Monday, September 9, 2013

Solidarity of the Perpetrators

The so-called velvet revolution of the 1989-90 was a fraud. This was merely a transformation of the brutal regime into a new form. A form that was better adapted to a new reality. This new form of dictatorship imitates the language of mature democracies. It imitates their rhetoric. It imitates some democratic processes. But it is no more than an exercise in deception. Another act in the same theatrical play, where public rituals are supposed to trick people into believing that beneath the rituals there is a genuine democratic content. However beneath a thin veil of democratic rituals is the same stalinist iron fist. Wladyslaw Gomulka, the First Secretary of the communist party declared in his Moscow speech on 18 June 1945, "We will never relinquish the power that we once won" ("Raz zdobytej władzy nie oddamy nigdy"). And it is this quote that perfectly describes the post-1990 Poland. Gomulka's followers kept his promise. The much-publicized Lech Walesa's line "We, the People", opening his speech to the American Congress in 1991 was a lie. He should have said "We, the Junta".

The Polish communist junta seemed to give up power in a negotiated settlement with the representatives of the so-called democratic opposition in 1989. Much has been written about the apparent rise of the civil society in the communist countries and how it brought about the regime change. The course of events over the next twenty four years proved beyond any doubt that the 1989 settlement was merely a trick enabling the communists and their allies to remain in control and to continue occupying all positions of power. The "democratic opposition" was neither opposition nor was it democratic. It was a device created by the communist dictatorship in order to legitimize the departure from the dull, old-style regime and mask the transition to a new, more advanced form of tyranny.