Global Independent Analytics
Bojan Stanislawski
Bojan Stanislawski

Location: Poland

Specialization: Eastern Europe, Labor movement

Poland: no good way out on the horizon

The Polish political deadlock continues. Obviously, the current situation cannot continue for long, but the unfortunate aspect is that there seems to be no good way out. That is, no good way out for the people; otherwise, one of the cabals of the local elite shall finally prevail.

It seems that the trap the new government fell into already at the very beginning of its mandate is really much tougher than anyone had realized. The ruling Law & Justice Party with their aggravation, affection, and political adventurism seem not to understand that by letting themselves get carried away, which they obviously do, they are actually playing according to the scenarios prepared for them to finally fall and be ousted for good.

One does not need to be a particular fan of the Polish fundamentalist right, to note that this is an interesting and critical moment in Polish politics. Not at all in terms of compassion for Kaczyński and his party, but because we are witnessing an Investiture Contest, the result of which will play a huge role in the ongoing geopolitical reshaping of Europe, and particularly of Eastern Europe. The aim of the great capitalist powers is obvious - first, we take Russia and later on China. But these objectives can hardly be reached without the complete collaboration of the Polish ruling class.

The Law & Justice Party was never liked by anyone except for a significant sector of the popular masses in Poland. But even their support grew very slowly as this party never led any movement from below. It hardly could have been perceived as a meaningful alternative, but for the lack of any other political structure that would be in any respect different from the common trend of corruption, bigotry, provincialism and rampant clientelism. Law & Justice, therefore, started attracting moderate attention.

The party’s fanatical Catholicism was soon covered up by an obsessive Russophobic whining, for which the Smolensk disaster of 2010 provided a fantastically suitable platform. Later on, as their predecessors from the Civic Platform (which during two mandates transformed itself into a part of the state’s administrative apparatus) they became torn by numerous scandals and affairs. Law & Justice’s leverage became its most emblematic postulate: smashing the III Polish Republic (as Poland after 1989 is popularly called) and build a VI one. A republic of law, justice and all kinds of noble moral principles.

From this somewhat veiled critique of current Poland, they developed a peculiar desire to rule.

For their leaders, this meant no more and no less, but a total wipe out of the former establishment and taking its seats, in addition to some more conservatism. However, in the public debate, this came across as an important message as they are prepared to be held responsible for these intentions once they are given a chance to govern.

This was still not enough of a link to mass consciousness. That is when they decided to throw yet another brick at the prevailing consensus. After breaking their complete silence regarding the negative effects of the restoration of capitalism in Poland, they offered the impoverished masses the idea of building a system of state social assistance. And after they won the elections - the elites and their allies decided that it would just be too much.

The biggest problem that Law & Justice is facing now is that the interests of their enemies at home have been nicely subordinated to those of the EU and eventually of Washington.

In such a grand confrontation, Law & Justice has very little chance. Especially now that it demonstrates nearly every day that its leaders are not prepared for it and that it surpasses their capabilities. The reactions of the government are empty and neurotic. They seem not to notice that this is exactly what is expected of them - the more hysteria, the more aggression, the better.

Such a tense and difficult situation call for serious political leadership. But Law & Justice are a bunch power-hungry bureaucrats who really think everyone should step down now; if not because of the general elections’ result, then because they say so. In this sense, it does not vary so much when compared with the leadership of Civic Platform. However, there are a few subtle differences and it is because of them that the United States joined that euro-hysteria and is now openly backing the attempts to undermine Law & Justice.

In order to understand this process fully, another element has to be brought into the picture. Law & Justice is often viewed, totally falsely, as the Polish equivalent of Viktor Orban and Robert Fico (leaving aside major differences between the two). The fig leaf for this comparison is the general problem these three actors have with the EU leadership. Unfortunately, regardless whether one supports the Slovak or the Hungarian PMs, what has to be stated is that the latter is much more autonomous, independent and consciously anti-Euro-Atlantic, at least to an extent. Kaczyński and Szydło are not so in the slightest.  They are simply a headache for Washington.

Kaczyński and Szydło were born in the very same nest as those who are now combating in Poland under a US umbrella. The entire so-called anti-communist opposition, coming after the first genuine Solidarity movement, was developed and constructed with the assistance not only of the official state structures and secret service institutions but also with the substantial support and care from the side of the United States.

Thus their political culture, in terms of goals, ideas and morality have always been radically and honestly pro-American. The US, to this day, is popularly viewed in Poland as the land of prosperity and not as a developing country, which in fact it is if we look at the statistics. The Polish politicians function in a semi-religious paradigm of absolute gratitude they profoundly feel they owe to Washington.

From this flows their conviction once nicely formulated by Madeline Albright - ‘the United States is good!’.  Combined with the complete lack of a tradition of sovereignty and with a short history of modern statehood, the Polish elites have no instincts or intuition to seek independence or autonomy. Which, by the way, is yet another striking difference between the Polish and Hungarian or Slovakian political leaders (at least with some of them).

Once power fell into their laps, both sides of the barricade in the `90 (the so-called postcommunists and the so-called postsolidaritists) immediately proceeded to hand it over to the new metropolis. Washington appeared to be the only natural choice. On the one hand being brought up by the US, and on the other  having no tradition of self-determination or holding political responsibility, the Polish elite developed, alongside the abovementioned gratitude, also a pattern of full obedience in terms of international political thinking (most of them are honestly convinced that they are  right in their naivety) that what can guarantee the safety and progress of Poland is the ostentatious hanging on to the handle of the White House door.

Law & Justice are no exceptions to past Polish governments in this respect. They even thought it would all be easier for them than for their predecessors because they are much more fervent and pure in their pro-Americanism. Also, they developed a sincere Russophobia and created a sort of a new popular culture around it via the Smolensk disaster. Also, they were the ones to most uncritically support the Maidan in the Ukraine, giving up everything in their desire to shove it to Russia.

Anyhow, they failed to win the love of the United States. The reason for this failure is the very fact that they wanted their stance to pass as a factual choice and not as a continuation of the clientelist tradition. Their desire to rule independently and to clear Poland of the Ancien Régime became immediately problematic. Not because it would really change anything in terms of the geopolitical subordination of Poland to the US, but because Washington long ago decided that in Poland it will not have partners but simply policy implementers.

They do not want another burden on their shoulders, they want things to happen smoothly and right away, upon their wink. As in the case of secret CIA detention and torture facilities in Stare Kiejkuty, they might, in the end, throw a tip. Even today we do not know who received the $15 million for this little service Poland provided and how the money was spent. Nobody asks this question anymore.

With Law & Justice things might have gone the same. However, the fact that it would have to be an offer, which consecutively would have to be met by an official agreement, and the US would be the partner striking a deal was too much (even though this would only be the formality). Even for Poland.

This is the reason for the hue and cry over the allegedly ‘poor state of democracy’ in Poland over the last few months, which has spread to the other side of the ocean. The American administration will surely use this opportunity. The Polish establishment has already put forward two new figures, in order for the imperialists not to have to support Law & Justice’s predecessors too openly. The new rising stars of the old model of Polish politics are Ryszard Petru and Mateusz Kijowski, the former being an international bankster and usurer in Poland - typical for an Eastern Europe pro- entrepreneurship playboy - and the latter an accidental rabbit pulled out of a hat and put on the saddle, the Lech Wałęsa of our era, with exactly all the features of his archetype (an underdeveloped brain combined with cognitive disorders and a complete obedience to those pulling the strings) but with only his manners being better.

Both of them recently held their new festival. On the 7th of May, a huge demonstration marched through the Polish capital. Despite the large numbers, it was a complete disaster. Leaving aside the general unleavened atmosphere, one could barely see any other content than utmost hypocrisy and breathtaking fanaticism that was absolutely no different from that of Law & Justice.

Also, the proportions are telling. The Democracy Defense Committee was just an attachment to the banners of Civic Platform and the new Modern Party headed by the already mentioned Ryszard Petru. Even the main speakers, getting carried away, much of the time simply forgot to mention the Committee while welcoming the participating organizations. Apart from a handful of intelligent faces and a few meaningful slogans, Warsaw witnessed a wave of cheap and aggressive language mixed with infantile taunts as people were listening to a competition of who would bring about the most profound embarrassment.

The most pathetic element, passing almost totally unnoticed, was the fact that on the day the population of the largest European city voted for a Muslim person as mayor, in the largest demonstration ‘in the history of democratic Poland’ that was supposed to manifest a great attachment to Europe and European values, the most repeated slogan was ‘Down with PiSlam’ (PiS is the Polish acronym for Law & Justice).

Do not get aggravated or red in the face. Poland has been like this for at least two decades now.

What will come next is difficult to say. Surely a certain balance will be kept until Pope Francis’ arrival in the summer and the International Youth Day in Kraków. Later on, when politicians are back from their vacations, new ideas will surely be immediately  implemented. Or maybe old ideas. Regime change is not a new thing for the US, is it?

 

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