With hearings in the case against editor of communist publication Brzask having resumed on March 3, the Polish government’s persecution of communists in the country has drawn widespread global criticism. Progressive sections in several countries observed March 2 as a day of solidarity with the Polish communists. For the past four years, the leadership of the Polish Community Party (KPP) and its publication Brzask have been undergoing persecution at the hands of the bureaucracy and the right-wing government of Poland led by the conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS). The government’s attempt to ban the KPP for propagating ‘totalitarian ideas’ has, however, not been fully successful.
Even though a regional court in Dąbrowa Górnicza acquitted the Brzask editorial team on January 18, 2019, noting that the accusations “are too general and fragmentary, based only on small fragments of articles and sentences taken out of the context,” the case was reopened following an appeal by the prosecutor’s office.
On March 3, the court hearing was held at the regional court in Dąbrowa Górnicza. The session lasted four hours. Defendants were interrogated again, they confirmed their earlier positions in the previous court proceedings and countered the prosecutor’s line of accusation, arguing that it has no real base. The court decided that it will announce the verdict on March 17.
On Monday, as part of the international day of action in solidarity with Polish communists, marches were held towards Polish embassies and consulates in various countries, including Greece, Italy, Netherlands, UK, Spain, Serbia, Austria, Belgium and Mexico. Calls for the day were given by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and Communist Youth of Greece (KNE), the Communist Party of Italy (PCI), the New Communist Party of Netherlands (NCPN) and the Communist Youth (CJB), Young Communist League (YCL-UK), the Communist Workers Party of Spain (PCTE) and youth wing CJC, the New Communist Party of Yugoslavia (NKPJ) and youth wing SKOJ, Young Communist League-Britain, the Austrian Party of Labor (PdA), the Communist Party of Belgium (PCB-CPB) and the Communist Party of Mexico (PCM), among others. The communist parties in Chile and the Philippines also expressed their outrage in statements released against the persecution of Polish communists.
KPP told Peoples Dispatch, “We are going to use the trial to show how fraudulent the accusations are, and promote our ideas. The KPP has already received solidarity from various communist parties across the world. The European Communist Initiative has issued a statement denouncing the anti-communist persecution in Poland. Members of the European Parliament of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) also intervened and issued their statements. In many countries, pickets and demonstrations were held in front of Polish embassies.”
The KPP was formed in 2002 as the ideological heir to the erstwhile Communist Party of Poland and has faced state repression ever since its inception. The PiS-dominated Polish parliament also passed amendments to the country’s de-communization law in 2017, permitting the demolition of Soviet-era monuments, including memorials in honor of the Red Army. Even though the PiS-led the Polish government and the European Union (EU) are said to be in loggerheads over the PiS’s controversial judicial reforms, taking a cue from Poland, the European Parliament passed a controversial resolution in September 2019, equating communism with Nazism and calling for the erasure all memorials of “totalitarianism” across Europe, including memorials dedicated to the Red Army.