Poland in the Modern World

A Children’s Charity vs. a Conspiracy Theory

Last night (Sunday, January 15) was the annual Wielka Orkiestra Świątecznej Pomocy (WOŚP). The title doesn’t translate well: it means “Great Orchestra of Holiday Help,” but it’s not an orchestral concert and it’s always held a couple weeks after the holidays. It was first organized in 1993 by Jerzy Owsiak, a musician, artist, promoter, and host

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Here’s an interesting coincidence:  Trump’s approval rating as he assumes the presidency: 37% Percentage of the votes for PiS in 2015: 38% Most support Hitler ever got in a free election: 37% My theory: in any country at any time, it’s possible to get around this many votes for a dangerous demagogue.  The rise of

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Closer to Confrontation

The ongoing crisis in Poland is reaching a dangerous moment, and a forceful confrontation has become a real possibility. The details of the current parliamentary dispute (which you can read about here, here, or here) are less important than the rhetoric, because the latter has been characterized by a frightening escalation. Jarosław Kaczyński, who will

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Rising Hatred?

2017 is off to a bad start. On New Year’s Eve, an altercation at a kebab stand in the town of Ełk left one man dead, and the survivor of the fight was the owner of the shop, an immigrant from Tunisia. An outraged crowd gathered afterwards, shouting anti-Muslim slogans and throwing things at the

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The “Civic Strike” Protests

In dozens of towns and cities across Poland today, people marched in protests against the current government’s efforts to weaken liberal democracy.  I posted a summary of their demands here. In Warsaw the demonstration included tens of thousands of people (preliminary estimates place the crowd at 30,000), despite the sub-zero temperatures. Flags for the Committee

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Civic Strike

Today, on the anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law in 1981, protests (labeled a “Civic Strike”) are being held all over Poland.  The organizers issued a statement that I’ve translated below (the original is here).  Following it is an excerpt from an interview given in response to this statement by Jarosław Kaczyński. Finally, I’ve translated

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