Last week in Poland was marked by two events: the sad anniversary of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe and the continuing protests of women and men against Constitutional Tribunal ruling on abortion. Let us just remind that the verdict which virtually bans abortion, was issued in violation of Polish law and in violation of the law in general. The Polish right-wing conservative government, however, does not pay attention to the fact that the legal order has been violated, nor seems ready to withdraw from the wrong decision. On the other hand, social resistance to the government’s repressive policy against women is not waning.
How is the Polish left doing in this difficult situation?
A coalition of left-wing and feminist organizations presented such a draft of changes in the law that would change the defective and anti-woman law protected by the Constitutional Tribunal, but would also allow women in Poland to enjoy their full rights.
Furthermore, the left does not give up in fighting for truthful and complex, and not nationalist collective memory. It tries to oppose the narrative of the right, which wants to impose its own false version of Polish history, erasing the workers', peasants' and women struggles from popular memory. Last week, we conmemorated members of the first Polish left-wing party, Proletaryat, in the place where Polish left-wing patriots who fought for the country’s independence and for social liberation were executed at the end of 19th century by the Tsarist Russian regime.
Yet another example of fight against falsifications of history: the left opposes the heroization of the so-called „Cursed soldiers”, that is, anti-communist guerrillas fighting against the post-war Polish state, guilty of numerous cases of plunder and killing of civilians, people who wanted to live peacefully after the bloody war. What were their 'reasons' for violence? Peasants to whom the government gave land from the land reform were enemies to these 'soldiers', and in some cases, national minorities fell victim to them, too. Romuald Rajs, whose armed group killed 79 Belorussian, Orthodox peasants in the East of Poland, is one of the 'cursed soldiers' who definitely does not deserve official ceremonies in his honour – and one such ceremony is planned in just a couple of days. Adrian Zandberg, social-democratic MP, stands against.
Left-wing social organizations started recording brutal pacifications of social protests of the last few monts. This is an important way of controlling the activities of the authorities and the police, which tend to downplay the role and importance of social protests, and claim that those were peaceful protesters who attacked the policemen, and not the other way round.
“In Warsaw, a situation in which a person participating in a protest was detained at a police station or held for a long time in a police car occurred 150 times. A protester was detained for a night or two for a night or two in 81 cases. 62 times such person was brought to the police station and left it on the same day, after hearing the charges. Seven times there was a case of keeping an activist in a police car or at the police station for several hours, which turned out to be completely pointless, as no charges were brought”.
The ineptitude of the Polish authorities in the fight against the pandemic also draws attention. Inability to act consistently, implementing restrictions in an illogical and unfair manner, destroy many thousands of jobs. Many small businesses are on the verge of collapse and the governments turn out incapable of controlling social anxiety. All this caused social disappointment and anger. And this is not only Polish reality. As Jarosław Pietrzak, one of our leading authors puts it, “at the moment when the pandemic hit Europe and the United States, many of the strongest capitalists longed for some impulse, a shock, that would reset it all once and for all. It would break bubbles, beat weaker competitors, cut off unprofitable entities and sectors, overestimated their assets by means of bankruptcies, facilitating their takeover, and thus strengthened the position of monopolists and oligopolies, and made the workforce grow by increasing the reserve army of labor ”.
Translated into English by Wojciech Łobodziński.
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