Sunday, January 17, 2016

Poland

"There are two confronting Polands of roughly equal strength. One, including the PiS supporters, finds its base in eastern Poland among small, pious farmers and working-class families who have lost jobs and income through the change from a state economy to an often ruthless neoliberalism. The other Poland, usually better educated and better off, is desperate to preserve what it sees as the historic achievement of 1989: the first reasonably stable and prosperous liberal democracy in Polish history.

In western Europe, onlookers hear snatches of Law and Justice rhetoric and conclude that the party can be dismissed as “fascist”. It is not. It stands for an old-fashioned authoritarian nationalism, invoking traditional Catholic values (imprudently, some in the Catholic hierarchy lend PiS support). And, strangely for westerners, this frantically rightwing party is also the party of what remains of the welfare state, standing up for those millions for whom the transition to capitalism has brought only loss and bewilderment."
Neil Ascherson, the Guardian, 17 January 2016

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