The WSWS has received the following letter from the editorial staff of “Władza Rad” (“The Soviet Power”) describing repressive actions against the web site of the publication, as well as against the Communist Party of Poland and a recent scientific conference on the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx.
The International Committee of the Fourth International and the editorial board of the World Socialist Web Site condemn the authoritarian actions of the reactionary Polish government of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party. We demand the immediate end to the persecution of left-wing and socialist publications and organizations in Poland.
Poland’s reactionary government is undertaking new attempts to suppress free speech and democratic pluralism in Poland. After the persecutions of the legally registered Communist Party of Poland, whose members were put on trial for the popularization of communism, the repressions reached the editors of communist website “Władza Rad” (“The Soviet Power,” www.1917.net.pl ), and several days later police raided a Marxist conference organized by scientists from the University of Szczecin in northwestern Poland.
On Monday, April 30, police entered the flat of one of the “Władza Rad” editors and took his notebook, two hard drives and cellphone. This action was done despite the fact that the popularization of communism is legal in Poland, and so was completely unlawful. It was another outrageous act of repression against the left-wing opposition.
The promotion of communism is, according to Polish law, legal. Ignoring this fact, the prosecution is trying to charge the Władza Rad editor for a non-existing crime. Polish penal code forbids only “totalitarian” and fascist propaganda. It does not, however, forbid communism, which was confirmed by the ruling of the Constitutional Court in 2011.
In January this year the internal affairs minister, Mr. Brudzinski, denied the existence of the neo-fascist threat in Poland and tried to use a red herring of an alleged “neo-communist” threat against the democracy.
In the aftermath, police and prosecution offices carried out an aggressive campaign against communists and any left-wing opposition in Poland.
The legally registered Komunistyczna Partia Polski (KPP, Communist Party of Poland) faced harsh repressions. The KPP activists have been sentenced in the prescriptive mode, but they appealed, and their trials are continuing today.
Even the social-democratic and aggressively anti-communist party Razem (“Together,” presenting itself as a Polish version of the Spanish Podemos) faced repressions – some members of the pro-government youth organizations demanded it be outlawed for the “promotion of communism.”
While even the center-right European politicians like Jean Claude Juncker acknowledge Karl Marx’s place in history, Polish state television recently broadcasted a segment on the “murderous ideas of Karl Marx” (using fabricated quotes from the founder of scientific socialism), and the Polish government punishes any left-wing opposition activity, while neo-fascist demonstrations of ONR (“National Radical Camp,” a far-right organization which took its name from an anti-Semitic and fascist organization from the 1930s) are protected by the police. The state’s drift towards authoritarianism now involves even the violation of university autonomy. On Saturday, May 12, the police entered a scientific conference celebrating the 200th anniversary of Marx’s birth, breaking the law on university autonomy.
We, the editing staff of Polish Communist website Władza Rad, always stand for the unconditional defense of freedom of speech and other human rights guaranteed by the United Nations Charter. We are opposed to any human rights violation. We call for international solidarity against the policy of the Polish government!
The Polish state is violating the fundamental rules of democracy and free speech. The only aim of the reactionary government is to destroy any left-wing opposition to the rule of the nationalist and bourgeois party PiS, to ensure the stability of the rule of capital and to maintain the system of capitalist exploitation of the working class.
Defence of the democratic laws for the working class and Marxist political organizations is now absolutely necessary!
We appeal for organizing protests at the Polish embassies all around the globe and for sending letters against the persecutions of Polish communists to the ambassadors.
Editorial board of Władza Rad
15 May 2018