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.

Last month’s elections reconfirmed Lukashenko as the president of Belarus. The Western media and governments have protested about the “lack of democracy”. In reality what is taking place is a conflict of interests over who should control the Belarusian economy.

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