Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Is Donald Tusk Poland’s answer to Martin Luther King?

Er...no. He’s not. So what’s the sudden interest in protest marches, then?

Donald Tusk and his opposition Civic Platform – who up until now have apparently been on a campaign of virtual invisibility while the government tears itself apart – have suddenly sprung into action.

With the collapse of the coalition last week Tusk has tabled a motion for parliament to dissolve itself – the vote will take place on October 10. For it to succeed Jarolsaw Kaczynski’s ruling Law and Justice administration would have to have failed to form another coalition with the Peasant’s Party and others.

But what has really surprised many is Tusk’s announcement that he will be heading an anti-government protest march through the streets of Warsaw on October 7 – three days before the crucial vote.

Tusk can’t have been on a march of any kind since his days as a Solidarity activist in the late 1980s.

It is a little difficult to see why he, literally, is going down this route. He says that the action is to demonstrate against bad and dishonest government. Maybe he is trying to make connections between the present government and what is going on in Budapest at the moment?


Civic Platform’s candidate for Major of Warsaw, former Head of the Central Bank, Hanna Gronkiewicz Waltz, was screaming on the television yesterday (she does a lot of screaming) that a counter march by far right member of the ruling coalition League of Polish Families (LPR) should not be allowed to take place because of ‘possible violence’.

The League of Polish Families has called in the past for gay activists not to be allowed to march through the capital.

What LPR and Hanna have in common is that they seem to think that the right to protest is uniquely theirs.

I also heard on the radio today someone droning on that the march by Civic Platform supporters was a ‘provocation’ to the League’s more thuggish supporters to attack them. Therefore, said radio commentator, it would be unwise for the march to take place.

But why should a group call off a demo because some other group might cause violence? We pay the police to protect our rights and its up to them to keep the thugs away from a peaceful protest. It’s not up to Civic Platform to deny their own right to demonstration, it’s up to the law to protect those rights.

It will be interesting to see what happens on the march October 7, and of course the beatroot will be there to record the whole thing.

How many will turn up? If the number is low then Tusk will have a large dollop of egg on his face – even if LPR don’t throw any at him.

And will Donald Tusk lead the crowd in a rousing rendition of that old Civil Rights classic from the 1960s, ‘We shall over come…’? Does he have any Joni Mitchell in his record collection? Does he have a record collection? And will he, as he addresses the crowd on October 7, start his speech with the words: “I have a dream….”?


sonia said...

Civil Platform is a party that is closest to my own views (liberterian both economically and culturally), so I don't agree with your smug attitude towards Tusk...

In a country where one party makes Pat Robertson look reasonable (LPR), another one makes Chavez look like a stuffy bourgeois (Samoobrona), and another is more self-righteous than Elie Wiesel and Desmond Tutu put together (PiS), Civic Platform looks positively saintly (though admittedly quite boring as well)...

beatroot said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
beatroot said...

Civil Platform is a party that is closest to my own views (liberterian both economically and culturally)

There is not much evidence to support your claim that Civic Platform are ‘libertarian’ on social issues. There is some difference within them, for instance Tusk is a little more liberal on social issues than Jan Rokita, the other leading light, but generally they keep their mouths such about these issues.

I never saw any Platform representatives on anti-homophobia marches. I have not heard Civic Platform say they want to change the no abortion law here. In fact, the don’t say anything about these issues. They are classic right wing conservatives – free market, relatively conservative on social issues.

But not libertarian.

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