Social Sciences (Mar 2021)

The Polish Paradox: From a Fight for Democracy to the Political Radicalization and Social Exclusion

  • Zofia Kinowska-Mazaraki

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 10, no. 112
p. 112


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Poland has gone through a series of remarkable political transformations over the last 30 years. It has changed from a communist state in the Soviet sphere of influence to an autonomic prosperous democracy and proud member of the EU. Paradoxically, since 2015, Poland seems to be heading rapidly in the opposite direction. It was the Polish Solidarity movement that started the peaceful revolution that subsequently triggered important democratic changes on a worldwide scale, including the demolition of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of Communism and the end of Cold War. Fighting for freedom and independence is an important part of Polish national identity, sealed with the blood of generations dying in numerous uprisings. However, participation in the democratic process is curiously limited in Poland. The right-wing, populist Law and Justice Party (PiS) won elections in Poland in 2015. Since then, Poles have given up more and more freedoms in exchange for promises of protection from different imaginary enemies, including Muslim refugees and the gay and lesbian community. More and more social groups are being marginalized and deprived of their civil rights. The COVID-19 pandemic has given the ruling party a reason to further limit the right of assembly and protest. Polish society is sinking into deeper and deeper divisions.