Demonstration organized by the Committee for the Defense of Democracy (KOD) in front of the Sejm in Warsaw, 19 December 2015 © Adrian Grycuk | Wikimedia Commons
EssaysEventsFeatureLiberal Democracy in Question

‘We, The People’ In Polish

One country’s response to a right-wing takeover

The Committee in Defense of Democracy (Komitet Obrony Demokracji, or KOD) appeared to start suddenly out of thin air. It is now the biggest mass mobilization of Polish citizens since the days of Solidarity 25 years ago. On the one hand, this is clearly a response to the electoral victory in October 2015 of the right-wing Law and Justice party (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, or PiS), but on the other, it is also the result of a spontaneous idea by a certain Internet surfer.

The idea for KOD first appeared on a website called Studio Opinion, a somewhat old-fashioned site edited by respected journalists …

Jaroslaw & Lech Kaczynski 1800, secrets revealed from the "Abode of Chaos," 2011 © Thierry Ehrmann | Flickr
EssaysEventsFeatureIn DepthLiberal Democracy in Question

Constitutional Crisis in Poland

How reality has surpassed fears

On Saturday, January 9, 2016, people in Poland and Poles around the world once again protested the actions of the incumbent government led by Prime Minister Beata Szydło, the parliamentary majority, and President Andrzej Duda. The current situation has already earned entries in both Polish and English Wikipedia under the term “constitutional crisis.” As presented in the international press, the crux of the current constitutional crisis in Poland …

Parliamentary Election Campaign Posters in Katowice 2015 © Silar | Wikimedia Commons
EssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionThe Left

After the Victory of The Law and Justice Party

Envisioning a perfect right-wing religious Poland

Karl Marx famously claimed that history repeats itself twice, first as tragedy, then as farce. Sadly, the recent parliamentary elections in Poland seem to show that actually the opposite can happen as well. Although the 2005 parliamentary victory of the Law and Justice (PiS) party ended in a short-lived coalition with two …

Andrzej Duda campaigning for president of Poland in Lubartów, March 31, 2015 © Radosław Czarnecki | Wikimedia Commons
EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

Presidential Elections in Poland: Something Old, Something New

The victory of Andrzej Duda, the nationalist, right-wing Law and Justice party’s candidate, came as a shock to many. Yet, in fact, his success over President Bronisław Komorowski, a center-right conservative, supported by the ruling party, Civic Platform, should not have been a surprise. After all, Duda also won the first round (albeit by a margin of less than one percent), and while Komorowski ran a lackluster campaign, defending the accomplishments of the recent past, Duda ran a much more dynamic one, running as the candidate of change in a country with much discontent. …