1989, Thirty Years Later Thirty years ago, the end of history was rumored to have begun. Though that thesis now looks quaint to say the least, the events that prodded it have left a deep and lasting impression on much of the world, perhaps most of all on central and eastern Europe, where the “transition” or Wende to the neoliberal monoculture began. In the next two weeks, we at LeftEast will be publishing a series of nine essays on the effects of 1989 on post-state-socialist Europe and beyond. The pieces were developed around the workshop “Eastern Europe after 30 years of transition: New emancip ..
By any measure, November 11’s fascist-led Independence Day march in Warsaw was terrifying. The authorities said 50,000 people marched through the Polish capital, while the organisers claimed 150,000. The true figure is likely to be somewhere in between. The march was obviously huge, however. Participants lined up in over sixty rows at the start; the demo took more than an hour to go past its starting point. Thousands more joined it en route and at the final rally. Dream Deferred has reported on this annual march over the past few years (see our previous reports in 2012, 2014, 2015 and last year, 2018). Apart fr ..
In October, Rozbrat squat is celebrating its 25th birthday, but its future is uncertain. A bailiff is preparing to auction off the plot, which we occupy. We won’t give it up without a fight! Several years ago, Rozbrat filed a case in court to secure rights to the land we have been occupying based on adverse possession. The case remains open. Despite that, on May 15, 2019, the bailiff set an estimated value of the land we occupy, which opens the way to an auction and a possible forced eviction of Rozbrat. The date of the auction has not been announced yet, but that can happen any time. The history of the lan ..
Just before Polish teachers suspended their strike to allow for exams, Philippe Alcoy interviewed Dagmara. She gave us an insider view on the causes of the historic struggle of Polish teachers as well as on the solidarities of pupils and parents. From the French: Celine Cantat. Dagmara Zawistowska-Toczek has been a primary and secondary school teacher in the Polish city of Gdansk for 19 years. She teaches in two institutions (30 hours of in-class teaching with students, plus 10 to 15 hours of work at home). As she explains, she is a “qualified teacher,” the highest rank in the Polish school system, an ..
On April 8th, 74% of schools and kindergardens in Poland went on strike. The strike’s organizer is The Polish Teachers’ Union (ZNP), close to the Social Democrats, but the strikers are also members of the pro-government Solidarność (Solidarity) union and non-union members. It is the biggest teachers’ strike since 1993 and possibly the biggest in the history of Poland. There is impressive solidarity and grassroots mobilization of a mainly female occupational group. Inter-school strike committees are being launched as well. The strike also enjoys broad social support. For example, many academic instituti ..
Protesting students of Albania! We are writing to you to send the words of solidarity and support from Warsaw, the capital of Poland. Despite the silence in the mainstream media, we have heard news about your problems and your struggle, which is an inspiration for us. We are students of the University of Warsaw, the Medical University of Warsaw, the Warsaw University of Technology and the Warsaw University of Life Sciences, united in the Student Anti-Fascist Committee. Our country is in a similar situation to yours – a violent transformation into capitalism has brought us a social catastrophe, and the neoli ..
On November 30th the centre of the city of Buenos Aires was put on lockdown by the police, the military, and secret services. Martial law provisions were to continue for three days. US aircraft carriers lay offshore on the river plate and the airspace over the city closed. 40,000 police were on the streets of the city to protect twenty top government representatives and a few multilateral bankers; men and women like to refer to themselves as ‘leaders’. While the final official declaration notes that “Strong and effective international financial institutions help underpin growth and sustainable devel ..
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 ..
On Monday October 3rd the eyes of the world were for a moment set on Poland. Deemed “Black Monday” it was the day when pro-choice rallies took place in 87 Polish cities and small towns with more than 30 thousand black-clad protesters spilling over the streets and squares despite a heavy rain. That day was declared a nationwide strike of women and supporters in response to the looming project of a law drastically restricting, or practically cancelling reproductive rights of women and trans persons in Poland. This atrocious proposal would totally ban all abortions and further criminalize women seeking pregnancy ..