How is it that in today’s Poland when people are protesting in defense of women’s rights, in opposition to turning the country into a right-wing Catholic colony the Polish police usually act violently, citing the epidemic threat? And when football fans, who have many ties to right-wing nationalist organizations that support the current government, come out to protest, the Polish police stands by passively and does nothing, but… protects their demonstration?
So was the celebration of the International Day Against Police Brutality. In the Polish capital, a group of activists wanted to commemorate victims of police violence, including one young man killed by police. The demonstration was peaceful. Still, the police not only detained the protesters, but even a journalist photographing the protest.
For several months there has been a political struggle over the appointment of a new Polish Ombudsman. The previous Ombudsman’s term ended last September, and since then the ruling Right has been reluctant to allow the appointment of a new Ombudsman who would use his powers to prevent violations and dismantling of the legal system of a democratic state. The opposition’s (including the Left) previous candidate could not withstand the right-wing media’s campaign of accusations against her and resigned. The Left therefore proposed its own candidate – Piotr Ikonowicz, a tenant activist, community activist and socialist. During the campaign around the new candidate, the Left will have an opportunity to voice many of its demands and expectations towards the PiS state.
The ruling right-wing uses the state apparatus to suppress citizens' criticism of it. Recently, the public prosecutor’s office has been trying to force the opposition media, which published comments under various articles, to reveal the data of their readers. Some of the comments, which were, after all, beyond the editors' control, were vulgar, but some were simply very critical. The editors appealed the prosecution’s decision to the court.
The scandal with the chairman of the Polish fuel company Orlen, Daniel Obajtek, has been going on for many weeks now. The opposition media have proven that Obajtek has been buying property all over Poland for himself and his family for years for sums many times higher than his salary. This should be checked by the judiciary and anti-corruption authorities, but they remain passive. The Left has filed a report on suspicion that Obajtek has committed a crime.
At the same time, the right-wing government does everything it can to intimidate critically-minded citizens by imposing disproportionately high fines for minor offenses.
There have been significant changes in the structures of the Polish left recently. Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), which had been in power for some time, but also had a shameful fall to neo-liberal positions, ceased to exist. SLD merged with Spring party – a left-center grouping. In a few months the program of the new party will be presented.
Translated into English by Wojciech Łobodziński.
The past week has been marked in Poland by the struggle to elect an Ombudsman. The term of…