Brexit, 2016 © (Mick Baker)rooster |Flickr
FeatureLiberal Democracy in Question

Voting Dangerously: Britain, Europe, and the United States

Back in 2015, the French woke up having to mobilize against the threat of Marine Le Pen’s National Front party, infamously nationalist and anti-immigrant, after its overwhelming victory in the first round of regional elections in 2015. Earlier that year, Poles elected a president endorsed by the Law and Justice party, openly nationalist and xenophobic, leading it to full governmental power as a result the parliamentary elections held several months later. The Austrians barely managed to fend off Freedom Party’s Norbert Hofer in the presidential elections held this spring. Most recently, another decision made directly by European citizens in a ballot ended in anti-EU Brexit. At the same time, in the United States Donald Trump is celebrating his popularity as the Republican Party’s presidential candidate, …

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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 …

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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. …

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The Museum of the History of Polish Jews © Mariusz Cieszewski | Flickr
Arts & DesignEssays

The Museum of the History of Polish Jews

The return of the secular Jew to a happier Poland

The grand opening of Polin or the Museum of the History of Polish Jews at the end of October was a widely anticipated event, and when its exhibition was finally revealed, the celebration was covered by major media in Europe, the U.S., and, unsurprisingly, Israel. Timothy Garton Ash and Anne Applebaum, among others, acknowledged Poland’s efforts to deal with its own history of Polish-Jewish relations. In the Financial Times Tony Barber emphasized how, today, Warsaw is a safer place for Jews than Berlin or Paris. All this praise comes a long way from the usual connotation: Poland as the place of Nazi death camps. …

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Tadeusz Mazowiecki in 1989 (cropped). © Artur Klose | http://de.wikipedia.org
EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

Remembering Tadeusz Mazowiecki

Tadeusz Mazowiecki, the first democratic prime minister of Poland, elected after decades of Communist rule, died on October 28.

In a widely popular weekly satirical puppet TV show, The Polish Zoo, which aired in Poland at the beginning of the 1990s, Mazowiecki was a turtle: sluggish and wise. (Among other central political figures were Lech Wałęsa, the president of Poland, as the lion, and a key post-Communist figure, Leszek Miller, as the spider.) Easily recognizable for his slow manner of speaking, Mazowiecki quickly became the symbol of peaceful, and rapid, democratic change.

 

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