The Most Recent Chapter in Anti-Communist Persecution in Poland

Communist Party of Poland was created in 2002 on the basis of the Union of Polish Communists “Proletariat”, which had existed since 1990 and was liquidated by the state authorities. The CPP was reestablished on the base of previous communist movement in contrary to opportunistic and technocratic line of the main left wing party – Alliance of Democratic Left (SLD) that includes former leadership of the Polish United Workers Party (PZPR) which has participated in bourgeois governments dismantling socialism and reestablishment of capitalism in Poland.
(cf. https://www.initiative-cwpe.org/en/news/Communist-Party-of-Poland/)

March 31st 2016. The lower court of Dąbrowa Górnicza sentenced four members of the communist party of Poland with fines and nine months of community service. The charges dealt with “propaganda of the communist ideology” in the Brzask paper and on the party’s website. Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) demanded the banning of the communist party of Poland on the pretext that the party’s program is unconstitutional, and the banning of the Brazsk newspaper.

In February 2018 the Polish government tried to implement a law proposed by the ruling PiS party, which would’ve made it a crime to blame Polish fascists for the holocaust. The law did not deny the holocaust, but it said Polish fascists were not to blame for it, only fascists of other countries such as Germany. However, the law was reversed due to international criticism.

In 2018 the Communist Party of Poland gave the following interview to Unsere Zeit, paper of the German Communist Party, regarding the continuing persecution of communists in Poland. Here are some excerpts from the interview:

“Our situation at the moment is difficult. Three members of the party, two of whom are editors of the party’s paper Brzask, are being charged with “propaganda in favor of a totalitarian system”. Our party is under threat of being outlawed. According to the media the minister of justice, has ordered the public prosecutor to collect evidence that the activity of the communists violates the constitution.

In Poland, charges against communists are not a new phenomena. In earlier years there have been several attempts to ban our party. However, during the two years of the current right-wing government the attempts have intensified.

Anti-communism is part of the government’s ideology and its goal is the complete banning of communist activity. For example the government has accepted laws to rename streets whose earlier names dealt with working class history and ordered the removal of anti-fascist monuments from public places. That decision received opposition from many local government organs and also from many people who are not politically on the left.

The Communist Party of Poland is for the time being, a legally recognized political party and continues to operate by holding meetings, frequently publishing the Brzask-newspaper and continuing its activity on the internet. We are ready to face the persecutions.

On 25th of May 2018 Sotirios Zarianopoulos, member of the European Parliament representing the Greek Communist Party, made the following statement to the EU Commission:

After banning communist symbols and prosecuting and putting on trial members of the rank and file of the Polish Communist Party for disseminating their ideas through the ‘Brzask’ newspaper — measures which are still ongoing — the Polish authorities have initiated the prosecution of a professor who, on the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx, held a conference on Marxism at the University of Szczecin. This new prosecution is unacceptable. Brandishing a mandate from the public prosecutor, the police invaded the conference being held on the university’s premises, seeking, as they claimed, evidence to substantiate the provocative charge of ‘promoting totalitarianism.’

With this fresh act of persecution, the Polish Government is continuing the anti-communist frenzy being whipped up by the EU and the governments of other countries, while pursuing attacks on workers’ rights. In view of the above, can the Commission say:

What view does it take of the provocative prosecutions and trials on trumped up charges initiated by the Polish authorities which in effect deny the Polish Communist Party the right to exchange ideas and engage in political expression and action?”

(source: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-8-2018-002860_EN.html)

Naturally this question was rhetorical. The EU is an instrument of the imperialist bourgeoisie, and fully stands behind the anti-communist measures. The statement by the Greek Communist Party was merely meant to draw attention to the anti-communist persecution, and expose the EU commission as the reactionaries that they are.


In 2018 and 2019 demonstrations were held in front of Polish embassies in the UK, Russia, Finland, Greece, Belgium, Spain and other countries to protest the anti-communist persecutions. Other Polish leftists including social-democrats and trotskyists joined in solidarity with the Communist Party of Poland, to support them against the government.
(sources:
https://strajk.eu/trwaja-represje-wobec-komunistow-dzialacze-kpp-ciagani-po-sadach-partii-grozi-delegalizacja/
http://www.idcommunism.com/2020/03/hands-off-communists-of-poland-protests-across-the-world-against-persecutions-in-poland.html)

In early 2019 the Dąbrowa Górnicza regional court gave the Communists a verdict of not guilty. The Communist Party of Poland made the following statement to fellow communists who had supported them through the anti-communist persecution:

Dear Comrades,

On 18. of january the regional court of Dąbrowa Górnicza released the communist party of Poland’s paper Brzask and the party’s website of the accusation of “advocating totalitarianism”. This persecution is part of an anti-communist campaign launched by the state, aimed at outlawing the communist party of Poland. The trial began three years ago, after the Law and Justice (PiS) party gained power and one of their parliamentary deputees made accusations against the KPP demanding it to be outlawed. At the end of 2015 the three member editorial board of Brzask and the administrator of the website were prosecuted. When the courtcase began the prosecutor was under the authority and political supervision of the PiS party and attacks against the court’s objectivity began.

In its ruling the court stated that the accusation was too general and loose and was only based on a small number of articles and sentences taken out of their proper context. The evidence presented did not demonstrate that any crime had taken place. The ruling also stated that advocating communism is not the same as advocating a totalitarian system.

This ruling is a great victory for our party, but the battle is far from over. We must be prepared in order to repel the next attacks.

The communist party of Poland gives its thanks to all the comrades and parties that gave their solidarity to our party and took part in preventing its outlawing.”

It was understood the persecution and court cases would continue. This was again, only a temporary defensive victory of the Polish working class.

On March 17, 2020, the District Court in Dąbrowa Górnicza (without the presence of the defendants due to the epidemic in force) discontinued the proceedings, however, charged the defendants with part of the court costs and obliged each of the accused to pay PLN 1000 to the “Victims Assistance Fund”. So they were not convicted, but fined! The judgment is not final. The accused comrades announced an appeal against the sentence.”
(source: https://kom-pol.org/brzask/)

The communists do not advocate for totalitarianism and haven’t broken any laws, so the reactionaries want to change the laws to simply ban communism outright.
(cf. https://www.transform-network.net/en/blog/article/communists-in-court-the-heresy-trial-based-on-article-13-of-the-polish-constitution/)

The most recent development in these lawsuits against the Communist Party and their newspaper was announced on October 13th 2020, when the Katowice court denied the Communist Party’s appeal, and ordered editors of their Brzask-newspaper to pay fines despite not being convicted, and to stop their “totalitarian” political activities. If they continue, the case can be re-opened. A working class perspective is criminalized as “totalitarian”, yet, the right-wing capitalist government carrying out this witch-hunt against communists, is somehow not being totalitarian.

The Communist party is still allowed to exist legally for the time being, but it is certain that the reactionaries will not give up this easily. The PiS party has already taken steps to change the communist laws, and secure their control of the courts so they can force the kinds of decisions they want. And are the Communists supposed to stop being Communists, because the court has now ordered them to do so? The only result we can expect, is that Communists will continue trying to fight for the rights of workers, and the capitalist government will continue to try to stop them.

SOURCES AND FURTHER READING:

https://www.initiative-cwpe.org/en/news/Communist-Party-of-Poland/
https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-8-2018-002860_EN.html
https://strajk.eu/trwaja-represje-wobec-komunistow-dzialacze-kpp-ciagani-po-sadach-partii-grozi-delegalizacja/
http://www.idcommunism.com/2020/03/hands-off-communists-of-poland-protests-across-the-world-against-persecutions-in-poland.html
https://www.transform-network.net/en/blog/article/communists-in-court-the-heresy-trial-based-on-article-13-of-the-polish-constitution/
https://peoplesdispatch.org/2020/03/21/in-yet-an-another-attack-on-communists-polish-court-imposes-fine-on-editors-of-brzask/
https://kom-pol.org/2020/05/21/nie-skazano-ale-ukarano-redakcje-brzask/

Read Brzask at https://kom-pol.org/brzask/

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