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.

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.

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