Thursday, 22 December 2016

Poland Under A Black Light -December 2016 and the Resurrected Spectre of a Martial Law.

'Over the past week, the Polish parliament controlled by the Law and Justice (PiS) party passed legislations dismantling the current primary education system, finalizing its overhaul of the country’s constitutional court, and de facto limiting the freedom of assembly. A chaotic night on Friday has both sides of the political conflict accusing each other of a coup d’etat. 

Since then, opposition lawmakers have been occupying the parliament’s main hall. Meanwhile, on the streets of the country’s cities, people have been protesting tirelessly nearly every day. The desperation is palpable: some protesters have been blocking politicians’ cars with their own bodies, while others are camping out in front of the parliament in the middle of Poland’s frigid December.'
Poland is in the Middle of an Existential Struggle over the Shape of its Democracy, Quartz , December 21 2016. 

The EU has yet again failed to act to do anything to prevent the slide of Poland towards something akin to Martial Law and a form of dictatorship. Poland was granted another two month deadline to scrap the politicised appointments to the Constitutional Tribunal that has set Poland back on the way to autocracy.

PiS has already simply ignored the EU and thus explicitly broken membership rules as regards preserving an independent judiciary and the separation of powers. The Foreign Ministry replied, in the manner of the most robotic and functionary styles of communique issued under the one party state of the old People's Republic
 "In connection with the appointment by the President of a new President of the Constitutional Tribunal on 21 December, we consider that the political dispute over the Tribunal has been ended. “In the face of these new facts, we consider the European Commission maintaining that there is a systemic threat to the rule of law in Poland is all the more unwarranted. We hope that our explanations will be understood by the European Commission”
This is the way PiS fanatics always end an argument-by a decree that it is sententiously declared over because, morally, they have actually lost the argument and know it. Unfortunately for them, this has dispute only just started. Unless, hoewever, they intend to 'end it' by iron martial law and by using force.

"Objective dialogue" is the usual refrain of these robotic functionaries and it is pure national-communist and Gierek era newspeak. What it means is that other opinions shall be listened to and the reality, as decreed by the new version of the People's Republic, shall not be altered by internal enemies defying its will.

Effectively, PiS is claiming that the political dispute has been ended by its politicisation of the judiciary, an absurd Kafkesque claim in line with the fundamental illogic that defines regime proclaimations, such as that on 21st December where the political protests were declared 'criminal and illegal'.

Indeed, it seems Poland under PiS has taken Kafka's The Trial as a set text as to how to inhabit a shadowy parallel reality where black is white, up is down and where dismantling the rule of law is legal so long as the Chairman of the Party decrees it as being so and his acolytes agree.

"We appeal to the opposition to return to a situation in which it accepts that law is binding," Kaczynski stated in a televisedpress conference along with his closest political functionaries. "We are facing an acceptance of actions that are of criminal character". This is Orwellian doublethink of the first order.

This, despite the fact that Kaczynski claimed that he was merely only an 'ordinary MP' for PiS. Naturally, Beata Szydlo, the supposedly 'official Prime Minister, was sitting to his side at the press conference. President Duda, a partisan PiSite, despite his official ceremonial role, also claimed he wanted to 'mediate'.

This is the usual PiS mechanism of asserting control. They take two steps forward, back down slightly, claim they are 'reasonable' and the opposition is not, while biding their time for the next attempt to chip away at Poland's constitutional democracy and push forward the same illegal agenda once more.

None of the decisions made by the Constitutional Tribunal in the 2016 were ever ratified. They are ratified only when they are officially published and Szydło, under orders from Kaczyński , the real figure in power, refused sign the order to publish them while claiming this was in harmony with new 'legal' norms. 

Events in Poland could end in blood, despite the commonly held belief that Poles would not kill Poles. Once the sinister language of reducing opponents to enemies has taken hold, a nation can become deeply polarised and fearful. Duda's rhetoric about 'real Poles' and those of a 'lesser sort' is part of it.

Deprived on any real enemies, PiS has had to neurotically conjure them up. The Russian threat has been way overblown by them for many years but in 2016 seems plausible.The German threat is not from nationalism but from its dominance of the EU and forcing imposed 'multi-culti' norms on the Polish nation.

PiS and Atavistic Fears.

The EU insistence on mandatory quotas on Poland, though it amounted to a mere 13,000 displaced refugees, hit a nerve: Poland has remained free from terrorism because it has virtually no immigrant communities from Muslim majority nations and until recently felt relatively free from that threat.

The migrant crisis of 2015 deeply unhinged much popular opinion in Poland, where ultranationalists regard as a bulwark against the twin threats of Russo-Bolshevik barbarism and Muslim terrorist migrant hordes aiming to colonise open spaces, not least in a steadily depopulating Poland, especially villages and provincial towns.

The 500+ zl reward for child bearing and the attempt to ban abortion is part of a nativist panic over low birth rates and a consequence of the mass emigration, another aspect of these disturbingly quick social dislocations the lumbering and technocratic EU never thought about in regard to V4 nations.

'Freedom of movement' in practice in 2004 meant mass emigration out as Poland's economy simply had not had the time to redevelop after the half a century of communist economic mismanagement. The failure of neoliberal policies was bound to create anger and a backlash against political liberalism.

The swing towards PiS in the elections of October 2015 reflected the fear of Merkel's botched and mismanaged 'open door' policy to migrants and refugees. But it also reflects the terror some Poles feel at the prospect of Poles, even 'real Poles', being replaced by others as young Poles continue to migrate West.

While many may have regretted voted PiS, and some PiS MEPs have suggested the inner PiS core elites have gone way too far and abused the trust of the Polish electorate, it could be that many will swallow their distate for his regime and trade off freedom for the sake of being completely secure.

But the fear is out of control. One PiS MP even suggested all alien elements within Poland ought to be forced to sign a document expressly agreeing that they accept 'Polish values', as defined by those such as her and the Party, or else face deportation. This applied not just to foreigners but also to Polish 'atheists'.

The Cultural War Against Enemies Within.

This has dovetailed with longer standing angers, grievances and Kaczynski's paranoid cultural battle. An entire nation is, in part, captive to the neurotic monomanias of Kaczynski, that he is Poland and, therefore, was deliberately sidelined from post-Solidarity politics in the 1990s.

PiS regime functionaries are, in a sense, political zombies, the political undead still incapable of moving on from the dark limited confines of national-communism in the 1970s and 1980s into the new light of freedom since 1990, when the Round Table Agreement between Solidarity and the the communists ended the regime.

So all that has happened since the Round Table Agreement is a betrayal, mistake and part of a continued communist regime in a new form. In habiting this bizarre parallel shadow reality, they are incapable of moving on like traumatized victims wanting to haunt those living now, vampires obsessed with vengeance and blood.

So the Solidarity struggle and its post-communist disappointments have morphed into a betrayal of the blood sacrifice of ' real Poles', one that that was never expiated by the blood of the victimisers and their 'collaborators', who now include everyone suspected of being secret Jews or crypto-communists.

This, of course, includes Solidarity hero Lech Walesa who is baselessly accused of being Agent Bolek in the 1970s, a secret communist police agent, as well as numerous others including the maligned former PO Prime Minister Donald Tusk whose father, a Kashub, is accused of collaborating with the Nazis.

In the primitive mindset of such ultranationalists, guilt is collective, just as reward and virtue depends on bloodlines too. a common charge amongst deranged ultranationalists is that Solidarity activist Adam Michnik was a Jew ( 'Adam Hechter' ) who avoided ZOMO attention in the 1981 struggle by wearing a kippah.

PiS has tappen into this by its history wars too, one where Jews are not 'real Poles', though tolerated at best if they behaved themselves, and so any provision of facts about the wartime NSZ partisan movement murdering Polish Jews is to be ignored through lauding them as 'cursed soldiers'.

PiS follows in the footsteps of partisan wartime movements that fought on after the official government-in exile and the AK forces downed arms after the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 against the Nazis and as the Soviet regime moved in to take over a devastated and traumatised nation.

Yet it has tried to position itself as the only official inheritor of the AK and the NSZ militias, the militia formation that was, as Halik Kochanski pointed out in the Eagle Unbowed, 'rabidly antisemitic' and was prepared to turn over Jews hiding in the forests to the Gestapo.

The NSZ also was responsible for low grade ethnic cleansing through use of terror in the closing days of World War Two in order to finish off the job the Nazis had mostly completed for them in the extermination camps in Poland. Its partisans shot dead Jews escaping from Warschau KL  in their uniforms.

One reason for the lauding of the NSZ is that it fought both the Nazis and the Soviet Communist regime and their partisans. The murderous antisemitism is not only to be denied but its very mention, and that of post-war pogroms, conflated with a conspiracy to smear and slander the nation.

So apart from witch hunts against alleged 'collaborators' with communism and Nazism that are faked for political convenience is the attempt to use a manufactured outrage at the crude and insensitive use of the term 'Polish death camps' into a pretext to close down historical inquiry into Polish antisemitism.

The 'logic' behind this is to affect the belief that PiS and the ultranationalists it is prepared to mobilise on the streets are the 'real victims'. So any attempt to point out Polish misdeeds during World War two is another evil demonic plot to destroy its pride and just as much as criticising PiS policies in 2016 is.

Philosopher John Gray noted precisely the connection between the new 'illiberal' or, better, rise of toxic democracies' leading towards greater authoritarianism when he wrote,  in The Age of Hyper-Terrorism, about the connection between it and the attempt to control history and independent scholarship.
'The new Polish regime has gone further, altering beyond recognition institutions that were put in place in the country after the fall of communism. The political independence of the constitutional court, the judiciary and the civil service has been curtailed and pluralism in the media attacked. Echoes of a dark past can be heard in reports that the government is considering stripping Princeton’s distinguished, Polish-born Holocaust scholar Jan Tomasz Gross of the Order of Merit because he has noted the participation of parts of the Polish population in anti-Semitic mass murders during the years of Nazi occupation'. 
Kaczynski is obsessed with fake history and the idea of establishing the idea that the Smolensk Air crash of 2010 was yet another attempt by Russia to murder Poland's political elite and hand it over to collaborators. Tusk, who is actually an educated and professional historian, was absurdly accused of complicity.

The entire empty and barren life of Kaczynski, this horrible and ghoulish little person, is simply one vindictive hate crusade against everyone and everything that has thwarted his fanatical and narrow minded vision of what Poland was, is and will be under the Poland he should have dominated.

Kaczynski lives in an eerie 1986 time warp, unaware of computers, prices in shops etc. Time stopped for him long ago and that makes him dangerous. He is so obsessed with the idea history did not go his and his followers way that those who oppose him are simply to be removed from public life or downgraded.

At another level, the pathological victim and trauma complex embodied within PiS propaganda is politically useful in mobilising all those 'losers' from the post-communist transition. Those who feel victimised by unemployment, poverty and insecure job contracts blame 'the elites' for the scale of the betrayal.

Such disappointed expectations as to what it would deliver, a Poland as it was essentially but free from communist oppression, has given way to the idea that it was all part of a sinister transnational design to destroy the fibre of Polish nation, yet another means to destroy it through stealthier techniques of neo-colonialism.

This paranoid trope is one that unites PiS with Kukiz 15 and other political formation which all hold the they and 'Poland'-for they are Poland, of course-have been held back by mythical communists in a new guise, demonic 'cultural marxists' who repackaged themselves as liberals and the social-democratic left.

Kukiz, a former rock star, is far-right avant garde political activism for 21st century Polish youth, those  alienated by the bleak prospect of emigration or dead end or low salary jobs. 40% recently declared they had though about leaving. Kukiz referred to emigration as effectively another 'extermination' of the Polish nation.

The Smolensk Conspiracy plays its part here in bolstering this credo: the threat posed by PiS 'social justice' crusaders meant that they had to be taken out by a PO and Kremlin plot to destroy the authentic 'real Poles' from public life by plotting to down Lech's presidential plane in 2010.

State of Emergency: The Spectre of Martial Law Resurrected.

The danger is that every manifestation of protest against the PiS regime, including KOD, is going to be seen as an attempt to 'take them out', one reason the shrill PiS functionary Beata Mazurek hysterically claimed that the December protests in the Sejm were part of a plot to 'murder' them.

This is a frightening form of psychological projection: it amounts to claiming that all security precautions , including use of soldiers and national guards should be used to beat off the 'terrorist threat'. As with Erdogan's Turkey, terror attacks are being mendaciously conflated with domestic opposition.

Hence Szydlo's declaration of a state of emergency in the light of using the death of the Polish truck driver in the Berlin Christmas attacks as a pretext to push through security measures which could be used to target KOD and other street protester regarded as 'alien elements' and 'intruders'.

Szydlo has ordered military police to patrol the streets of Polish cities, until January 15 2017. By that time the watered down media laws and restrictions on public assembly could be rammed through as over Christmas PiS has seized control of the Constitutional Tribunal, after Rzeplinski's term ended.

Soldiers from Warsaw, Krakow and Wroclaw will have the power to intervene in criminal matters, to demand identification from members of the public, and to use firearms. No doubt, they can be used to push back protesters from the Sejm, at least to scale up the 'Poland in crisis' mood.

PiS are experts at watching events elsewhere and drawing what they consider 'legitimate prallels'. As France extended its state of emergency' in December, the Berlin Christmas attacks have confirmed the PiS line that it is not doing anything other European nations are not, despite the absence of Islamist threats.

Jarosław Zieliński, her deputy minister of internal affairs, has told the Senate "It has to do with what is happening at the moment in Warsaw; what is happening and has happened at the Sejm". This is proof of PiS linking KOD to 'terrorism' and as part of Kaczynski's accusation of 'criminal attacks'.

The potential for this crisis to escalate into another Ukrainian Euromaidan style winter of protest , as in 2013-2014, should not be discounted. Though not as divided as Ukraine, and without the West-East geopolitical tussle that forged a civil war there, a civil conflict is brewing.

A mass occupation of Warsaw could actually frighten PiS into overresponding. It would be unlikely until later in 2017 once the territorial army has been properly indoctrinated and trained by Macierewicz and his Defence Ministry into a force capable of crushing the 'enemy within'.

A Defence Ministry statement in April 2016 made plain the melding of Poland's volunteer battalions into a reserve army force was about combatting the Russian threat, Muslim intruders and what it referred to as 'anti-state activists'. There is no guarantee it would not be a PiS supporting militia force.

Moves have already been made to grant financial rewards to volunteer battalions which are designed, like the 500+zl bonus, to create a new Catholic fundamentalist and authoritarian-corporatist Poland of heroic mothers and fighters that is united under the 'visionary leader' Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

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