Conflict Resolution and German Reunification

If any country were in need of a national program of conflict resolution at every level of society, it would have been Germany after it reunified in 1990. East and West Germany were like a couple that had rushed into marriage with very little understanding of what it would be like to live together, merge finances, come to joint decisions, and make all the little adjustments that are necessary...
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The Strange Non-Death of Polish Neo-Liberalism

Neo-liberalism, like the famous cat, seems to have nine lives in Poland. The effort to cut back the state and give freer rein to the market has suffered at least three near-death experiences. The initial “shock therapy” approach implemented by Leszek Balcerowicz in the first Solidarity-affiliated government in 1990 generated such high unemployment and social dissatisfaction that voters...
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What Happened to the Red Capitalists?

When revolutions happen bloodlessly, it’s usually because some part of the elite has found its place in the new order. They don’t just open up the gates of the city to let in the Trojan Horse. They become founding members of the Trojan Horse party. They set up kiosks that sell Trojan Horse trinkets. They host TV specials that rewrite history so that the arrival of the Trojan Horse seemed all...
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Meet the Polish Activists on the Cutting Edge of a Possible Left Resurgence in Eastern Europe

Its corner location was unbeatable. But Brave New World cafe faced steep competition on Warsaw’s most fashionable thoroughfare: a pricey French bakery, a trendy sushi restaurant and the famous Café Blickle, which began serving coffee and pastries long before World War I. Moreover, as even its passionate defenders would admit, the food at Brave New World, though relatively cheap, was not...
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Poland’s Feminist Genealogy

There is an infamous story in Poland about a sign at the shipyard in Gdansk where the trade union movement Solidarity got started in 1980. Although nobody actually saw the sign, many people firmly believe that it existed. The sign read: “Women, do not disturb us. We are fighting for Poland.” “The sign is very important to Polish feminism,” Agnieszka Graff told me in an interview outside...
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Reinventing the Left in Poland

Poland was both the most likely and the most unlikely place to expect the rebirth of the Left. The country has a rich Left tradition that predates the Communist period, and many figures of the anti-Communist opposition, like Jacek Kuron, considered themselves on the Left. At the same time, however, the Polish Left has already struck out twice – first during the 40 years of Communism and then...
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