Polish Politics

Gdansk, Poland

Want to share what I think is an insightful article on the current state of politics in Poland in The American Interest. It’s by Gazeta Wyborcza columnist Katarzyna Wężyk. Read it here.

Here are some quotes:

Polish “Neo-authoritarianism … accepts democratic elections. But … only as a way to give the majority a mandate to govern unencumbered by minority rights.”

“We ‘normal’ people have to stick together, the pitch goes, form an impenetrable front against dangerous outside forces, and not let our unity be eroded by pity for the undeserving.”

“Polish neo-authoritarianism is … based on shared hostility toward the elites and the weak—women, refugees, those with ‘pathology’ (that is, the poorest, people with alcohol or drug problems, broken families)—and bound by the sense that “normal” people have a right to dominate these groups.

The figure of a refugee— the ultimate Other, so different as to be barely recognizable as human and thus dangerous—was significant in ensuring a PiS (Law and Justice Party) victory. (PiS leader Jarosław) Kaczyński warned during the campaign that migrants carry ‘all sorts of parasites and protozoa, which, while not dangerous in the organisms of these people, could be dangerous here.’”

“Law and Justice gave its supporters … a kind of empowerment, albeit an empowerment that comes from the ability to humiliate, belittle, and bully others, and then to feel justified in so doing. It offers a surface narrative of regaining dignity, acquiring national pride, and restoring justice; but its underside exudes darker undertones of punishment, exclusion, and contempt.”

Warsaw, Poland and the Vistula River