Friday, 29 May 2009

W proszku?

The frivolous translation of a perverse title of the article from the latest issue of The Economist. At first glance, after whizzing through the first few lines I had the impression they’re disputing Poland’s contribution to bringing down the communism. To my surprise the article doesn’t deal with the issue – there’s a short outline of the last decade of communist rule in Poland, starting from the strikes in 1980, resulting in the semi-free elections in 1989. Further on, the author draws a bleak picture of the current situation on Polish political scene – leaders of two post-Solidarity parties embroiled in endless quarrelling, spoiled celebrations of the twentieth anniversary of the breakthrough elections… Did we squander our legacy of freeing from the authoritarian rule – certainly not, probably we just got a bit lost. Political leaders have scales on their eyes on their chase of popularity, everybody tries to prove their importance, accentuate their merits. Some beneficiaries of the transition act these days in an perplexing way – Lech Wałęsa supports euro-skeptical party, being booed and called an agent on the rally, unionists from “Solidarność” trade union claim their rights to the legacy of big social movement, whereas all they have in common with “Solidarity” from the eighties is the name. Shipyard workers, employees of the factory which was the cradle of opposition against communism want to be treated like in the central-planned economy where the unviable enterprises were artificially kept up. Some of those things are beyond my comprehension, partly due to my young age and inexperience, partly due to the fact I was born in the time when the communism was in its ultimate irrevocable decline.

We can’t fail to put the fall of communism into a broader perspective – the system has run out of its internal capacities – its built-in inefficiency has brought about the inexorable breakdown. That refers to the entire communist bloc – Soviet Authorities have repealed the Brezhnev doctrine for mostly economic reasons. Economic underlying wasn’t of no account when it came to Poland. Party’s officials decided to reach an agreement with opposition when the country’s economy was in a downfall – in a way they wanted the share (or shift?) the responsibility of a faltering economy. That was the economic factor I guess, not social. Indeed, some strikes broke out in 1988 but Polish society was in a malaise after the gray decade of the eighties – carnival of Solidarity, martial law, gradual decay of the system. Was it a miracle that in 1989 something lifted Poles up from the apathy?

And what comes now – after twenty years a correspondent of a most respectable English-language weekly magazine sees the spats between prime minister, president, unionists and a projected turnout of about sixteen per cent in the forthcoming elections.

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