In a controversial judgement on March 17, Tuesday, the regional court in Dąbrowa Górnicza, Poland, convicted the editors of the Polish Communist Party’s (KPP) web portal and publication, Brzask, for promoting “a totalitarian ideology” in the country. Even though the court had acquitted the Brzask editorial team earlier on January 18, 2019, the case was reopened following an appeal by the prosecutor’s office under the instigation of the ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party.
The court ordered the editors to pay 1000 Polish Zlotys (236 USD) to the “Victims Aid Fund” and also part of the costs of the trial.
Bartosz Bieszczad from the KPP told Peoples Dispatch that the “trial against the leadership of Communist Party of Poland (KPP) has been going on for over 5 years. Yesterday, the High Court in Dąbrowa Górnicza issued the verdict on the basis of the opinion of an “expert” from the Institute of National Memory (a state anti-communist propaganda institute), which states that although they have never propagated totalitarianism directly, they still have to be convicted because they probably secretly harbored that intention”.
“The prosecution of communists in Poland is not just a local phenomenon; it is part of the attack directed by the institutions of the European Union against the communist and workers’ movement in former socialist countries. Polish communists consider persecution for political views as a form of totalitarianism itself. They have also pointed out that contemporary capitalism is moving dangerously close to what is understood as a totalitarian model of a state, particularly if we consider the extent of state and corporate control over society. Polish communists are determined to fight and to win. The future cannot be banned,” he added.
Following the judgement, KPP chairman Krzysztof Szwej said, “We are determined to fight until the legal possibilities in the country are exhausted. After the judgment has been passed, we will file a complaint with the European court in Strasbourg for compensation for long-term bullying of the party and its members. We will point out the numerous weaknesses in the judicial system that indicate the bias of the justice system, inflicted by the rule of PiS in the country.”
Since the PiS government came to power in Poland in 2015, the KPP has been facing constant persecution. 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.