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Poland's society at communism and socialism time


wawa_marek 1 | 129    
16 Nov 2015  #1
At communism time there was NO materialistic attitude in Polish society comparing to westerns. Probably the same in DDR, Czechoslovakia. In terms of wealth the society was aligned. Medicine doctors, lawyers, communist mid level officials, teachers as well as machine operators, plumbers, bricklayer often lived at same address. They went on holiday to the same places and their children played at the same playground.

Compare it to class society in west.
teraz Polska!    
16 Nov 2015  #2
At communism time there was NO materialistic attitude in Polish society comparing to westerns

Nonsense!
Borsukrates    
17 Nov 2015  #3
That's what PRL propaganda told him.
InPolska 11 | 1,821    
17 Nov 2015  #4
@Wawa: this is wrong and you know it. A lot of Poles were comfortable. My in-laws lived in a huge villa (which they got in 1934 because of one family member (a lawyer) being at the time (1934) a big shot in Silesian government) back then (said villa and garden got divided into 2 flats in the 1950's), could go to Pewex stores and could travel to the west (my husband did live in Switzerland for 2 years in the early 1980's. The Katowice neighborhood where they lived also had (and still has) a lot of "fancy" villas inhabited by for instance ... university professors (several university professors in my in-law family (my father-in-law was a lawyer), and completely different from the poor Polish average person.
OP wawa_marek 1 | 129    
17 Nov 2015  #5
Ask them how much university professor earned that time. Average taxi driver or greengrocer earned more. What they could buy in Pewex?

My father was state official, Moscow Political University graduate. His salary wasn't high, but he had privileges like car with driver for his use, holiday in Zakopane or in Sopot. Our family lived like

poor Polish average person

nothanks - | 666    
17 Nov 2015  #6
No crime
Education impressive
Everyone worked

But Hope steadily faded [resulting in countless drinking themselves/health to death]. Fortunately this was before Internet & Social Media so families/neighborhoods were forced to enjoy what they had, together. Misery loves company you could say.

My parents always felt it was counter-productive to force people inside the Iron Curtain. This was before the Information Age so stories were passed on as legends. My father was a sucker for the Freedom Radio. He bought all of the propaganda. Then again, he also benefited from American work in Iraq [mid 1980's]. The money he sent back home to us, did offer us a little extra benefit. My Aunt owned a store so she was able to put food/supplies to the side for us/the family. But people vacationed and they vacationed well. Hungary was the popular spot for my family.

Communism in those times [as with Cuba recently] has a hopeless romanticism to it. You wanted to build a home/have some work done? You went around the neighborhood and recruited some guys, even bartering with them. Regulations were crooked. I found on youTUBE a 15 minute video recording [with 1 long song on repeat] with important and random shots of my hometown - in the 1970s-80s. An interesting perspective as you saw kids playing but as the camera zoomed out you saw unfinished concrete and other rubble next to their play area. A-lot of unfinished projects. I still remember that in person, so much un-fulfilled potential.
mafketis 17 | 6,756    
17 Nov 2015  #7
At communism time there was NO materialistic attitude in Polish society

The first thing any visitor noted in any communist country was the rampant, morbid materialism. Plenty creates a casual attitude toward consumption while privation (the main economic product of communism) creates a rabid materialism.

I agree that there was more economic integration (with richer and poorer living near each other and seeing each other on a daily basis) and some kinds of equal opportunity (it was easier for smart kids from small villages to get into universities) both of which are being lost which is regrettable but overall Polish people are less materialistic now than in the days of ration cards and dollar stores (where putting food on the table was a constant struggle).
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,679    
17 Nov 2015  #8
privation (the main economic product of communism) creates a rabid materialism.

Thanks that is interesting, explains some of my ex's behaviour. He now drives a Jag and doesn't support his children...:)
All he could say when he saw my crappy Fiat was 'ewww.'. But then he used to have a Fiat Maluch back in Poland...:)
Levi 13 | 451    
17 Nov 2015  #9
Everyone worked

Yes Yes. Everyone worked. Even if they didn't wanted or couldn't.

Because if they didn't worked, they were sent to a Gulag in the middle of Siberia.

What a Wonderful thing is communism, right?

Do you know which other system "Everyone worked"? Slavery.
delphiandomine 85 | 17,654    
17 Nov 2015  #10
Yes Yes. Everyone worked. Even if they didn't wanted or couldn't.

Not true in the slightest.

Because if they didn't worked, they were sent to a Gulag in the middle of Siberia.

That was only true up until the end of Stalinism.

No crime

Common myth, spread by the PRL. In fact, hooligans in football caused quite a lot of trouble, but it was all censored because the authorities didn't want to admit to having lost control.
kpc21 1 | 763    
17 Nov 2015  #11
When everyone has to get a job, unemployment oficially doesn't exist, then someone who is employed basically cannot be fired. So there is no real motivation to work. This is one of the reasons why this system had to fail.

In slavery everyone had to work, but was forced to it. In communism or socialism - not. It is, by the way, a problem nowadays too. There is plenty of people claiming that they cannot find any job (even though there is a lot of simple jobs for which there is a shortage of workers and many of these people could perform them) and taking the unemployment benefits from the country. Sometimes even working illegally simultaneously. Then you can see people living in apartments from the city (dedicated for poor people) and having there a large-screen TV, a dishwasher and a high-end computer, not to mention a most modern smartphone.

In these times the difference was that they were theoretically employed and theoretically they were working.

In terms of holidays, in these times holidays for the employees were usually organized by the employers. They often possessed big campings, hotels etc. where they were organizing holidays for the employees, or, for example, summer camps for their children.

With constructing a house - from the stories of the grandparents - it was so, that it was very easy to get a loan for free or almost for free for it (although there were some strange demands, like that the house had to be build exactly according to a ready-made project), but the construction was quite painful due to shortages of materials. When a person constructing a house heard that, for example, there were bricks for sale somewhere in the neighbourhood, he had to use the opportunity, go there quickly and buy them. The same with other materials.

Or, for example, knitting was very popular, because there wasn't much choice of clothes on the market.

With grocery it was usually so that people were buying the products directly from someone from the countryside they knew, because there were sometimes also problems with getting some of them. I have no idea whether it was true, but I have also read, that, for example, exotic fruit (like oranges, bananas) was available only in the Christmas time - imported mainly from Cuba.
delphiandomine 85 | 17,654    
17 Nov 2015  #12
They often possessed big campings, hotels etc. where they were organizing holidays for the employees

Still happens, but from what I gather, these resorts operate mainly for the benefit of the big bosses of state owned companies these days.

This is why there's a ridiculous myth in Poland that children are "poor" if they can't afford to go on a summer camp. Compare and contrast to the UK, where summer camps are incredibly rare. I'm always amused that 12 year olds here spend their time on camps, while I spent my summers with my friends causing mischief from morning till evening.
Rich Mazur 5 | 3,014    
24 Feb 2019  #13
[moved from]

50 years ago Poland was socialist,

I love socialism or whatever it was then. Before I left, I got free medical care, free education and a passport to get the f*** out and go to "America" where I promptly - I mean in three day since arrival at the Kennedy - got a job paying about 80 grand adjusting for inflation. What's there not to like?

I am not sure if my sarcasm was visible enough. Yes, that was sarcasm.
pawian 151 | 7,977    
24 Feb 2019  #14
Before I left, I got free medical care, free education and a passport to get the f*** out and go to "America"

Getting a passport just like that to America in 1960s` Poland was a sole privilige of either communist party members/supporters/family or Polish Jews expelled in 1968. :):)
mafketis 17 | 6,756    
17 Mar 2019  #15
in 1960s` Poland

he proved in other threads he knows nothing of the real PRL...
Shitonya Brits    
17 Mar 2019  #16
Getting a passport just like that to America in 1960s` Poland was a sole privilige

Oh? Didn't you and your family also spend time in America during the PRL-era?
Lyzko 20 | 6,177    
18 Mar 2019  #17
What the collapse of political Communism proved to anyone with eyes and ears is that Communism doesn't work!
Competition is natural, re-distribution of wealth in order that in some ideal craziness factory workers earn as much as factory owners upon whom
the former depend, completely unnatural and out of synch with basic human desires:-)

Having said that, I will reiterate that untrammeled, run-away greed is nearly as bad as purposely trying to earn less money rather than more.
Balance has always been the key to economic and social success.

New Deal America under Roosevelt, although scarcely perfect by any stretch, pushed humans to strive to be the best while at the same time, not losing

sight of those less fortunate. The question should never be, "Why aren't you a billionaire?", instead, "Are you living up to your full potential?"
Miloslaw 6 | 1,528    
18 Mar 2019  #18
Communism doesn't work!

Dead right.And yet so many still want to believe that Socialist/Communist lie.....
pawian 151 | 7,977    
18 Mar 2019  #19
Oh? Didn't you and your family also spend time in America during the PRL-era?

Wow, it seems not only Johnny Be Good keeps regular record on other members. Ok, it`s fine with me, if it helps your memory, why not.

Yes, but it happened in 1980s. As an expert, you should know the difference between 1960s and 1980s in Poland. Those were two different Polands. Can you tell us what you know?
Lyzko 20 | 6,177    
18 Mar 2019  #20
On the other hand, Milo, as you know, I have long considered myself a proud "New Deal Democrat", moreover a Republican aka "Progressive" of
the Lincolnesque variety! Pure anything can be dangerous, pure Socialism as well as pure Capitalism. Everything in moderation, friends.
:-)
Miloslaw 6 | 1,528    
18 Mar 2019  #21
pure Socialism as well as pure Capitalism

Agreed,but I would still take pure Capitalism over pure Socialism.
Lyzko 20 | 6,177    
18 Mar 2019  #22
Yet, the former implies that people enjoy cheating others legally, yet those same folks would be riled up as anything if THEY themselves got cheated:-)

It's really a double-edged sword.
Miloslaw 6 | 1,528    
18 Mar 2019  #23
But Socialism is a huge failure for the majority.
I don't think Capitalism fails as many people to the same degree.
Shitonya Brits    
18 Mar 2019  #24
Wow, it seems not only Johnny Be Good keeps regular record on other members.

No. It was just a presumptive question.

As an expert, you should know the difference between 1960s and 1980s in Poland

Communist rule didn't end until 1989, so politically there was no difference.

The only change over that time was the fall in living standards and ever increasing oppression.

So when the going got tough, the tough got going; and those with privilege got a passport and got up and left.

Can you tell us what you know?

Well, considering you left Poland in her darkest hours for bright and sunny, safe and comfy America, one can only conclude that you are just another one of those "Am Pollacks, obsessed with their "true" indentity which has little to do with real Poles." :)

https://polishforums.com/genealogy/fathers-name-first-son-own-84658/#msg1680628
pawian 151 | 7,977    
18 Mar 2019  #25
The only change over that time was the fall in living standards...

Sorry, this proves you know nothing about those times. I have to give you an F for that appalling ignorance. But I don`t have time to teach you know. :) Study some books, diaries etc.

Well, considering you left Poland in her darkest hours for bright and sunny, safe and comfy America,

Wrong again. 1.5 year stay isn`t leaving, I worked hard and earned enough to buy myself an apartment in a big city in Poland.
delphiandomine 85 | 17,654    
18 Mar 2019  #26
Communist rule didn't end until 1989, so politically there was no difference.

Showing your lack of knowledge yet again. Poland opened up considerably in the 1970's and 1980's - martial law was a blip, but some Poles could travel and work abroad during those times. Contacts increased quite a lot with the West in the 1970's and 1980's too, which is one of the reasons why Poland got into a financial mess at the end of the 1970's.

Of course, you're welcome to believe in your fairytales as a North American with no connection to Poland.
pawian 151 | 7,977    
18 Mar 2019  #27
Poland opened up considerably in the 1970's and 1980's -

Delph, I told him/her to do its own research. Don`t make it so easy for them, it is unpedagogical. Those kids really think they know everything by studying Facebook. :)

Am Pollacks, obsessed with their "true" indentity which has little to do with real Poles." :)

Aah, this was painful to learn sth about yourself, wasn`t it? :):)
delphiandomine 85 | 17,654    
18 Mar 2019  #28
Delph, I told him/her to do its own research

But he would have to justify why his parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents all stayed in North America ;)
Shitonya Brits    
18 Mar 2019  #29
Wait! What?!

An Am Pollack made it big in America while real Poles were getting locked up, beaten with truncheons, and mowed down with water cannons?

An Am Pollack went to Poland when the coast was clear to show off what a big spender he is?

Oh, please do continue with your lecturing! I've come to realise now that despite being a professional student you really do have so much to share regarding privilege, denial, and endless contradictions! :)
pawian 151 | 7,977    
18 Mar 2019  #30
You are Am Pollack, while real Poles live in Poland. See the difference? :)


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