Friday, June 05, 2009

It has been 20 years since 1989, the year that pretty well wrote 'finis' on the Marxist-Leninist version of managerial society, as opposed to the other corporate model. That was the year of the Tienanmen Square massacre in Beijing where the Chinese Communist Party bared its teeth and demonstrated beyond all doubt that it still had the power to control the transition of China from the failed state socialist model to a more modern form of managerial rule. On another continent it was also the year of the obituary for the Soviet Empire. The new ruling class(borrowing heavily from the personnel of the old one) in Eastern Europe came to power generally without great violence, aside from Romania, but, at the same time, it betrayed the aspirations of freedom and equality that so many oppositionists in that part of the world had held.

Nowadays the aspirations and dreams of 1989 are relegated to the 'memory hole', aside, of course, from the anarchists who strive to keep them alive. In Poland, especially, where the opposition trade union Solidarnosc advanced a semi-syndicalist program and, in exile, actually cooperated with the AIT and other anarchists, the contrast between the dream and the present reality is especially acute. Today Solidarnosc is nothing more than one more centre right social democratic party. The present Polish ruling class are, of course, celebrating their rise to power, but they have opposition that proves that the old ideals are not dead. Poland is not a large country. Its population of about 38 1/2 million is barely above that of Canada (33 million), but it hosts a vibrant and growing anarchist movement that has a wide influence far outside of its numbers. Here is one story from the English language section of the Polish anarchist news site Centrum Informacji Anarchistcznej about recent actions in the city of Krakow that put the lie to the mutual admiration society of the new ruling class.


On June 4 1989, Poland held elections which marked the end of the era of the People's Republic of Poland. Grand ceremonies were held in many cities. Prime Minister Donald Tusk had wanted to hold a large international event in Gdansk but was afraid of massive (and perhaps violent) demonstrations by shipyard workers who lost their job due to an EU decision. They had demonstration recently in Warsaw and there were violent clashes with the police. Tusk decided instead to hold the event, attended by many foreign heads of state, in Wawel Palace in Krakow. Anarchists went there to show him that he could run, but he can't hide.

Besides the anarchists, a group of tenants showed up. They have been protesting and organizing in Krakow for more than a year now. The night before, they had a picket at the Sheraton hotel where VIP guests were staying. They also picketed on the main square in Krakow before the demo.

Anarchists had slogans like "Without Us There is No Democracy" and "Enough Compromises - the Class War Continues". They marched though the city to Wawel where there were some speeches. In newspapers given out, anarchists called for a boycott of elections and for direct democracy.

Some photos are below. There are also nice ones here and here.
The mainstream paper published some short films (not too good) here. (You have to scroll down a bit.)

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