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Scars of Communism on Polish culture.


Dodgefan07 1 | 19
24 Apr 2012 #1
I am a Scots Irish American, living and working in Poland who loves the country and loves the people, and loves politcs and cultural issues, and the ways they shape and affect each other.

I am amazed at the incredible spirit of the Polish people who have survived centuries of occupation and oppression. I am forever saddened by the ways Communism has permanently damaged and scarred the culture and the people.

It shows up in jokes and anecdotes by Polish people about themselves. It shows up in business and corporate culture, and it shows up in every level of society.

First and foremost, it has destroyed the ability to think out-of-the box to solve challenges. Creative thinking was a threat and punished -- it questioned the system and fostered uprising.

While many Polish people see horrific problems in government and society -- they aren't able to brainstorm together to combine their ideas to solve even the simplest challenges. Brainstorming isn't understood or practiced effectively here.

More Polish people live outside of Poland than inside Poland. Instead of collectively speaking out against corruption or red tape, they remain quiet or leave Poland.

Communism created forever in the Polish culture and people a culture of distrust and suspicion, -- particularly of foreigners, and foreign ideas.
Communism was a system of control and Poland has many of these ludicrous mechanisms of control that are widespread across the country.

In many government and public buildings across Poland, they ration toilet paper, because someone might take more than their fair share. It costs more to pay the lady to sit all day and cut strips of toilet paper, than it would to just put a roll in each stall. Mechanism of control-- suspicion and distrust.

In schools, stores, malls, clubs, churches, and private businesses across the country -- they close and lock most of the doors, but one or maybe two. Even the giant Supermarkets-- They have 45 cashiers, and two ways to get in the store, at the far ends.

Capitalism says lets open up the doors and make lots of easy ways to get in- to buy our goods. When you try to go into the store through one of the forbidden lanes -- they go nuts. You must be trying to steal something -- into the store.

Public stores, libraries, and concert venues, even restaurants all over Poland, in 2012, which still have forced coat checks. Suspicion and distrust -- What maybe someone will steal some bread or fries or salt in their coats and take it out, or maybe someone going to the Symphony will steal a base violin.

There are four or six cashiers at KFC and in other fast food places, and people still get in one communist line. What's up with that.?? If someone takes a risk and gets in that line, then there is a chance Jacek could be served before Agata. That would be capitalist.

If Gary or Bill in US gets a brand new SUV or a nice new van, or boat, then Ken says "What a nice boat, Gary." and he works harder and saves his money and gets a boat too. If Przemek gets a nice new car or SUV, Pawel and Monica and his neighbors all wish it would catch on fire.

Why is this, and what are some solutions??
Why don't Polish people speak out against these attacks on your culture and refuse mandatory coat checks and a single line, or two entrances into a supermarket with 40 cashiers??

I really want your honest thoughts. :-) MiƂego Dnia, Serdecznie Pozdrawiam.
jon357 63 | 14,137
24 Apr 2012 #2
More Polish people live outside of Poland than inside Poland.

40 million?

Creative thinking was a threat and punished

If anything, they had to be very creative indeed.

In many government and public buildings across Poland.

A lot of that was there before.

There are four or six cashiers at KFC and in other fast food places, and people still get in one communist line. What's up with that.?? If someone takes a risk and gets in that line, then there is a chance Jacek could be served before Agata. That would be capitalist.

Actually that's fairly recent - and a much fairer way.
NorthMancPolak 4 | 648
24 Apr 2012 #3
I am amazed at the incredible spirit of the Polish people who have survived centuries of occupation and oppression.

I can guarantee that you won't find a single person who has been scarred by centuries of occupation and oppression. We may live longer than Africans, but we don't live that long ;) A significant proportion of Poles know nothing of occupation or oppression.

And the USA has solved all its problems (even the simple ones)? No, it hasn't. It's not just Communism which prevents people from solving simple problems.

It's nothing to do with "mechanism of control" - they just don't want to have their toilet paper stolen.

Over here, we only have one way in/out, and security guards are far more obtrusive than in Poland. Yet we can't blame it on Communism.

Do you leave the door to your house open? I don't, and it's not because I want to "control" the neighbours.

If Gary or Bill in US gets a brand new SUV or a nice new van, or boat, then Ken says "What a nice boat, Gary."

Wrong. Pawel and Monika would want to outdo him by buying an even better model.

We know you're just here to troll, but do try harder next time.
pawian 161 | 9,971
24 Apr 2012 #4
First and foremost,

your post is simply too long. I didn`t read it. Life is too short.

Next time you want bigger audience, try to write sth more concise.
Bieganski 17 | 901
25 Apr 2012 #5
Communism created forever in the Polish culture and people a culture of distrust and suspicion, -- particularly of foreigners, and foreign ideas.

That's quite a ludicrous claim coming from a

Scots Irish American

who conveniently failed to mention the absolute hysteria in America created by that other Scots Irish American Joe McCarthy.

Surely you know him and his bizarre show trials of dozens of innocent American citizens during the 1940's and 1950's which falsely claimed they were communists and that more communists were hiding under every bed and in every closet right across America. Where do you think the term McCarthyism came from? It's not a compliment I can assure you of that. Thankfully that crackpot was finally discredited and thrown out of political office. He died in penury at the age of 48 from alcoholism. He was and still is a complete disgrace in American history.

You also didn't mention in your anti-Polish rant how America's phobic mindset from the Cold War era past still lives on. It occurs in the often told lies promoted by rightwing fanatics about how that other Scots Irish American Ronald Reagan somehow single-handedly defeated communism while completely ignoring the struggles, sacrifices and genuine bravery of the citizens in countries like Poland who were the ones that actually made the changes to ended communism. And it continues today with those other fascist blowhard talking head TV and radio personalities of Scots Irish American descent such as Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity who wildly denounce people as Marxists and Socialists - from their elected president Barack Obama on down - when anyone dares to disagree with their own rabid, rightwing, extremist views. These evil clowns are popular not because of their brains but only due to the ignorance and bigotry which they advertise through their big foul mouths. And their never-ending asinine rhetoric has made compromise in America a toxic word and progress to benefit all American citizens impossible.

You laughably claim that Poland has scars from communism yet it is plain to see that America neurotically rips open its own wounds from that era every chance it gets.

You talk about Poland and its people forever having distrust and suspicion especially of foreigners and foreign ideas. Do you really think people in other countries don't know about your citizenry organizing in armed gangs under revolutionary titles like Minutemen while they patrol your borders even though your government has its own agency to do this? Do you also think other people don't know how your government has been forced to spend billions of dollars on walls, fences and surveillance along your borders because of the xenophobia that has gripped America? People claim they don't want illegal immigration but it is undeniable that illegal immigrants come from all countries so America's sole focus on darker skinned people coming from Central and South America while ignoring other migrants proves the xenophobia is also racist. And when has America ever been authentically open to foreign ideas when from its government right down to the guy on the street the common attitude is "my way or the highway"?

In schools, stores, malls, clubs, churches, and private businesses across the country -- they close and lock most of the doors, but one or maybe two.

And which similar establishments in America don't have and use locks on their doors and windows or even have alarms and video surveillance? In cities across America, especially the capital city Washington DC, there are many shops that have bulletproof partitions between the cashiers and merchandise on one side and the customers on the other because they have been robbed dozens of times. It's quite the sight to see in 21st century, freedom loving, open minded America! And everyone knows now that the "neighborhood watch" patrols in American towns and cities are made up of rogue citizens carrying guns who are very willing and eager to pull the trigger rather than alert the police to potential criminal activity like they are supposed to do.

While many Polish people see horrific problems in government and society -- they aren't able to brainstorm together to combine their ideas to solve even the simplest challenges. Brainstorming isn't understood or practiced effectively here.

America's infrastructure has been crumbling for decades. Poverty has been a mainstay and is actually increasing in America as jobs in all sectors are forever lost and wages stagnate for those lucky enough to still hold on to a job. I guess this explains why you are in "communist scarred" Poland now and not your "free market epicenter" homeland America.

Additionally, US politicians and US banks completely wrecked America's economy years ago and it is still recovering today. American workers and their families got hit the hardest yet no one has been held to account for disaster cause by greed and incompetence at the highest levels. Some American citizens tried to organize to draw attention to the injustices occurring such as Occupy Wall Street. The result? The politicians made it increasing difficult for protestors to organize. In several incidents across America local police viciously attacked peaceful demonstrators with dogs, rubber bullets and tear gas and rather than cause outrage most of their fellow Americans sitting at home were cheering the police brutality as they watched it unfold on their TVs. So much for living in the land of the free where right to assembly is supposed to be guaranteed in the constitution.

Communism was a system of control and Poland has many of these ludicrous mechanisms of control that are widespread across the country.

And yet America has the highest incarceration rate in the entire world (yes, even when compared to communist countries like China, North Korea and Cuba) and it is still in the top league not only for sentencing people with the death penalty but for carrying it out.

Americans often claim they are taxed to death and this is on top of having legislation and lawsuits regarding nearly every aspect of life.

You have absolutely no room to be criticizing Poland or the Poles about anything. You need to go back to America and clean up your own mess there.
Specjalista 3 | 43
25 Apr 2012 #6
I think the thing that sticks out to me the most in Poland which my friends have attributed to the communists is the amount of red tape involved in anything.

Everything is generally more difficult, most especially if you are not a native.
Hipis - | 227
25 Apr 2012 #7
Very well written Bieganski. :D

Public stores, libraries, and concert venues, even restaurants all over Poland, in 2012, which still have forced coat checks.

I have never, ever been into a shop, library or restaurant in Poland where I have been searched. Football matches and concerts, yes, but that's the same as anywhere else in the world. When I went to an Ozzfest in Florida in 2001 they just stopped short of a body cavity search before people were allowed into the venue so if you have complaints about this in Poland, then it's only being copied from the States.
hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
25 Apr 2012 #8
There are four or six cashiers at KFC and in other fast food places, and people still get in one communist line.

That is good to see because many on this forum believe that Poles do not Queue.

If Gary or Bill in US gets a brand new SUV or a nice new van, or boat, then Ken says "What a nice boat, Gary."

Really, I thought keeping up with the Joneses was an American saying.

they aren't able to brainstorm together to combine their ideas to solve even the simplest challenges. Brainstorming isn't understood or practiced effectively here.

By brainstorming, you mean write a word in the middle of a page and then a whole bunch of other words around it linking to the middle ward. Sounds like very difficult process, the Poles must be obviously incapable of doing something as complicated as that!

simplest challenges.

Would you care name some of those simple challenges?
strzyga 2 | 993
25 Apr 2012 #9
loves politcs

Great to hear that there's at least one person in Poland who loves the Polish politics.
BBman - | 344
25 Apr 2012 #10
I am forever saddened by the ways Communism has permanently damaged and scarred the culture and the people.

This is true to some extent. I think the partitions also "scarred" Poland/Poles.

More Polish people live outside of Poland than inside Poland

Actually it is estimated that there are 20 million Poles outside of Poland (not sure how "Pole" is defined here: ie both parents Polish? second gen Polish?).

destroyed the ability to think out-of-the box to solve challenges.

False. It actually made people think outside the box (ie: how to deal with shortages/how to acquire goods, "kombinowanie").

When you try to go into the store through one of the forbidden lanes -- they go nuts. You must be trying to steal something -- into the store.

I agree. I sometimes feel like a criminal just walking into a store. I think its common in many euro countries.

What maybe someone will steal some bread or fries or salt in their coats and take it out, or maybe someone going to the Symphony will steal a base violin.

Stealing and cheating was part of daily life during the communist era and the partitions. People don't need to cheat/steal to live anymore, but some do and most like to take precautions against would be thieves.

If Gary or Bill in US gets a brand new SUV or a nice new van, or boat, then Ken says "What a nice boat, Gary." and he works harder and saves his money and gets a boat too. If Przemek gets a nice new car or SUV, Pawel and Monica and his neighbors all wish it would catch on fire.

Overall Poles don't react to someone else's success the same way americans/canadians would, for instance. I think some (Poles) feel what you said ("wish it would catch on fire") but others would be very jealous. Either way, the reaction is negative.

That is good to see because many on this forum believe that Poles do not Queue.

They do queue. I found polish queues to be really annoying as people tend to stand very close, front to back, in most cases touching. It is impossible to have a foot or two of space between yourself and the person behind you ... IMPOSSIBLE ... especially when there is an old babcia standing behind you. And when you leave some space between yourself and the person in front, the people behind you get nervous and quite often i would hear "why doesn't he move forward, there's plenty of room."
ReservoirDog - | 132
25 Apr 2012 #11
"[...]quite often [...] why doesn't he move forward, there's plenty of room."

you hear voices in your head???

I always leave space between and never heard anything like that.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
25 Apr 2012 #12
We know you're just here to troll, but do try harder next time.

I disagree. Whether you agree with what he wrote or not, it's pretty well thought out and I can totally understand a lot of what he's saying.

All this thread is going to generate is the typical Polish defenders who simply cannot take any criticism about their country.....maybe another thing the OP should have mentioned about Poland. Polish people love to complain and $hit on their country.....but only they're allowed to do it. Someone from the "outside" says it and they will fight tooth and nail to deny it.

i give this thread just a few more hours till it turns into a Poland vs. USA thing (even though the OP isn't American).
jon357 63 | 14,137
25 Apr 2012 #13
i give this thread just a few more hours till it turns into a Poland vs. USA thing (even though the OP isn't American).

It isn't. The values in the US may (or may not) suit the US, but in Europe we are different.
NorthMancPolak 4 | 648
25 Apr 2012 #14
I disagree.

Fair enough. Read some of his other posts elsewhere, then you'll understand where he's really coming from.

(even though the OP isn't American).

---->>

I am a Scots Irish American, living and working in Poland

All this thread is going to generate is the typical Polish defenders who simply cannot take any criticism about their country.....maybe another thing the OP should have mentioned about Poland. Polish people love to complain and $hit on their country.....but only they're allowed to do it. Someone from the "outside" says it and they will fight tooth and nail to deny it.

Which is no different to any other country, is it? No-one likes outsiders criticising their country, even if they would agree with much of what you say about it. How about leaving the USA for once, go and visit any random country, and try some open criticism in public? In some places, it could even get you arrested.

The values in the US may (or may not) suit the US, but in Europe we are different.

^^^
This
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
25 Apr 2012 #15
How about leaving the USA for once, go and visit any random country, and try some open criticism in public?

Are you kidding? I lived in Europe for 4 straight years, Poland actually. You've mistaken me for someone else I guess.

it isn't.

What makes you so sure? Surely after spending a few weeks on this forum, anyone can see that it's the norm. What....suddenly it's going to change?
peterweg 36 | 2,316
25 Apr 2012 #16
All this thread is going to generate is the typical Polish defenders who simply cannot take any criticism about their country......

Thats a typical American sensitivity, yours in particular. So I would think you understand and forgive it.
pawian 161 | 9,971
25 Apr 2012 #17
OK, I read OP`s post.

Some ideas are really funny.

Public stores, libraries, and concert venues, even restaurants all over Poland, in 2012, which still have forced coat checks. Suspicion and distrust -- What maybe someone will steal some bread or fries or salt in their coats and take it out, or maybe someone going to the Symphony will steal a base violin.

No, darling, it is simply a sign of cultural behaviour in this part in Europe (it also exists in other Eastern countries e.g., Russia) to take off your coat in certain public institutions.

I don`t believe you don`t understand such things.

PS. It is called a cloakroom, BTW.

I believe it is true what was said about you:

We know you're just here to troll, but do try harder next time.

Exactly.

I disagree. Whether you agree with what he wrote or not, it's pretty well thought out and I can totally understand a lot of what he's saying.

Are you another troll or just a dummy? :):):):):)
Specjalista 3 | 43
25 Apr 2012 #18
Even if the original post is stupid... I think the topic is interesting, can't we just talk about it? ;)
jon357 63 | 14,137
25 Apr 2012 #19
No, darling, it is simply a sign of cultural behaviour in this part in Europe (it also exists in other Eastern countries e.g., Russia) to take off your coat in certain public institutions.

Exactly. The weather and the fact that more people use public transport rather than warm cars have a lot to do with this.

Even if the original post is stupid... I think the topic is interesting, can't we just talk about it? ;)

I agree - however I'd say that the thread title is somewhat loaded - as if everything that came from the PRL was negative and everything in the US which he compares things with is positive.
pawian 161 | 9,971
25 Apr 2012 #20
There are four or six cashiers at KFC and in other fast food places, and people still get in one communist line. What's up with that.??

Another bulshyt. Standing in one line to a few cashiers is a very practical and fair solution. You just wait which cashier gets free and you come up the the counter, that`s all. I take part in it at my local post office, municipal offices, McDonalds`s (rarely).

Even if the original post is stupid... I think the topic is interesting, can't we just talk about it? ;)

The problem is that communism didn`t introduce any new entities in the Polish character. It only enhanced negative traits which had existed long before. It means that a new thread should be started.
Specjalista 3 | 43
25 Apr 2012 #21
The problem is that communism didn`t introduce any new entities in the Polish character. It only enhanced negative traits which had existed long before. It means that a new thread should be started.

I think you're the man to start one... I'll participate :)
pawian 161 | 9,971
25 Apr 2012 #22
Specialist,

I am too patriotic
to start such a topic.

A bird shouldn`t spit into its nest
unless it is a vile, nasty pest.

:):):):):):):):):):):)
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
25 Apr 2012 #23
Thats a typical American sensitivity, yours in particular. So I would think you understand and forgive it.

No. It's typical 'PolishForums'.
pawian 161 | 9,971
25 Apr 2012 #24
A troll or just a dummy? :):):):)
Specjalista 3 | 43
25 Apr 2012 #25
I am too patriotic
to start such a topic.

A bird shouldn`t spit into its nest
unless it is a vile, nasty pest.

:):):):):):):):):):):)

Doest't have to be a negative... oh wait... they were communists after all ;p
pgtx 29 | 3,159
25 Apr 2012 #26
Search the forum before starting a new thread. Please, stay on topic in this thread.
OP Dodgefan07 1 | 19
26 Apr 2012 #27
Some clarification: The opening thread was way too long. I am mixed ethnicity, and the majority is Scots Irish, but small bits of French and Welsch. I was in Ukraine when communism collapsed, and then lived in Russia just after the fall of communism, so i have personally experienced it.

I am living and working in Poland because we sold our house and cars and gave up my own business to come here, leaving family and friends.

We are assimilated in the culture, and most of our friends are Polish Catholics, and we intentionally interact with people from other countries as well.

We have studied the language, and still continue to do so, and our child is in the public Polish school. Many Polish people are suprised that we actually study Polish and speak it.

We love many things about the people, country and culture, and despite saying some of the things I admire, appreciate and respect, some have misunderstood, berated and attacked me.

I hoped for some dialogue from Poles and other foreigners, regarding some of the effects of communism on the culture, and particularly why Poles don't seem willing or able to brainstorm to solve problems, like all the litter and dog poop in the city, or the endless red tape to register a car.

I never said or implied that Australia, or USA or Canada or any other country is without fault, and would probably agree about many "faults", starting with the government.

To any and all who feel I came to troll--- you are wrong. I apologize it didn't come across the way i intended. :-(

I thought simply talking about Things That Annoy You in Poland, [another thread] would be pointless and just complaining without any thoughts or solutions.

Witam, Bieganski,

I agree with you about McCarthy. My thread was too long, and not worded the way i intended. You seem to be really lumping everyone together who has some Scots-Irish ethnicity, and you seem to be really over-reacting and attacking. I never implied any country is perfect or without it's own faults.

Sorry I didn't articulate more clearly, friend -- I don't place the blame or fault on the Polish people -- but on the effects of communism. I can't even fathom that so many people actually even defend it. -- Just check out the other thread above -- What Was Better in Poland Under Communism? and see how many people post things.

As for my other posts -- most of those are on language, grammar, or cultural/ linguistic topics and one thread on circumcision. If you don't agree with those posts, that's fine, but it's a bit disingenuous to attack me here for posts on other threads.

Milego Dnia,

Trzymaj sie.
BBman - | 344
26 Apr 2012 #28
you hear voices in your head???

No.
I've met a few foreigners/people of polish decent who have noticed the same thing while visiting poland.

I always leave space between and never heard anything like that.

That may be because you can't speak polish.
milky 13 | 1,657
26 Apr 2012 #29
His point on their inability to "brainstorm" may be relevant, Polish insane drivers could be curtailed with a little community action,especially in relation to those focking bus drivers, driving in the imaginary lane and 20 passengers sitting in the back like passive zombies. Passengers of the world unite.

However, I think a lot of what goes on in Poland is not only the authoritarian personality that spawned from Stalinism but also the persistence of the grey.

From the beginning in 1989 Poland was thrown into the free-market by its fanatical advocates, who in turn raped the country of its infrastructure (at the time the fastest privatization in world history) and then left the country to implode, and it did. God's Playground forever. Soviet gun to the head and then Neo-Liberal gun to the head,not exactly an ideal situation for Polish creative thinking;the Poles are not to blame for the damages sprayed on the them from imperialism and its many guises. Poland basically got re-castrated by the Chicago boys and the damage done will be hard to undo(maybe impossible,its hard to impregnate without the family jewels)

Off course the Taliban church in Poland has helped maintain the soviet style surveillance, but hopefully the light of day will eventually shine them away.

Its not just the scars of communism but also the scars of Thatcher/Reagan.
Jimmu 2 | 157
13 May 2012 #30
It is impossible to have a foot or two of space between yourself and the person behind you ...

Just tremble, roll your eyes, and talk to people who aren't there, preferably in a language other than Polish. You'll find you have lots of space in the line.


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