Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Poles on blood and honour blacklist

Krakow’s students, feminists, gays and academics have been put on the internet “black list” of fascist organization “Blood and Honour”.

By Robert Kusek at Radio Polonia

Blood and Honour is an international fascist organization which collects and keeps information on people who are well known for their leftist and anarchist sympathies. The founders of the organization trace the members of anti-racist and left-wing groups all over the world and, subsequently, put the names of their “enemies” with all the data – including photos, telephone numbers and addresses – on their internet lists called Redwatch.

But this is the first time the fascists from “Blood and Honour” have drawn up a list of so many people from a single Polish city – namely, from Krakow.

On their website, they have displayed the photographs and personal details of over 20 individuals – most of them living, studying and working in Krakow. The list includes the academics from the Jagiellonian University, students of the city’s colleges and members of Krakow’s feminist and gay organizations.

Redwatch has also published a number of photos which show ordinary people who participated in Krakow’s March of Tolerance in April 2006. The website encourages everyone to assault those people physically and gives all the details by which the human rights’ activists can be recognized – including the clothes they wear and the pubs and cafes they usually go to.

Several of the people have already lodged complaints with the public prosecution office against the website. They also hope to be protected by the police – especially after it turned out that last week one of the leftists activists from the Warsaw list of Redwatch was attacked and stabbed with a knife.

Robert Kusek, Krakow

Polish Foreign Ministry seeks US help to close down Blood and Honor website

The Polish Foreign Ministry has addressed a note to the U.S. authorities, asking for help to closedown a nationalist website, the government said on Sunday.

Poland's government spokesman Konrad Ciesiolkiewicz said the site signed by a self-claimed group of Blood and Honor can be found on the American server and that the Polish services cannot erase it...more

Gay visibility inspires international supremacist attacks, Washington blade, May 16

Monday, May 29, 2006

Who attacked Poland’s Chief Rabbi?

The official line on the attack on Saturday, twenty four hours before the Pope’s visit to Auschwitz, was that it was a left wing ‘provocation’. Few are taking the claims seriously.

Chief Rabbi, Michael Schudrich, was attacked in the street at the weekend by a young man, who pushed him in the chest and sprayed him with what many think was pepper gas.

Rabbi Schundrich, a US citizen, told Radio Polonia:

'We were walking in the street and somebody just yelled out ‘Poland for Poles’, and when I hear that I am not inclined to let it go. So I confronted him and I said why do you say that, why do you believe that. He reacted by punching me in the chest and I was going to react in kind and I was going to respond in the same fashion. Before I was able to, he pulled out some pepper gas or mace and sprayed me in my face. And when he finished spraying, he took off and started running. I started running after him, but he ran faster and I didn't catch him.

Prime Minister Marcinkiewicz called me last night [Saturday] to ask what happened, how I was, I said O.K. He said that his government would be fighting very vigilantly against anti-Semitism.'

The assailant has not yet been identified or found by the police. But who was he? The most obvious suspect would be someone from a racist organization such as Młodzież Wszechpolska (All-Polish Youth), a bunch of thugs attached to one of the coalition government partners, the far-right League of Polish Families.

But the government is trying to get a rather weak conspiracy theory going about the attack. CNN reported that:

‘Schudrich was attacked in central Warsaw on Saturday in what the Interior Ministry said might have been a provocation meant to portray Poland as anti-Semitic during Pope Benedict's visit.’

Provocation? What they mean, possibly, is that someone from leftwing circles planned the attack to make Poland – and more particularly the current nationalist, populist government – look bad.

That the Interior Ministry, with very little evidence, should come out with such rubbish is shameful and ridiculous. If they want to show the world that they are a modern, civilized government then they should just get on with investigating the incident and let the far-right cranks develop their conspiracy theories where they belong – on far-right, cranky blogs.

Jews in Poland Wary of Ruling Coalition, Forward.com, May 12
Organizing against the Radical Right in Poland, anarckismo, May 21

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Passive drinking?

If you thought that the EU health police were content with ‘passive smoking’ as an authoritarian tool to stop us doing bad things to ourselves, then get ready for the great new concept ready to burst out of the corridors of power in Brussels.

A new term is about to enter the Euro-political lexicon: ‘passive drinking’. The idea was first mooted at the First Meeting of Alcohol Policy Network, Warsaw, June 15-16 2004.

Journalist Bruno Waterfield writes that:

"I have seen a leaked draft report for the European Commission, which is due to be published some time in June. It makes claims about the high environmental or social toll of alcohol, the ‘harm done by someone else’s drinking’. The report is likely to inform proposals for a European Union alcohol strategy later this year."

According to the draft report:

“The total tangible cost of alcohol to EU society in 2003 was estimated to be €125bn (€79bn-€220bn), equivalent to 1.3 per cent GDP, and which is roughly the same value as that found recently for tobacco…The intangible costs show the value people place on pain, suffering and lost life that occurs due to the criminal, social and health harms caused by alcohol. In 2003 these were estimated to be €270bn, with other ways of valuing the same harms producing estimates between €150bn and €760bn.”

So what has the EU got up its sleeve to counter this new ‘danger’? Well, they plan shorter drinking hours in pubs, higher taxes on alcohol, etc, to force us to change our naughty ways.

The isolated EU elite– desperate to appear relevant after the French and Dutch stuck two fingers up at them in last year’s constitution referenda - is now moving further in on people’s personal behaviour in its attempt to connect with us.

It seems to think we appreciate being treated like children.

Is the time that far off when we don’t just have smoke-free pubs but alcohol-free pubs as well?

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Pope and Radio Maryja

Benedict tells ultra-catholic broadcasters: ‘lay off the politics’. The highlight of the pilgrimage will be tomorrow when the Pontiff makes a highly symbolic visit to Auschwitz. Radio Maryja won't be pleased.

Pope Benedict has been getting good crowds for his first visit to Poland since taking over the pontificate but nowhere near as good as what John Paul II could muster. In Pilsudski Square in Warsaw yesterday about 250,000 turned out (in the pouring rain) for mass and homilies. Whenever JP II turned up in the same place, however, he could expect around one million.

Still, half way through the four-day pilgrimage, attended by over 4,000 accredited journalists, it can be said that the visit has already been a success.

Pope Benedict is aiming to do three things with the trip:

1) To try and fill the very large shoes of John Paul II and make sure that Poland remains the most Catholic country in Europe.

2) To come down hard on the anti-Semitic and politically motivated Radio Maryja. Benedict has said on this trip: “The priest’s work is to know humanity and God, not politics” – making it clear that the close involvement between Radio Maryja and the current Polish government must end.

3) To visit the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz as part of the Vatican’s attempt to bridge the divide between Judaism and Polish Catholicism.

Pope Benedict also made the comment that the “aggressive pose of attacking behavior of previous generations must stop”, or words to that effect. Many have interpreted this as to mean Germans; but many more think that he is referring to the present governments attack on communists and liberals in Poland (the now infamous uklad).

Anti-Semitism in Poland and the rest of Europe

There has been a bit of a hot discussion on this blog as to the extent of anti-Semitism in Poland and other European countries. So, just to put the record straight, here are the results of an international survey of 12 countries in Europe by the Anti Defamation League on attitudes to Jewish people.

In responding "probably true" to the statement, "Jews have too much power in the business world," the 2005 survey found:

Hungary – 55%
Spain – 45%, down from 47%
Poland – 43%
The United Kingdom – 14% down from 20%

In responding "probably true" to the statement "Jews have too much power in international financial markets," the survey found:

Hungary – 55%
Spain – 54%, up from 53%
Poland – 43%
The United Kingdom – 16% down from 18%

You can read the whole report yourself here

While it has been noted that anti-Semitism is on the wane in Poland (and about bloody time too) with 43% of Poles still apparently believing nonsense of international Jewish conspiracies there is still lots of work to do here, to say the least.

For more on Pope Benedict's trip to Poland check out b16.pl

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

And now the good news

The Economist report on Poland paints a picture of a country where the people are doing OK, shame about the politicians.

As a correction to the usual negative foreign reporting of Poland these days, the article points to the fact that it has come a long way in the 16 short years since the Round Table talks in 1989:

# Prosperity (in parts) that ‘many would find surprising’.
# Goods and services often of European quality but at Polish prices
# Booming exports
# High growth (5%)
# High Foreign Direct Investment
# Booming international travel, powered by cheap airfares (take note, greenies).

The report also points to the gulf between the dynamic private sector and a sluggish public sector.

“The private sector is increasingly able to compete with the rest of the world whereas the public sector, wasteful, expensive and bloody minded, is not,” says Economist journalist, Edward Lucas.

The Economist does point to some of the nation’s many problems, however. One in five out of work with only half of the adult population part of the workforce. The terrible infrastructure, particularly roads. The poor standard of public administration.

But most of the criticisms are aimed at the political class. “Suave but sleazy ex-communists’, ‘prickly, eccentric anti-communists’ is a good way to sum them up, although describing anti-Semite, nationalist homophobes as ‘eccentric’ does seem to be a slightly quaint use of the English language.

The naïve and insular character of present coalition government of PiS, LPR and Samoobrona is emphasized in the report. It describes how diplomats, business people and journalists find the rudeness of the administration particularly frustrating:

‘Diplomats and foreign business representatives in Warsaw trade stories of spectacular scheduling mishaps and outbreaks of pomposity over protocol. A dinner for foreign ambassadors is cancelled at short notice, rescheduled, cancelled again at even shorter notice and suddenly switched to a different venue. Senior figures promise to appear but never show up; requests for meetings go unanswered. “There's a limit to the number of times I can remind them that they are meant to be visiting us soon,” says a sympathetic but exasperated ambassador to Warsaw of another post-communist country. Another foreigner, with many years' experience of dealing with Poland, is blunter: “They are amazingly arrogant and amazingly ignorant.” ’

So, The Economist concludes that the constant stories in the western media of a country populated by anti-semites, homophobes, nationalists and other trogs is a misrepresentation. And I agree.

That’s not to say that there are not anti-semites, homophobes, nationalists and other trogs in Poland, but luckily (or unluckily) most of them appear to be in the current government.

Read the whole thing for yourself here

Monday, May 22, 2006

Poland: land of sinners

The Da Vinci Code opens to packed houses around the country.

They were told by the Catholic Church to boycott cinemas this weekend as seeing Dan Brown’s story amounted to committing a sin (see previous post).

But the box office figures for the crucial first weekend audience in Poland shows that The DA Vinci Code is easily one of the most popular film in Poland so far this year.

In multiplexes alone, 279,000 people went to see the sinful movie, which translates into an estimated 350,000 tickets sold overall around the country.

'The Da Vinci Code' proves hit in Catholic Poland, Zeenews, May 23

Friday, May 19, 2006

Going to see the Da Vinci Code in Poland?

Then you will be committing ‘a sin’, apparently.

The world’s film critics have been especially brutal to the movie version of the bestselling novel by Dan Brown, which opens in cinemas this weekend in Poland.

But the Polish Catholic church, perhaps more predictably, is not too keen on the movie either.

Archbishop Stanisław Dziwisz, long-time personal secretary of Pope John Paul II, has said that the film presents a ‘distorted picture’ of the Catholic Church. ‘Its hidden objective is to convince viewers that Christianity is a religion of contradictions, secrets and lies,’ he says.

One Polish bishop, Wiktor Skworc of Tarnow in the south of the country, has said that those who go to see the film will be ‘committing a sin’.

The Church is calling for a boycott of the movie in protest.

Opus Dei in Poland

Apart from Jesus marrying a prostitute and having kids, the book and film features the slightly obscure world of Opus Dei, a kind of club for the rich and powerful within the Catholic Church.

There are rumored to be around 300 members of the secretive organization in Poland out of a worldwide membership of 85,000.

Members of Opus Dei are within the present Polish government. The hapless ex-finance minister, Teresa Lubinska, who lasted only a few weeks in the post, is a member. Jerzy Polaczek, the minister of infrastructure, is another. And so, say many, is Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz.

If this is so, then what do these cabinet ministers get up to during meetings?

Well, one of the practices of the Opus Dei’ers is known as corporal mortification. Some don’t eat for a few days; others pay penance by wearing around their thigh a small metal band with spikes on the inside (?). Others go further still and beat themselves on the back and buttocks with small whips (??).

Kinky devils!

Is this why every freakish politician in Poland is trying to get into government at the moment?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Searching for sex

According to Google Trends, Poles are one of the world’s most frequent visitors to sex-related sites.

Google tracks world search patterns by looking at which countries use which keywords the most. This is a top ten of the countries that most often type in the word ‘sex’ into Google Search:

1. Pakistan
2. Egypt
3. Viet Nam
4. Iran
5. Morocco
6. India
7. Saudi Arabia
8. Turkey
9. Philippines
10. Poland

And if you break it down into cities, where I live appears to be a hotbed of sweaty palms (as it were).

1. Cairo Egypt
2. Chennai India
3. Delhi India
4. Mumbai India
5. Ankara Turkey
6. Istanbul Turkey
7. Warsaw Poland
8. Brussels Belgium
9. Zurich Switzerland
10.Amsterdam Netherlands

Is it me, or do those lists have more than passing resemblance to the one in the last post?

Poland is in the top ten…

…of the world’s most homophobic countries.

According to the annual human rights report by the US State Department, Poland is the 8th most gay-hating nation on Planet Earth. And look what company it keeps:

1) Uganda
2) Iran
3) Egypt
4) Saudi Arabia
5) Nigeria
6) United Arab Emirates
7) Cameroon
8) Poland
9) Nepal
10) India

In other words, Poland is the most homophobic country in Europe and the most bigoted in the developed world.

Not really surprising when you read the previous post...

See Meet ... Krystian Legierski

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Wojciech Wierzejski says...

...’If deviants begin to demonstrate, they should be hit with batons.’

That’s the views of the spokesman for one of the three parties, League of Polish Families (LPR), that make up Poland’s government coalition. He’s referring to the planned Tolerance Parade in support of gay and lesbian rights scheduled to take place in Warsaw on June 10.

And as Marcin Sobczyk reports in the Warsaw Independent the far-right politician thinks the recent protests and petitions against the new coalition government could not have been the work of true, honest Polish students (it was) because:

“There aren't enough anarchists in Poland to organize such large rallies on the streets,” Wierzejski told the daily Gazeta Wyborcza. “Homos organize those rallies using online chats and forums. They sign all kinds of appeals against [LPR leader] Roman Giertych.”

Wierzejski also reiterated his earlier statements that there was little difference between homosexuals and paedophiles.

“Every police office will confirm that homosexuals are a circle that is nearly 100% identical to the circle of paedophiles. It is a fact that does not require any research,” Wierzejski said.

What a charmer!

Troglodytes like him are now in the Polish government.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Hooligans United

Polish thugs are favorites to win this summer’s World Football Hooligan Cup in Germany.

Many were injured, over two hundred arrested and hundreds of thousands of zloties worth of damage as fans from Legia Warsaw rampaged through the Old Town district of the capital last weekend.

But this was no isolated incident. Six people have been killed in soccer related violence already this year in Poland.

Football hooliganism seems to be reaching a new peak. The government – led by the crime-populist, Law and Justice party - have announced a ‘no tolerance policy’ towards the thugs.

And they are right to do so. Polish football hooligans have been acting as anti-socially recently as have …well, Polish politicians.

Something must be done about both of them, preferably before the World Cup starts in June.

But top thugs from the top clubs have vowed that they will be out in force and solidarity in Germany this summer and aim to take over the top hooligan spot from their closest rivals, the English.

According to the UK Sunday Times:

[Polish thugs ] say they will be seeking “pre-arranged fights” with travelling England fans because of their reputation as “the best of the worst”. One group of Polish hooligans has warned that if the English “ignore invitations to fight, they will be attacked anyway”.

The London Times reports on the kind of person who will be going to fight for Poland:

“It will be the battle for Berlin,” Andrzej said, with a crooked, toothy grin. Clasping a can of beer and singing obscene anthems, he is one of the estimated 250,000 Polish supporters who will be travelling to Germany next month, with or without a ticket.

Oh, dear.

Short history of Polish hooliganism

The growth of rival gangs emerged during the mid 1970s but communist media ignored it.

The first time it was caught by the cameras was in 1981 during the TV transmission of a game between Legia and Widzew when fans invaded the pitch.

In the 1984-5 season 99 incidents of football related violence were recorded. By the mid 1990’s the police were recording well over 1000 a year.

After a relative decline in recent years the hooligans have been particularly active this year and last.

Hooligan World Cup

The authorities are fretting about what to do. They are studying the way the UK got rid of the problem it had in the 1980’s: by using a membership scheme, all ticket matches, blanket CCTV surveillance at grounds and heavy policing outside.

What amazed us here in Warsaw last weekend was how easily the fans could travel from Legia Warsaw’s ground south of the center of the city, right across to the Old Town to the north, get really, really drunk and smash the place up.

Where were the cops and what were they doing? Playing pocket billiards?

The Interior Ministry has issued around 600 wararrants for known trouble makers to be stopped at the border when trying to enter Germany.

England have issued about five times that number.

The first really big match that the cops are expecting boots to fly is the Germany against Poland match on June 14 in Dortmund.

Friday, May 12, 2006

What are they going to teach Polish kids...

...now that catholic-nationalist, arch-conservative, Roman Giertych has become Education Minister?

Polish university students did something they don’t usually do this week. No, they probably didn’t go to the library! They took to the streets of Warsaw and Krakow, in protest against the appointment of Giertych as Minister for Education, part of the deal the government made when it formed a coalition last week with his party, the far-right League of Polish Families, and another fringe party.

Teachers also protested.

Giertych has also, alongside another extremist, Andzej Lepper, been made Deputy Prime Minister.

Cleveland Jewish News comments that, as well as being Education Secretary and DPM:

Giertych is honorary chairman of the All-Polish Youth [which he reformed in 1989], a mostly skinhead group whose members have been photographed giving the Nazi salute. In the 1930s, the All-Polish Youth spearheaded attacks on Jewish university students (and led boycotts against Jewish businesses].

All-Polish Youth is the youth wing of the League of Polish Families, a party that believes that the Catholic Church should have a central place in government, is suspicious of foreign capital and foreigners in general, is rabidly homophobic and is associated with a kind of 1930’s anti-Semitism.

One of the 2,000 protesting students in Warsaw was reported by Bloomberg as saying:

“The All-Poland Youth uses intolerant, racist, anti-Semitic slogans,'' said Dominika Blachnicka, a 25-year-old sociology student. “[Giertych as Education Minister] is the fulfillment of my worst nightmare.'

Giertych has pledged that he will not be trying to introduce his weird ideology into the Polish education system. But it must be tempting for him.

So how would Polish education curriculum look like if he had a free rein to do what he liked?

History classes

Roman Giertych comes from a four-generation line of Polish nationalists. His dad, Maciej, is a nationalist member of the European parliament.

His grandfather, Jędrzej, was a contemporary of the 1930’s nationalist leader Roman Dmowski and someone historian Norman Davies has called ‘a professional anti-Semite’.

His great-grandfather, Franciszek, was another nationalist!

Is there a factory some place where they are manufacturing these guys?

Racism and nationalism is in the Giertych blood.

So history classes taught by the new education minister would present Poland as the ‘Christ’ of Europe, a nation that has suffered so Catholics could be free from freemasonry and the Jewish menace, etc, etc, blah, blah, blah…

Biology classes

Maciej Giertych is not just an MEP and nationalist, he’s also a dendrologist (the genetics of trees). Writing for the creationist Answers in Genesis web site he says that:

I know of no biological data relevant to tree genetics that would require evolutionary explanations. I could easily pursue my career without ever mentioning evolution.

[…] Evolution is not a conclusion drawn from observations. It is an ideology to which observations are applied when convenient and ignored when not.

Natural history classes, according to the Giertych syllabus, would consist of the Book of Genesis, and not much else.

Sociology classes

Sociology would be banned as it is taught almost exclusively by commie and liberal scum. Period.

Sex education classes

There would be no sex education classes.

But if the nuns (who would run all schools) had to bring up the subject they would say that the only contraception method acceptable is the ‘natural method’ (close your eyes, cross your fingers and hope for the best).


The boys would be taught that Jews own everything and that’s just not fair.

The girls would be told not to worry their pretty heads about such matters and to go and wash up the dishes and put the dinner on...

The only policy so far to come out of the Giertych camp is to put firewalls around school web sites to 'stop kids looking at porn when they are at school,' said Roman Giertych this week.

Hopefully the rest of his initiatives will be equally as bland.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI brings prohibition to Poland

No adverts for sexy underwear, no naughty films, and hide your condoms when the Pope is in town! Why are the Polish authorities so afraid of the masses?

Pope Benedict will be in Poland in the last week of May. He will visit Krakow, Warsaw, Jasna Gora and Auschwitz. It’s a high profile tour for the obvious reason that it’s the first visit by the new pontiff since the death of John Paul II last year.

So, to make sure that Poles behave themselves while he is in the country, a whole series of restrictions will be in place in the media and in bars and pubs.

And a group of Catholic journalists (?) will be scouring the airwaves for ‘adult content’ on public TV. UPI reports:

‘There will be no sexy ads, no raunchy soap operas and no commercials for condoms on the state TVP network. Even ads for underwear will be scratched when in-house Catholic censors get to work next week.‘

No frilly undies? Surly the Vatican can’t have anything against frilly underwear? I don’t remember reading anything in the Bible that says, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s frilly knickers’!

An ad for the FIFA World Cup in June, in which a man and woman are seen having sexual intercourse, has already been taken off the air.

Shock, horror!

The TV network's list of unacceptable ads also includes those for 'intimate hygiene products' (??) and `explosives and flammable materials (???).'


And some areas of the country – the measure is being left to the discretion of the local authorities – will ban alcohol over 4 percent in strength.

When Pope John Paul II was here, many times, the bars and clubs were only allowed to sell very weak beer… One from the Czech Republic was the favourite. JP II was in Warsaw for three days once and that meant all the bars were dry for a whole weekend! Thousands of us tried to find places that were breaking the ban. After scouring the city for a bar that would give me a drink I finally found one right next door to where I live. The nice barmaid, who recogised me, took pity and gave me a nice vodka and orange. And then another one, and another...

But it all begs the question: what are the authorities so afraid of? That the Pope might discover Poles like drinking lots of alcohol? Or that Poles like to watch the occasional soft-porn flick? Or that Poles like to wear frilly knickers and use condoms?

I am sure our new German Pope knows all that already. The prohibitions are merely the equivalent of cleaning up the front room before your mother arrives at your place for tea and cakes. It might fool her that you keep the place that clean all the time, even when she is not there...

...but don’t underestimate your mother. Or Pope Benedict 16.

The bans are just treating Poles like a bunch of naughty kids. But it's the authorities who are the infantile ones.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Introducing the PiS-ed off Index

Check out the beatroot’s new political barometer. (photo: PiS head, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who is looking very Pis-ed off recently)

You’ve heard of the Consumer Price Index (CPI); you may have even heard of an index fund. You have certainly heard about your index finger. Now the beatroot is proud to launch his new political barometer, measuring how unhappy and disappointed Law and Justice party (PiS) voters have become since last autumn’s general election.

The methodology to the Pis-ed off Index (PoI) is simple: compare the PiS-led government’s opinion poll ratings to their share of the vote in last September's general election.

For instance: in last September’s general election PiS gained 27 percent of the popular vote. But, if PiS had an opinion poll rating now of 24%, then they would have a Pis-ed off Index rating of minus 3. That would mean that three percent of their support had got pissed off with PiS and pissed off somewhere else.

The latest opinion poll published in Gazeta Wyborcza gives PiS…27% of the vote.

Which gives PiS at the moment a PoI rating of - zero

You see, it’s simple.

At the moment the Law and Justice PiS-ed off Index rating is flat. But how long will this last?

They have formed a coalition with parties (Self defense and League of Polish Families) that many Poles – certainly in the media – find beyond credibility.

Middle class PiS voters are the most despondent. When they voted for Law and Justice they presumed that they would form a coalition with the free market orientated 'liberals', Civic Platform.

Many middle class Catholics voted that way because PiS are the most mainstream party that associates itself with the ‘social solidarity’ of Polish Catholicism. By voting that way, with a mixed coalition of statists and free marketeers, they could vote with their conscience, but still have some economic realism in the government thrown in for good measure.

The coalition never materialized.

Now they are being lumbered with a coalition they feel embarrassed by. It's a coalition dominated by supporters who the new, capitalist Poland has forgotten.

The dispossessed – who also happen to be the most socially conservative - are now ruling Poland, and the, small by western standards, middle class is getting twitchy.

How long will it be before the middle class voter looks for something else a bit more like them? How long before the international reputation of Poland - which is taking a pounding - starts to become a break on investment, prestige? How long will an unstable coalition such as this implode? How long before PiS slip down the PiS-ed off Index?

Jaroslaw Kaczynski's personal ratings have dive bombed recently. He has a PiS-ed off Index (PoI) rating in double figures and more. His wheeling and dealing to form this government has not looked good to many.

Civic Platform (liberal economy) lead the polls with 29%, Self defense 10% and ex-commies SLD 7%. All other parties would fail to get into parliament if a general election was held today

So keep your eye out for beatroot’s PiS-ed off Index – it’s the only poll of Poles that counts!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Andrzej Lepper – peace activist

Polish ‘populist’ is pressing for withdrawal from Iraq

Now that a new coalition has finally been formed between nationalists Law and Justice, Self defense and League of Polish Families, foreign policy could look a little different from the unquestioning pro-Americanism that has been characteristic of the whole of the Polish political class up until now.

The war in Iraq, where Poland is participating with a token 900 troops, has never been popular here and a majority think that ‘our boys’ should come home.

After the election last autumn, however, President Lech Kaczynski announced that army would be in the war torn country until at least the end of the year.

No party has dared to distance itself from the United States. Until now.

We have yet to be presented with concrete policies by the new coalition – on anything! - but new Vice-Premier, Andrzej Lepper makes clear that there will be some changes:

"The coalition agreement says nothing about Iraq. We are still against our military presence there and if it comes to a vote in parliament, we will oppose (extending the stay)...We want to withdraw our troops from Iraq and we will try to convince the president."

But the move has little chance of success. The whole Polish political establishment has made a point of identifying itself with the US for its defense. Getting a populist (i.e. popular?) move such as a withdrawal through parliament is a long shot.

But at least one political party is in tune with the ordinary Poles on this issue. Strange that it has to come from such an unlikely direction!

A surprise Polish coalition government, Polish Outlook, May 6
Lepper: `I'm no fascist', Haaretz.com, May 6 (hat tip - Eugene)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Don’t mention the war!

Polish defense minister likens Russian-German gas deal to Hitler-Stalin pact. Germans not pleased. Tanks invade Sudetenland.

Basil Fawlty once memorably warned his staff when he had a hotel full of German guests: “Don’t mention the war! I did once, but I think we got away with it.”

Last Sunday, Poland’s defense minister, the otherwise un-Fawlty-like Radek Sikorski, mentioned the war in connection with the planned gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, by-passing Poland.

But he didn’t get away with it.

Reacting to the news that a deal had been finalized to build a new gas pipeline that will supply Russian gas to western Europe, but will exclude Poland, thereby threatening the nation’s energy security, Sikorski said:

“Poland has a particular sensitivity to corridors and deals above our head. That was the Locarno tradition, that was the Molotov- Ribbentrop tradition. That was the 20th century. We don't want any repetition of that."

Ooops! The Germans and the EU – already a bit nervous about some of the weirder statements coming out of Warsaw these days – aren’t too pleased. Expactica reports:

‘Ruprecht Polenz, a senior member of Chancellor Merkel's Christian Democrats hit back telling Germany's daily Bild: "Such absurd comparisons are damaging to German-Polish relations."

In the meantime, Hans-Ulrich Klose, a leading member of the Social Democrats, which have forged a coalition with the CDU to form Germany's national government also lashed out at the remarks made by Sikorski.

Klose said Sikorski should reconsider his remarks and then withdraw them as quickly as possible.

Echoing the comments by German politicians, the European Commission's chief spokesman Johannes Laitenberger described Sikorski's comments as neither "helpful nor proportionate" adding that Brussels was seeking to address concerns about the pipeline.’

So what’s Radek Sikorski's next move to be? Maybe he can do one of Basil’s silly walks?

Cheney: Russia is blackmailing Europe, Mail and Guardian, May 4

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Polish populism?

The mainstream media and political parties label any idea outside the narrow confines of the political centre as ‘populist’. It’s become a meaningless term of abuse.(photo: Roman Giertych and Andrzej Lepper - two Polish 'populists')

Populist parties join Polish government, EU Observer
Poland's foreign minister quits over PiS coalition with populists, Monsters and Critics

Put ‘populist’ and ‘Poland’ into google and 477,000 entries will pop up. It seems we have entered the populist age.

All the above headlines refer to the new coalition agreement between the ruling Law and Justice party, the ‘populist’ Self defense party, and a few from the ‘populist’ League of Polish Families.

But it’s not only they who are the populists, apparently.

In October last year, after the parliamentary and presidential elections were won by the Law and Justice party (PiS) and the Kaczynski brothers, the BBC reported that there was, High hopes for Poland's populist leader – meaning, not Andrzej Lepper or Roman Giertych, but President Lech Kaczynski.

Many were calling PiS populist back then and in one interview Kaczynski went out of his way to declare that he ‘was not a populist’. He regarded the label as an insult. And he was right to think so.

Since then the populist tag has usually been confined to Lepper, Giertych etc.


Populism is generally taken to mean rhetoric or ideas that paint the political elite as out of touch with the masses, is corrupt and self-serving and should be replaced by the common sense of the people.

So, if crime or terrorism is increasing, and if ordinary people think that stiffer prison sentences (or capital punishment) would have a deterrent effect, then the populist policy would be ‘tougher on crime’. If opinion polls show that people feel that the EU is to blame for economic woes then the policy should become more euroscpetic.

If that is how populist is being used today then yes, Lepper is a populist, but so is Kaczynski. Even the name of his party, Law and Justice, taps into people’s fears that Poland is falling apart and becoming more and more crime ridden because of communist/liberal influences.

Kaczynski’s whole programme, therefore, is populist.

But how about opposition parties like the so-called ‘liberal’ Civic Platform? They promise that what the country needs is an unfettered free market to combat the protectionism, state interference and high taxation which are to blame for Poland’s problems.

That, surely, is just a kind of middle class populism.

George Bush (and Blair) have tried to claim – as their support in the opinion polls plummets - that security is the number one issue for the US and the UK. So, increased state spending on security and defense, a crackdown on civil liberties and the invasion of other countries are justified because ‘the nation and our way of life is under threat’.

That’s a very populist rhetoric.

The truth these days is that, in this post-ideological world of managerial politics, where policy is driven by focus groups, all parties have become populist.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Is Poland’s new Deputy Prime Minister an anti-Semite?

Andrzej Lepper says he is not. Everyone else thinks he is – including anti-Semites!

Deputy PM Lepper, the leader of the rural based, populist Self defense party, is now Dr Lepper!

Last week he received an honorary degree from the private, Ukrainian college, MAUP.

Lepper has lent support to the college in the past, which has a rather dubious reputation politically.

The Anti Defamation League has been concerned about the place for some time:

‘MAUP is the main source of anti-Semitic agitation and propaganda in Ukraine. It organizes anti-Semitic meetings and conferences, regularly issues anti-Semitic statements and publishes two widely-distributed periodicals, Personnel and Personnel Plus, which frequently contain anti-Semitic articles.’

Other personalities to have received honorary degrees at MAUP include one-time member of the Klu Klux Klan, David Duke, who also teaches a course on history and international relations at the college (I’d love to be a student on that course!).

Andrzej Lepper denies being an anti-Semite and claims that the accusations are part of the liberal media agenda in Poland, which is against his appointment into the government.

This blog has pointed out Lepper’s dubious, far-right connections before.

Whether he is, or is not, an anti-Semite doesn’t really matter. More important is that he is perceived to be one, even by fellow anti-Semites.

On the UK skinhead forum, about which I reported on in the previous post, one meat head greeted the news that Lepper was now in the Polish cabinet with glee.

Good News, Lepper, the Polish anti-Semitic populist similar to Zhirinovsky in Russia, has just today become a central figure in Poland's new coalition government.
Lepper's ''Self Defense Party'' has today been given three ministerial cabinet posts. The jews are furious.’

Lepper is right about the Polish media being out to get him. In fact, he doesn’t have many friends outside of his own party...and a few racists in the United Kingdom.

Human rights group concerned about 'extremist' parties in Poland's new coalition, Kyiv Times, May 2
Foreign Minister resigns, Turkish Weekly, April 29

There's more Poles in Britain than Warsaw?

That’s the misleading headline (minus the question mark) in the curtain twitching, right wing conservative Daily Mail (UK). One skinhead fascist forum gets excited.

The political backlash against all the Poles in Britain is not that far off, perhaps. The Daily Mail (which, historically, has a slightly hysterical view of immigration) reported last week:

‘Two million Poles have arrived in Britain since EU borders were thrown open to eight east European countries in 2004.The influx - greater than the population of Warsaw - raises serious doubts over Government assurances about the impact of European Union expansion.’

But hang on. I thought that about 300,000 Poles, Czechs, Latvians etc had turned up for work in the UK? The newspaper reveals all:

‘The figure, from the Office for National Statistics, records the number who have travelled to the UK, not the number who have stayed.’

Aha! But many of the Mail’s readers wouldn’t have read that far. They now are sure they are being flooded by Polish plumbers (who are obviously not doing their job well enough...think about it...).

One skinhead forum immediately leapt into life, boots polished and gleaming. The comments range from the grammatically challenged::

There's more Poles in Britain than in Warsaw, even if half of them weren't jews, that's still too many…

…to a fascinating discussion on Hitler’s attitude to Poles:

‘Hitler's resentment towards the Poles , Russians and other Slavs was the fact that many of these people were not Aryan , but a mixture of Asian . If you check your history most of Russia and the areas that are now Poland and Hungary were once under Mongolian rule this was during the 13th century , with the mass rape that took place during these invasions you'll have the racial mix that you will see in those countries today . Look at your average Slav many have Asian features , slanted eyes high cheek bones .’

One charmer is obviously none too happy about Polish immigration:

Get your head from up your arse and do some research.You will find that Poles are coming over,getting cheap labour for a few weeks then disappearing to other parts of the UK.You will also find that most of the cunts that do this are illegals and are on the run from Poland for various crimes including,rape,people smuggling and kiddy fiddling.I for one don't like the idea of not knowing how many of these bastards there are or where they are but I tell you one thing,I would serve life for any bastard that messes with my kids.If they got nothing to hide then why run?

I wonder if he reads the Daily Mail? Maybe he should write for them.

Close to 40 per cent of Poles consider working in other EU states, M and C, May 2

Monday, May 01, 2006

Low election turnout the fault of lazy voter, apparently…

…and nothing, of course, to do with our vacuous political leaders.

The UK based Institute for Public Policy Research has issued a report, on the eve of local elections in that country, calling for compulsory voting. And some of the British government support it. The BBC reports:

‘Under the institute's plan, electors would be offered a "none of the above" choice or could simply spoil their papers.

Ben Rogers, from the institute, said he believed forced voting would improve British politics…

The radical solution was backed by Northern Ireland and Wales Secretary Peter Hain and Commons Leader Geoff Hoon.

Mr. Hoon said it was "disturbing" that young people and those from deprived communities were "falling out of the habit of voting".‘

Under this great 'new' (adults in Australia and Belgium have been the subject of such tyranny for decades) 'radical' (snigger!) idea, if voters decline the invitation and stay at home instead, then they would be fined.

Yawn, zzzz….

Voting, Mr. Hoon, is not a habit, like smoking or picking your nose in public. It’s a commitment to a political party or programme. If that party, or that programme, means nothing to voters then they will simply not vote for it.

Poland has a much worse voter turnout than in Britain. In the last general election only 40% dragged themselves out to the polling booth.

But we will not revive politics by forcing people to vote. Politics will be revived when politicians start offering some inspiring ideas and when political parties regain (or in Poland’s case, gain) relevance to people’s lives.

The political class blaming voter laziness for low turnout shows them to be in a state of denial so deep that I suggest they see a doctor. Quick.