The Media’s Triumph Won’t Last Forever

After the parliamentary and presidential elections of 2005, Poland finally appeared to have recovered from her postcommunist malaise, having brought a coalition of center-right and patriotic parties to power.  These included the Law and Justice Party (PiS), led by the twin Kaczynski brothers, Lech and Jaroslaw; the ultra-Catholic League of Polish Families (LPR), led by Roman Giertych; and the populist Self-Defense of the Republic of Poland Party (Samoobrona), led by Andrzej Lepper.  Lech Kaczynski won the presidency.

The Democratic Left Alliance (SLD)—which had held the presidency from 1995 to 2005 and had mostly dominated the parliament since communism’s end in 1989—was reduced to a relatively small number of MPs.  At the same time, the Civic Platform (PO), a centrist, neoliberal party led by Donald Tusk, surged in the 2005 election.

Given these changes, there had been some hope that the new president and parliament would finally begin to dismantle the vast media, state, cultural, and economic infrastructures that the “postcommunists” had created for themselves under the permissive hand of President Lech Walesa (1990-95).  Today, many Polish patriots consider Walesa a betrayer of the national renewal promised by the original Solidarity independent trade-union movement of 1980-81.  Antiglobalization writer Naomi Klein has identified the situation of Poland in the 1990’s...

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