Poland

Polish women staged magnificent demonstrations and strike action all over the country on Monday 3 October. They are fighting against a proposed law that would ban abortion under all circumstances, even in cases of rape, incest or a threat to the mother’s life. Even in this country where the Catholic Church is so powerful, and where the right-wing Law and Justice party won power just a year ago, the spirit of struggle is alive and explosive.

“Young people are completely tired of the situation in Poland. The endless political war between the two main parties that never produces anything. They want change. I want change.” These are the words of a 21 year old student in Warsaw in the aftermath of the presidential election in May 2015.

Last week saw the Polish Parliament vote on motions of no confidence in the interior minister and the ruling coalition as a whole. These motions, which were tabled in the wake of a massive corruption scandal involving politicians at the highest level, were both defeated. However, surviving the votes of no confidence will do little to rebuild the reputation of the ruling coalition and the ideas they represent in the eyes of Polish people. They are rightly being seen, now more than ever, for the corrupt clique they really are.

On Saturday 14 September over 100,000 people marched through Warsaw in a joint action called by Solidarity, the All-Poland Alliance of Trade Unions (OPZZ) and the Forum of Trade Unions. This was the culmination of four days of trade union demonstrations against the Donald Tusk government.

The Polish economy was the only European economy to avoid a technical recession in the wake of the global collapse in 2008. But the whirlpool of capitalist crisis continues to grow and as its pull on the creaking ship of the Polish economy intensifies, the strain is beginning to show. From the capitalist point of view, the Polish ship of state appears to be in good working order – the Polish left is weak and neo-liberalism dominates. But below the waterline social unrest and eye-watering inequality reveal the real state of the rotting capitalist system.

Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski and his party PiS, Prawo i Sprawiedliwosc (Law and Justice), are in trouble. A scandal has erupted threatening the already unstable government. The situation is extremely unpredictable, and every day brings new revelations and new possible outcomes.

Poles are tired. You can see this everywhere: on the streets, in shops, places of work, schools and universities. There is deep frustration, anger and cynicism about the political system. However, we also have to look at the situation from below, from the streets, where we are seeing protest movements arising like that of the students last year, and the nurses this year.

The collapse of Stalinism in Eastern Europe created a peculiar political situation, which is not easily understood from outside. Stalinism discredited the very idea of socialism, but what has replaced is a rather crude bourgeois political set up. However, below the surface, things are moving on. In Poland, where right-wing Christian views seem to dominate the scene, a crisis is brewing.

On April 2, after long sufferings perfectly played out across the media, Karol Wojtyla, also known as the Pope, passed away. The media made an enormous spectacle of his death, allowing thousands to mourn and helping the Catholic Church enter a second spring – even if this may be only for a short period of time.

Dear Comrades,

I’m writing this letter to inform you about the ongoing paranoia in Poland which is related to the death of John Paul II. It is absolutely incredible and probably most of you will find it difficult to believe.

As the war broke out also in Poland we've witnessed a quite spontaneous demonstration in front of the American Embassy. The preparation for the demo was organized quite badly: you couldn't see any posters on the streets, no gatherings at schools or in the factories were organized to explain the nature of the present war with Iraq. Nevertheless what has to be stressed is that the people in Poland are deeply shocked by the conduct of Bush & Co., and also the servile attitude of the Polish government to their plans. Recently published polls show that 62 per cent of Poles oppose war and as much as 75 per cent do not accept sending Polish troops to fight in Iraq. In spite of all this the

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