Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

The Polish press on the Ossetian conflict (LQD)

by MarekNYC Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 11:04:25 AM EST

The Poles are generally seen as being perhaps the most Russophobic and pro-American of the European states. This view is a bit exaggerated and two dimensional, but it does have a good deal of truth to it.  Other Europeans tend not to have a good idea of Polish political views for the simple reason that Polish is not a common language and because the European press devotes less ink to them than to the major West European countries. So I thought that it might be interesting for Eurotribbers to get slightly annotated selection of initial reactions in the Polish press.

I'll be using  Gazeta Wyborcza, the largest `serious' paper, left liberal, slightly more wary of Russia than me; Rzeczpospolita, formerly excellent center right paper, turned into a very conservative house organ for the PiS courtesy of the twins' pressure on their Scandinavian owners; and Dziennik relatively new Springer owned paper, occupies the old place of `Rz' on the political spectrum, but of lower quality.

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New power source - conservation

by MarekNYC Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 07:58:15 AM EST

There has been a lot of debate here on how to reduce GHG emissions, at times quite acrimonious. The two hottest points of contention have concerned nuclear power and the related question of whether one can have meaningful reductions without drastic changes to Western lifestyles.  I have been saying that we can, and while I am lukewarmly in favour of greater use of nuclear power and strongly supportive of large increases in renewables, the key to reducing GHG emissions is conservation.

From the diaries -- whataboutbob

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Two Polish Reactions to Pinochet's death

by MarekNYC Mon Dec 11th, 2006 at 01:51:29 AM EST

Two Polish commentaries, from Poland's top two newspapers. The first, Gazeta Wyborcza, represents the ex-dissident social/left liberals - moderately neo-liberal in economics, was hard liberal hawkish in foreign affairs, more recently turned a bit softer, left wing in other matters. GW is also rabidly opposed to the current government.  The second used to represent the ex-dissident right liberals and moderate cultural conservatives - i.e. sympathetic to the PO  - hardcore neo-liberal, hardcore neo-con, centrist on other matters.  Recently the government forced its Norwegian owners to sell, fired its top staff and it now represents the views of the more culturally moderate, neoliberal elements in PiS (the execrable Nasz Dziennik, part of the Father Rydzyk media empire represents the more hardcore ones, as well as the LPR). Both of course routinely publish dissenting views but the general tone is clear.

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American opinion on international law

by MarekNYC Mon May 29th, 2006 at 05:18:44 PM EST

Among some left wingers there's seems to be a belief that there is something intrinsically 'wrong' about Americans, that even with Democrats in power the United States won't act as a reasonable member of the international community, that it is likely to be a permanent rogue state and that other countries should plan accordingly.  A recent poll suggests that is not the case.

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by MarekNYC Wed May 24th, 2006 at 07:35:29 PM EST

Recently I had two exchanges concerning the politics of the Republicans in the fifties, one on McCarthyism, the other on the advocates of 'roll back' and how Cheney reminds me of the latter. Today Brad deLong has performed a public service by posting one of Senator McCarthy's most (in)famous speeches. Below are a few extracts and comments.

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Genetic patriotism

by MarekNYC Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 05:44:29 PM EST

An interview with Marek Suski, PiS (governing party) deputy and responsible for choosing candidates for local elections in Mazowsze province (the Warsaw region), also the head of the party in that region.

The criteria for choosing candidates for local elections are supposedly to include the family origins of the candidates. Would, for example, it be helpful in Mazowsze to have ancestors who fought in the Home Army?

Marek Suski: A Home Army ancestry doesn't give a 100% guarantee of getting on the list, the most important criterium is competence. We are open to all milieus, but it would certainly be a good thing, an extra point.

Why is that important for you?

Because if a candidate's family fought for Poland, for independence, grandpa was in the Home Army, and great grandpa took part in the January Uprising (revolt against the Russians in 1863), than that gives us a guarantee of genetic patriotism.

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Shutting down criticism in Poland

by MarekNYC Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 11:07:15 AM EST

When the new Polish government came to power this fall it immediately set about taking control of the state TV.  Being a rather cynical person I wasn't too worried - every Polish government has done so. It also issued thinly veiled warnings to press critics, again, par for the course. When it called the half fascist, half ultra fundy Catholic (think Austria in the thirties or postwar Franco) press empire of Father Rydzyk `the only free press' in Poland I was disgusted, but again, felt that some of the governments opponents were a bit over the top in their dire warnings about the future of Poland's free press (supposedly the most independent of all the post communist countries). But now they're taking over one of Poland's two `serious' daily papers, and now I am worried.

Promoted by Colman

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Thread related poetry

by MarekNYC Thu Feb 9th, 2006 at 01:04:42 AM EST

I love poetry. Poland has been blessed with a ridiculous amount of good and great poets this century, perhaps in compensation for a relative paucity of great prose. So tonight and tomorrow I'll post a couple poems somehow related to recent Eurotrib debates (Polish first for Agnesa and Chis, then the English translation). But to start off, one for those feeling depressed by the news or enraged by a debate.

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A Brown MP in Poland

by MarekNYC Wed Jan 25th, 2006 at 03:12:12 PM EST

Of all Polish political parties the most difficult one to explain to foreigners is Andrzej Lepper's peasant party `Samoobrona' (Selfdefense). It is a left wing populist party but not one of a sort that has any analogue in the West. Its left wing policy proposals are utterly incoherent, its hardline nationalism combined with an affection for Putin and Lukashenko, its leaders ranging from small time crooks, pure opportunists, to peasants angry at the ruin brought on by capitalism,  from left wing demagogues to extreme right wingers. This diary is about one of the latter.

From the diaries ~ whataboutbob

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Holocaust Denial, legitimate debate and racism.

by MarekNYC Thu Jan 19th, 2006 at 12:30:10 AM EST

The fact that Jews were targeted and killed is not denied by (almost) anyone.  The question that the Iranian president is referring to is, how many and under what circumstances.  There are serious questions about the numbers of those killed and under what circumstances.  Why is it illegal to examine these issues?
the issue of the holocaust and questions about it are not solely the province of nuts, anti-Semites and hate mongers.
Soj at BooTrib

Soj's remarks illustrate a common misunderstanding of Europe's laws against Holocaust denial. In reality, raising serious questions, examining the issues relating to the Holocaust is not illegal.  On the contrary, it is a thriving academic subdiscipline with many articles and books being released each year.  What is illegal is denying the basic facts, and the only ones who risk  prosecution are racists. Let me explain, starting with what is and what isn't a matter of debate, and from there go on to the question of Holocaust denial.

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It's the Party that's shooting

by MarekNYC Wed Dec 21st, 2005 at 03:34:08 PM EST

from the front page. Gierek replaced Gomulka on Dec. 20, 1970. On a slightly related note, see also Chris Kulczycki's diary: Polish Intelligence Official Confirms CIA Use of Polish Facility. Will the revolt against US hyperpower also start in Poland? -- Jérôme

On Friday, December 11 1970 the Politburo of the Polish Communist Party ordered a rise of ten to thirty percent in forty five basic groups of food items. In response, on Dec 14, the workers of the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk went on strike, singing patriotic hymns and the Internationale. They elect a strike committee led by a young worker named Lech Walesa.  On December 17, with all the port cities of Poland in the grip of a general strike and demonstrations beginning elsewhere, the leadership of the Party orders the army to use force.  Demonstrators marching through the streets are met by armed police, soldiers and tanks. After they refuse to disperse the shooting begins.  The same scene was repeated in the other port cities.  The official casualty toll was 45 dead and 1165 wounded, among the wounded several hundred police and soldiers. The reverbations of the workers' revolt would eventually lead to the freedom of Eastern Europe and open the door to European unificiation.

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Poland has a new government.

by MarekNYC Fri Nov 18th, 2005 at 04:48:59 AM EST

From the front page. A lot of useful information and background.

A week ago a new Polish government was approved by the parliament. It is a one party minority government (Law and Justice - PiS) led not by the party's leader but by  one of his more moderate advisors, yet it was approved and will probably govern with the aid of the extreme right and the authoritarian populist extreme left. In the diary below I'll take a closer look at the new government and its ideological background.

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Chirac raciste

by MarekNYC Wed Nov 9th, 2005 at 04:37:31 AM EST

I found a 1991 quote from Chirac via a Crooked Timber thread. Very ugly. M. le President doesn't seem to like those dirty smelly darkies.

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Polish LPR fascists caught on tape

by MarekNYC Sun Oct 30th, 2005 at 01:26:33 AM EST

A Polish tabloid newspaper has obtained photos of the LPR's youth wing cadres, including an MP, posing with Nazi salutes while in a pub. After various laughable defenses - 'they were just ordering another pint' - the LPR's leader, Roman Giertych, actually spoke the truth when he defended them by pointing out that in 1930's Poland many 'national' (narodowe) groups used that salute. Indeed, Romek, indeed - and that's the problem.

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What's next in Poland?

by MarekNYC Wed Oct 26th, 2005 at 11:14:30 AM EST

promoted by Jerome. I was hoping that Marek would comment on the Twin Quiz post below, but he has instead provided a full diary on the situation in Poland after the presidential election. So here it is.

Lech Kaczynski has won the presidency - so what happens now? Well, once the results are announced his party, PiS, and his opponent's, PO will start negotiations in earnest to form the coalition they have been promising for several years. But last week the extreme right (LPR), extreme left (Samoobrona) and the peasant party (PSL) appealed to PiS to join them in a coalition and Kaczynski's presidential campaign openly allied itself with the extreme right while sending out olive branches to Samoobrona. Even if a POPiS government is created,  the EU should get ready for some interesting times and Russia will go from facing a (relatively) conciliatory Polish government  to a very hostile one while America will get an even more pro-Bush one. Yes, you read that right, by Polish standards Kwasniewski was a moderate on Polish-Russian relations.

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A short note on the relativity of wealth.

by MarekNYC Fri Sep 30th, 2005 at 05:29:45 PM EST

Thank you Marek, for putting things into perspective! From the diaries ~ whataboutbob

I came across a stat today that I think illustrates just how much poorer 'emerging' countries like Poland are compared to the West: In Poland individuals with over 100,000 zl (c. $30,000) in pre tax annual income constitute under 0.5% of the population.  To put it differently, a person with a typical working class income in a rich country like Germany, France, or the US would be in the top one percent in Poland. Yes, cost of living is different, but nowhere near that different.

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Poland votes

by MarekNYC Sun Sep 25th, 2005 at 02:04:38 PM EST

Promoted by Jerome. Go see Marek's earlier diary and thread for a good introduction to the Polish political scene.

About thirty million Poles are eligible to vote today. The last week of the campaign was characterized by attacks by  PiS on the PO's ultra-liberal economic program and appeals to the extreme right. In the last couple days the PO counterattacked by slamming PiS over its ties to the radicals.  Both are seeking the floating former SLD voters. In the first case appealing to their fear of right wing economic policies, in the latter their hatred for the extreme right. Recent polls have been very volatile with all showing last weeks massive PO lead shrinking, and at least one putting PiS ahead of the PO.

[Update] PiS (hard right) wins , PO (center-right) second, SLD a distant third (incumbents), LPR and Samoobrona (extremist parties) tied just behind the SLD, PSL (patronage/peasant party) just makes it into parliament.

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Countdown to Sunday's Polish elections

by MarekNYC Thu Sep 22nd, 2005 at 05:36:19 AM EST

An informative piece from the diaires ~ whataboutbob

The winner of the October presidential elections having just been decided, I thought I'd post a diary about them and the Sept. 25 parliamentary vote.  But before I do so a brief summary of the Polish political scene.

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