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Tag: Poland

Never dead, not even past. Poland’s struggle with history

The libel trial against two prominent Polish Holocaust researchers could mean that litigation will replace debate concerning difficult parts of Poland’s history, writes Laurence Weinbaum in this op-ed for NEE.

February 19, 2021 - Laurence Weinbaum

An unambiguous legacy. Women and Solidarity

During the 1980s, I witnessed the momentous events in Poland from afar and worked with human rights groups to lend support to pro-democracy activists. By 1988, I prepared for my first research visit to Poland to examine Solidarity’s gender dynamics. What stood out was that Solidarity was a democratic movement that did not advocate gender equality.

In mid-November of 2020 I participated in a roundtable at the annual conference of the Association of Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) on the theme, “Polish Solidarity: A Glorious Revolution and its Unexpectedly Tortuous Aftermath.” Joining me virtually were Timothy Garton Ash, Ireneusz Krzeminski, Jan Kubik, and David Ost. We were to reflect on the trajectory of this once enormous social movement in the post-communist reality. I, in particular, was invited to reflect on my work initiated by Solidarity’s Secret: The Women Who Defeated Communism in Poland, which I had published in 2005 and again in 2014. By the time of the academic roundtable, the world was riveted on the third, exhilarating week of wildly audacious, feminist-initiated, grassroots nationwide demonstrations across Poland in support of reproductive rights, democratic rule of law and separation of state and church. The euphoria of revolution was palpable.

February 3, 2021 - Shana Penn

The sword of Damocles and the mirror

A review of Protest, a play directed by Aldona Figura. Written by Václav Havel, staged by Teatr Dramaryczny in Warsaw, premiered February 2020.

February 3, 2021 - Anna Fedas

Lack of regulation and COVID-19 leaves Ukrainian surrogate mothers and babies in limbo

The closed borders and restrictions on movement introduced in 2020 due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic added uncertainty to the already unregulated sphere of surrogate mothering in Ukraine, leading to questionable decisions on continuing to provide services.

December 24, 2020 - Kate Baklitskaya Magdalena Chodownik

A timeline, interrupted

The politics of today’s populist leaders is nearly always the eternal return to the past. 1989, however, represents a normative stop they would prefer to skip.

The past does not exist. It is what one makes of it. From a purely axiological point of view, every one of us is constructed of different pasts and we have different memories at our disposal. The non-existence of the past as a tangible point of reference is a subject of individual or collective creation and interpretation; it is the founding assumption of any sociological research devoted to mnemonic subjects.

November 17, 2020 - Mateusz Mazzini

The fleeting memory of December 1970

In December 1970 violent riots broke out in the Polish cities of Szczecin and Gdynia, while in Gdańsk strikers surrounded the seat of the Polish United Workers’ Party. Clashes with militia erupted and the central committee of the communist party decided to brutally quell the rebellion. These events became an important founding myth for the struggle against the communist authorities. Fifty years later, how are these events remembered?

In December 1970, 14 years had passed since Wiesław Gomułka became the first secretary of the communist party in the People’s Republic of Poland. At that time, both the thaw of 1956, which allowed Gomułka to return to power, and hope for reforms that he promised (the so-called Polish way to socialism) were already a fading memory. It was not the right moment for a nostalgic journey to the past. And with Christmas just around the corner, everyone was busy stockpiling goods that were hard to come by.

November 16, 2020 - Piotr Leszczyński

The rainbow colours flying together with the white-red-white flags. The Belarusian LGBT community at protests

The protests in Belarus have brought together people from different parts of the wider society. Despite the often hostile attitudes of other protestors towards them, the LGBT community in Belarus continues to actively participate in the protests.

November 10, 2020 - Maxim Rust

Polish-Georgian kinship: Defining a vicennial

The relationship between Poland and Georgia has been growing ever closer. A common history of struggles has been highlighted with the commemoration of the Georgian officers who served in the Polish Army.

November 9, 2020 - Bacho Chubinidze

What is the best response local governments can have in today’s reality? How to find a balance between openness and responsibility?

The Cross-Border Cooperation Congress - Lublin 2020 will take place on October 6-9, 2020, online

At the Cross-Border Cooperation Congress, we will discuss the key questions of the present time: How to reconcile openness to people, change and new technologies and a responsibility for safety? This is a question about a new understanding of participation, both externally, from citizens, and internally, one that would maximise the use of resources within organisations, while empowering employees in the decision-making and strategy-building processes.

October 2, 2020 - New Eastern Europe / Sponsored Content

Picking strawberries in a pandemic

Recently, there were over two million migrant workers in Poland. When the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic closed down companies and factories, many of them were left out of work. Some of them went back to their homes. Then came another problem – it turned out that the Polish economy does not function so well without foreign workers.

Every few minutes, a new van arrives at the market in Czerwińsk nad Wisłą – a village about 65 kilometres northwest of Warsaw. Crowds of merchants converge around every one of them. The driver does not even have time to park or open the door, the merchants surround him. The vehicle stops, the door opens. Another one arrives, with only a few goods, taking up a third of the van. There are several dozen boxes of strawberries inside. These are the only ones available. The crowd shouts: “How much? How much?”

September 7, 2020 - Magdalena Chodownik Omar Marques

Dirigisme 2.0. The way to go for the region?

Most countries of Central and Eastern Europe that are now members of the EU developed impressively since the collapse of the centrally planned economy. Yet, Poland and other countries in the region still lack their own capital to compete on a global scale. The merger of Poland’s two state-owned refineries, Orlen and LOTOS, could illustrate a solution – selective state-ownership in crucial sectors.

Economic power is not shared equally across the European Union. Only one out of all EU companies in the Global Fortune 500 ranking is based in one of the new member states that joined the union after 2004. The remaining 112 companies are based in the “old” EU. Yet, as the case of a merger of two state-owned Polish oil companies shows, this unparalleled level of inequality is not being addressed by Brussels.

September 4, 2020 - Jakub Bartoszewski Michael Richter

The challenge of commemoration. Cases from Poland and Germany

The Second World War remains one of the most painful and conflicting episodes of the European nations’ memories. Present conflicts are embedded in history and in the use of history as a political tool. The cases of Poland and Germany illustrate how challenging it can be to commemorate history, especially in a politicised environment.

In Poland during the communist period and until 1989, it was nearly impossible to openly talk about the Second World War. First, due to friendship with the Soviet Union and later, after the fall of communism, Poland was busy creating its own government, introducing the democratic culture and fighting with an economic crisis in order to transform the country it became between 1989 and 2000. After this period, history and commemoration events started to play a very important role for the national and political identity of the country. Like in other Central and Eastern European states, Poland is an example of how history is used as a political tool in the museum narratives and exhibition forms, which also trigger conflicts.

September 3, 2020 - Kristina Smolijaninovaitė

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