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Poland's 1945 - 1989 under communism or during socialism?


poland_
23 Apr 2011 #1
Over the years, the Polish people I speak to never refer to the past as our ' communist past ' they quote 'during Socialism'. Even when you listen to interviews with some of the most respected Poles in current Politics, they ' during Socialism'. Here on PF it is common to talk about the Communist past of Poland, although there is no usage of ' during Socialism '. It would be interesting to hear your views on this point.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
23 Apr 2011 #2
Most Poles say 'za komuny' (duriing commie times) or 'w PRL-u' (short for the Peoples' Republic). Regardless what the drunken Jews Marx and Engels may have jotted down at their cafe table, Poland experienced 'real socialism', the replacement of the old middle class with the 'red bourgeoisie'. The rhetoric spoke of dictatorship of the proletariat but it was actually the dictatorship of senior party hacks. A vintage riddle that tells it all went: Entry in the Polish Communist Party Dictionary -- cognac, n., the favourite tipple of the working class, vicariously consume on their behalf by the party leadership.
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,163
23 Apr 2011 #3
I think that's because commies themselves called It that way -> PRL was a socialist state, the system was socialsim and communism was some distant goal to be achieved in the future...

In the Western Europe they rather call it communism to differentiate it from western mainstream socialistic parties -> high taxes/welfare state etc. but still democratic, "capitalistic" and so on. In the US, on the other hand, they call them liberals...
AdamKadmon 2 | 508
23 Apr 2011 #4
Marx died in 1883. Engles died in 1895. Peoples' Republic of Poland was 'born' in 1952 and 'died' in 1990.
antheads 13 | 368
23 Apr 2011 #5
Well theres many forms of socialism, polands being prob the most moderate in eastern europe, private property was allowed, people could run a business in certain economic areas. The church was allowed with many party members being openly catholic. However the communist class was not overthrown but shared power in 89. This meant that many of the means of production fell into their hands during the privatisation era.
delphiandomine 85 | 18,266
23 Apr 2011 #6
Interestingly, many of those enterprises are now either defunct or struggling - while many post-89 enterprises set up by non-Communists are flourishing.
OP poland_
23 Apr 2011 #7
However the communist class was not overthrown but shared power in 89.

Communist class or Intelligentsia there is a difference?

In the Western Europe they rather call it communism to differentiate it from western mainstream socialistic parties

Grzegorz, very interesting point, do you have any sources to you as reference on the above?
AdamKadmon 2 | 508
23 Apr 2011 #8
Grzegorz, very interesting point, do you have any sources to you as reference on the above?

In the 19th Century, the term "Social Democrat" was used as a broad catch-all for international socialists owing their basic ideological allegiance to Karl Marx or Ferdinand Lassalle. [Social democracy]]
Seanus 15 | 19,706
23 Apr 2011 #9
I think this discussion needs mention of curfews, or the police hours as they are called in Polish. When you start imposing such restrictions on people then it's one step beyond mainstream socialism IMHO. My main conception of socialism is sth like Aneurin Bevan's vision for the NHS, 'from cradle to grave'. Socialism isn't oppressive in the wider sense. The rich have more taken from them and the poor often have decent social care/provisions. For real oppression, see harsh regimes like the former Bathi one in Iraq.
rybnik 18 | 1,462
23 Apr 2011 #10
Curfews were only imposed during the martial law period. In Wroclaw, at least in my experience, they were loosely enforced especially at the end.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
23 Apr 2011 #11
In which case, comparisons/contrasts need to be drawn to purely communist regimes such as in Cuba or the USSR as it was known. Even then, it was called the United Soviet Socialist Republic. That's why I have drifted away from the overly simplistic nonsense I was taught at secondary school and look beyond the labels.
OP poland_
23 Apr 2011 #12
Martial law, was only at a certain period in occupied Poland, the need for martial law also goes to prove that the occupying communist power, was not met with approval by the Polish people. Therefore communism never fully controlled Poland outright. Hence -Socialism-
Seanus 15 | 19,706
23 Apr 2011 #13
A sensible thing to do would be to see what Cyrankiewicz did in his 18-year reign. He was a self-confessed communist, having endorsed/sanctioned the formal merger between the Socialist and Communist parties. Perhaps he was just an opportunist like so many others but his iron-fist crushing of rebellion was more typical of communistic hardliners rather than mild socialists who merely strive for progressive social reform and the betterment of the proletariat.
AdamKadmon 2 | 508
23 Apr 2011 #14
Socialism isn't oppressive in the wider sense. The rich have more taken from them and the poor often have decent social care/provisions. For real oppression, see harsh regimes like the former Bathi one in Iraq.

In that sense so-called first Solidarity was very much socialistic movement. One of the most popular Solidarity slogans in 1980 was Socialism-YES, Its distortions-NO, tho' it is now said that it was the slogan of the PRL's authorities. Glimpse into the past.
OP poland_
23 Apr 2011 #15
A sensible thing to do would be to see what Cyrankiewicz did in his 18-year reign. He was a self-confessed communist,

He was also the head of the Socialist party at Krakow Jag before WW2.
AdamKadmon 2 | 508
23 Apr 2011 #16
Perhaps he was just an opportunist like so many others but his iron-fist crushing of rebellion was more typical of communistic hardliners rather than mild socialists who merely strive for progressive social reform and the betterment of the proletariat.

This was a bit more complicated than most people are dare to admit today. Here you can read about direct causes: supperproductive, strike workers and piecework workers were not paid and that is why the strike began.

pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poznański_Czerwiec#Przyczyny

Then as usually there was internal faction struggle for control inside the communist party and there was also Soviet intervention - the Soviet tanks from northern and western Poland were aiming to Warsaw and only the direct threat from China and Mao himself caused Soviets not to attack Warsaw, inside which battalions of workers were waiting and ready to fight against them. Cyrankiewicz and his faction were afraid that the strike was triggered by Soviets to boost the pro-soviet faction inside Polish authorities.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
23 Apr 2011 #17
Firstly, he had a hand in the killing of Pilecki, a true Polish hero. He aided the communists, the same fools who have suppressed the records relating to his death for many a year. Secondly, he went with what was on offer in 1935. He bided his time til he could reveal his true colours. Betraying his country in such a fashion really smacks of a communist weasel. He garnered support in order to become PM and part of that involved siding with the communist rats.
pawian 170 | 11,398
23 Apr 2011 #18
Over the years, the Polish people I speak to never refer to the past as our ' communist past ' they quote 'during Socialism'.

Really? Maybe in the past, long ago. Today I never hear people saying during socialism. Za komuny rules!!
Seanus 15 | 19,706
23 Apr 2011 #19
My mother-in-law says za komuny. We should also pay heed to George Orwell's classic, 'Animal Farm'. As is so often the case, the reality was quite different from the theory. She liked the full employment aspect but disliked the heavy-handed approach of some of the leaders.
pawian 170 | 11,398
23 Apr 2011 #20
She liked the full employment aspect

Full employment meant that 4 people did the job that 1 could do. That is why the salaries were so low. And think about efficiency and productivity -they were hopelessly low compared to the West.
OP poland_
23 Apr 2011 #21
Za komuny rules!!

It is not about what sounds good or cool, the discussion is about what is accurate.

There are a number of enterprising business's in Poland that promote a communist past, offering visits and cheap memorabilia to gullible tourists. Good luck to them. 'Socialist past' or 'under socialism' doesn't have the same ring to it, now does it.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
23 Apr 2011 #22
But it meant that 3 could be hungover whilst the 4th laboured away ;) ;) The rotation system seemed to work ;) A guaranteed 2000PLN gave certainty ;)

Don't you feel that communism, in that way, brought workers closer together as opposed to the dog-eat-dog model we see now?

Buying people with bribes is the sign of a sleekit rat. Undermining your country for your own political gains is the sign of a true creep! Sorry, he was communistic scum and far from being the wisest and most noble politician of those times.
OP poland_
23 Apr 2011 #23
My mother-in-law says za komuny

My Wife refers to the period as 'during socialism' she was at school with General Jaruzelski's daughter and Grzegorz Przemyk who was murdered during martial law in Warszawa, so she had first hand experience of martial law. My daughter on the other hand has picked up the trendy 'Za komuny'
Seanus 15 | 19,706
23 Apr 2011 #24
Oh, my mother-in-law has never aimed to be trendy. Warszawski, what do you understand by the hackneyed phrase, 'collapse of communism'? What changed? It may seem basic to an educated man such as yourself but it serves an interesting purpose.
pawian 170 | 11,398
23 Apr 2011 #25
It is not about what sounds good or cool, the discussion is about what is accurate.

You didn`t mention that before.

You said you heard people say sth:

Over the years, the Polish people I speak to never refer to the past as our ' communist past ' they quote 'during Socialism'. Even when you listen to interviews with some of the most respected Poles in current Politics, they ' during Socialism'.

and that was against my experience.

I hope you don`t mind my remark. :):):)
AdamKadmon 2 | 508
23 Apr 2011 #26
Buying people with bribes is the sign of a sleekit rat.

My post was kind of a provocation. Not written by me, but by a semi-literate, who tried to disgrace Jan Karski by associating him not only with Cyrankiewicz, of whom he had always a good opionion, but with much more nasty guys like Minc and Berman. Sorry for that unintentional provocation.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
23 Apr 2011 #27
I figured that much :) We shouldn't judge the likes of Gomułka and Gierek by the stickers they slapped on themselves but by what they did.
OP poland_
23 Apr 2011 #28
I hope you don`t mind my remark. :):):)

No worries. Good to read your comments.

'collapse of communism'? What changed?

Seanus, nothing changed we see it going on in the media today, in the middle east. Capitalism needs new frontiers in order to feed itself. The real question we should ask ourselves is, did commusion collapse and die, with the disintegration of the former USSR or did it need time to rebrand itself into the present form of Putinism?
AdamKadmon 2 | 508
23 Apr 2011 #29
Have you watched the Commanding Heights Part Three: The New Rules of the Game?
Seanus 15 | 19,706
23 Apr 2011 #30
Nothing changed? So Wałęsa and Balcerowicz did nothing? I was referring specifically to the case of Poland. Those who probe deeper can be a sneaky combination of communism and capitalism in the NWO but let's stay focussed on 1989 and its significance.

How can you say nothing changed? Do you regard PO as communists? Were PiS? Sorry, I don't see where you are coming from at all :(


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