Przygody Polaków z demokracją
Przygody Polaków z demokracją by Marek Beylin forms part of the second phase of Counterpoint’s “Recapturing Europe’s Reluctant Radicals” project. This second phase of the project aims to draw an in-depth picture of how populism emerges in specific country contexts across Europe through ten expert written country pamphlets.
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Since the communist dictatorship crumbled in 1989, Poland has gone through powerful and uncontrollable changes: the old political system was replaced by democracy, and the Soviet centralized economy has changed to a market economy. Unsurprisingly, these fundamental changes in the political system and the market triggered shifts in all areas of social life.
Since 1989, Polish society has rushed into its new phase. Aspirations, models of collective and family relations, the education model, traditional hierarchical structures, lifestyles, gender roles in society, relationships to work, the concept of free time, the explosion of local memory, relationships in general, the composition of the political minority and majority, the rise of democratic individualism – all these changed at a rapid pace during the decade known as the Polish revolution, aimed at consolidating the ‘public good’.
But even if all these changes brought hope of a better life, they also encountered a powerful resistance. Since the early 1990s, some Poles have repeatedly shrieked ‘enough change, stop time’; they come from varying political outlooks, including the nationalist left movements; and the Catholic Church has been actively involved. One of the strongest leaders of this resistance movement to change was Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who Beylin identifies as the pioneer of Polish populism.
Marek Beylin’s text discusses Polish society’s adventures with democracy and politics.
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