Three Monkeys Online

A Curious, Alternative Magazine

A Sea Change in Polish Politics

The signs are unmistakeable. All over the land it is evident that Polish politicians have shaken off the complexes and shackles of yesteryear. The East is awake! The last time I saw election posters here almost every single photograph of the candidate had the very top of his or her head cropped by the photographer. And now look around! By a miracle, their head tops have been restored. Presumably the PR agency that advised every single politician last time out in the country has been taken off the case.

In other political news, there was a televised debate between the prime minister, Kaczyński, and the leader of LiD (Lewica i Demokracja), Kwaśniewski. The politicians were unremarkable but some of the questions, put to them by journalists, were of interest. A Joanna Wrześniewska-Zygier started things off by moaning about the red tape involved in setting up a business. “When will we see an end to this socialism?” she asked of Kwaśniak. 18 years after Poles overthrew communism, public figures are still blaming the faults of modern Poland on the old regime. Wrześniewska-Zygier herself, in her interminably long question, compared the current situation unfavourably with that existing in communist Poland. So the red tape – by her own admission – is a feature of modern, capitalist Poland. And yet she gets to call it “socialism” unchallenged. Later on, Krzysztof Skowroński asked the two debaters what the difference was between the third and the fourth Polish Republics. In case there is any confusion here, allow me to explain: there is no such thing as a fourth Polish Republic. Post 1989 Poland is the third Republic and there has been no break in continuity since 1989. This “fourth republic” is a rhetorical device used by the current regime. Why must journalists so unquestioningly accept the terms of discourse set out for them by their rulers?


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