Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Lech Wałęsa - Trade Unionists Should Be Beaten with Truncheons

Lech Wałęsa is of course most famous for being leader of the Solidarność movement in the 1980s. The man who stood up to the Communist authorities, led a social movement that claimed 10 million members and eventually paved the way for the end of the Communist system in Poland.

 Despite his CV Wałęsa has shown that he no longer even pretends to stand on the side of working people. Whilst the MPs in Poland's parliament last Friday voted for raising the retirement age to 67, members of the Solidarność trade union demonstrated outside and for sometime attempted to block MPs from leaving the building.

Perhaps this was not the most elegant way to behave, but then pushing through a bill that is opposed by around 80% of society and which the trade unionists had collected over 1m signatures calling for a referendum is hardly the height of political decorum.

In an interview this week Wałęsa argued that such actions by trade unionists may have been acceptable during Communism, however they could not be justified under a democratic system. He went on to say that if he had been Prime Minister he would have given the order to beat the demonstrators with truncheons. Not only this, he added that he would have started by beating the leader of the trade union and that if he had been the Police Officer in command he would have done this himself!

 Now ok, Wałęsa is Wałęsa. He is a long way from being the young electrician that jumped on the wall at the Gdańsk shipyard. He has since been a poor President who helped usher in the shock-therapy reforms and then suffered a series of election defeats in the 1990s. But still! The demonisation of trade unionists - protesting against the issue of raising the retirement age - has reached new heights.

Unfortunately Janusz Palikot, who had previously been presenting himself as the new leader of the left, has joined in on this. On his blog he argued that the trade unionists had been violent and that they wre drunk.  Palikot has shown that by voting for the raising of the retirement age  he does not stand on the side of working people. In order to justify this he has to join the chorus of derision directed at these trade unionists. How long before he too will want the police to beat them?

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this is rather shocking. Thank you for bringing this information to light. I look forward to reading your blog.


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