Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Sign the Geremek petition


Update, May 3: The much respected and award winning British blogger, Clive Matthews, aka Nosemonkey, at the Europhobia blog joins the Geremek campaign.

Update: British historian Norman Davies (who has been sent a lustration questionnaire!!!) in an interview with the Daily Telegraph on the new law: "This is either going to end in farce or coercion, and that would be the step from democracy to authoritarian rule. Academics and journalists are in the firing line. This is nothing to do with winkling out collaborators. This is about showing loyalty to the Kaczynskis."

A Polish European member of parliament (MEP) is in danger of losing his seat. In danger, that is, not from the European Parliament, or the voters that put him there in the first place, but from the Polish government. This is not democracy as we know it in Europe.

Bronislaw Geremek was one of the leaders of Solidarity through the 1980s. Later he served in several governments after 1989, and eventually was elected by Poles as a Member of the European Parliament.

After the latest ‘Lustration Law’ came into force earlier this year – which forces every public person to sign a declaration saying that they had not consciously collaborated with the communist secret services – Geremek has refused to sign.

He has signed similar declarations three times before, but being asked to do so for a forth time is, for him, ‘humiliating’.

The Polish government has decided that if he does not sign then they can dismiss him as an MEP.

But as EJP reports:


The European parliament has supported Polish MEP Bronislaw Geremek over his refusal to comply with a new Polish national law to weed out communist-era secret police informers.

Poland’s electoral commission has announced that Geremek was disqualified from being an MEP after he refused to submit a declaration saying that he had not cooperated with communist-era services.

Bronislaw Geremek "is a political personality of the highest esteem who has always stood up for democracy in his country and for European unification," said Parliament president Hans-Gert Poettering, Thursday in Strasbourg.

"We will examine all legal possibilities that he can continue his work," he added.
Five groups of the parliament – the centre-right, socialist, liberal, green and extreme-left- have pledged to defend Geremek against attempts to strip him of his mandate.

The interference by Warsaw into affairs that are between the elected MEP and his voters contravenes the usual standards of democracy. Aside from whether you think that he should sign the vetting document, or not, the principle of an elected official being answerable to the people who elected him is a vital one and must be respected by the Polish government.

There is a petition in support of Bronislaw Geremek. It says:

We, European citizens, are deeply concerned by the principles of democracy and human rights and give our full support to Mr. Bronislaw Geremek. The Polish law of lustration, which threatens him of dismissal from his mandate of Member of European Parliament, directly breaks the rules and values to which Poland solemnly adhered, while becoming a Member State of the European Union.
We firmly urge for the Polish law of lustration to be repealed. Otherwise, we ask our European governments to consider the application of all the provisions of article 7 of the Treaty.

Please show your support for democracy by signing the petition here.

More?
bloggers for Bronislaw, foe
Euro Parliament discussion of mandate of Polish MEP Bronisław Geremek

p.s. Milan Kundera signed it!

81 comments:

Anonymous said...

signed

nemeczek said...

"This is not democracy as we know it in Europe"...
The Polish lustration law is the law not because the President and his bro felt like imposing it, but because it was the will of the Polish people (voiced through the democratically elected members of the Sejm and Senat). Geremek might not like this law personally, but it does not mean he can break it with impunity. He might be 'esteemed' or whatever, but he is not (or, at least, should not be) above any law of our land. If anything, he should have set a standard of civil obedience. Mind you, the same people who later introduced the lustration law first elected him an MEP. If Geremek’s allegiance is first and foremost to Poland, he should not have dragged Her through mud in Strasbourg/Brussels to protect his own position. And the European Parliament trying to influence our democratic process to protect its own... It would be undemocratic, wouldn't it? But knowing the current Polish government, I can only imagine how much attention they pay to foreigners trying to lecture Poland on their version of democracy.
I agree that the lustration paperwork might be humiliating, but so are the breathalyzer tests or searches/interrogations at our airports. We all need to grow some thick skin to go through life.

Harry said...

Signed.

And nemeczek: what percentage of Polish people voted in favour of a party which promised to introduce this law?

Nice straw man you're building by trying to link lustration to measures which clearly protect public safety.

Personally I've already made a public statement (in print) that I will not be submitting any statement to the IPN about my collaboration (if any).

geez said...

Collaborators, who had no moral scruples to begin with, no doubt have no problem signing the lustration oaths now.

Have Gemerek and others put forth their rationale for not signing in any detail -- anything in English yet?

Geez said...

Also, the petition calls for the "application of all the provisions of article 7 of the Treaty."

What does this mean? Kicking Poland out of the EU?

opamp said...

He has signed similar declarations three times before, but being asked to do so for a forth time is, for him, ‘humiliating’.

But it wasn't humiliang the first three times over...

The Polish government has decided that if he does not sign then they can dismiss him as an MEP.

This phrase incorrectly implies that the goverment is free to dismiss him or not, whereas the law says that the dismissal is automatic if the declaration is not signed. Dura lex sed lex. Now, there are indeed doubts if this law is constitutional or not, but the EP is not a place for discussing that.

Bronislaw Geremek "is a political personality of the highest esteem who has always stood up for democracy in his country and for European unification,"

A personality of highest esteem does not do the laundry in public.
Nor does he debate national matters abroad.

geez said...

Also... any chance of posting in English the required declaration?

nemeczek said...

Harry wrote:
"What percentage of Polish people voted in favour of a party which promised to introduce this law?"

Are you suggesting that somebody is democratically elected only when an ABSOLUTE majority votes for him or her? Is that what happens in other European countries? Which ones?

"Nice straw man you're building by trying to link lustration to measures which clearly protect public safety"

I do not link anything to anything else. I am just trying to point out that a sense of humiliation does not render this or any other law invalid.

"Personally I've already made a public statement (in print) that I will not be submitting any statement to the IPN about my collaboration (if any)."

You are not supposed to submit anything to the IPN. Your employer is. Besides, the lustration law applies only to selected groups of people, so you might not even have to bother with it. Unless you like it shaken, not stirred...

michael farris said...

One thing that's irritating to people like Geremek is the implied invalidation of anything official between 1989 and the election of the Mighty Mighty Ducks.

"Yeah, the third republic may have cleared you, but you're not clear till _WE_ say you're clear."

More charitably, it might just be yet another poorly written law (as almost all laws are in Poland, they seem to like them that way) that didn't distinguish those who've undergone the process before from those who haven't.

But taking into account the authoritarian personalities and general mean spiritedness of the ducks, it's probably on purpose.

opamp said...

"Yeah, the third republic may have cleared you, but you're not clear till _WE_ say you're clear."

The rationale I have heard is that this law uses a different (wider) definition of collaboration. So it's entirely possible to be declared clear under the previous law and a collaborator under the new one.

beatroot said...

My point is not about lustration. It is about the relationship between the voter and their representative. The voter gives permission for that politician to represent them, and they should have the unique right to decide if they be got rid of, or not.

Now the matter is further compounded by the fact that the European parliament is not like a national parliament. It is abound by rules that are beyond nation constitutions. And according to the rules of the European parliament, Geremek cannot be kicked out of the place, in this case.

jannovak57 said...

What’s the matter with this cranking old fart? Is his pen running out of ink from signing the same declaration so many times or is the fact that people not under the influence of the old regime are carrying out this lustration and the results may be different. Fear the universal motivator.

Comrade Geremek was a member of the communist party from 1950 until 1968, 18 years is a lot of time and opportunity to inform on people or worst.

Bloggers for Bronislaw turns out to be one site with a single article by some guy called Alex Harrowell undoubtedly with the credentials of an established fellow traveller.
Bronislaw Geremek and Tadeusz Mazowiecki are both men who have a highly selective notion of when the will of the Polish people should be considered, when they made their dirty deal at the round table with the communists it was without the consent of the people. They are the real authors of today’s lustration because 17 years ago when they should have come clean, they instead participated in a cynical cover up.

"This is not democracy as we know it in Europe" as for western Europeans instructing us Poles on democracy well to use the words of one European leader “it would be a good time for them to shut up”. It didn’t go unnoticed in Poland that the Polish people got barely a thimble full of support from the western Europeans during there struggle against communism and the same idiots that attack Poland today were the appeasers and apologists for the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe.

Get rid of Geremek now, there no chance of confusing him with the term patriot.

beatroot said...

Bloggers for Bronislaw turns out to be one site with a single article by some guy called Alex Harrowell undoubtedly with the credentials of an established fellow traveller.

Bloggers for Bronislaw is ONE PAGE of the blog Fist Full of Euros...I think you got confused there..what the foe post was about is that bloggers should get round and support Geremek. My post was part of that...and there are others coming on board...

jannovak57 said...

Took the time to go to the great petition, what a joke. 267 people had signed it but only 4 were from Poland and two of those weren’t Polish. A lot French people signed it as if anyone would care.

michael farris said...

"The rationale I have heard is that this law uses a different (wider) definition of collaboration. So it's entirely possible to be declared clear under the previous law and a collaborator under the new one"

And still all based on communist records. To take this lustration seriously, you really do have to believe that the communists were meticulous and _honest_ record keepers, which dog doesn't hunt.

You also have to believe in retro-active criminalization, but that's a separate issue.

michael farris said...

"Get rid of Geremek now, there no chance of confusing him with the term patriot."

When it mattered, he did a lot more for Poland than the ducks did.

Unless you really were longing for a violent transition from communism (in which lots of innocent people would doubtless have been killed).

jannovak57 said...

It will perhaps be possible for the polish people to decide on the merits of those who supposedly acted on their behave at the round table. Evidently Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski has threatened to make disclosures as a last ditch attempt to avoid the courts during an interview with the European press

“Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, Poland's last communist leader, said he would try to discredit the Solidarity freedom movement should he be brought to court on charges of imposing martial law in 1981, according to an interview published Monday.”

beatroot said...

Jan: the French are in evidence because the petition started in France. Its only just now spreading. As for any signers not being POlish - well, this is about an MEP - meaning a cross national institution for which 27 different nations can vote. Foreign nationals in Poland were qualified to vote for him...so I affraid that this is not just a Polish issue - which is why I have chosen to get involved in it.

Mike: Lustration is not stickly legal in the sence that it has to go to a court of law to make a decision. Another element that human rights lawyers needs to look at.

And Geremek did a huge amount to bring down communism. Thing is, the usual suspects - which were always there lurking within Solidarnosc - hate his guts. Always have, both for reasons political, and other reasons less savoury.

Brad Zimmerman said...

The whole lustration process and the people involved with it are complete shit. Whether or not Geremek was a complete red commie bastard in the past - almost 40 goddamned years ago - will NEVER be known.

Anyone that says "we found files that say you personally collaborated!" can be refuted with "lies. They made that stuff up." So it is pointless to bother with any of this. The only reason our idiot government loves lustration is because it allows them to smear their enemies in the press for a little bit. If you're accused, of course you will say "the files are faked! lies, lies!" So the people that want to believe you are a saint will continue to do so. The people that want to hate you will do so.

I want someone to come up with files that say JP2 collaborated so "normal" Poles (like my grandmothers) can really get sick and distrustful of the whole lustration stuff and make it politicial suicide to use it as a weapon. Then we can move on to the next scandle.

Anonymous said...

Beatroot and buddies,

As usual, you and your common friends (etc. MF of Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznan, etc) defend anything that is affiliated with the opposition of the current government.

Bronisław Geremek thinks he is 'above the law' because of his 'alleged reputation' with Solidarity, for which he did 'shite'. His pipe smoking, pseudo-intellectual reputation has only been trumpeted by the liberal and left press, and yourself of course. The fact is, he has always been a communist and now attempts to cleanse himself along with his leftist buddies. I'm sure, very soon Gazeta Wyborcza, the NY Times, and friends will defend him as well.

Just read what your fellow Brit (Daniel Hannan
in Brussels) has to say on this matter, for whose opinion I support, in an article entitled "These Lefties Can't Have it both Ways":

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/politics/danielhannan/apr2007/theseleftiescannothaveitbothways.htm

Quote (worth quoting every word): "It’s the double standard that is so stupefying. Euro-Lefties are furious about a Polish law that requires former state informants to come clean.

Should Bronisław Geremek comply with Polish law?

Socialist and Liberal MEPs went ballistic in Strasbourg this afternoon over the demand that a Polish Euro-MP, Bronisław Geremek, lose his seat after refusing to say whether he had worked for the Communists.

I’ve never seen anything like it. The hemicycle is usually one of the dullest places on Earth. But such was today’s tempest that the session nearly had to be suspended. One after another, Socialist, Liberal and — hilariously — Communist Euro-MPs rose to protest about the Polish government’s “witch-hunt”. Although they habitually vote to waive the immunity of Rightist MEPs, they insisted, to thunderous applause, that Warsaw had no business challenging Mr Geremek’s democratic mandate.

Now there is a respectable argument to be made against what Eastern Europeans call “lustration”: the outing of former collaborators. On balance, I favour the process. It worked reasonably well following the Second World War, when former Fascists and Nazis were required to identify themselves (Tony Judt’s history, Postwar, tells the story grippingly). It worked, too, in South Africa, where the Truth and Reconciliation Commission brought closure to victims and allowed the state to make a new start.

But, as I say, I can see the converse case. Spain deliberately avoided any post-Franco recrimination, and seems to have done well enough since. What works in one country does not necessarily work in another.

What is outrageous, however, is the Left’s hypocrisy. Think of how Socialist Euro-MPs reacted when Austria voted for Jörg Haider, or when Italy appointed a foreign minister from the Alleanza Nazionale. The slightest connection with Right-wing authoritarianism, however historical and however putative, was enough to anathematise a party.

Yet, when the elected conservative Polish government fulfils its manifesto commitment and asks former Communist spies to own up, they are somehow trampling over basic freedoms.

It’s odd, really. If you point out that someone is a member of a party that is descended from a party that once had something to do with someone who knew Mussolini, you place the Mark of the Beast upon him. But if you point out that someone was himself an active supporter of a Communist tyranny, you are violating his basic rights.

You probably remember the row over Rocco Buttiglione, who was rejected as a European Commissioner because he admitted, under questioning, that he accepted traditional Catholic teaching on sexuality. What you may not realise is that, while all that was going on, seven former Communists were being appointed without any objection whatever.

They can’t have it both ways, these Lefties. Or rather, they can and do. That’s what’s so maddening."

Regards.

geez said...

jannowak: So now you want us to believe Jaruzelski and piss on Geremek? It's starting to seem that the truth for you is only that which serves your ideological agenda.

Brad: Your fantasy about JP2 being a collaborator... Yea. OK.

Anon: Is owning up to pipe-smoking and pseudo-intellectualism part of what's required in the declaration? Always a communist? Sorry but that charge is simply ridiculous. BTW, what did you do for Solidarnosc?

Harry said...

^ Anon, you might want to actually read the law. Anybody who had a legal duty to report crimes to the then legal government must now report that fact. And then be hounded out of their job as a former collaborator.

Most amusing of all is that the ever-wise Polish government has decided that everybody covered by the lustration law (e.g. teachers, members of the management boards of WIG companies, etc) must declare all co-operation with all internal security agencies from every country even if the person is a foreigner. So if you're working here and you used to help MI5 or the CIA, you must report that. Which of course would be illegal under UK or US law. So Polish law requires some people to either break Polish law or break their national law. And by the way nemeczek, go read the law. Then we'll talk. Because right now you have no idea what you are talking about. Some people are most certainly personally required to submit statement: I know because I've been writing the letters which try to explain to them that they must do it.

Of course there is one exception: men who work for the church are exempt from this new law. Who are the only professors who do not have to report their co-operation, if any, with the lawful government of the nation? Why the professors at Lublin Catholic university of course! Can't have the truth about the church collaborating coming out can we?!

jannovak57 said...

Harry said...”Anybody who had a legal duty to report crimes to the then legal government must now report that fact. And then be hounded out of their job as a former collaborator”

There’s the bone of contention the terms legal duty and legal government. Poles did not view the PRL as a legal government but rather one imposed on them by force of arms. Therefore no one had a legal duty to the PRL as they were Polish citizens under foreign occupation. But it could be argued that every Polish citizen had a duty to the laws in effect prior to September 1939, therefore collaboration was treason.

YouNotSneaky! said...

My point is not about lustration. It is about the relationship between the voter and their representative. The voter gives permission for that politician to represent them, and they should have the unique right to decide if they be got rid of, or not.

But this is not true. The problem here is the word "unique" - the voters do have that right, but so do the lawmakers and courts under some special specified circumstances. Impeachment is one example. Violation of ethical rules (like breaking the law) is another. While voters determine who gets in, that person can be removed for any number of reasons which have nothing to do with the voters. It's like that in pretty much all democracies, which means that they're not TOTAL democracies which is probably a good thing.

ow the matter is further compounded by the fact that the European parliament is not like a national parliament. It is abound by rules that are beyond nation constitutions. And according to the rules of the European parliament, Geremek cannot be kicked out of the place, in this case.

This is the crux of the matter though, rather than what one what thinks of the lustration law (dumb, to say the least), or of Geremek's past. It's a conflict between national sovereignty and EU juristiction and which one trumps the other. Suppose the Sejm passes a really stupid law (hate to give'em ideas) which says "No pipe smoker shall be a member of the European Parliament" while the European Parliament passes a law which says "All pipe smokers are welcome". Then the voters elect a pipe smoker. According to Polish law, uh-uh. According to EU law, uh-ha. Which prevails?

Perhaps Geremek should get all Socratic and drink his cup of hemlock.

nemeczek said...

I am just curious, what is the penalty if a person admits that he or she did indeed collaborate with the communist-era Secret Service? As I understand it, there is NO penalty/punishment at all, right? People are going to be penalized only if they lie about their past or pull off the Geremek. So, there is no retroactive criminalization of lawful acts here. Only the person's employer and the IPN will know about the individual's less than glorious past - no job loss, no public humiliation. And fewer people will greet them warmly at work every morning. That’s just about it – all in all, a great deal.

beatroot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beatroot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beatroot said...

Anon

As usual, you and your common friends (etc. MF of Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznan, etc) defend anything that is affiliated with the opposition of the current government.

What are you talking about? Firstly, the only person I am aware that I know who comments here is Harry – that’s it. I do not have contact with anyone from PoZnan university, for instance. So stop jumping to conclusions that don’t exist.

Secondly, there are several issues that I have written about – Rospuda, CIA prisons etc etc that the government would be quite pleased about (though I certainly don’t write it to please anyone but myself).

Thirdly, Geremek has always been a communist is a very dumb thing to say, and your definition of a ‘communist’ must be anyone to the left of Genghis Kahn. So not a position that can be taken seriously.

Geremek was in the party until 1968, until the Communist party drove out all the Jewish members and after they smashed the democratic movement that was forming then within the universities. I get the impression that many wished he had emigrated to Israel. But he didn’t. There are many who still wished he did.

Geremek is an extremely brave man. A Warsaw ghetto survivor, he was also put in prison by the communists for fighting for the freedom that you now enjoy. I think you should show the guy a little more respect.

Fourthly - as for being a communist party member. I can think of at least one high profile ‘de-communiZer’ currently doing the dirty work for the government at the moment who was in the communist party until the late 1970s. That’s a lot later than Geremek was in the party. But he seems to have a top job in a state company. Now isn’t that strange?

They can’t have it both ways, these ultra-conservatives. Or rather, they can and do. That’s what’s so maddening.

michael farris said...

anonymous,

Yes, I work for Adam Mickiewicz University, in the Institute of Linguistics. So? What?
I've never met beatroot in the flesh.

Why don't you step up and stop posting as anonymous? Your moral smugness might be a _little_ more justifiable then.

beatroot said...

I thought you were at Wroclaw, Mike? Shows the 'beatroot conspiracy' is not a very close or well organised one...

beatroot said...

Paragraph 3 of the mysterious 'Article 7' of the EU Treaty that Poland has been threatened with (many times) says this:

3. Where a determination under paragraph 2 has been made, the Council, acting by a qualified majority, may decide to suspend certain of the rights
deriving from the application of this Treaty to the Member State in question, including the voting rights of the representative of the government of that
Member State in the Council. In doing so, the Council shall take into account the possible consequences of such a suspension on the rights and obligations
of natural and legal persons. The obligations of the Member State in question under this Treaty shall in any case continue to be binding on that State.

Anonymous said...

Beatroot,

Bronislaw Geremek was a member of the communist Polish United Workers' Party from 1950 until 1968 (from the prime age range of 18 years old to 36). That's a damn long time...18 years! Not to be taken lightly. That previous comment on Geremek always being a communist is on target actually...not so dumb considering the best years of his life were utilized serving communism. It seems Mr. Gentle (Beatroot) doesn't consider communist party membership to be similar to that of being a member of fascist or Nazi oriented organizations. The German (Nazi occupation in Poland lasted approximately 6 years...the Russian (Communist)occupation lasted about 50 years. Many Poles who survived the war, such as myself, consider the Russian occupation more severe than that of the Germans. You could never imagine how communism raped my moral and took many of my family's lives.

So, when Jakub Berman and Hilary Minc, both very influential hard line communists in Poland, were assisting the communist authorities in suppressing, persecuting, and harrassing Polish Catholics, the Catholic Church, and the communist opposition in general, why didn't Mr. Geremek voice his disapproval then, perhaps in the form of stepping down from party membership? Could it be that his pension and the many generous whistles and bells that came with his membership package would have been eliminated? Of course, when it comes to over 50 years of persecution of the Catholic church in Poland under communism, it isn't worth mentioning, right, because...uh...they were only Catholics? Oh, but Catholics as 'victims' don't seem to count. Sure, when the time came, Geremek indeed did assist Solidarity at the round table talks. For me, that deed came way too late to express sympathy for him though.

I would like to point out that you fail to critique any of Daniel Hannan's commentary on the 'Geremek Issue'. So Beatroot, does this mean you agree with Mr. Hannan's analogy? I found the following quote of his to be especially very accurate:

"It’s odd, really. If you point out that someone is a member of a party that is descended from a party that once had something to do with someone who knew Mussolini (or Hitler? - my addition), you place the Mark of the Beast upon him. But if you point out that someone was himself an active supporter of a Communist tyranny, you are violating his basic rights."


Michael,

'Blogger' provides the option of signing off as anonymous, so I shall do the same as the previous poster. If it were not an option, people simply would not use it.

Robert S.

Renegade Eye said...

signed

beatroot said...

Robert – I have no objection at all to anon comments…that is why I hale the option open. But it is nice to have a name, because I get hundreds of ‘anon’…and they all blend into one.

As far as Geremek’s time in the communist party. As you say, he was in from 1950-68. Now look at what happened in that time. First 1956, which was siZmological for a communist. The in Poland there was the ‘Open Letter’ by Kuron etc. That failed. Then there was one last attempt at reforms. That failed too. Plus the anti-Semitism part.

By then Geremek was not a communist (unlike some of PiS’s supporters today.

So look at a life like Geremek’s historically and you see that he has grown as a person, as we all do.

And please stop the personalization of your comments. It does nothing to help your arguments, Mr ‘S’.

michael farris said...

Robert S., using some sort of name, as you are doing, is fine. Using a pseudonym is fine (not my style, but different strokes ...)

Using anonymous and not having the manners to use some sort of name or pseudonym is inconsiderate.

As for the communist period, was it bad? Yes. Am I glad it's over? Yes.

Is it the cause of current problems in Poland? I don't think so.

Will lustration solve any current problems? I don't think so.

"Many Poles who survived the war, such as myself, consider the Russian occupation more severe than that of the Germans."

I really don't think that's a very accurate perception of reality.

opamp said...

There is one very interesting document. It comes from STASI archives and is sourced to "Kultura" (number 9/516 from 1995), and a book referenced as Wojciech Wrzesiński (red.), Drogi do Niepodległości 1944-1956/1980-1989. Nieznane źródła do dziejów najnowszych Polski, Wrocław 2001; it has also been reprinted in "Arcana" 2 (44) 2002 (scan from Arcana in PDF). I could find no claims against the veracity of the document.

The document is a report by the GDR ambassador, Neubauer, from December 2, 1981, relaying his converation with a communist official, Stanisaw Ciosek, the day before. At one place, Ciosek talks about his conversation with Geremek:

I could not believe my ears. Geremek stated, that further peaceful coexistence between the "Solidarity" in its current form and the real socialism is impossible. The national council elections have to be postponed. State organs must liquidate the Solidarity apparatus. After the force confrontation, "Solidarity" could be reborn, but as a real trade union without the Virgin Mary in the vest, the Gdansk programme, political character and ambitions for gaining power. It could be -- continued Geremek -- that moderate forces, such as Wałęsa, would be maintained. After the confrontation the new state power could, basing the new political situation, continue certain democratization processes.

There you have it: State organs must liquidate the Solidarity apparatus, said our valiant freedom fighter!

Of course, Geremek's position is defensible (i.e.: he was, probably rightly, afraid that the current course, where Solidarity was led by the "extreme" elements would result in a civil war, so the government crackdown on the Solidarity would be lesser evil), but making him a hero freedom fighter in light of the above is ridiculous.

opamp said...

Poles did not view the PRL as a legal government but rather one imposed on them by force of arms. Therefore no one had a legal duty to the PRL as they were Polish citizens under foreign occupation. But it could be argued that every Polish citizen had a duty to the laws in effect prior to September 1939, therefore collaboration was treason.

This is a very shaky reasoning. You cannot argue that a person born in PRL after 1945 was in any way bound by the allegiance to the pre-war government. Especially since such person was by birth a citizen of PRL and not of the pre-war Poland, which existed no more.

(Note, that this reasoning cannot be applied to the persons born under the German occupation, because this regime, contrary to the PRL, was not granting them full citizenship rights).

beatroot said...

You see Mr S, that is the way to debate something. You don’t need to personalize…

Opamp
I actually don’t know what to make of evidence by these sorts of people. Has anyone put that kind of stuff to Geremek and others?

But say that it is true.

You have to remember the context in which this was (maybe) said. Nobody in 1981 envisaged what would happen in 1989. Nobody in 1988 did either, for that matter. So limits as to what were possible were built into Solidarity thinking in those days. It was a ‘self-limiting revolution’. You can see those limits of the August demands and the compromises that came after. And then there was always the ‘geo-political reality’.

IN that context I don’t see how this diminishes Geremek’s reputation at all. You should judge a man by his deeds. His deeds over much of his life were extremely brave and he was a ‘freedom fighter’ (when others – many others were hiding under their beds, or man many more went along in silent and passive collaboration.

geez said...

BR wrote: Shows the 'beatroot conspiracy' is not a very close or well organised one...

<><

See? There is a God.

Prolly has sumptin to do wid Libertarianism being so individualistic, too.

geez said...

Robert S wrote: Bronislaw Geremek was a member of the communist Polish United Workers' Party from 1950 until 1968 (from the prime age range of 18 years old to 36). That's a damn long time...18 years!

<><

To codgers like me, that's a blink of the eye. In your Catholicism, Robert, isn't there any room for conversion and redemption? Sounds to me like you might want to explore Calvinism a bit more.

geez said...

And again we are being asked by folks on the right to believe in and trust guys like Ciosek and Jaruzelski.

I just don't get it.

jannovak57 said...

opamp said... “You cannot argue that a person born in PRL after 1945 was in any way bound by the allegiance to the pre-war government.”

Poland did not exist as a state between 1939 and 1989 but a nation under foreign occupation with a puppet government controlled by the Kremlin. No Pole had any obligations of allegiance to their oppressors. Mr. Geremek served this regime for 18 years.

If my tormentors call me citizen, sub-human or comrade it is of little consolation to me.

Your logic is a morally flimsy justification for treason and collaboration no doubt some comfort to man like Geremek.

There is a clear and unbridgeable divide in these discussions between people who lived in the PRL and those who only read about it. It is also clear that the blind spot of the western leftist is constantly in evidence.

opamp said...

So limits as to what were possible were built into Solidarity thinking in those days.

Ciosek, therein:

"[The KOR group] have lost control over the "Solidarity" apparatus. The "Solidarity" apparatus is 90% anticommunist fanatics and rowdies. They want to gain power in a direct way, organizing all the time strikes, protests, antisoviet and anticommunist campaigns. The Solidarity apparatus is stupid and aggressive. Always ready to burn the committees and hang the communists."

So, even if we assume that Geremek made no proposal quoted above, it is clear from the document that Ciosek viewed Geremek&Co. as friendly, while the "Solidarity apparatus" as a dangerous mob. (If it was the right characterization is another matter). So it gives much support for the thesis that Geremek and friends were tolerated by the communists as a mean of controlling and taming the Solidarity revolution.

And this is the issue here.

beatroot said...

Jan
There is a clear and unbridgeable divide in these discussions between people who lived in the PRL and those who only read about it. It is also clear that the blind spot of the western leftist is constantly in evidence.

That’s a little bit patronizing.

‘Blind spots’ are common when people use their subjective not objective judgment. So someone who has just been attacked in the street is the least qualified to draw up government policy on how to tackled street crime.

But be that as it may: Geremek is a highly respected man among many Poles. So the ‘divide’ you talk about is a false and meaningless one. The real divide is between those Poles who respect him and those Poles who don’t. Period. And don’t say the only Poles that respect Geremek are ex-communists. That would be silly.

And GeeZ is right: people move on, they change, they grow. So just because someone was in the party in the 1950s does not mean they are still in the same place as they were then. If I am the same person when I am 70 as I was when I was 17 then it would be a wasted life, indeed (I would also be a constant source of embarassment to my girlfriend - and probably even my dog).

geez said...

jannowak wrote: There is a clear and unbridgeable divide in these discussions between people who lived in the PRL and those who only read about it.

<><

Please. There is a clear and unbridgeable divide between those people who risked their lives for Solidarnosc and those who writing years later who demean KOR leaders and others who made it possible for them to enjoy the freedom which enables them to write so cavalierly. And using the words of Jaruzelski and Ciosek to damn them. Now, that's chutzpah -- or probably much worse. I really am beginning to wonder which side was/is worse.

geez said...

Weird, too, how the Communists "tolerated" and managed the likes of Michnik, Kuron, Gemerek, et. al.

Throwing them in jail and doing God knows what else to them.

beatroot said...

What is sad about all this is that Geremek is completely isolated. He is the only Polish Euro lawmaker to refuse to sign the thing. Lots are cheering him on, but, as usual, they lack the spine to actually do something about it. Very typical here among 'liberals' sadly.

So his boycott comes across as isolated and weak. A personal, eccentric statement.

I think breaking laws – if they are bad and unjust laws – on political grounds is fine, and has a long and noble history to it. I have done it myself. But you have to do it as part of a political movement. And Geremek just hasn’t prepared the political foundations to do this. Which is why the whole thing has less political power than it should.

opamp said...

Weird, too, how the Communists "tolerated" and managed the likes of Michnik, Kuron, Gemerek, et. al.

Throwing them in jail and doing God knows what else to them.


It is interesting how at the time when the oppositionists were killed (Pyjas, Popiełuszko), or routinely fired (and unable to find a job) for things like organizing a trade union (Gwiazda, Walentynowicz), one of the main figures of the opposition worked all the time at a state-owned research institute...

Sophia said...

Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog about Geremek. It is obvious why the French are interested in this matter. Call it European integration.
First, the French have been struggling with the extreme right which is a constant phenomenon and which they see as a threat to their democracy.
Second, the lustration law reached a European deputy, so Poland is not as far as it may seem, it is in Bruxelles.
There seem to be an emergence of extremisms along with European integration and for European integration to succeed these extremisms must be contained...

beatroot said...

Vive la France!

Harry said...

jannovak57 said...
Poland did not exist as a state between 1939 and 1989 but a nation under foreign occupation with a puppet government controlled by the Kremlin. No Pole had any obligations of allegiance to their oppressors.
So you mean that anybody who lives in the Danzig/Stolp/Stettin area have no obligation of allegiance to the government which rules them. And that everybody in Lvov is clearly a traitor because they collaborate with the oppressors.

Why it is that Poles spend so long looking back at history that they don't have enough time to look at the present and the future?

jannovak57 said...

harry said... “Danzig/Stolp/Stettin”

Firstly I am sure you know the proper names for these Polish cities, not names uttered by some senile German or neo-nazis.

The bulk of the German population was removed from those areas to prevent the very problem of future disloyalty. Ethnic Poles were removed from the Lvov area by 1948.

Using your logic the Norwegians living under Quisling and the French livings under Pétain were obliged to give their allegiance to those regimes. However in both cases those societies when free dealt harshly with those who collaborated. I might add far more harshly then anything that’s going on in Poland today.

“Why it is that Poles spend so long looking back at history that they don't have enough time to look at the present and the future? “

This is all about moving beyond the past, you can’t have closure until the body is in the ground and seen to be buried. When the roundtable concluded many people and myself felt that it was a gross misunderstanding of Polish society to think that the dirty deal would be allowed to go unchallenged. Germany had to go through de-nazification and Poland will have to go through a similar process.

jannovak57 said...

Is that the same Sophia that writes an anti-Semitic blog, oops I meant to say an anti-Zionist blog. Tell us Sophia, your definition of anti-Semite must not include people wishing to see the Jews of Israel driven into the sea and massacred.

Oh and this inspirational link on your blog “boycott made in Israel”

I understand that in France during WW2 you people rushed to the aid of the Nazis in exterminating your Jewish population and then had the cheek to invent the myth of a French resistance.

One of the first moves Poles made when they regained there freedom was to re-establish diplomatic relations with Israel and supported it’s struggle to attain security and safety for the Jewish State.

Now crawl back under rock from where you came.

geez said...

"I think that the level of accommodation with the Communist regime should be seen through results. We were the first country in the Communist bloc to obtain the possibility of free elections, limited free elections under a deal. But we were the first country that gave the signal that this was possible. In my sense, thinking now on this process of changes in historical terms, one could say that nobody knows how long the Communist regime could have survived in this 'other Europe' if Polish workers in the Gdansk shipyard, the Lenin shipyard, in August 1980 hadn't had the idea and the determination to fight for freedom. And nobody knows how long the Berlin Wall and the division of Europe could have survived if the Polish roundtable in 1989 had not given the example of a peaceful transition to freedom from a totalitarian regime," Geremek said.

<><
I don't care if "one" of the main figures of the opposition worked for a state-owned research institute. And I find it incredulous to conjure up some kind of relationship to what happened to Pyjas/Popiełuszko and Gwiazda/Walentynowicz) as if that even that "one" was somehow or in anyway responsible for their suffering. And then linking to that suffering as being the responsibility of KOR. That's evil "logic" that I would have thought only typical of a communist or fascist mentality.

beatroot said...

Harry was using the German names on purpose to show the ‘Germanesse’ of those cities.

But Jan – I agree about the need for ‘closure’. Burying conflict does not make it go away. Especially, and crucially, when there has been an economy which created classes of winners and losers. What we are seeing with this government is linking those who have lost out since, with Poland’s 1989 compromise. And that has reinforced in people’s minds – those in the less developed east of the country, for instance – that they have been stitched up by the new ‘elite’. And that’s an elite (as they perceive it) formed by the compromise of the Round Table.

So I get all that. What I cannot accept is the way that those representing these groups (PiS etc), which lost out, are using methods they learnt from the communists. That’s the atmosphere they have created. That’s why people use the term ‘witch-hunt’. In a way, it’s just more of the same in Poland. A generation that knows nothing else but the mentality of a bully and disrespect for the law and people’s rights.

beatroot said...

Jan to Sophia: Now crawl back under rock from where you came.

Jan - that is totally out of order.

michael farris said...

"This is all about moving beyond the past, you can’t have closure until the body is in the ground and seen to be buried."

You'll never have closure because the majority of Polish people don't agree with you.
I remind you, PiS won the parliamentary elections on scaremongering about social benefits for old people (and young people being too scatterbrained to vote). The heavy duty lustration and settling scores agenda only really appeared after the election.

"When the roundtable concluded many people and myself felt that it was a gross misunderstanding of Polish society to think that the dirty deal would be allowed to go unchallenged."

Again I repeat, what realistic alternative (that didn't involve mass killings) would you have preferred?

opamp said...

And then linking to that suffering as being the responsibility of KOR.

Fascinating. But completely different from what I wrote.

The question is: why a regime that was known to deal ruthlessly with the oppositionists (see examples cited), showed such a great tolerance for this particular group?

geez said...

It's possible to support Israel's right to exist and still be critical of Israeli policies and actions. Quite a few Israelis even do so. But it now seems some Poles are uncritical champions of Israel to the extent that they label anyone critical of Israel as being anti-Semitic. All at the same time they try to crucify Geremek, Michnik and other Jews. Sad, very sad and damnably duplicitous.

opamp said...

Again I repeat, what realistic alternative (that didn't involve mass killings) would you have preferred?

OK now. Contrary to jannovak, I believe that there was none, and that the Round Table was the right thing to do.

Still, it doesn't change that fact that it would be very beneficial to finally learn all the details of this deal. It would, at least, lay some crazy conspiracy theories to rest.

geez said...

The question is: why a regime that was known to deal ruthlessly with the oppositionists (see examples cited), showed such a great tolerance for this particular group

Showed Great Tolerance?

beatroot said...

Mike
You'll never have closure because the majority of Polish people don't agree with you.

I agree that the de-commie obsession was pushed to the front of the agenda after PiS failed to get a coalition deal with Platform. That’s crucial.

And the majority of Poles want a better life – nothing more, nothing less.

But PiS type politics has about 30 percent support in this country. It’s based in the small towns, the less developed farms, and a kind of counter-intellectual class (small) which expresses these interests.

So, with the current election system, that group is going to have an influence on government. Always.

opamp said...

Showed Great Tolerance?

But of course. I mean, how do you call a situation where an opposition leader has a job where the state pays him to research -- wait for it -- prostitution in medieval France?

michael farris said...

"Still ... it would be very beneficial to finally learn all the details of this deal. It would, at least, lay some crazy conspiracy theories to rest"

I'm reminded of whay they say about watching sausage being made.

Sophia said...

Beatroot,

I won't be answering Jan's attacks. Yes my blog is anit-zionist but it is not against the Jewish people. I don't want to bring here the debate on the diference between anti-semitism and anit-zionism but I must say that Israel is surrounded today by friends who are pro-zionists and anti-semites like the American Christian right.
And by the way I am a semite myself.

geez said...

So next we'll hear how every historian employed at a "state university" was a collaborator. And how the lavish lifestyles of professors were scandalous.

And nowadays it seems like we're being treated to tabloidism featuring how Jewish professors who were leaders of Solidarnosc purportedly prostituted themselves.

Progress. Tolerance.

Harry said...

jannovak57 said...
Firstly I am sure you know the proper names for these Polish cities, not names uttered by some senile German or neo-nazis.

The ‘proper’ names? Stettin was a German city for more than 700 years before being illegally taken from Germany. Danzig was a German city from 1308 until it too was illegally taken from its people. Stolp was a German city from the very day it became a town (9 september 1310), right up until it was stolen by the USSR to become a gift for Poland. Funny how you are very happy to collaborate with those illegal acts.

The bulk of the German population was removed from those areas to prevent the very problem of future disloyalty.
Oh, I see. So just deporting people makes everything OK. Here’s an idea: let’s deport everybody who whines on about the need for a lustration process, that would make the problem go away!

Germany had to go through de-nazification and Poland will have to go through a similar process.
With you on that one. The sooner idiots like Giertych and the rest of the catho-nazis are banned from public life the better.

opamp said...

Progress. Tolerance.

Because we should all be mentally conditioned not to ask questions which contradict the gospel of Gazeta Wyborcza. Oh wait, I read about it some English book... What was the title, again?

geez said...

What was the title, again??

Lustration?

jannovak57 said...

harry said... “being illegally taken from Germany”

To the best of my knowledge no country or international body has taken the position that there was any illegality involved in the transfer of these cities to Poland. It seems all countries concern view this border adjustment as final and irreversible. If your getting legal advice from Stormfront that may be a variance.

I should remind you Poland had nothing to do with these border adjustments and was not consulted but rather informed by the victorious power at the end of WW2. These arrangements were finalized at the Potsdam conference by Great Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States. They followed a simple and brutal logic:

As Prussia was viewed as focus for German belligerence and militarism it was to be completely irradiated.

The presence of ethnic Germans living outside of Germany was a potential future source of conflict and therefore these populations would have to be returned to the new borders of Germany.

Poland would require compensation for lands lost in the east and reparations from Germany for the 7,000,000 killed and the total destruction of the country. The border adjustment was a component of reparation.

No German has any claim for compensation with respect to Poland:

Germany was adjudicated to have waged wars of aggression and other crimes against the peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The German government by official policy frustrated orderly evacuation of the eastern territories.

Therefore compensation claims are a matter between Germans and their government.

In the final analysis Poland is owed vast sums from Germany, as its reparations to date were inconsistent to the loss of life and property caused by their criminal aggression.

Remember only a neo-nazis would utter the old German names of some Polish cities.

nemeczek said...

Harry said...
"Stettin was a German city for more than 700 years before being illegally taken from Germany. Danzig was a German city from 1308 until it too was illegally taken from its people. Stolp was a German city from the very day it became a town (9 september 1310), right up until it was stolen by the USSR to become a gift for Poland. Funny how you are very happy to collaborate with those illegal acts."

Szczecin was a German city but it has been Polish for over 60 years, so you have to use its current and proper name. There was nothing illegal about taking over the 'Ziemie Odzyskane' – refer to the numerous Polish-German border treaties. Ever heard of the IIWW, or are you one of those caring types who sanitize the past by claiming that it had not been the Germans but some elusive Nazis who set Europe ablaze? Besides, possession is 9/10ths of the law, so you better get over the loss.

jannovak57 said...

An update on the great petition, as of a few moments ago there were 317 signatures the number that represents ethnic Poles from Poland is less than one percent of the total.

metka by traczka said...

Jan - this is a poll started in France. The petition is written in French and English. It has not been publicised in Poland. And, even if it had, the spinelessness of POlish 'liberals' is legendary...so this is an international poll. That's it.

opamp said...

It probably has something to do with the fact that Geremek is a noted French historian.

beatroot said...

I thought He was a medievalist….meaning, he studied contemporary Polish history.

:-)

michael farris said...

Beat, no, that would make him a surrealist.

Harry said...

jannovak57 said...
Everything is the fault of the British. Apart from what is the fault of the Jews, which is almost everything, the Jews have always hated Poland.

Oh. Right. Well why didn't you just say so?

jannovak57 said...

harry said...

jannovak57 said... ??????????

Harry, what the hell are you talking about and who the hell are you quoting?

I never said that!

hermann g. said...

hare said: "Those vicious barbarian Polox invaded the peace-loving Third Reich and
stole Stettin and Danzig. Then they rounded up the Jews and sent them to the gas chambers (after beating and dehumanizing and nearly starving them to death) in Polish concentration camps."

Damo said...

Norman Davies has commented that as Jaroslaw K. was editor of the Solidarity movement newspaper in 1989-1990 'obviously he had to co-operate with the communist censors. Formally the new law means he should lose his job and is no longer prime minister."

Well at least something good might come out of this lustration process!

Anonymous said...

Geremek is a bitch. Down with him.