From the very beginning of the current political season in Poland, we have been dealing with a series of grotesque misunderstandings. Sometimes they are amusing, sometimes perilous. Last week, however, we have observed yet another volcano of pathologies.
The very core of a political process comprises nowadays a strange conglomeration of right wing’s extravagance impersonated by Mr Waszczykowski and Mr Macierewicz. As well as stunts of catholic integrists such as Ms Pawłowicz and others of her ilk, and malicious witch-hunt against Muslims, Russians and the EU. A way out of this cul-de-sac can be provided only by leaders emancipated from this overpowering status quo. Alas, no-one offers that. The country will perish in misery even further and, seemingly, quicker.
Resident physicians going on strike made for the background of last week’s routine macabresque. As it was the case with the Constitutional Tribunal brawl, around 60-70% of Poles learned about the issue and its importance. Naturally, such comparison can solely be made on quantitative basis, as it is clear that the influence of a Constitutional Tribunal judge and and a physician is incomparable. Furthermore, with their well-organised and aptly managed campaign, young doctors remind us all of what politics is truly about: interests of various social groups. It is precisely thanks to them that the debate on our healthcare system finally comprises such ‘normal’ issues like its subsidization, universality and pay rolls. But for the residents, our healthcare system would solely bring in mind ‘rape benefits’ and gynecologists’ remorse.
Yet again both acting parties of the Polish-Polish war gave the game away, revealing an uncanny convergence of ideals, objectives, and ethics. The only difference – it could have seemed – was their style. But this is not true anymore after Dominika Wielowieyska slandered blatant resident physicians in her editorial and later on social media. Now, it turns out, not only the content but also the style of Ms Wielowieyska – who, let us not forget, belongs to the holy family and even holier editorial office – is nearly indistinguishable from tweets and Facebook posts penned by luminaries of the ruling party.
Wielowieyska was soon joined in her charge by the government side. ‘Wiadomości’ ran stories about ‘ungrateful young doctors’, who ‘demand billions of zloty’ etc. At some point a certain Mr Kossakowski flew off the handle and presented in his TV report young practitioners’ Middle Eastern war missions as ‘vacation in Kurdistan’ while calling cheap pâté on their sandwiches caviar. It was too much even for immigrant-bashing immigrant Mr Pereira who condemned his co-worker’s attitude. Meanwhile Ms Pawłowicz was on the trail of T-shirt Gate. She was inquiring about the funding of black t-shirts, and it was leading her to conclusions so zany and conspiratorial that Stanisław Michalkiewicz should fear this new opponent.
The list of such quirks can go on and on, on both the government and opposition side. The thing is it is not funny at all. Not upon second reading at least, when one can realise that the choice is to be made between two right wings with convergently poor ethics and intellect.
Unfortunately, there is no alternative. There is no other debate – even slightly more bearable – somewhere in sight. No need to look around – there is nothing to be found. Au contraire, it is only getting worse.
Aside from current political hooliganism, we are observing an ongoing war against communism. Nearly 30 years after the Berlin wall fell, Mr Kaczyński set his heart on defeating communism (and the Soviet Union) anew. Beliefs, hitherto strictly reserved to peripheral rightist sectarians (Poland’s third republic as a post-communist regime and ‘intelligence agencies kingdom’) and already partially legitimized during Law and Justice first mandate (with catchphrases like ‘red spider’s net’) have become mainstream and practically the only axis of the debate on the state of the country. Therefore, non-fundamentalist right wing was called a bunch of libtards, KOD activists and others of the soft-right persuasion (e.g. members of Civic Platform party) qualified as UB agents.
Polish political establishment cannot survive without communism fear-mongering or using it for defamatory purposes. This makes for what looks like an insight into a schizophrenic’s mind: ‘down with communism – communism come back’.
The left wing, referred to as libtards and frequently ‘massacred’ online for alleged communist ties, is unable to unite for various reasons. Last week, though, the bone of contention turned out to be communism. According to Ryszard Petru, communism is a constituent of Together party. Media-created leader of the party, Adrian Zandberg talked back on Facebook, threatening to sue for such communist allegations. However, while meticulously preparing this post, surrounded by party spin doctors, he failed to notice that it was a compulsively SLD-like act, that is – as he likes to put it – ‘postcommunist’. Thus, he recreated the identity model he so obsessively condemns.
Mr Zandberg’s anticommunist pecks were aimed at both the opposition (which seem to share Mr Zandberg’s zoological persuasion in this respect) and the national television. The aforementioned Kossakowski was scorned by the leader of Together for emulating propaganda techniques of – obviously communist – ‘Dziennik Telewizyjny’. It is a purely futile foolery, stemming from insecurities and the intensity of the dominant narrative. It may solely bring joy to anticommunist tenors of current propaganda ranging from Mr Rachoń to Mr Michnik. Moreover, it presents Together as a full-fledged member of Polish establishment.
What Mr Zandberg fails to notice as well is the fact that in that respect he carries himself very much alike another leader who Mr Zandberg is very eager to criticize (and rightly so), namely Paweł Kukiz. Mr Kukiz, for some unknown reason, decided to contribute to the ongoing debate on Poland’s ‘decommunization’ – recently gladly termed as ‘de-ub-ekization’ – and deemed the government’s action – lo and behold – ‘Bolshevik. ’
This is a Polish mindset indeed: communism is as communist as radical anti-communism. As the Russians like to say: s karmoy nye pasporish.
The society, the so-called civic one in particular, seems to have contracted this paranoia. It is commonplace to hear accusations of communist predilections, even though this social group is of strictly right-wing persuasion in all its facets. On December 13, when both opposing sides met in front of general Jaruzelski’s house, they shouted ‘down with communism’ at each other. A pity that Together and Kukiz’15 were not there to pull opposing sides apart while and help to avoid the use of physical violence, while shouting ‘down with communism’ at both sides.
Under such circumstances, I deem it necessary to call for a civic movement, emancipated and socialist in character, the objective of which will be providing an alternative to fossilized degenerations. I wonder what it should be called. Polish Radical Left or Universal Conspiracy Against Government?
Bulgarian and Polish activist, journalist, editor, publisher and translator. In the late `90 active in the Polish left and later in the labor movement, particularly the biggest Polish labor confederation — The All-Poland Trade Union Alliance. Until 2012 editor-in-chief of its weekly magazine. Contributor at Baricada.org and Strajk.eu, Polish correspondent for the Bulgarian National Radio.
Currently working as an editor and journalist for the Polish labor portal Strike and as a correspondent to the Bulgarian National Radio in Poland.