Tag Archives: Poland

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 ..

#CzarnyProtest: the battle is won, but the struggle for abortion rights continues

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 ..

Letter from Russia: Solidarity with Polish women #czarnyprotest

On September 27, the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church signed a petition calling for a legal ban on abortion. The new children’s rights ombudsman Anna Kuznetsova, who has already declared herself as an obscurantic pro-religious spokeswoman, has enthusiastically supported the initiative of banning abortion, as well as post-coital contraception. As she believes, the “whole world civilized world supports such measures” — and she obviously meant the examples of Poland and Nicaragua. After the predictable results of the parliamentary elections (Putin’s United Russia party now controls ¾ of all th ..

Neither Moscow, nor NATO: Notes on the NATO summit and the antiwar counter-summit in Warsaw

The main result from this weekend’s NATO summit in Warsaw was the official proclamation of a “containment” strategy toward Russia. So far, the practical consequence of this declaration is modest in military terms—a total of 3,000 foreign troops will be deployed to Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Far more important are the politics of this decision. The “Russian threat” is primarily defined as hybrid, that is it’s covert and exists on the borders of war and peace, state policy and social dynamics. The concept of “hybridity” is central in today’s confrontation between Russ ..

Poland’s War on Historical Memory

The electoral victory of the Law and Justice Party (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, PiS) has initiated a number of changes. Being a conservative party and appealing to right-wing resentments, historical politics were always an important part of the party’s policies. A ‘fair and honest’ historical politics were a way to build a new national identity and an important part of the party’s program and rhetoric. The principles were nothing new: similar issues were raised since the transition of 1989 and a way to deal with the communist past. In those days the Commission for the Prosecution of War Crimes Against the P ..

On nurses, strikes, and public sociology

This article originally appeared on ChangingEmployment.eu by Julia Kubisa on June 08 2016. On 24th May 2016 nurses who work at the Child Health Centre, the major paediatric centre for serious illnesses in Poland, started a strike action. It means that they stopped providing care for their patients – nevertheless the care was provided by head nurses, doctors and also the striking nurses themselves, who come on call in case of emergency. The health care system in Poland is decentralised therefore it is only the CEO of the hospital who is entitled to negotiate with the striking groups. The collective disput ..

Accumulating the Myths of Lech Wałęsa

This piece by Gavin Rae originally appeared at Beyond the Transition. As the news spread around the world about the discovery of new documents, concerning Lech Wałęsa’s alleged collaboration with the Communist authorities, the man himself was addressing the new right-wing parliament in Venezuela. This former trade union leader and avowed champion of democracy and human rights, was supporting the return of the right-wing in Venezuela. He then flew to Miami, to meet Cuban oppositionists and was once again received as a hero. Wałęsa was in his element – the heir of Reagan; the great anti-Communist who had he ..

It takes one to mobilize one: Polish tenants’ movement as an example of a mobilizing organizational structure

This article demonstrates how cultural dispossession preventing the Polish marginalized from collective action can be reversed by organizations, which mobilize the grassroots. Based on the case of mobilization within Warsaw tenants’ movement, Kasia Gajewska analyzes the process of mobilisation, the role of the organisations in it, and the profile of the organisers. In his ethnographic study, Kalb (2009) demonstrates how Polish citizens are dissuaded from protesting by the media and the elites, which diffuse a negative image of protest and the working class. He draws upon Buchowski’s (2006) concept of oriental ..

The real life of law: Polish lessons on housing activism in the postcommunist context

Abstract In this paper, I analyze the content and practice of law enforcement in the domain of tenants’ protection in Warsaw to draw lessons from Polish examples on the strategy for housing activism in the postcommunist context. The local public administration is quite weak, as it has limited financial and human resources capacities, which undermines the usefulness of concentration on legislation and rights because these two elements are not automatically implemented and enforced. The insufficient control measures within public administration need to be supplemented by external pressures and monitoring. Therefo ..