Social-Democrats in Poland
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Social-Democrats in Poland

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More information on http://eurosocialistes-geneve.org

More information on http://eurosocialistes-geneve.org

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Social-Democrats in Poland Social-Democrats in Poland Presentation Transcript

  • EST-CE QU’IL Y A DES SOCIAUX-DEMOCRATES EN POLOGNE APRES LA TRANSITION DU COMMUNISME VERS LE CAPITALISME ? Krzysztof Hagemejer
  • Current political scene in Poland: Parliament
  • Key parties in Parliament
    • Law and Justice (PiS): “social conservative” (UEN in EP)
    • League of Polish Families (LPR): “national conservative” (ID in EP)
    • Self-defence (Samoobrona): “populist agrarian”
    • Civic Platform (PO): “liberal conservative” (PPE in EP)
    • Polish Peasants' Party (PSL): “agrarian” (PPE in EP)
    • Democratic Left Alliance (SLD): “social-democratic” – PES member
  • More important centre/left political parties outside parliament
    • Democratic Party - democrats.pl (PD): “social liberal” (ALDE in EP)
    • Labour Union (UP): “social democratic” – PES member
    • Social Democracy of Poland (SDPL): “social democratic”
    • Democratic Party (SD): “social democratic”
    • The Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and the four above signed recently agreement to go to the next elections together and have now up to 12% in the opinion polls (while Civic Platform has 30%, Law and Justice 25%, agrarian parties and League of Polish Families 5% each,
  • Marginal now but worth mentioning…
    • Polish Socialist Party (PPS):
      • Established in 1892
      • Important role before independence in 1918 and between the wars
      • Destroyed by communists in 1948-49, until 1989 only in exile
      • Restored in Poland in 1990 (Jan Jozef Lipski) but never played any important political role
  • Are there any social democrats there?
    • “ Transformed” post-communist parties – are they real social democrats?
      • In Poland they had governed twice since 1989 (1993-1997 and 2001-2004)
      • Both governments followed liberal economic and social policies initiated at the beginning of transition at the end of 1989
      • The same pattern can be seen for example in Hungary
    • Post-communist parties are pragmatic, non-ideological, “power” parties
  • Why there are so few social democrats with no communist past?
    • It seems there is one former communist country with strong social democratic party which has no communist roots: Czech Republic
    • In Poland, despite the leading role which “Solidarnosc” trade union played in moving towards democracy, all the attempts to build stronger social democratic movement outside the former communist party structures more or less failed (see: PPS, Labour Solidarity, Labour Union)
  • Why?
    • TINA syndrome and the crisis of the left: social democrats had not much to offer and propose to countries in transition and then it is difficult to have social-democratic programme when one is building capitalism
    • Additionally, mutual lack of trust:
      • of democratic opposition and trade union leaders towards at least some of the western social-democratic parties (seen as flirting too much with communist parties of the East)
      • of western social-democrats towards anti-communist opposition movements (seen as danger to stability and, too much pro-American right wing)
    • Struggle for democracy in communist made the left-right discourse much less relevant and often perceived as not relevant anymore (see famous essay by Leszek Kolakowski: How to be a Conservative-Liberal-Socialist
  • Why?
    • At the beginning of transition majority from left of the former democratic opposition became followers of the economic liberalism: see story of Jacek Kuro ń
    • Although the democracy was won by the trade union movement led by the idea of solidarity, the policy of early transition to a large extent destroyed trade unions and social dialogue: instead of institutionalizing emerging conflicts of interests there was a tendency to hide beyond the national unity facade
    • Traditional left-right discourse limits itself to “cultural” dimension (attitudes towards religion, abortion, sexual minorities etc.) while non-liberal right and purely populist movements discount frustration of all those who are loosers not winners of the transition process
  • Recommended reading
    • Jacek Kuroń, La Foi et la Faute, A la rencontre et hors du communisme, Fayard 1991
    • Jacek Kuroń, Maintenant ou jamais, Fayard 1993
    • David Ost, The Defeat of Solidarity. Anger and Politics in Postcommunist Europe, Cornell University Press 2005