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church | John Feffer
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Church and State in Poland

Poland has one of the stricter laws on abortion in Europe. Abortion is illegal except if the life of the mother is at risk, the fetus has a major defect, or the pregnancy is the result of a confirmed rape. Poland, Ireland, and Malta are the only countries in Europe that do not allow abortion on request. All three countries are also predominantly Catholic (95 percent for Malta, 91 percent for...
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The Church as Opposition

Before the Solidarity trade union emerged in 1980, Poland’s primary non-state institution – and often anti-state institution — was the Church. Catholic intellectuals created discussion clubs and published periodicals. Churches were relatively safe places to voice dissent. John Paul II, originally Karol Wojtyla, became the first Polish Pope in 1978 and inspired many in his home country...
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Rescuing Rural Schools

In the early 1990s, Poland began an overhaul of its political system that transferred considerable authority to local authorities, including ownership and management of the public schools. Local governments were suddenly responsible for paying for education from local funds. In many of the smaller, less densely populated areas, there wasn’t enough money to keep the schools going. As a result,...
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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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The Monday Demonstrations

The citizens of Leipzig are very proud of the fact that the East Germany revolution of 1989 began in their city. Leipzig has two famous churches in the heart of its old quarter. Bach made St. Thomas Church famous for music when he was its choir director for 28 years in the first part of the 18th century. Nearby St. Nicholas Church, meanwhile, became the center of the protests in 1989 that...
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