Poland: the working class vs the “good change”

Photo from CNN

Written by M. Krakowski, Revolutionary Regroupment sympathizer in Warsaw, November 2018

This year it’s going to be the third year since the far-right Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość; PiS) has won the parliamentary  elections in P oland, becoming the first party of the capitalist Third Polish Republic to hold both presidency and the Senate and Sejm (both chambers of parliament) and secure an outright majority allowing it to form a virtually single-party government.

PiS’s ascension to power followed the 8-years-long rule of the centre-right Christian-democratic Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska; PO) and its coalition partner Polish People’s Party (PSL) (the party of the Polish rural petty-bourgeoisie). These years, despite PO’s propaganda of success (especially in 2014, in which it celebrated the 10th anniversary of joining the EU as well as the 25th anniversary of capitalist counter-revolution in Poland) were marked by harsh austerity measures, privatizations of publicly-owned industries (as well as their liquidation) and hospitals, growing poverty and unemployment, raising of the retirement age to 67, practical elimination of the 8-hour working day and proliferation of the so-called „trash contracts” (work contracts without job security, health insurance, paid vacation time or the right to have union representation). In early 2015 there was a strike of miners in Silesia against closure of the mines. The strikers were met with rubber bullets shot by the police. In 2011 a Warsaw tenant activist and a victim of the wild re-privatization of housing, Jolanta Brzeska, was murdered by the landlords and the prosecutor’s office conducted investigation assuming that it was suicide, and then dropped it altogether.There was, in 2014, also a wire-tapping scandal in which it was revealed that someone illegaly recorded the private conversations between politicians (very frank, vulgar and revealing, with disparaging comments for example about the politicians such as Britain’s David Cameron and Poland’s alliances) in a restaurant and in the villa for former PM Donald Tusk (who in 2014 became the President of the European Council). At first it had little political consequences, but in 2015 the new revelations about this affair led to a cabinet re-shuffle.

PO managed to win two terms consecutively, but all they had to offer was that they were not like the far-rights loonies from PiS (who had already ruledy briefly in 2005-07). Their self-complacency and arrogance was what doomed them (in early 2015, when the victory of PiS candidate for presidentAndrzej Duda gave the foretaste of what was to come, the then-incumbent president Bronisław Komorowski supported by PO for re-election blamed his loss on the „demanding” youth who does not appreciate their „freedom” won in 1989 and is afraid to take any risks). Disgruntled masses threw in their lot with the reaction which employed social demagogy, to see that maybe this time it will be better (since PO couldn’t deliver).

Law and Justice is a national-conservative Catholic led by Jarosław Kaczyński- said to be the real ruler of Poland today, ruling his party with an iron fist and with President Duda and PM Beata Szydło and now Mateusz Morawiecki being merely his puppets-  who for some time in first PiS government served as a PM and his deceased twin brother Lech was the president of Poland who died in Smolensk plane crash on 10 April 2010 (to this day the party propagates theories blaming either the PO government or the Russians on this, even suggesting that it was an assasination). Kaczyński is a populist who exploited the discontent of workers and the poor (especially rural poor) after 25 years of capitalism. But he, to be sure, directed that discontent into very reactionary channels. In the election campaign the promises of increased benefits for children („500 złotys for every child”), taxing the banks or the lowering of the retirement age back to 65 for men and 60 for women were coupled with nationalism and anti-immigrant racism (but actually this mood dominated the whole 2015 elections)- Kaczyński himself stoke fears of Muslim refugees bringing in with them disease and parasites (reminiscent of Nazi propaganda against Jews), and his party was and is vocally opposed to the EU and Germany plans for refugee quotas/relocation (the PO at first said it would only take 60 families or so, all Christians; it then reluctantly agreed to take 7000 refugees without such distinctions, but the PiS said it won’t take in anybody). The party also has close ties with Father Tadeusz Rydzyk, a Catholic priest and millionaire media mogul (owner of the ultra-Catholic Radio Maryja and TV Trwam) (sort of people about which the band Genesis wrote their song „Jesus He Knows Me”).

There was nothing to be believed about PiS’s social demagogy, of course. Already when they ruled in 2005-07 they lowered the taxes for the rich and sent police against the protesting nurses. Now, they implemented their flagship 500+ programme, taxed the banks and reinstated the old retirement age, among other things, but apart from these being modest crumbs from the table, they take away from the workers with other hand, secretly. In December last year there was a cabinet reshuffle and Beata Szydło, associated with the 500+, was succeeded as the Prime Minister by Mateusz Morawiecki, former BZ WBK banker and chairman of the Leviathan Confederation (which for years has lobbied the interests of big business in politics) with 33.5 million złotys on his account. This capitalist who is also a good Catholic- in an interview with TV Trwam soon after his inauguration he said he dreamed of „re-Christianizing” Europe- has recently succeeded in his dream of making the whole Poland a „special economic zone” (these were established in Poland 20 years ago- in these the enterpreneurs are exempt from paying the income tax, certain bylaws of the labour code do not apply and the temporary work agencies proliferate, making it harder for workers to organize).  The idea was praised by the head of the Industrial Development Agency, said that it meets the demands of the business. PiS’s new idea of a pension scheme,  „Employee Capital Plans”, would benefit mostly the financial institutions, siphoning the 10-15 billion złotys from workers’ payments and public funds annualy to the financial market, while the benefits would stop being paid to pensioners after becoming 70. The „Mieszkanie+” housing program that was to deliver 2-3 million cheap flats by 2030 is bound to fail because it is done on the basis of the market, giving in to the graces of developers and private sector- so far since the announcement of the programme only 200-300 have been built, while it would need to be 167-250 000 manually to meet that target. It falls short of the housing programme on the basis of a nationalized, planned economy, as was exemplified by the Polish People’s Republic, despite its bureacratic deformation. Moreover, tenants under this programme are to accept their eviction „on the pavement” (without assigning them social housing) if they can’t pay anymore, which according the law will be then „voluntary leaving of the premises”, to which the tenant consented when signing the lease agreement. Under the deformed workers’ state there was no homelessness and the housing was not a luxury good.

Since its coming to power PiS, as in 2005-07, has focused on the taking over all the organs of the state and building an authoritarian regime. Their inspiration is Marshal Józef Piłsudski, the dictator of the interwar capitalist Poland whose regime brutally repressed communists, workers, peasants and national minorities. PiS has seized the Constitutional Tribunal, Poland’s highest court determining the constitutionality of laws, as well as the judiciary, the prosecutor’s office and the intelligence agencies. In 2016 it passed the so-called „anti-terrorist” bill, which expanded police and  security agencies powers to surveillance and detention and abridged the freedom of assembly. It also talks about the re-writing of the constitution, with Duda calling for a constituional referendum on the 100th anniversary of Polish independence this year. What they may have in store can be seen in their draft of constitution from 2011, which included increasing the power of the President and weakening the role of the Sejm, a ban on abortion, weakening the seperation between Church and state as well as death penalty.

There were of course repressions meted out against the left. Soon after the PiS took power, in 2016, three members of the (Stalinist) Communist Party of Poland (KPP)- a registered party which operates legally- got sentenced to community service for propagating content „appealing directly to the communist system of state as well as Marxism and Leninism”, and the party has been harrassed ever since.  Now in the crosshairs of the prosecutor’s office came the pseudo-Trotskyist (Grantite) portal Władza Rad (Soviet Power). The administrator’s house was raided by the police and all his devices were confiscated.

There has been a rise in anti-Muslim racism and all manners of xenophobia (people being attacked even for speaking German on the streets!). Ultra-nationalist or even fascist forces feel emboldened since the PiS victory. Hardly a day passes without the news of hate crimes, such as beating up people who simply have darker complexion (so not only Middle Eastern people, but Roma, Southern Europeans, Caucasians, Latinos). There’s also an anti-Ukrainian sentiment, and contrary to Muslims there are many immigrants from Ukraine in Poland, being a cheap workforce for Polish capitalists. Last year in Warsaw the fascist Independence March gathered 60 000 people, brandishing the Celtic crosses and such slogans as „White Europe of brotherly nations”, „Europe will be white or it will become desolate”, „All different, all white” and „We want God”. In January 2017 small Masurian city of Ełk saw the pogrom-style riots over the killing of a Polish man by Tunisian kebab vendor.

PiS is itself stoking up such reactionary moods and encouraging these tendencies. They’re ready to incorporate the far-right paramilitaries into the so-called Territorial Defense, modelled after the National Guard in the U.S. Like its American counterpart, it would be used against the internal rather than external threat to the state. They welcomed the Independence March, and Morawiecki, then the minister of development, said that it was „shameful” that an anti-fascist march took place at the same time in Warsaw (in which remarkably 2 500- 5000 people participated), perhaps foreshadowing future repressions. This year the infamous bill criminalizing mentions of Polish participation in Holocaust, as well as accusing the „Polish state and nation” of any crimes against humanity was passed. It was accompanied by outpouring of hatred against Jews. Anti-Semitism is the traditional weapon of Polish bourgeoisie, as well as the Stalinist bureaucracy (this year marked the 50th anniversary of March 1968 events), against the workers’ movement and Marxism.

Meanwhile, Catholic bishops have been pushing, with support of leading PiS figures, for overturning the 1993 abortion „compromise”, which took away the right to abortion on demand established in the deformed workers’ state, permitting it only in case of serious deformation of a fetus, when pregnancy threatens the life or health of woman or if it’s the result of rape and incest.  They want to ban it even in such cases. These plans met with serious popular mobilisations which defeated the first attempt to introduce such a law- the „Women’s Strike” and „Black Protest” got much attention abroad. However, the reaction hasn’t said the last word yet.

Aside of these demonstrations against the total ban on abortion, there were other mass mobilizations  against measures taken by PiS, such as the taking over the Constitutional Tribunal and now the courts. But the organisation that lead them, such as Committee for Defense of Democracy (KOD) and Citizens of Poland (Obywatele RP), have a liberal political perspective, seeking to appeal to the European Union to intervene to defend „democracy” in Poland and orientated towards the parliamentary opposition- PO as well as the very pro-market, liberal Nowoczesna (Modern) party founded in 2015  by Ryszard Petru, the disciple and assistant of Leszek Balcerowicz (the Polish finance minister in the 90s who enacted the infamous „shock therapy”), as well as a former economist for the World Bank, who drafted austerity packages for Hungary- and are supported by these parties. These movements speak in the name of those who benefitted from the „system transformation”, one of their slogans is „let it be like it used to be [until now]” and don’t attract the youth.

There is of course nothing progressive in these parties and their opposition to PiS. Both the government and opposition now accuse each other of „communism”, underlining the reactionary political climate of contemporary Poland. It seems that the „spectre of communism” is still haunting the Polish bourgeoisie. These parties aren’t serious about the defense of democratic rights. They in essence supported for example the „anti-terrorist” bill, with some mealy-mouthed opposition to its more controversial measures. The attorney who persecutes the Władza Rad is a darling of the opposition, having spoken last year against the politicization of the prosecutor’s office by PiS. Nowoczesna at some point proposed to ban „anarchist organisations” alongside the racist ones.

The predominance of the Catholic Church didn’t come with PiS, but was re-introduced by every government since 1989, restoring its privileges and property. The notorious PO MP Niesiołowski (who’s also an admirer of General Franco) said that the money best spent is the money spent for Church. Under PO you could also get sued for „offending religious feelings” (Poland’s version of blasphemy laws). As for the plans to ban abortion, under PO the number of legal abortions performed was already really low- because the current law still leaves the option for a doctor to not perform it if „conscience” tells him no to.  This is the reality of the draconian abortion „compromise” they defend. As for the racial, ethnic and national hatred, in 1996 the social-democratic government conducted massive deportations of the Roma. Fascism started to rise up its head already under PO (at the 2013 Independence March the mob tried to set fire to a squat in which aside of leftist activists there were evicted families with children) and most likely the leaders of ultra-nationalists were already at that time connected to the secret services.. Far-right paramilitary groups were already being integrated into the Polish miltiary in the wake of Ukrainian crisis in 2014, too. Under PO the historical police of the so-called National Remembrance Institute has also cultivated such forces and rehabilitated their reactionary precedessors, while either erasing the Polish left from history or denigrating its traditions. It was under the PO-PSL government and with support from president Komorowski that The Cursed Soldiers’ Remembrance Day was instituted, giving the grist to the mill of fascist milieus. („Cursed Soldiers” are the name given to the anti-communist armed resistance in 1944-56 that killed leftists, Red Army soldiers, Jewish Holocaust survivors and national minorities, or peasants who had taken the landlords’ land after the agrarian reform. Their cult is one of the focal points of the new wave of Polish nationalism).

The real difference between the PiS and the opposition is foreign policy, which kinda mirrors the current conflict dividing the ruling class in the United States. However, what makes it even more ridiculous is that both of them agree that the main enemy is Russia- they disagree with whom to cooperate against them. Both parties are committed to the alliance with the US, but PO and Nowoczesna especially since the Trump election call for clooser cooperation with Germany and the EU. PiS wants to rely on both its American ally as well as a coalition of states of Central and Eastern Europe against both Russia and Germany, reviving Piłsudski’s „Intermarium” strategy (today it is called the „Three Seas Initiative”. Trump gave a speech at its summit in Warsaw last year in his first visit to Poland). So, aside from calling each other „communists”, the both factions accuse each other of being „Russian agents”, with the opposition talking about how the government undermines the defense of Poland. The former PO foreign minister Sikorski lamented the fact that the Polish F16s engaged in operations against the Islamic State didn’t take part in this years’ Trump’s airstrikes on Syria. Meanwhile Poland is training Saudi pilots who bomb civilians in Yemen (there’s also a „Polish connection” with regards to arms with which the anti-Assad jihadist militias are equipped). Under PiS the NATO troops were deployed to Poland and Americans started installing its missile defense system aimed against Russia.

So as we see the differences between PiS and the liberal opposition are mostly tactical. Both PiS and PO come from the Solidarność which was the battering ram of the counter-revolution in Poland. PiS may now speak in defense of the victims of capitalist restoration, but it is too complicit in the impoverishment and overall social catastrophe that happened.  The Kaczyńskis were close collaborators of Lech Wałęsa, with Jarosław being the head of his presidential chancellery in 1991 as Wałęsa was overseeing the attacks on the Poland’s working masses. Now PiS denounce Wałęsa as a „Communist agent”. One can say that the counter-revolution devours its own children! While PiS has used the murder of Brzeska and the re-privatization affair as a cudgel to beat the PO mayor of Warsaw, these things have been going on since 1989, including under Lech Kaczyński’s tenure as a mayor of the capital- it’s obvious that he must have known about this.

Their criticisms of the post-1989 order boil down in the last instance to the narrative that the Polish capitalism was „distorted” by the „Communist agents” within Solidarność working in cahoots with the nomenklatura was well as the foreign capitalists (perhaps Jews too!). They want to build „national capitalism”, „really Polish capitalism”. Soon after having appointed Morawiecki as the PM, Kaczyński said that they want „a second wave of Polish capitalism and the government of Mateusz Morawiecki is supposed to foster it” (Morawiecki, by the way, worked as an advisor for the PO’s PM Tusk).

While PiS won by appealing to the desperate workers and farmers who lost out in the transformation, its core electorate is petty-bourgeoisie, which wants to regain its „dignity” at the cost of both the working class and the poor as well as the „elites” defined as the foreign capital and those Poles who are connected to it. It wants to become a true Polish big bourgeoisie capable of competing with Germany.

Apart from PiS, PO, Nowoczesna and PSL in the parliament there is the „anti-establishment” populist  movement of rock musician Paweł Kukiz, which is as reactionary as PiS and has occasionally been its ally. Among people who got into Sejm on Kukiz’s slates were members of the National Movement (Ruch Narodowy) and All-Polish Youth, who soon in November 2015 invited to Sejm members of the fascist Fuorza Nova in Italy. Another of Kukiz’s deputies is the veritable Polish national bourgeois Marek Jakubiak, who complained that Poles are a cheap workforce for the Germans but then it was revealed that in his brewery he pays people 1700 złotys, and became known first for his homo- and transphobia. Kukiz himself has stated that KOD is being financed by a „Jewish banker”.

„What about the left?”, you may ask. Since the elections the traditional left-wing of the Polish capitalism, the ex-Stalinist social-democratic Alliance of Democratic Left (Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej; SLD) is outside of the parliament. SLD has a long history of betrayals of Polish workers and oppressed. It lowered taxes for enterpreneurs, backed down on its election promises to liberalize the abortion laws, got Poland into NATO and imperialist EU, laid the basis  for the „trash contracts”, introduced evictions „onto the pavement”, privatized the state-owned industries and conducted other attacks on the working class, and, last but not least, participated in criminal wars in the Balkans, in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as allowed the torturing of people in CIA secret prisons. It paved the way for the first PiS government. It never ran on the basis of class independence which would warrant it critical support from the revolutionaries- in last elections it ran in coalition with the bourgeois Greens as well as the liberal Your Movement party. Nowadays it tails behind the bourgeois parliamentary opposition, accepting its leadership and in 2016 its trade-union arm OPZZ even invited KOD activists to the May Day demonstration.

The rising force on the left, which has taken away some of the leftist voters from SLD, is the Razem („Together”) party, founded in early 2015. It is a bourgeois populist formation modelled after Syriza and Podemos, which does not even pay lip service to socialism and working class, and histerically anti-communist. Still, the horrified right-wingers call it „communist”, citing such postulates as progressive income tax with 75% as the highest rate, and even call for its illegalisation. Razem is committed to NATO and EU, and like many on the Polish left is obsessed with the supposed threat of „Russian imperialism”. During the Trump’s visit in Warsaw last year, they staged a protest in which they accused him of having „ties to Russia”, just as he was sabre-rattling against it to the delight of the Polish bourgeoisie! As for accusations of „communism”, Razem’s program is that of capitalism „with human face”, one that is impossible under decaying capitalism, as was shown by Greece’s Syriza, which after coming to power in 2015 betrayed its promises to end austerity, imposing cuts more drastic that they had initially rejected.

On the more radical left, we have the afore-mentioned Communist Party, which is an inept reformist party and no threat to Polish capitalism as which reactionaries want to ban it. While even the Stalinized Communist Party in the 30s called for the „Polish Soviet Republic”, today’s KPP declares its aim to be simply „ a sovereign [Polish] Republic”. It now mostly focuses on fighting the „de-communisation”- the changing of names of streets from names, events, organisations and dates associated with the Communist regime, aimed at erasing he Polish left from history and smear the leaders of revolutionary Marxism in Poland by comparing them to Nazi and Stalinists criminals. Often „de-communisation” targets the memorials to the Red Army soldiers who fought to liberate Poland to Nazism. Of course we should honour their struggle and sacrifice and oppose the removing these monuments, but in that case you can find common ground with the reactionaries who see the Germany as the main enemy and would pragmatically have supported Stalin as saving „the Polish nation”. Or indeed the „comrades” from Stalinist security and military services who have made their way into the bourgeois police, security agencies and military and their „leftism” boils down to vague PRL nostalgia while they can hold very reactionary views.  And at the same time KPP has forgone the proud class-struggle traditions of the proletariat of the Dąbrowa Basin, its base region. KPP, as typical of Stalinists, is prone to popular-frontism. For example in 2005 elections it ran in a bloc with the bourgeois-liberal Anti-Clericalist Party, Greens, Polish Socialist Party, as well as the so-called Polish Labour Party (with which many on the reformist left were infatuated, including almost all „Trotskyists”)- a chauvinist, clerical, post-fascist formation which tried to refurbish itself as social democrats, poisoning the workers with economic nationalism.

The most significant ostensibly Trotskyist organisations are the Cliffite Employees’ Democracy (Pracownicza Demokracja; PD), affiliated with the SWP (UK), and the Socialist Alternative (Alternatywa Socjalistyczna; AS), Polish section of the Taaffeite CWI. Pracownicza Demokracja are basically social-democrats, avoiding the references to working class in favour of „ordinary people”. They called for vote to Razem in last elections and at times they even refer to it as an „anti-capitalist” or „socialist party”. Socialist Alternative can be more radical sounding- in the „Our Postulates” section on their website call for such things as „socialising the economy; re-placing the managerial system with employee self-management” and „democratic planning of economy to satisfy the needs of the whole society and save the planet, not to accumulation of wealth by a handful of capitalists”, but omit the question of the state and power and who would implement their postulates- but still isn’t revolutionary at all. It thinks Razem can be something more than it is now, calling for it to „adopt an anti-capitalist programme” and supporting the „radical” elements in the party against the leadership. They want it to be a new social-democratic party in which they would be able to do deep entryism and vote for it loyally as their political ancestors in the Militant tendency did with the Labour Party.

What about the working class itself? Sadly, it is still mostly under the spell of nationalism, racism and religion. It was basically brainwashed during the 90s and now many have a pretty much petty-bourgeois mindset, thinking that if they work hard enough they will become bosses themselves and fuck others over instead of being fucked over. Their problems have been blamed not on the market economy, but its distortion by the „elites”. The left has been compromised by betrayals and crimes Stalinism and social democracy. Solidarność in alliance with the PiS government does its best to contain workers. They are the most venal of the trade unions, preferring to organise pilgrimages for workers to the Jasna Góra sanctuary and meetings for enterpreneurs instead of strikes. But the other ones are little better- it’s not for nothing that the unionization rate is among the lowest in Europe. „Left-wing” All-Polish Alliance of Trade Unions (OPZZ), aligned with SLD, has not said a word on the recent successful strike of metalworkers in Germany which won them a 28-hour working week. Both Solidarność and OPZZ have in the past seeked help from the EU parliament and its courts instead of mobilizing workers, as it was in the aftermath of the big trade-union demonstration in September 2013, which resulted in nothing.

But, as Trotsky wrote 80 years ago, the laws of history are stronger than the bureaucracies. PiS can not solve the issues which propelled them to power. It seems that the Polish workers, feeling more confident due to modest social gains under PiS and lowering unemployment, are beginning to wake up and demand higher wages. There have been more labour disputes, even though they still rarely result in strikes. Last year saw the protests of junior doctors and even hunger strikes against the low payment and the under-funding of healthcare. The postal workers have been organising on a national scale (allegedly even with Ukrainian workers) against the Post Office management and established unions. The syndicalist Inicjatywa Pracownicza (Workers’ Initative) can boast of having organised the workers in Poland’s first Amazon warehouse, established there to leverage the low-paid Polish workforce against the Amazon workers in Germany. There was an example of a minor local strike which achieved victory thanks to the solidarity between Polish and Ukrainian workers. This year there was a strike scheduled for May by the workers at flag-carrier LOT Polish Airlines. Due to betrayal of the bureaucrats of Solidarność (and OPZZ’s Jan Guz was no better, preaching conciliation) it didn’t happen, instead there was a Catholic mass and communion for both workers and the company’s management. The woman-worker who was the leader of a would-be strike was sacked and is even accused of „terrorism”. But it’s not over. As one stewardess told a leftist journalist after that spectacle, „this is war”.

Government boasts of economic miracle, just like the Tusk one. But, as some pundit noticed in public radio last year when discussing this boom, while the profits have been on the rise, the investstment was not. The „good change” (PiS’s election slogan which has since become sort of a joke) can’t escape the contradictions of capitalism. With the passing of his bill making Poland one big „special economic zone”, the Morawiecki gave the signal that his government wants to increase exploitation of the Polish proletariat. The Polish ruling class no doubt sees the break-down of the post-war geo-political order fueled by the crisis of capitalism, and is going to arm itself (under PO the military budget achieved 2 percent of the GNP, while PiS pledged now to raise it to 2.5 by 2030) to survive and pursue its interests against Russia and other countries, for which the masses will have to pay- thus it is arming itself also against them. We must do our best to prepare workers for the battles to come, and to explain the lessons of failures to come as well those from the past. It means no pussy-footing with the Kaczyński-Ziobro regime, as well as no „closing of the ranks of democracy”.

That the PiS is still able to seemingly „manouever” between classes and stave off discontent of the masses by ostensibly distancing themselves from the „elites” in a semi-Bonapartist fashion, is due to the utter political bankruptcy of the liberals who had to offer the working masses only „warm water in the taps” (Tusk’s infamous slogan), and most importantly the left, chiefly the social-democratic SLD. Twice have the working population voted them into power due to nostalgia after the social and economic security under Stalinism, only to become bitterly disillusioned, paving the way for the coming to power of the reaction, including the first PiS government in 2005.

Despite communism having been proclaimed dead back in 1989, as we said, its spectre seemingly was never exorcised, with all parties of the bourgeoisie trading the accusations of „communism” (and even the Polish state TV in its new programme on the bincentenary of Marx’s death felt it necessary to warn the viewers of his „deadly ideas”). As Marx wrote regarding the France in the lead up to the ascension of Louis Bonaparte “The social republic appeared as a phrase, as a prophecy, on the threshold of the February Revolution. In the June days of 1848, it was drowned in the blood of the Paris proletariat, but it haunts the subsequent acts of the drama like a ghost.” („The Eighteenth Brumaire”). Clearly, the ruling class fears that it may lose the ground from under its feet and the proletariat will be once again propelled onto a revolutionary path, seeing the strike movements of teachers in USA, of rail workers in France, of steel workers in Germany, or popular revolts in Iran, Tunisia or Morocco.

There is discontent brewing within Polish society, but it can find no progressive outlet. The liberal opposition and its appendages by virtue of its class nature is unable to appeal to the working class, the only powerful social force that can fight for democracy (Razem, for its part, can only offer „social dialogue” and trying to bright about 7-hour working day… by petitions that fail to get enough signatures!). While according to the polls most Poles are against the PiS’s takeover of the judiciary, they hardly want to line up with the opposition in defence of the „free courts” (which have rubber-stamped many an eviction „onto the pavement” or declared work without job contract to be legal).

To break this vicious cycle of „centre” and „left” governments paving the way for rule of the far-right- which is an international phenomenon, as it happened with the Democratic Party and Trump administration in the United States, PD and the Conte/Salvini government in Italy, SPÖ and the Kurz government in Austria, we soon may add to that the PT and Bolsonaro in Brazil- we need to build a new force, a political party that will expose PiS’s social demagogy and strike not only at the foreign capitalists but also at their cherished national bourgeoisie, propose a program of  social change going far further than PiS’s crumbs from the table as well as the Polish People’s Republic (while acknowledging its accomplishments), for example by institution of workers’ democracy based on the soviets as the ones created in Russia in 1917 and by championing all the oppressed and promoting international solidarity of the working class.

Under the red banner of the socialist revolution, not under the EU flag or the bourgeois constitution of 1997- in hoc signo vinces! („under this sign you shall prevail”).

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