Poland: Suppression of LGBTQ a Move Towards Authoritarianism – Boyan Stanislavski

Video Thumbnailhttps://vimeo.com/448150391 Poland's right-wing fundamentalist Catholic government has been brutally suppressing the LGBTQ community to strengthen the move to a broad authoritarian government. Boyan Stanislavski joins Paul Jay on theAnalysis.news podcast. Transcript Paul JayHi, I'm Paul Jay, and wel

Poland’s right-wing fundamentalist Catholic government has been brutally suppressing the LGBTQ community to strengthen the move to a broad authoritarian government. Boyan Stanislavski joins Paul Jay on theAnalysis.news podcast.


Transcript

Paul Jay
Hi, I’m Paul Jay, and welcome to theAnalysis.news podcast. This episode is produced in collaboration with Other News. Other News is an international press platform that disseminates analysis, insights, and information about global issues in English, Spanish, and Italian. You can find it at http://www.other-news.info.

Poland is one of the more important countries of Europe in terms of geopolitics and the size of its economy. Yet in North America, we hear very little about it and most of us know even less. Poland is a regional power in Central Europe, with the largest stock exchange in the East Central European zone, the sixth largest economy in the European Union, and 10th largest in all of Europe. Poland maintains a high income economy, along with a relatively high standard of living. At least that’s what it says when you research Poland, we’re going to find out how true all that is.

It has, relatively speaking, high living standards and does well in terms of standards of safety and education. Alongside a developed educational system, the state also provides free university education, Social Security and a universal health care system, none of which you can find in the United States. Poland is one of the closest allies of the US in the world, contributing troops to the invasion of Iraq and supporting the US policy of encirclement of Russia.

Now, joining us to discuss the situation in Poland and its role in the world is Boyan Stanislavski. He’s a Bulgarian and Polish activist, a journalist, an editor, publisher, translator. In the late 90s, he was active in the Polish left and later in the labor movement, particularly the biggest Polish labor confederation, the All Poland Trade Union Alliance. Until 2012, editor in chief of its weekly magazine and senior editor at baricada.org and strike.eu, he’s the Polish correspondent for the Bulgarian National Radio. Thanks for joining us, Boyan.

Boyan Stanislavski
Thanks for having me.

Paul Jay
So why don’t we start with what’s in the news and then get to the bigger picture?

Poland has a very right-wing, almost virtually fundamentalist Catholic government, and there’s been very brutal suppression of the LGBTQ+ community recently.

So tell us, first of all, what’s been happening and why, and where is Polish public opinion on this?

Boyan Stanislavski
Absolutely. What we’re witnessing in Poland right now is a major crackdown on the LGBTQ+ community here, and violence on top of that. And it bears no resemblance to anything that I can think of in the modern Polish history since homosexuality was not outlawed, anymore.

And that happened in the early 30s. And this is, of course, abhorrent because we saw a lot of politically motivated police violence against the LGBTQ+ activists and their supporters. The events that surfaced in the international media that happened last weekend, I don’t want to go into all the details of it, but it was rampant police violence in the very center of Warsaw, the Polish capital, where people were not only beaten up, you know, dragged on the concrete to police cars, massively arrested. I think even the police even went over the top in a way that there was not enough room below the police stations, and so they had to drive the detainees to police stations in small towns.

Paul Jay
How many people were involved in the protest?

Boyan Stanislavski
Well, the protest wasn’t massive. It was about a couple of hundred people and a little more than one hundred were detained afterwards. Turned out that 50, almost 50, were arrested effectively. And all of them, well, at least I haven’t seen any account for anyone to say that their rights as detainees were respected, citizens would have been respected, so that’s why I say all of them were subjected to either minor or major tortures, including sexual harassment. There was some absolutely hair raising reports in the social media, as well as the mainstream oppositional media and the alternative media about how, particularly transgender people that were arrested were stripped of their clothing, under some sort of very weird pretext that some personal search has to be conducted, and their genitals were touched, they were laughed at. It’s really horrendous.

And then people were denied contact with lawyers or family, even MP’s, Polish members of parliament, who tried to intervene to prevent the police from exercising this rampant brutality, were physically assaulted by the police, which is a manifestation of the fact that we now have passed the tipping point and live in an authoritarian state, because when you have MP’s with immunity that are trying to stand between the repressed people and the police and they are being pushed down on the concrete by the police, that means it was obviously politically motivated. The police were instructed to do so. They were also reassured that there will be complete and total impunity.

Paul Jay
So why would the government do this when it was only a couple of hundred people, they could have ignored it? Why choose to make such a spectacle of repression?

Boyan Stanislavski
Yes. Well, that’s because of the nature of this government and the way they perceive politics.

To them politics is not like some conflicting interests in the society or in the economy that one has to be solved as a leader, but is rather a kind of constant game of emotional dis-balancing and emotional exploitation of society. This is their matrix for their political agenda. This is how they work. And because LGBTQ+ is such a symbolic thing and it has the potential of being divisive, that’s why they are doing this. And also, it’s because of the fact that the leader of the current ruling party in Poland, the Law and Justice Party, as you said, quite rightly, introduction to a right wing Catholic fundamentalist party, with a chairman by the name of Kaczynski. He’s a very spiteful and vengeful person, and wants LGBTQ+ activists attracting some public attention and media attention, including international media.

They immediately became enemy number one, and he just had to crack down on them. This is the mentality, authoritarian mentality, I would say, that is behind this. Of course, he could have ignored it, and in the first place, he didn’t have to provoke this because it was presented with a lot of provocative actions on the part of the state against the LGBTQ+ community. It finally brought the people of Warsaw into this sort of spontaneous demonstration that they recently dismantled in such a brutal manner. So it was important for them to do that.

And I think now, since the Russian court, because they were running out of boogeymen for the last couple of years, the number one boogeymen were the Russians. Of course, the Russians are coming, Russian tanks are coming and all the rest of the story. So that kind of started losing inertia, and they had to come up with something else in order to maintain control over the society, because this is the only way they know how to rule.

On the other hand, I want to say that, this itself should not be treated as an isolated incident or, of course, it is an incident and it’s a very violent and horrific one. But this is a symptom of the general disintegration of the Polish society that hasn’t started yesterday, not even a year ago, we’re not even in 2015 when Law and Justice won the parliamentary election and the presidential election for the first time. It’s a process that has been going on for the last three decades. And it’s as long as the Polish restoration of capitalism is so, it all dates back to 1989, really.

And, you know, it’s really strange for the international press to interpret the events, the current events in Poland, not only the ones from the last weekend but in general what’s going on here, as some kind of accident. And it’s like everything was going wrong, and you said it also in the introduction that in the international press, in the American press, you can read only good things about Poland, you were able to read only good things only until 2015 when the Justice took power and something happened.

What was that like? How come suddenly this right wing hooliganism and rampage is in Poland? Well, you know, the left has been trying to warn, and myself as a left activists from 1998, me and my comrades, we have been shouting and screaming at the tops of our lungs and we have been crying about where this so-called peaceful transition is actually leading us to. But no one listened because of course the restoration of capitalism was accompanied by a major ideological offensive where the bottom line was aggressive anti-communism, so we were just ignored. And we said many, many times that this, what is happening in Poland is either going to end up in an authoritarian right wing regime, or what is going to happen is a general decline of the statehood. And actually, it turns out we were pretty optimistic because both of these things happened. Poland as a state, is in a state of decline, so to say, a major decline where the society is totally disintegrated and the state institutions don’t do their job.

They are only instruments in the hands of the ruling party, which is not a party anymore, it’s like a corporation, you know, it’s everywhere. So they are only used for distribution of instruments for securing power, basically for repression. At the same time, everyone is enormously frustrated. And this is how Law and Justice came to power because they decided they’re going to actually use it as leverage.

Paul Jay
Why, this integration, when what we read, as you say, is mostly good? For example, we’re told that Poland missed or wasn’t affected by the crash in 07′, 08′, unemployment’s relatively low, so on and so on.

I mean, in terms of the economy, what’s the real story?

Boyan Stanislavski
Absolutely. So the real story is that economy shrinks very, very drastically already back in the beginning of the 90s. The restoration of capitalism started with the destruction of the economic backbone of the country, which was the heavy industry, and a total withdrawal of the state from the public sphere in general. What followed was privatization, forms of major economic theft, explosion of poverty, mass poverty, something unheard of.

Paul Jay
Did it give rise to a class of oligarchs as it did in Russia?

Boyan Stanislavski
No, not as it did in Russia. The process was milder. I think it was a little more controlled, none the less, rampant poverty, homelessness, and that was of course followed by an eruption of criminality, petty criminality, organized crime, pickpockets, gangsters. And that, in turn was followed by a cultural decline, a civilization or moral decline in the society, because the society had to be reprogrammed in a way. I mean, people had to start struggling for their own individual existence and that had to produce all these pathologies, and the growing frustration, so the frustrations have been piling up for the last 30 years. And it was allowed to pile up without any major eruption because there was a certain consensus made around, the round table between the old so-called Communist Party and the opposition. And one of the consensus was that no matter how hard it is, no matter what hardships the Poles have to go through, we’re not giving them anything, no Social Security, no social benefits, nothing of that kind, and we don’t talk about that. Plus, there was this consensus that we always speak only good things about the transition. Nothing bad can be uttered about it in the public sphere, in the media and so on and so forth. And then with Law and Justice it also has a history of leaders of Law and Justice, Kaczynski that I mentioned, they have a history in Polish politics. But, to make the long story short, they were kind of ousted in the mid-90s, and were functioning somewhere on the periphery of the Polish political system, and they didn’t like that. In 2005, by then they had regrouped and they’d won, they’d made their first big breakthrough by winning the parliamentary elections back then. But the establishment, the previous establishment was so stable that it managed to kick them out again. And so in 2007, they were gathering more and more strength and developing new ideas about how to propagate their ideas, views and what political profile would work best in these situations.

They won in 2015, again, then they said we’re not letting go, like we’re not letting it go this time, we’re really going to stay here for as long as we can, for as long as we can secure a place for us in the Polish establishment, that’s why they’re so aggressive because they know that it’s the only way for them. And they won because they dared to break the consensus. It was just the kind of political game in the elite, like, OK, you play with us that way, you don’t allow us to participate in power and in the process of power, plus not allowing us to be a part of the machine in a way that they could benefit from it as well. So we’re going to play some dirty tricks, too. And they’ve broken the consensus.

Paul Jay
In my introduction based on a very cursory piece of research, I said that there is, in Poland, free university education, Social Security, and a universal health care system. If that’s all true, those are all products of a relatively modern European social democracy. So is it true? And if so, then what happened?

Boyan Stanislavski
Yeah, OK, so absolutely it’s true. And it’s not a product of modern European or Western European social democracy, but it’s a product of the Polish People’s Republic system. That’s what it’s a product of. And it’s only thanks to very, very severe struggles in the 90’s and later, particularly labor union struggles that I participated in, that we managed to keep that. Because, the elite, wanted to destroy that, too. And there were many, many attempts to privatize the health care system, to privatize the education and so on and so forth.

Nevertheless, in comparison to the economic standards before 1989, this neo-liberal experiment that is failing before our very eyes, after 30 years, had catastrophic effects on the society and on the economy. So, yeah, we managed to keep battling for that very seriously.

Some of the most progressive achievements, social achievements, political change, are from before 1989, but most of them were gone. And you know, even if you look at the health care or education. In 1966, there was this major campaign in Poland; build 1000 schools for the 1000 years of the existence of the Polish state. I cannot tell you how many schools they have closed down since 1989, but I’m pretty sure more than one thousand. I can give you all kinds of indicators, statistically speaking, to make it easier to perceive maybe for our listeners.

Paul Jay
Yeah go ahead.

Boyan Stanislavski
Yeah, only the first three years of the so-called transition, from 1990 to 1993, 1500 jobs were liquidated, eliminated from the economy, every single day of the year, including Sundays and holidays, statistically speaking, on average.

We had in 1999, Poland had 31,000 kilometres of railway on which passenger trains operated. Now we have barely 14,000. OK, so in terms of hospitals, I don’t know how many have closed, I mean I don’t have the statistics right in front of me, but it was a major, major downgrade. OK, so it’s like it’s not that, it’s not that the authorities, or the powers that be after 1989 have given us free healthcare and free education.

It’s the fact that the labor movement struggles against demolishing it to the to the core, like eliminating it completely.

So I hope this gives you a sense of what kind of hardships we have been enduring for the last thirty years in Poland and in Eastern Europe in general. And of course, you were right to say Poland is not like such a failed state, like, for example, Ukraine or Moldova or Bulgaria for that matter.

I know you’re going to be speaking with my colleague from Bulgaria sometime later so he can explain that better. But, you know, this is this is something that produced massive frustration in the society. And it’s only the Law and Justice that is taking advantage of it and saying, OK, like we’re now going to openly criticize the transition. We’re going to say that actually many people have lost during the transition. We’re going to say that Poland today, as it is, is not the best of all worlds for all the citizens.

We’re going to say all the most basic things that we know, and we’re, you know, trying to inform the public opinion. But, you know, our access as the left in general to the media and to the public sphere was very, very limited. And it still is limited, of course, but now with the social media and so forth things have changed a little bit.

Paul Jay
Talk about the recent elections, the Law and Justice Party won, but only by about three percentage points.

Boyan Stanislavski
Well, of course. I mean, if you want to speak about that mathematically, then if you take all the other parties together and Law and Justice, then Law and Justice won by two or four or five percent, something like that, I can’t remember, the exact percentage, but it was less than 10, obviously.

So OK, mathematically speaking, it wasn’t a major success. But like come on, these were the 6th elections in a row won by Law and Justice. And they were won because it’s the first party thirty years give out propaganda which people are able to relate to somehow, massively. OK, and of course, the propaganda has to be getting more and more aggressive all the time, propaganda is the only instrument of power that you have.

So, you know, it started with some mild social measures. They introduced child support, for example, back in 2016, 500 zloty, about 160 dollars for every child, for the parents every month until the children turn 18 I think. So, you know, on one hand, they sort of flirted with the people, they said, you’re poor, we know you’re poor, we’re going to give you some money. But, you know, this is about that.

Like, they don’t do anything else than this, and they are not able to maintain that as well because, you know, they are right wing.

So they don’t understand anything about redistribution or, you know, progressive taxation and so on and so forth. So they are lowering taxes and expanding expenses at the same time, budgetary expenses. And they move the constant stress that they can inflict on the society. They can just spread it around the public sphere. And I think this is pretty much what we are seeing today, it is the end of that ??? that was imposed on Poland in 1989, which is really shock therapy based, neoliberalism.

But on the other hand, I want to say I’m not very optimistic because judging by the Right-Wing Fundamentalist rampage that is going on in Poland currently, I’m not really sure that, you know, what’s coming is necessarily better.

Paul Jay
In terms of the elections and the overall politics, what’s the role of the Catholic Church?

Pope Francis himself and, at least his wing of the party, you would think would not be so in support of this kind of repression of LGBTQ+ and so on. What role does the church play there?

Boyan Stanislavski
Well, the church is the largest corporation in Poland. It’s probably the richest institution in the history of the country.

And it’s present everywhere, all the time. Symbolically in terms of architecture, Warsaw alone has 150 churches. In the very center, we’ve got over 35. But apart from that, the the church has been a part of the transition, and a very important one. And they, you know, back in 1988, so before 1989, one year before the roundtable talks and the transition, the beginning of the transition, they already felt like things are going to change and they want to to make sure they’re going to be part of the process.

So back then they had launched a historical campaign against abortion because you see abortions were free and were available for every woman that wanted to have an abortion before 1989. So in 1988, they started this campaign, and they wanted to make sure they were going to be part of the change, of the switch from the previous system to neoliberal capitalism. And, of course, they were used as the propaganda ideological wing. They secured that field.

They were sort of responsible to format the Polish society ideologically.

And they have done a great job from there, from their point of view. Of course, that was not without clear, obvious political support. In 1993, the government, then led by the prime minister, Mr. Hanna Suchocka, from a party that is the predecessor to the party called Civic Platform, the party of Donald Tusk, who’s an important figure in the European Union now. And it’s a major, major opposition party now in Poland as well.

A Right-Wing one just to you know, I’m stressing about every time because it’s often presented as some kind of liberal Democratic, maybe even social democratic organization. That’s not true.

So back then, in 1993 Poland, the Polish government signed a special treaty with the Vatican where they introduced religion classes, Catholic religion classes, of course, in public schools, when they banned abortion because abortion is effectively banned in Poland. Only there are a few exceptions like if the health of the mother is endangered if there are some irreversible genetic damages discovered in the fetus and if rape is involved. So these three circumstances, under these three circumstances, you might have a legal abortion, although it’s difficult enough to get a legal abortion even in these cases.

So from that moment on, not from 1993 but from 1988, actually the church was gradually expanding its influence, and gradually expanding of course its wealth. Because let me tell you, you know, it’s surprising for many people in the West that, for example, in the 90s, the church, the Catholic Church as an organization was allowed to import cars from the West and sell them here without any toll like there were no customs, nothing.

They didn’t have to pay anything. And also, they barely have to pay until today any taxes. Plus in 1993, in this document that was signed between the Pope and the Polish prime minister back then, there was a huge sum of money in the public budget secured for the church. So every year, every month, every day, we give as citizens, taxpayers if you like, money, free money to the Catholic Church, which you know, of course, it’s not their only income.

They run companies. They run all kinds of travel agencies, stores where they sell the kind of careful decorum.

You know, this is just a huge corporation.

Paul Jay
Right. Let me ask you a question.

It’s fairly commonly understood amongst people that sort of pay attention to all this that the US directly supported Pope John Paul the second becoming Pope and helping facilitate his actions in 1979 and 80, and developing solidarity and so on. I think they’re now, have they made him actually a saint at this point? Or they’re talking about it.

Boyan Stanislavski
Oh yeah, it’s done.

Paul Jay
Yeah, it’s done. To what extent is the US still very involved in the outcome of what happens in Poland, and also what is the Polish government’s relationship with Trump?

Let’s start with the history of the United States trying to affect the outcome of events.

Boyan Stanislavski
Yeah, so, the United States has been investing, or we’re investing I should say, in the 80s and in the 70s, in all kinds of anti-communist movements throughout Eastern Europe, basically. And, you know, the question of Polish, the Polish priest, bishop, whatever, being elected, you know, elevated to this international level like, you know, becoming a Pope, that was very important, and there’s a lot of literature about how the United States has meddled, to use the word which is very frequently used now, meddled in this process.

And of course, through John Paul the second they were trying to undermine the system and the rule of the Polish United Workers Party in Poland.

And obviously, that’s that’s 100%, plus, they’ve also invested a lot of money through their trade unions, in the solidarity movement, in the beginning of the 80s and in the late 80s as well. And I think it’s also important to understand that the first solidarity, the one that emerged in the late 70s, was a very serious movement with revolutionary potential, I would say. And then it was destroyed during the years of martial law in 1981, 1983.

And then, you know, on the basis of that, different people from the so-called second solidarity, that’s how it goes in the history books. The second solidarity which had nothing to do with any major social movement, it was just a group of people that wanted to cut a deal with the so-called communists, inverted communists, to make sure that they will make some space for them to also rule, and that the system is going to be switched from what we had before to neoliberal capitalism. And American’s were there all the time, and the Polish opposition, they have always been modeling themselves on the Americans.

So it’s very important, like even culturally, not only politically. But culturally, America was like the model role for them. They were constantly looking up towards America. America was like presented here by the opposition as something absolutely fantastic where, you know, people are free, where the shops are full of all kinds of goods, where everybody is rich and so on and so forth. And you can imagine there was not a lot of talk about poverty in America or, for example, the lack of health care system.

OK, so this dependence was translated later into a sort of kind of geo-political dependence on the American ruling class. And it lasts until today. And of course, as all the problems, this one also sort of sped up and gained a lot of inertia during the beginning of Law and Justice, because Law and Justice, you know, we had all these problems, but Law and Justice made them more severe in a very short period of time because of their rampant attitude and because of their hooliganism in politics.

So, for example, in terms of this bowing to American all the time, they decided they’re going to pay two billion zlotys, which is about 500, well, I’m not sure, I’m getting confused, whatever. They’re going to pay a huge amount of money for establishing a military base called Fort Trump. So, you know, I mean, this symbolically, look at it. I mean, it shows you the level of their servitude towards Washington and towards Trump.

And because Trump is, well, as he’s often described, I don’t think this term is very accurate, but as right wing populist, so they also want to be right wing populists, so they’ve given a very serious boost to this culture. How should I say, counter revolution that started in 1989 with the church, turning Poland into a fundamentalist country, basically. So that’s why we are seeing eruptions and outrages almost every week. And they will go like, OK, this week it’s LGBT.

Some time ago it was the Russians, 10 years ago it was Smolensk, OK, because probably you’ve heard about the incident in 2010 when a Polish plane, when it was a disaster near Smolensk and on board the Polish plane, 96 officials, including the president of the republic, you know, died in this plane crash in 2010. By the way, the president of Poland at the time was the twin brother of Kaczyński who is the leader of Law and Justice party.

So back then, they would say, oh it’s the Russians who have killed our president, so and so forth, although there were many international investigations that have proven beyond any doubt that it was a pilot error and so on, so forth. So we have this. Then we had, for example, the theme that we’re going to demand war reparations from Germany. Can you think about it? 70 years after the war, and now they talk like they’re going to demand war reparations from Germany.

Obviously, this wasn’t serious. This was just to dis-balance the society for Iran. All kinds of stuff like that. OK, it’s outrage after outrage after outrage and like an impossible idea, one after another. And unfortunately, what it produces is that the fighting has disintegrated to an extent because of the aggressiveness, because of the hooliganism that, you know, there are people translated inside into some form of tribalism I would say. Especially when you ask people who take interest, active interest, in public cause, then it’s like you either support Law and Justice or you support the Civic Platform, which is the leader of the opposition.

There is no other way, you know, for us, for the left. And we are blamed all the time for the victories of Law and Justice, for the last six victories of Law and Justice because we were not part of the United opposition. It’s like blaming vegans for, I don’t know, people, butchers not selling enough beef. Like, I’m sorry, we are not going to take part in this. Like, we understand that there are significant problems with the civic liberties, with democracy, if you’re right, that there are growing authoritarian tendencies and so on.

But we are going to support a project that, you know, the bottom line of which is let’s go back to how it has been before Law and Justice, because this means let’s go back to how it has been, to how the circumstances were that gave us Law and Justice. So let’s go back into the old status quo that produced the victory of Law and Justice. And we are not going to sign up to that.

Paul Jay
But in Poland, which is quite different than the United States, you do have some kind of representation based on proportionality, don’t you? It’s not just first past the post. So the left actually gets some seats because of this, is that right?

Boyan Stanislavski
Yes, that’s right. The left has been very weak for a long period of time now. It had a moment when it could have gotten everything, but due to the kind of neoliberal orientation of the government, it was 20 years ago so it’s history now. But yeah, we do have some MP’s, like out of 364, we have like 41 left MP’s, so yes, of course, we do have that representation, but this representation doesn’t really mean much when you have the overwhelming majority of Law and Justice. A very solid, a very disciplined one in front. They can do whatever they like and our MP’s even on the streets it’s difficult for them to intervene because the police is now allowed to actually beat them up.

Paul Jay
Right. Now, who who owns stuff in Poland? How concentrated is the ownership of the economy? What is the sort of class structure and levels of inequality, but mostly who owns stuff? Because right now we’ve been talking about political parties, but but where is the real power?

Boyan Stanislavski
So real power? Well, you know, it’s not like in America where the real power almost doesn’t lie with the executive branch. We don’t have that sort of, you know, oligarchic, bureaucratic, deep state behind the scenes. Not to the extent, at least that you have in America.

Of course, there are families and people who are extremely wealthy. You know, the kind of filthy rich, it’s Poland, of course they are there.

And they are in constant contact with the representatives of all political parties, basically, because for them if it’s going to be a fundamentalist Catholic state run in a solitary manner, or some kind of conservative regime but with better functioning democracy than we have now, you know, for them, it doesn’t matter so much. So we have a couple of families, maybe 10 together.

Paul Jay
I’m reading on the Forbes list, there’s six Polish billionaires.

Boyan Stanislavski
Yeah, right. So, well, these six Polish billionaires, I’d like say four or five other people who are not billionaires, but like, you know, they have basically an infinite amount of money because you can really spend and you get you get a sense of it. But also, I think it’s important to figure out, you know, to maybe take a look at it in retrospect, how these fortunes were formed because they were formed only on the basis of stealing what has been produced, built and established by the People’s Republic until 1989.

Then it was privatized, privatized in the way it was like given for pennies to people. And in the 90s we had a scandal after a scandal about how for a single cent, factories were sold to individual people.

How, for example, large rural areas, large agricultural areas were sold, also to the Church by the way, also to the Church. The message is I’m trying to convey is that these are not people who have worked hard, invested well, then managed their companies and so on, so forth. No, that’s not the case. They don’t have that kind of, well, bourgeoisie that’s used in Marx’s jargon.

We just have people who, had they been thrown in the beginning of the 90s into any kind of market conditions, they wouldn’t have lasted for five minutes because they had no idea. They had been given large resources, as a present almost, and then, you know, some of them managed to build up on that, and some of them failed utterly.

And many of these assets, like factories and so on and so forth, were also sold to international companies, which afterwards closed them down in order to prevent competition. So, the inequalities, statistically speaking, are terrible. Bulgaria is always the poorest country in the European Union. Then comes Romania, and then it’s Poland. And it’s always been like that since 2004, since Poland joined the European Union, or 2007 really because Romania and Bulgaria joined on that year. But between 2004 and 2007, Poland was the poorest and had the biggest gap, income gap and inequalities.

So that’s a very, very severe problem, and now, because of the mild social measures the Law and Justice have introduced, this was supposed to get balanced a little bit.

But you see the structure of the economy, the overall architecture of how the Polish economy functions, which was designed was designed earlier and was sort of imposed on Poland in 1989, is such that even despite these child support and other minor social measures introduced by Law and Justice, the poverty is growing, including the so-called extreme poverty.

So as I said, what we are witnessing is an end of a model because people just can’t take it anymore. And I’d like to be hopeful, but I’m not very optimistic.

I’m not sure what’s coming is much better.

Paul Jay
I guess that’s the feeling all around the world right now.

Boyan Stanislavski
Yeah.

Paul Jay
OK, thanks very much for joining us. And let’s do this again soon, because you keep using the term so-called communism. I think we could do a whole segment on what you mean by that.

Boyan Stanislavski
Absolutely, gladly.

Paul Jay
So let’s arrange that soon. So, Boyan, thanks very much for joining us.

Boyan Stanislavski
Thanks a lot.

Paul Jay
And thank you for joining us on theAnalysis.news podcast.

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  • Poland has always been the favorite of the Vatican. From before the reign of Frederick I, of Prussia, father of “The Great”, and coming out of the Middle Ages, the dukedoms of what is now Poland were loyal to the Holy Roman Emperor. The Polish people were disadvantaged by their aristocracy, who no matter which was the strong neighbor, Russians, Hapsburgs, Prussians, were always willing to cut a deal for themselves and blame hardships on the Jews with the Church’s blessing. My army buddy, years ago, at Ft Bliss, Werbowetzski, explained Polish anti-Semitism to me as the consequence of long-term, Jewish betrayals. Now, as before, sandwiched between Germany and Russia, the Polish have good reason to be the US’s staunchest continental ally.