Articles by Gavin Rae

About Gavin Rae

Gavin Rae is a sociologist from Poland. He is author of the book ‘Poland’s Return to Capitalism’ and runs the blog Beyond the Transition: beyondthetransition.blogspot.com

Polish Law on Historical Memory Widens Divisions at Home and Abroad

Note by the LeftEast editors: this article has been reprinted from the blog of Gavin Rae, Beyond the Transition, with the author’s permission. The Amended Act on the Institute of National Remembrance, passed by the Polish parliament on 26 January, has caused a huge political domestic and international storm (the full English language text of the Act can be found here). As well as widening historical and political divisions in Poland it has opened up a conflict not only with Israel and Ukraine, but also with the country’s major ally the USA. The Act has now been signed by the President, although he ha ..

Why the Left in Central and Eastern Europe Must Support Refugees

The refugee crisis continues to dominate European politics. By the beginning of August, almost 118,000 refugees had already entered the European Union via the Mediterranean Sea this year, with an additional estimated 2,400 of them losing their lives on the journey.[i] The continuation of western-instigated wars in the region, political destabilisation, terrorism, poverty and climate change mean that this flow of refugees to Europe is only likely to increase. Of course it is not Europe itself that is bearing the main brunt of this refugee crisis – but those countries that are bordering the war-zones, such as Leb ..

Ukraine: The Normality of War

“What’s abnormal is not the worst. What’s normal, for example, is world war.” (Franz Kafka) The 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War takes place in a growing atmosphere of global conflict. The world seems to be once again teetering on the verge of catastrophe. A wave of violence is spreading around the globe, leaving destruction and death in its wake. This surge towards war has developed a momentum that at times seems uncontrollable. Palestine, Ukraine, Libya, Syria, Iraq – the list of conflicts is growing and war is once again becoming normal. The anniversary of World War On ..

European Elections in Poland Confirm the Dominance of the Right

The 2014 European elections have confirmed a number of trends in Polish politics. These include a general disillusionment with the political establishment; the dominance of the right in party politics and the weakness of the left in countering this right-wing hegemony. It is hard for any party to claim victory in an election where over 76% of the electorate either did not vote or spoilt their ballot paper.  Although the EU has one of the highest approval ratings in Poland, turnouts in elections are generally low. For almost a decade now the country’s political scene has been dominated by two parties of the con ..