Simply an awful and biased piece, makes me suspicious about who is behind this and their motives.

      And the author coming down off his perch to troll his own comment thread is just icing on the cake. Very tacky.

      • John Feffer

        “troll his own comment thread?” Wow, that’s an interesting interpretation of the author responding to criticisms, which is generally considered appropriate netiquette. But of course there’s nothing really to respond to in your comment or the one from Pan Stolarz. It’s tough to answer insults. BTW, there’s nothing in my article that you wouldn’t find in a Polish analysis, at least one that’s not affiliated with PiS.

        • Joe Biernacki

          What you say is true about a Polish analysis. What you forgot to add is “by the Post Communist losing coalition”. The winning party was threatened by former Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz directly to the face of new President Duda “we will make it impossible for you to govern”. Wow, so Democratic. The people’s choice doesn’t seem to matter. The corrupt left is furious at the loss of their “candy store”. Eat your guts out Feffer.

          • http://www.paulfrantizek.com/ Paul Frantizek

            And Poland’s losing coalition is deeply wired into the globalist neoliberal establishment – WaPo’s Anne Applebaum is married to one of the est party’s leaders, Donald Tusk is quite highly placed in EU circles.

            Using an Appeal to Authority to defend oneself against a charge that they’re acting as an establishment apologist is somewhat circular reasoning, but I suppose any port in a storm…

          • Olivia esddms

            Donald Tusk does love to hate on PiS. Some of the things he said in private meetings (this is second hand knowledge, but I trust the informants) were… a tad… ehm… over the top? Some talks were recorded, yeah… well, there were strong words said. I’m wondering if this was/is a sort of personal vendetta. Well, cheers everyone, whichever side you’re on.

      • BruceEWoych

        Trolling or opportunistic name dropping; who is actually being covertly clever here? Perhaps a bit of neo-conservative infiltration and opportunism? There is something “very tacky” about your comment. Czy tak?

        “RealClearPolitics (RCP) is a Chicago-based political news and polling data aggregator formed in 2000 by former options trader John McIntyre and former advertising agency account executive Tom Bevan.

        The site’s founders say their goal is to give readers “ideological diversity”. However, this claim been disputed by observations of a conservative bias in the content it displays.”

        RealClearPolitics also owns RealClearMarkets, RealClearWorld, and RealClearSports

    • BruceEWoych

      Save your pity for the demise of democracy which is a clear warning in this article. If the indicators are not enough for you in identifying the players, perhaps you might find Greece equally “silly?”
      see and hear this talk about realities in question::

      Economist Yanis Varoufakis, the former Minister of Finance for Greece,
      says that it’s because you can be in politics today but not be in power —
      because real power now belongs to those who control the economy. He
      believes that the mega-rich and corporations are cannibalizing the
      political sphere, causing financial crisis.


  • Ilya Kotlyar

    Why do the left (like the author of this), while demonizing the right-wingers, never respond to the substance of their opponents’ arguments?

    • John Feffer

      Barack Obama was born in the United States. Lech Kaczynski died in a plane accident. Lech Walesa may well have collaborated with the secret police, but so what? An arms race between Poland and Russia is ill-advised. Poland, like other countries in the EU, should take in their fair share of immigrants — just as the United States should. The refugees don’t carry diseases with them. Fidesz and PiS are both subverting the rule of law in their respective countries, a concern not just of the left but of the entire European Union. Were there some other arguments you felt needed a response?

      • Rafael Cassiano

        All you did was state your personal opinions. You didn’t explain any of them, and you didn’t refute any conservative arguments either.
        Ted Cruz was never a birther, which is something the article tries to imply by connecting Macierewicz to Cruz, Cruz to Republicans, and then Republicans to birthers.
        The article also suggests the Tea Party is authoritarian by saying that the PiS is authoritarian, when in fact, the Tea Party advocates for the exact opposite: an enormous decrease in government power.
        The author also says the Tea Party offers “vaguely Populist economic policies”. Wrong again. Tea Party economic policies are pretty much everything the GOP has always said it stands for, when in fact, that is rarely the case in Washington D.C. Those are, roughly, fiscal responsability, low taxes, very little to no government intervention in the economy, i.e. an actual free market. There’s nothing populist about those.
        The author compares this Polish party’s immigration views to Trump’s. Trump DOES NOT represent the Tea Party in the least. It doesn’t matter what he says. And as a side note, we actually have had problems with deseases long-extinguished in America that were brought by illegal aliens, but that’s not even the main issue here. The biggest worry of the Tea Party is not disease, it’s the irrelevance of our immigration laws, the destruction of American culture through illegal immigrants who do not wish to assimilate, the fact that Democrats are trying to allow illegal aliens to vote so that they (Democrats) can gain more and more political power, and the blatanly obvious vulnerability to terrorist attacks that an open border brings.
        The Tea Party, unlike the PiS, supports nor government surveillance neither public media. That sounds a lot more like the left, by the way.
        And the list goes on and on. The comparison the author tries to make is both disingenuos and pathetic, and shows no connections between the PiS and the Tea Party, or between Macierewicz and Ted Cruz, other than the fact that their voters are disatisfied with their current government. But if that’s all you need, you might as well go ahead and call everyone Nazis since almost nobody is satisfied with their government.

        What a pathetic article written by a pathetic author who ,unknowingly apparently, completely exposes his own political views and prejudices while pretending to be objective.

        • John Feffer

          I don’t pretend to be objective. In fact, I put myself right at the beginning of the story.

          All comparisons are going to break down over some details. And the Tea Party is a very diverse movement that includes all sorts. The most salient comparison is that PiS and the Tea Party Movement are populist challenges to a liberal order that have both taken on the center-right for being insufficiently radical. Poland and the United States are very different countries, so how those populist challenges play out will necessarily be different.

      • Adam

        You twist and turn the facts. Your article misrepresents issues. First, the Poles have not got back the plane wreckage, it is still in Russia, the same concerns the black boxes. So the Poles are allowed to open the investigation once more. Walesa collaboration is important for the future of Poland, Walesa has still to acknowledge this in front of his compatriots. So far he denies. If you want to move forward, you have to admit your wrongs. This concerns history but also security of the country. Because he was and is in denial, Walesa may have been blackmailed by some people/powers as a president of Poland or later. Polish/Russian arms race. Ridiculous. Compare the sums. This sounds as far-fetched as ‘a Ukrainian invasion of Russia in 2014’. Poland is taking refugees, Poland agreed to take some refugees, what Poland does not agree is a permanent quota system, this means Poland does not want a common European migration policy. Working out what is and what is not a common European policy always takes a long time and cannot be decided at hoc. This is not how the EU works, and the EU should not act in rush if it wants to exist. Many countries in the EU would want some other common EU policies, but they do not get it from the EU. Subverting the rule of law in Poland. Not true. This would require an essay.

        • John Feffer

          It’s not a question of being “allowed” to reopen the investigation. The question is whether it is worth doing given the lack of any real evidence that contradicts the official reports of the two governments. Sure, the Russians should hand over the black box and the wreckage. But that should be a matter for bilateral negotiations. As for Walesa, the man is flawed — we’ve all known that for years. But the controversy about his collaboration has more to do with the view, held by a vocal minority, that the Round Table was treachery rather than a remarkable exercise in peaceful regime change. Here again, conspiracy theories abound, beginning with the meetings at Magdalenka, and the credulous have embraced an absurd scenario of “elite puppetmastery.” The differences between Polish and Russian spending is indeed vast. But when you throw NATO into the equation, the prospect of an escalating conflict becomes dangerous indeed. The EU is a consensus organization, so it of course must come to agreement around all major policies. But it’s a common European space, and that means that it should have a common European migration policy. By all means, this requires negotiation. But the crisis is an urgent one, and it should require compromise. The rest of Europe welcomed Poles after 1989. It would be appropriate if Poland reciprocated toward desperate refugees.

          • czarnajama

            One needs to remember that there was a strong movement to mention Europe’s Christian roots in the EU constitution. Our secular inclinations prevented that, but we now lack the sort of constitutional defence which most Muslim countries have in keeping other cultures out. It is hard to justify Europe’s acceptance of unassimilated Islam when Islam so forcefully rejects other faiths within its orbit.

    • Lucius_Severus_Pertinax

      Because they know they cant; without looking mendacious, moronic, or both.

    • BruceEWoych

      average citizen is indoctrinated with the big lie. Finance is
      neo-liberalism not democratic liberal idealism. The finance community
      has a self interest in mind washing angry austerity ridden citizens with
      the mirror game of claiming public policy regulations are the same as
      treaties they themselves have originated and that protect their
      interest. Utilizing media capture and misinformation they equate good
      public policy that protects public interest with their own constraints
      imposed upon government agreements demanded by finance. It is the
      economic sector that demands “deregulation” which, in fact, represents
      only the restraints upon their own interests. People repeat and chant
      less government, when in fact the real power now belongs to those who control the economy. In
      the process democracy is also associated with liberalism (idealistic
      liberal political ideology) and deregulation becomes equated with
      deconstructing democracy itself.

      The so-called “elite” class of power finance attempts to place their own
      crony people into government office, capturing legitimization and
      legislating rulings that protect the financial sector interest. The
      freedom to exploit becomes a free market doctrine of domination. The
      confusions are called cognitive dissonance. They obscure and fog the
      playing field. In the end Democracy is rendered and the pressure to
      restrict true distributed liberty among all citizens becomes a pump and
      dump election system that instills anti-democratic government shills
      into office. Government capture becomes an economic power game and the
      conservative citizen is brain washed into demanding status quo and
      laissez faire policies that are against their own interests. Under the
      false promises they agitate against public interest, anticipating
      economic security, and become increasingly convinced that the “liberal”
      democrat is at fault when all social stability continues to fail. This
      is reality. It is not a party identity. It is a living cage instead of a
      living wage.

      Bruce E. Woych
      March 7, 2016

    • BruceEWoych

      IIya Kotlyar: Here is some policy substance that matters:
      “Why We Need To Rewrite The Maastricht Rules” by John Weeks

      read more…


      “The 1992 Treaty of Maastricht that lay the basis for the euro committed signing governments to several economic targets. Subsequent treaties and protocols made these targets stricter. The targets suffer from serious technical mis-specification.”

      “While allegedly having universal application across countries and
      over time, the targets refer to the special case of a growing economy at
      full employment (full capacity). The treatment of this special case as
      the general case comes from ideology, the narrow neoliberal version of
      neoclassical economics.”

      “The Maastricht rules were inspired by belief that the private economy
      self-adjusts to full potential.”

      {The belief and claim is that}

      “Policy mistakes by governments prevent

      that outcome.”

      {The presumption that gives neo-liberal finance a
      controling capture over government charged with protecting public
      interest is that}:

      “It is to prevent mismanagement by governments that the
      Maastricht rules specify maximum and minimum targets for the public
      budget balance, inflation and public debt.”


      “This is an asymmetrical rule – no upper time is specified, with the obvious implication that a surplus can never be too large.

      By their nature asymmetric economic rules are contrary to rational
      policy. They come from neoliberal ideology: 1) government policies and
      their outcomes explain poor performance of the private sector; 2) rules
      and regulations should focus on constraining not facilitating public
      policy; and 3) some public policy outcomes are per se bad, requiring no justification for their prohibition.”

      “Asymmetry derivative from ideology is basic problem with the Maastricht
      rules. They deny the need for counter-cyclical government interventions.”
      follow the money and the politics will make sense.

  • foggybottom007

    “Polish experience, especially in recent years, shows that there are
    such groups in Jewish circles who think in a cunning way and act
    deliberately to the detriment of, for example, Poland.” —— that’s 100% correct. The recent media coverage of events in Poland, incl. this scribble is a prefect evidence of that. Your selection of quotes, like e.g. “There are already signs of emergence of diseases that are highly
    dangerous and have not been seen in Europe for a long time: cholera on
    the Greek islands, dysentery in Vienna,” is just pitiful. Frankly you either have no clue what is going on in Poland, or you are a part of an agenda described as above. As Stolarz is saying ” Silly and not even worth engaging in polemics? No better analysts at FPIF to cover Poland ? Substandard !

    • John Feffer

      Ah, so Jews control the media? I didn’t know that. Thanks for the discrimination, er, I mean, clarification. I guess if I’d read the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as a description of reality rather than a fabrication, I would have known all that already.

      • foggybottom007

        I guess you did not and seems like still do not know a lot of things …
        And since as you put it “I don’t pretend to be objective” why bother wasting our time…? Hope NOT to click on you anymore in the future…

        • John Feffer

          Aw, jeez, you’ve hurt my feelings. And here I thought we were having a civilized debate…

  • czarnajama

    The fact that Kaczynski and his acolytes such as Macierewicz appear to hold views which are patently, and even scientifically, absurd is cause for concern, as well as their ruthless takeover of agencies which should be a arms-length or independent of party politics. This article summarizes things pretty well. It is one thing to have conservatives ideas and policies, another to create an alternative reality which is demonstrably false. Some people attribute this to the psychological deformities wrought by 45 years of Soviet-defined Communist rule, I would add the habit of suspended belief fostered by religion, all reinforced by the disruptive effects of neo-liberal economics.

    • Olivia esddms

      Scientifically absurd? I see… so treating workers well and ensuring better financial responsibility and accountability is bad. Hmm. Of course, anti-nepotism campaigns disrupt the delicate balance of hiring incompetent buffoons in place of qualified individuals. Yeeees. Corporation above people, too! Raising low birth rate? Who cares about that idiotic thing? Socialist societies! Extremists!

      It’s just too good, too amazing that people of modest living conditions that know what average life for a Pole is like would be the ones in power. And many even have considerable experience/Phds in fields relevant to their work! And want to help the country! Boohoo. No, sir, that’s extreeeemism. And discrimination!

      • czarnajama

        I was thinking mainly of the Smolensk affair and Macierewicz’s “inquiry”, feeding loads of money to people in his sub-committee who are not good investigators but tend to support Macierewicz’s (and Kaczynski’s) line that we don’t know all the causes of the crash and that there may have been a conspiracy to bring the plane down. Smolensk has been well studied, with very significant contributions by independent experts. It is, understandably, a very painful subject for Kaczynski, but that does not mean that one drops the scientific method for some sort of pseudo-scientific or fictional imagination. A great leader must remain detached from self-delusion, although I suspect in this case it may be the case of a guru strengthening a sect around himself, the better to control it. Macierewicz is the guru’s enabler.

        As for the other things, please note that PiS is displaying extraordinary cronyism and nepotism in its hiring, dropping objective competitions for most positions and hiring for political loyalty. That way lies economic ruin, especially in an economy still so government owned as Poland’s is. Maybe wealth is not the basis of this cronyism, but it means that less competent people are being hired than before. That should have been learned from the first decades of Communist rule, but no, the same mistakes are being repeated.

  • BruceEWoych

    Poland today is, as it has found itself at other historical periods of transition, in a state of indecision and fragmented dissent. There is no classic left/right as defined from the outside world there are only reactionaries and counter-reactionaries contending for identity and power and claiming both. Poland does not have a unified market approach to capital nor a unified participatory share in a true democracy. It “hinges” on old traits and new wishes. It looks to the EU for a new beginning and what it gets is a post free market shamble of global neo-con artists and role playing fundamentalists that harness

    old regime shadows of rank and file order. Law and Order as a party is a shell game of fascist dimensions in polish-conservative clothing. Poland didn’t see Hitler coming either and that was in the midst of an East West torn era that still has resonance. You don’t even know yourselves anymore! You should be leading the center. Instead you sink by the gravity of your own confusion. Get real. Take stock of yourselves! What kind of a democracy do you want? Your Constitutional authority has been compromised and that is the beginning of tyranny. What kind of a capital economy do you want. It can not be one in contradiction with your democracy. Poland a nation of followers? I’m ashamed!

  • Facebook User

    This article discloses that in contrast to members of the government that lost the October 2015 election, Mr. Macierewicz, a member of the new government, lives in a shabby apartment bloc. No corruption there.
    It also offers a mendacious version of why the issue of Mr. Walesa’s spying (and the ensuing possibility of blackmail) came up lately. The widow of one of communist leaders approached the Institute of National Memory asking for money for her archives. The law says that such political archives have to be surrendered to INM without money, and so they were. The archives are being readied for public perusal by INM historians; the first box they opened contained handwritten notes from Mr. Walesa, proving incontroversibly that he was a snitch and took money from the secret police for his spying.
    The INM is leaning over backward to satisfy those who doubt the authenticity of these notes. It has ordered graphologists to examine the documents. But there is little doubt that the notes are authentic, and that Walesa and other collaborators might have been blackmailed by foreign forces in making so many decisions disadvantageous for Poland.
    Another mendacity is the suggestion that the present democratically elected government is somehow a tiny minority in society, and those who protest are the majority. The opposite is true. The former president Mr. Komorowski and the former foreign minister Mr. Sikorski have been spotted among the (few dozen) demonstrators; this tells you that it is mostly those who lost their place at the trough that are demonstrating. I wish the PIS government many successful years in normalizing the country and curbing down the corruption that sent two million young Poles abroad in search of work during the rule of the government that Mr. Feffer so enthusiastically supports.

    • BruceEWoych

      suppressing media and dismissing constitutional rule is not legitimated by transgressions by opportunists that may have occurred. Trading neoliberal free-raiders for thugs is not an option even if they do live modestly; it is power grabbing rather than land grabbing at the moment.

      Hitler took the same position.


      Polish Ruling Party Leader Shrugs Off EU Probe Over Court And Media
      World | Reuters | Updated: January 17, 2016 13:38 IST
      “WARSAW: Jaroslaw
      Kaczynski, leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), played
      down a European Union investigation into recent legislation, saying
      Poland has to go its own way and not yield to any pressures.
      The EU began an unprecedented inquiry on Wednesday into whether Poland’s
      new conservative, Eurosceptic government has breached the EU’s
      democratic standards by taking more control of the judiciary and public

      Kaczynski, who holds no formal government post, but is widely believed
      to be in overall charge of the EU’s largest eastern member state, said
      “there is no sense in being concerned about this”.

  • BruceEWoych


    Poland’s leading daily feels full force of Jarosław Kaczyński’s anger

    Adam Leszczyński
    “Gazeta Wyborcza columnist Adam Leszczyński on how it is being targeted by the country’s most powerful politician”
    “Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party, has a very special place in his heart for Gazeta Wyborcza, the leading Polish daily newspaper. He hates it.”
    The guardian Tuesday 23 February 2016 05.40 EST

    • jan dlugosz

      You live in a lalaland. Wyborcza has survived thanks to the previous government subsidizing. It is a deeply corrupted newspaper.

      • BruceEWoych

        True or not, corruption is handled socially. In lalaland there is a distinction between a constitutional free media/press (and free speech) and the social responsibility to participate in exposing corruption. Like it or not, there is no turning back when actions are demanded by mob rule. Papers come and go. Apparently political freedom in Poland is on that same path. Fascism has no partners in democracy. I hate the hypocracy of the so called free market profiteers that are stealth and wealth and all about market raiding and disrupting subsistenc economies that feed traditional families. Allowing global interests into Poland may well be cultural tomb raiding as well. But know your enemy! To counter-react with stupid collective power that burns down the very system with empty brute force from strong arm leaders, is to resort to historic lows and repeat the greatest mistakes of history. Solidarity threw off the shackles of one instituional tyranny. It seems it gets lost when there is nothing to shed but its opposition. It was once said that you are either part of the solution or part of the problem. Regression is not a solution. Unite and fight, but do it right!

        • BruceEWoych

          Innovation and preservation must join hands in Poland’s two tier (A& B) social-economy. Constitutional Democracy is essentially CATHOLIC organiztion and unity. Adopting comparative advantages towards the integrity of a mutual heritage is a possibility with a well managed socially integrated capitalism. Shape History with every person a leader. That is the tradition and heritage of a working self-sustaining Poland.
          The Progressive Economy Initiative was launched in 2012
          and is supported by the Socialists and Democrats Group in
          the European Parliament.
          Journal for a Progressive Economy#07 – JANUARY 2016
          ISSN 2295-6301www.progressiveeconomy.eu
          The Technological Revolution
          Progressive Economy is an initiative
          launched by the S & D Group
          in the European Parliament in 2012 with a major objective:
          to generate a truly public and informed
          debate on economic, social and environmental policyat national,
          European and global levels and actively promote
          progressive thinking at academic and at political levels.
          Initially a purely economic initiative, the scope has
          broadened to encompass the idea of sustainable

  • BruceEWoych



    The Guardian view on Poland’s turn to the right: Europe is correct to be concerned

    Poland is one of Europe’s pillars, so its new government’s policies need watching
    “…Poles wanted change – if only because so many of them felt they were not
    benefiting from economic growth as low wages pushed young people out of
    the country to seek jobs in Germany and Britain. The shift was radical,
    yet can be reasonably seen as part of the normal democratic process.
    But Poland
    is a country that has since 1989 stood as a model of post-communist
    transition, and the danger that it might turn its back on the checks and
    balances that are at the heart of liberal democracy should not be

    “Poles put aside their divisions to battle dictatorship, but in the years
    since those divisions have re-emerged. A deeply Catholic and
    nationalist conservatism has captured popular discontent in the face of
    globalisation and liberalisation, and is opposed by a more secular,
    liberal and pro-EU part of the population. Poles now need a new
    consensus if the achievements of the last two decades are not to be
    squandered. For that to happen, the leaders of Law and Justice must stop
    using majority rule to crush opposition or purge key institutions.
    Europe is watching, because Poland matters.”

    The Guardian Editorial: Monday 18 January 2016 14.43 EST

  • BruceEWoych

    The Progressive Economy Initiative was launched in 2012
    and is supported by the Socialists and Democrats Group in
    the European Parliament.
    Journal for a Progressive Economy#07 – JANUARY 2016
    ISSN 2295-6301www.progressiveeconomy.eu
    The Technological Revolution
    “Progressive Economy is an initiative launched by the S & D Group
    in the European Parliament in 2012 with a major objective:
    to generate a truly public and informed
    debate on economic, social and environmental policyat national, European
    and global levels and actively promote
    progressive thinking at academic and at political levels.

    Initially a purely economic initiative, the scope has
    broadened to encompass the idea of sustainable
    development. We focus on the interplay between
    economic, social and environmental policies and how
    they work together in our progressive vision for Europe’s
    economy( p.4).”

  • Lester

    John Feffer is making from dullard Macierewicz a hero, he, he, he. Macierewicz belongs to Dream Team. He makes himself World Class Aviation Expert. He claims, that 6″ pine in forest, can be ease cut by Russian TU 154 airplane’s wing with any disturbance to flight direction. This genus saying that Putin killed polish president Lech Kaczynski, by spreading fog and helium, that pilots of the president’s airplane were not able to see anything when they tried to land in Smolensk. But that wasn’t enough. Russian blow up bombs in the airplane, but it wasn’t enough, Putin commanded to shot down the plane by a racket. After, the blow of bomb(s), shot down, KGB went to the wreak to finished off all who survived. Then the KGB took three survivors and put them in jail in Siberia. One of them is probably polish president Lech Kaczynski………… All this “facts” you can find on YT.
    Mr. Feffer, please, do not allow people like Macierewicz made from you an ……

  • http://www.drudgereport.com/ R Spitzer

    Thank god for the good sense of the Polish people.

    If Poland is unwilling to defend itself it will end up parted out once again to its neighbors. Liberals will tell you all you need to do is sit in a circle and talk to the Russia, Germany, etc… Then just look how Russia treats it’s brother “Ukraine” and Germany treats “non-German’s” born in Germany like the Turks and ask yourself, how would they treat Poland.

    Government liberal elites are exactly the people who take away the Polish peoples freedoms under the guise of fairness or justices, or economic advancement. Just let the government run everything and you little people will be “taken care of”.

    The only liberty is what you can hold in your hands, is on the shelf in your kitchen, and when you have the right to tell liberal government elite’s not this time.

    American is far from a perfect society but its founding documents Bill of Rights, Deceleration of Independence, Constitution, Federalist Papers, should be read by every Freedom loving person on the planet for their clear explanation that an individuals rights are endowed by their creator (not by government) and Government that governs least governs best.

    Keep up the fight for the rights of the individual against the intolerance of the liberal elite

    • BruceEWoych

      I agree fully with the sentiment of freedoms and liberty that you express. I also agree that constitutional protection from despot tyranny (extreme individualism) is essential to a free society. Elites, as you say, and their service industries of special class privileges are always a crony minority suppressing and exploiting the majority by forceful and enforcing methods that divide and command. The Constitution protections you mention are founded to protect against that imbalance, but you must recognize that this emerged as a “liberating” and liberalized inclusiveness to power. The right wing categorical interest has always been towards the aristocratic freedoms not the citizens’ constitutional rights to a foundational standard that is unconditional in its terms. Once that is altered from the agreed written “contract” the tyranny of the majority begins. This can appear wearing the clothing of elites wearing many different hats. It is important to know your true “left” from your true “right” and to understand the nature of political power grabbing and manipulations to seize controlling interests. In that regard I ask you which hand would you cut off? Your right or your left? In the real world you need both to steer down the correct path of liberty and clear of the deceptive world of injustice. Any party that preaches injustice can not and should not claim the name of true justice.
      Regards to you R. Spitzer

      • http://www.drudgereport.com/ R Spitzer

        “The right wing categorical interest has always been towards the aristocratic freedoms not the citizens’ constitutional rights to a foundational standard that is unconditional in its terms.”

        Could not disagree with you more. It is the left that is solely focused on creating a ruling class that uses the levers of government to manipulate markets, influence companies and individuals, in the pursuit of power and control.

        Further it is actually simple, concentration of power of any kind is by its very nature not in the best interest of the individual.

        Power concentrated in the hands of a faceless government is the worst of all because there is no counter balance. Unlike a powerful corporation which will always find opposing forces in the market, it make take time but it always will occur.

        Any force left or right that favors the concentration of power in a central government is inherently evil and should be fought. In today’s ideological struggle the majority of leftists parties focus on concentrating power in the central government, therefore by that very fact they are oppressive.

        • BruceEWoych

          Regulatory capture as well as rational choice theories are all part and parcel of contemporary control manipulations and have been a major currency of neo-liberalism especially promoted by the University of Chicago and the free market ideology that is adopted by right wing political gorups. Rational choice theory also has a public choice (social government managerialism) arena. The problem is (left or right) that whenever a critical correction is reasoned and implemented, the power seeking elements usurp and corrupt the process to its own advantage. In Eastern Europe, and I believe the main current of John Feffer’s argument, is that the New Left that led the “liberation” from tyranny…, bought into the free market manipulations of neo-liberalism and neolobertarianism and in so doing set the stage for what amounts to fascist authoritarian power grabbing in Poland (elected with “common sense” sentiments also in Hungary) in counter-reaction to the economic tyranny of the “globalized” interests of international finance and the asset grabbing interests of international exploit existing in the desparate contingencies of the EU and its struggling membership. This is a sinkink ship looking for an anchor of stability! Follow the money, not the political claims. The counter-reactions are extremist and will not “correct” any of the threats that arose from Poland’s “brand” of left that is in constant transition and now changing inter-generational hands. That is why the Party of right becomes the Party of Left in tandem.
          Stop labeling political identities and you will see that “extremism” and private power interests are at the heart of both positional claims of authenticity. What you have is a crisis of representation and a false Party Real Politik in play.
          The citizens are just pawns.

          Thank you for your response and honest presentation in your post.
          Bruce E. Woych

          • http://www.drudgereport.com/ R Spitzer

            You might appreciate this https://youtu.be/UgGnBCDfCLM

            It is a good representation of what we must guard against from the left or the right.

          • BruceEWoych

            Judge Napolitano is actually a real conservative and it is of interest to note that Murdoch’s Fox “News” fired him for thinking out loud to an audience that is not supposed to actually “think” about real consequences.
            I find the situation in Hungary just as imbalanced as a counter-reactive overstepping of power with a contempt for history and it is running parallel with Poland in many ways . Orban is running the government like a Union boss and some of his actions are simply overreactions to contemporary globalization and its malicious crony and self serving pseudo-leadership. Once again the language tags are loaded since political opposition defines the terms and they change colors faster than the seasons. Read between the propaganda lines here, but there should be legitimate concern about justifying political fascism as a solution to market based tyranny in government captured by private interests (aka: liberalization).


            Orban Says He Seeks to End Liberal Democracy in Hungary

            by Zoltan Simon
            Thanks for the exchange of perspectives.

          • http://www.drudgereport.com/ R Spitzer

            Judge Napolitano was actually not fired as the video implies his show just had very low ratings so was cancelled, but his video opinion is a teaching moment for all left or right.

            The key as we seem to agree is concentration of power.

            It is unfortunate that the world lives in the age of Obama these past seven years. Where American values are deemed in need of an apology. While America is a flawed representation of its founding documents, the spirit that birthed that nation, where government gets its power from the individual and their rights were endowed by their creator (God or evolution) and not government should be the cornerstone of every country in the world.

            But sadly it is not.

            Obviously Orban is wrong.

            While Poland swung “right” I do not see the shift in the same light.

            Fascism is never the right answer, nor is socialism or communism or etc… The only right answer is when a human being can get up in the morning go to work, have a beer at the end of the end of the day, say what he wants, think what he wants, and provide for his family.

            Judge Napolitano expresses an idealized view of that dream, we can only pray for more Judge Napolitano’s.

          • BruceEWoych


            “We have witnessed for more than a quarter of a century the struggles of the two great political parties for power and plunder, while grievous wrongs have been inflicted upon the suffering people. We charge that the controlling influences dominating both these parties have permitted the
            existing dreadful conditions to develop without serious effort to prevent or restrain them. Neither do they now promise us any substantial reform. They have agreed together to ignore, in the coming campaign, every issue but one.

            They propose to drown the outcries of a plundered
            people with the uproar of a sham battle over the tariff, so that capitalists, corporations, national banks, rings, trusts, watered stock,the demonetization of silver and the oppressions of the usurers may all be lost sight of. They propose to sacrifice our homes, lives, and children on the altar of mammon; to destroy the multitude in order to
            secure corruption funds from the millionaires.”

            [Interesting statement? It was written 124 years ago]:

            “The Omaha Platform, adopted by the founding convention of the party on July 4, 1892, set out the basic tenets of the Populist movement. The movement had emerged out of the cooperative crusade organized by the Farmer’s Alliance in the 1880s.”

            [It begins]:

            “Assembled upon the 116th anniversary of the Declaration of
            Independence, the People’s Party of America, in their first national convention, invoking upon their action the blessing of Almighty God, put
            forth in the name and on behalf of the people of this country, the following preamble and declaration of principles:


            The conditions which surround us best justify our co-operation; we meet in the midst of a nation brought to the verge of moral, political, and material ruin. Corruption dominates the ballot-box, the Legislatures, the Congress, and touches even the ermine of the bench. The people are
            demoralized; most of the States have been compelled to isolate the voters at the polling places to prevent universal intimidation and bribery. The newspapers are largely subsidized or muzzled, public opinion silenced, business prostrated, homes covered with mortgages,
            labor impoverished, and the land concentrating in the hands of capitalists. The urban workmen are denied the right to organize for self-protection, imported pauperized labor beats down their wages, a hireling standing army, unrecognized by our laws, is established to
            shoot them down, and they are rapidly degenerating into European conditions.
            The fruits of the toil of millions are boldly stolen to build up colossal fortunes for a few, unprecedented in the history of
            mankind; and the possessors of those, in turn, despise the republic and endanger liberty. From the same prolific womb of governmental injustice we breed the two great classes—tramps and millionaires.”
            And every generation forgets anew…
            Same snake; New skin is renewed.
            (As we said 50 years ago:
            Power to the People! )

          • Olivia esddms

            Poke. Poland is trying to make life better for every Pole now. That’s what Poles voted for.

          • http://www.drudgereport.com/ R Spitzer

            Judge Napolitano was actually not fired as the video implies his show just had very low ratings so was cancelled, but his video opinion is a teaching moment for all left or right.

            The key as we seem to agree is concentration of power.

            It is unfortunate that the world lives in the age of Obama these past seven years. Where American values are deemed in need of an apology. While America is a flawed representation of its founding documents, the spirit that birthed that nation, where government gets its power from the individual and their rights were endowed by their creator (God or evolution) and not government should be the cornerstone of every country in the world.

            But sadly it is not.

            Obviously Orban is wrong.

            While Poland swung “right” I do not see the shift in the same light.

            Fascism is never the right answer, nor is socialism or communism or etc… The only right answer is when a human being can get up in the morning go to work, have a beer at the end of the end of the day, say what he wants, think what he wants, and provide for his family.

            Judge Napolitano expresses an idealized view of that dream, we can only pray for more Judge Napolitano’s.

  • HenryC

    The following of Christian principals in government is actually a very stabilizing effort, as long as it is just the principals and not a demand toward faith. This article ignores the fact that the majority of people in Poland had been required to inform on others by the state security services. It gave the former government power over them. Most of the diplomats probably did report to state security, whether they wanted to or not. It is an easy charge to make and politically smart.

  • Cjones1

    With moral indignation they rant like Trump and demonize opponents like Hillary. The author slanders the Tea Party.

    • Nayden

      Not slanders, commits libel against. “Slander” only applies to the spoken word.

  • trvlingengmgr

    So the Poles are smart and realized that Muslims historically have failed to assimilate into a new host country and reject the mass immigration into Europe; this makes Poland racist and they have “fallen from grace”. Europe will now be plagued for decades to come with internal turmoil like it hasn’t seen in centuries with these new immigrants. Within a few years these new immigrants will demand their culture be accepted over their host’s and be adhered to through the application of Sharia Law.

    I counter saying kudos to the Polish people for recognizing this threat and understanding the multicultural expedient the left has been forcing on the world is doomed to fail.

    • BruceEWoych

      Thank you -trvlingenmgr- for an intelligent stance on a very difficult humane concern. I would suggest one adjustment. It is counterproductive to resort ot the Left/Right propaganda tags since this only adds to division and divisive “polarization” and Poland is divided enough. I suggest that the term “extremists” fits both sides of the divide. Extremists from both sides are a wrecking crew for true decisions and solutions (or at least reasoned resolutions).

      I would like to engage your intelligent position with some thoughts:
      Obviously the moral and ethical dilemma of refugee immigration can easily become an invasive virus to a Nation of traditional integrated cultural norms, and Poland has seen its history of torn segmented factional interests without adding new divergent people from other countries into the mix. It is fair to say that Poland exists in a World community but perhaps unfair to expect it to take on the Globalization ‘blow-back’ that is a consequence of other dominating interests in the “globalized” arena of exclusive rather than inclusive rights. I do not see wealthy bankers around the globe opening their homes to adopt families and the fact is that this is what it amounts to in the course of time.
      No one can deny that Poland knows the cruelty and unforgiving atrocity of war and the cost of War across Europe is part of the conscience that demands a refugee solution to the current exodus from terror. Innocent people are clearly being placed under inhumane existence. Everyone with a humanitarian and civilized set of values should be concerned. The magnitude of the problem is literally unrelenting. Opening borders to the exodus cannot be anything but a stopgap pressure release and does not solve any true dimension of this war torn reality. Perhaps the “global” failure is truly a question beyond borders. Temporary asylum could be one point of thought but how does a Nation in economic and political distress handle it in real practical terms? I suggest that Poland set up a plan and ask the global community to come up with the funding and finance a systemic solution that establishes an industry of helping hands. I also suggest that the men arriving be given military training and given the option to return to fight for their own country. As much as it is all too easy to do arm chair politics and claim the mandated open border solution from outsiders, the long term consequences are all too clearly written in history and eventual atrocities that result in civil war and political insecurity.
      The primary rule in first aid is to protect the providers. Until a situational plan is in place that does that, I have to agree that both sides of the extremist rhetoric is simply putting the pain and suffering on other peoples shoulders. The solution is not enforced coercive disintegration under a false banner of diversity and tolerance. But the resolution is clearly not one that ignores human rights and the needs of desperate people seeking refuge from war crimes and fatalistic options. Obviously there are no easy answers but it certainly is not as simple as open door policies that entails potential self-denials if not ultimate self-destruction.
      Once again, I thank you for the intelligent position you posted

      • trvlingengmgr

        Cute reply! If Poland is foolish enough to commit national suicide in the name of progressive liberal correctness then so be, its their choice. But show me one place, anywhere on this planet, where Muslims have migrated (more likely forced) their way into and people like me will shut up. However, having lived and worked in the Middle East and SE Asia I’ve seen first hand the intolerance and demands Muslims make on their new host nations.

        • BruceEWoych

          I am as skeptical as you are in regard to the consequences and invasive nature of a forced migration of people into what is essentially a potent clash of cultures (regardless of the variety of interpretations).
          There is an argument to be made as to who will benefit from breaching borderlines that amount to an expansion of the dominate Middle East demographic outside of its own geopolitical boundaries.
          Political factionalism seems endemic in the Middle East and I have to agree that there is serious ground for purist apologia.
          I do not think liberal humanitarianism is to blame for the core crisis, however, and the question of politico-military chaos and rainbow revolutions may well be the center of the storm that has washed up upon European shores.
          it is hard to believe that the victims have no rights. It is hard to believe that these are not hard working families that simply wish to survive and perhaps know peace.
          That does not mean that virtual invasion is legitimate, and every country has the right to self defense.

          It is not hard to believe that strategic opportunism in the name of religion is looking for every option to penetrate new boundaries with power grabbing brutality. It is not hard to believe that the plight of the innocent is a product of an aggressive and desperate global condition that has been servicing injustice under Sovereign rule in Muslim countries. It is not hard to believe that this has been facilitated by agreements with the West that has allowed the hypocrisy to thrive, and has benefited the so-called wealth formation of global capital.

          This is blow back. There is plenty of room for critical analysis and the question as to why demographics are being used as a potent power driven mandate to surrender home security.

          Having said all that, there are still people suffering terribly and homeless children are in the mix. I believe we need to cry out, but not blame the victims.

          If ruthless conservative protectionism means that we call these people “worthless mouths” than you have forgotten
          the lessons of your own brutalization in the past century.

          • BruceEWoych

            One more point. It would be wise to account for who is buying your resource assets, land, and industrial base and the capital invasive money that is behind its ownership. That is more of an invasive threat then the actual people at the gates and borders!

        • BruceEWoych

          see: http://nearfuturesonline.org/europecrisis-new-keywords-of-crisis-in-and-of-europe/
          Europe/Crisis: New Keywords
          of “the Crisis” in and of “Europe”
          New Keywords Collective
          A collaborative project (multiple authors).
          coordinated + edited by:
          Nicholas De Genova + Martina Tazzioli
          EUROPE at a CROSSROADS :
          Managed Inhospitality

          “This project, aimed at formulating New Keywords of
          “the Crisis” in and of “Europe,” was initiated in the immediate aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris in January 2015, and has been brought to a necessarily tentative and only partial “completion” in the aftermath of the subsequent massacre in Paris on 13 November 2015.

          Eerily resembling a kind of uncanny pair of book-ends,
          these spectacles of “terror” and “security” (De Genova 2011; 2013a) awkwardly seem to frame what otherwise, during the intervening several months, has been represented as “the migrant crisis,” or “the refugee
          crisis,” or more broadly, as a “crisis” of the borders of “Europe.” Of course, for several years, the protracted and enduring ramifications of global economic “crisis” and the concomitant policies of austerity have already been a kind of fixture of European social and political life.
          Similarly, the events in Paris are simply the most recent and most hyper-mediated occasions for a re-intensification of the ongoing processes of securitization that have been a persistent (if inconstant) mandate of the putative Global War on Terror (De Genova 2010a, 2010c).”
          full descriptions:

    • Olivia esddms

      :) ah, a breath of sanity. Well, Poland isn’t exactly completely against migrants. It wants better identification of migrants, well, overall better screening. It hopes migrants can be accommodated, but with the expectation of reasonable adherence to existing culture; not religion, that is personal choice, but things like understanding women are equal in polish society and that trash goes to the bin, and no, setting buildings on fire and killing dissidents is not allowed. It also wants the EU to take into account that, as a border nation, it also receives considerable numbers of migrants from Ukraine and Russia already.

      Many people of varying nationalities coexist peacefully in Poland. I know some Muslims that attend catholic schools, and there are 0 issues. Zilch.

      Eh. This veers into rosy territory. But it’s true. As long as you are reasonably adjusted (or are helped by programs to do so), good luck!

      • trvlingengmgr

        The problem with coexistence is after certain minorities achieve 10-15% of the population they start demanding changes in their “new society” to meet their culture. In short, immigrants no longer assimilate into their new host countries and instead demand changes of those countries.

  • Zapedowski

    PiS won its “majority” in the election with only 38% of the vote. Support for them has already fallen to 32% – closer to the 30% they took in the last elections (which they lost). We just have to wait until 2019 to boot the idiots out for good.

    • Zapedowski

      BTW, I like both bicyclists and vegetarians.

    • BruceEWoych

      Learning from mistakes is sometimes costly when it is left to fester on its own. The statistics do speak to a real balance. Moderating extremism is part of a participating voice in the consent of the people above mere elections to office. Waiting for structural change in 2019 is a part of a democratic process, but true consensus must be informed not merely conformed to a pathway that works for the substantive economy and the political will of inclusiveness. The present is built from real assessment and input and you are clearly helping that along with the facts you present. I urge you, however, to drop the name calling since that only leads to resentment rather than intelligent dissent and consensus.
      Regards to you, Zapedowski…!

  • BruceEWoych

    Paris, May 1968: The revolution that never was

    “Everyone was a talking head.
    Whatthe talking heads were talking about were ideas spawned by a crazy
    array of leftist groups: revisionist socialists, Trotskyists, Maoists,
    anarchists, surrealists and Marxists. They were anticommunist as much

    as anticapitalist. Some appeared anti-industrial, anti-institutional, even

    Three positive objectives and one great fear dominated their views. The
    objectives were self-management by workers, a decentralization of
    economic and political power and participatory democracy at the grass
    roots. The great fear was that contemporary capitalism was capable of
    absorbing any and all critical ideas or movements and bending them to
    its own advantage. Hence, the need for provocative shock tactics. “Be
    realistic: Demand the impossible!” was one of the May movement’s


    “…On the other side, the anti-authoritarian spirit of 1968 was eventually
    seen as a wellspring of the successful rebellion against Soviet-bloc
    communism in 1989. The link was made graphically by book jackets
    rotating 68 to read 89. After all, Prague Spring in 1968 had also
    exhibited some of the same effervescence that overtook Paris in May – a
    sense that it might really be possible to escape the ruts of history and
    create something truly new.”

  • Joe Biernacki

    John Feffer shows a certain callowness in his descriptions of certain recent episodes in Poland that the International Left doesn’t like. I said “descriptions” not analyses. His comments are shallow beyond belief. He does not consider that Poland was never “de-communized”. After WW2 Germany was de-Nazified, why? Poland’s lack of aggressively going after the traitors, torturers, executioners, feaux judges and prosecutors that caused the death of tens of thousand of heroic Poles. No one was hanged for his or her crimes. Instead they were allowed to go right ahead and work within their mafia like system to infest every important governmental, legal and media function that worked hard against Poland. The Constitutional Court was organized by Jaruzelski’s crew to act as an emergency brake to counter any attempt to get at the communists and their numerous relatives. People with the old regime should have been prohibited from holding any government post or being the head of any corporation or news organization. That is de-communization. Can it still be done?

    • http://www.paulfrantizek.com/ Paul Frantizek

      Totally agree, Germany even went so far as to recognize Stasi as legitimate civil servants and honor their pensions.

      This whole ‘How dare these uppity Central Europeans defy their betters!’ narrative is becoming common. RCW just ran a piece yesterday spinning Ceausescu’s despotism as a positive for Romania because they’re now more docile and dependent than those recalcitrant and revanchist Poles and Hungarians: http://www.realclearworld.com/articles/2016/05/25/romanias_crossroads_to_bear_111870.html

      Can’t blame the EU apologists I guess – when your track record is as bad as theirs, I
      suppose you have to take your comforts where you find them.

      • czarnajama

        Poland cut the pensions of its former secret policemen, and that was under the former government, too.

    • czarnajama

      One needs to put the Round Table into the context of its time. It began the disintegration of the Soviet Bloc, followed by the Soviet Union itself. It had to be a compromise, just as the end of Apartheid was a compromise. There will always be some who were too grievously hurt to accept a compromise, but in the end forgiveness and justice need to find a balance. The unfortunate thing is that Kaczynski has made a myth of the “Układ”, the supposed network of former Communists and those who negotiated with them in 1989, without any real supporting evidence. Sure, many ex-Nomenklatura people did well in the wild privatizations after 1989, but that was to be expected since they were already the educated and experienced managers of the economy, even if it was grossly unfair how they had kept others from education and careers under Communism. But that does not justify wholesale purges today, 27 years after the 1989 elections brought Solidarity to effective power.

  • Olivia esddms

    So, Poland making smart, long term investments like child benefits to counter the precariously small birth rate, and pushing for better identification of migrants, and removing biased judges, and generally running campaigns to counter rampant nepotism, corruption, bribery, deliberate falsification of documents (especially financial), and striving to ensure a fair media, is seen as unjust and undemocratic? Really? You’ll find dissidents are completely free to state their opinions and work to implement their own agenda. There is no censorship.

    After a few years of the supposedly “democratic” regime, Poland was on the brink of sanctions for noncompliance with EU directives. After the election last year, it was basically a scramble to find willing, competent people to staff key positions. There are still many, many things to fix, but the most egregious cases are being/have been dealt with.

    Examples of monetary fraud: booking plane tickets for several times the market price, with the difference being pocketed by an “independent” company. Getting office furniture for several times the market price. Bribes. Using government drivers for long personal trips.

    Not to mention mobbing in government offices. Plenty of workers recall miserable, hellish working conditions under the previous administration, like verbal and emotional abuse, baseless wage cutting, baseless firing, working in crowded, improperly ventilated areas… it’s not yet good everywhere, but it’s getting better. Workers have rights.

    People have rights.

    So, good luck to you all, and I hope your country isn’t the one to next be smeared by the papers for creating a better democracy.