Journal article

Piotr Żuk (2017)

Non-alternative reality? On the misery of the Left in Eastern Europe: the case of Poland

Journal Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe
Short title of the journal JCCEE
Number/Volume 1 (2017)
Page references 63-84

ISSN: Print 2573-9638, Online 2573-9646

This article is a socio-historical analysis of the current weak position of the left wing in Poland and an attempt to explain the social causes of this situation. The author focuses mainly on the last 26 years and the political and economic processes, which took place in Poland and in Eastern Europe after the cold war and the restoration of capitalism in this part of the world. He also points to historical events taking place in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This paper shows that after the collapse of the Eastern bloc, its former member countries experienced extensive changes in the structure of ownership and huge social inequalities. Although this did not evoke class anger, social frustration was used for the development of populist right-wing and nationalist movements, composed of defenders of national identity. The current authoritarian government of the conservative-nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party in Poland is the result of not only the recent parliamentary elections, but also of neoliberal policies and the lack of a comprehensive, progressive political alternative to the directions set by the power elite in the early 1990s.