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.

We publish an edited version of a document sent to us by Professor Jacek Tittenbrun of Poznan University in Poland. He gives an interesting and detailed account of the economic and social processes (especially the role of Western credit) that led to the revolt of the Polish workers in the early eighties, and to attempts by the Polish Stalinist bureaucracy to transform itself into a capitalist class.

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 Polish government behaves as if it were a puppet of the Bush administration. It is one of the four nations which have sent soldiers to the battlefield. They have spent millions of zlotys for the so-called "war on terror" while at the same time we are told that there is no money for education and health services. It should be said that the war with Iraq has become a heated topic: people discuss this on the streets, at schools, in the workplaces… This once again proves that the long apathy of Polish society which followed on after the brutal clash with capitalist reality has definitely come to an end.

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