Published: September 10, 2019
In preparation for October 2019 parliamentary elections in Poland, the governing Law and Justice Party (PiS) launched its campaign with a major policy speech by Chairman Jaroslaw Kaczynski. Looking back at the concluding four years of governance, Chairman Kaczynski observed that the system of values that governs PIS has not changed but the circumstances have changed.
“Our system of values has been built around what we all consider the most important, around the central value of human dignity and human life,” he said. “Therefore, the protection of human life is addressed in our program comprehensively.” It includes protection from oppression, including oppression from the state, but also protection against euthanasia, abortion on demand, against the entire ideology that today challenges the value of human life. Our position is unequivocal – the value of human life is paramount.
Referring to the challenges of contemporary social life and international relations, he stressed that heroic values are still very important today. Military and services people frequently risk their lives in the line of duty and sometimes sacrifice their lives for others. We respect their sacrifice with outmost gratitude.
Without valuing heroism, we would not be able to uphold another very important value, which is central to us. This value is liberty. In order to assure dignity, the human beings must be free. We must be free in two special ways. We shall be free from all sorts of prohibitions and oppressions, but we also shall have the right to many types of liberty, liberty to do things, liberty to act, to participate, to co-decide. The notion of liberty has bee of supreme importance in our history. In fact, it was that drive for liberty and freedom that shaped our past. In particular, that positive liberty - liberty to do things.
The liberty was once assigned to only one class of the society. Throughout the long and complicated process, this situation has changed, the sphere of liberty has been broadened. We can risk a conclusion that the grand finale of this process was the birth of our Solidarity Movement - the largest social movement in the history of the world. Tremendous liberation movement which shaped our nation, which shaped us as a nation of free and equal people, and that is true despite the fact that we have to continue our struggle for true liberty and freedom…
Today we have to defend our freedom and liberty. That is why the heroic values are still so important.
Our history teaches us that another value very important to us is Solidarity. This value is directly linked with liberty. However, solidarity is not only liberty. It is the readiness to serve others, readiness to offer help in the time of danger. It is also solidarity among people, within families, between families, between groups. This is the glue of the community. That is why we value solidarity so much. Not only because this word became such important ingredient in our history and in the history of liberty in the world, but primarily because without solidarity there is no community.
Equality and Justice
Solidarity requires two conditions: equality and justice. Those two ingredients are closely linked together. We treat equality as equality under law, equality of privileges, equality of opportunities. We recognize natural differences among people, differences of talents and abilities that result from personal individual characteristics. We value all talents, we value entrepreneurship. However, our goal is the increase of equality in social life and we are successful in doing so, according to many various indicators produced by international organizations.
Equality and solidarity produce justice, which is something still different. It is a mechanism of social life which stimulates equality, liberty and solidarity. This is our goal. We want justice! We want just Poland!
But we also want a just world. We want to see that norms of justice are binding in the international relations.
People are social creatures, living with other people, developing communities. Two of those communities we consider as fundamental. The first one is the family, a social unit of fundamental significance for continuity of generations, for passing on culture, civilization, for health of larger communities. Also, we understand a family as one man and one woman in a lasting relationship, and their children. This is the family. Such model of family has many enemies today. This type of family is attacked. Natural differences between people are attacked as well, including the differences between a man and a woman. Of course there must be full equality between a man and a woman. But in most instances people are born as a woman or a man, and let it be that way!
The most precious community is the nation because the nation stands for the commonality of language, culture, history, common fate, common civilizational achievements. The nation is the basis for existence of a human being in our civilization, this friendliest civilization to the mankind ever born; the nation constitutes the basis of an organization called the state. We need a nation, Europe needs it, and the world needs it. It means not only this nation but every nation. But to us our nation is Poland. We value being Polish very much.
Being Polish is the basis for building our programs, our hopes, for being Polish we plan our future. We want that Poland lasts, and we know that it is worth to be Polish.
In the history of our nation, often very difficult as everybody knows how difficult our past was, the Catholic Church played a key role in shaping our nation and later in defending our nation. Also in this recent period of foreign domination and communist oppression the Church defended us. Christianity is a part of our national identity. The Church was and is the bearer of the only system of values universally acceptable in our country. Besides the Catholic Church, we only have nihilism.
That is why the Church is important to all Polish people, to the Polish patriots, regardless of whether one is a believer, agnostic or atheist. Every good Polish person knows what is the role of the Church in Poland, and shall know that besides the Church there is only nihilism. We reject this nihilism because nihilism does not build anything. Nihilism destroys everything.
The history of Poland has been developing in such a way that the very existence of the Polish nation was and still is questioned. Unfortunately, not only by our external enemies but also by our internal opponents. There were various reasons for it. Today the most popular reason to oppose the Polish nationality is the drive to replace it with the European nationality.
The European identity carries with it great culture, civilization built on Christianity, Greek philosophy, and roman law. We exist in this European civilization for many centuries. Today we are Europeans with full rights, also in the cultural sense of this word, in every sense of this word. But Europe is rich thanks to its diversity, is reach because it consists of many nations, different nations, with different cultures. One of such nations, big nations, is the Polish nation. There are no reasons to contrast the European identity with Polish identity because Polish identity is one of the facets of the European identity. We are the special case, the case particularly linked with the love of liberty.
Please remember that today the liberty is questioned in the world, and in Europe as well. It takes place under various slogans but in reality the goal is clear - to limit or even eliminate our liberty and freedom. Although the slogans sound good their goal is nasty. So we reject it. Poland will remain the island of liberty!
The nation needs its state. Of course there are nations without a state but all big and medium European nations have their states. We did not have our state for a long time – for 123 years. That is why we value our state extremely highly. And the hecatomb between 1939 and 1945, deprivation of sovereignty until 1989, all this experience bonds us very strongly with the ideal of a strong sovereign state.
First and foremost, we must understand that it is the state that is the irreplaceable guarantor of our security, this most broadly understood security, protection against outside enemy, personal security, social security, security of property, security in business relations. This is the indispensable institution. The state is important. The state is important also because only the state can guarantee liberty in both meanings: liberty from and liberty to. That is why only the national state can be democratic, and we want democracy! This is our yet another important value.
We want democracy simply construed. That means representative democracy. In large societies, in large nations that is the only possible form. Also at the local level democracy is very important. We value democracy at the local level and at the national level. The people chose the legislative body. The legislative body in the parliamentary-cabinet system nominates the executive branch. In Poland, President is elected in direct democratic elections and has certain competencies. The judiciary is independent and is selected in various ways to make sure their neutrality is preserved, neutrality towards all citizens, in other words the readiness to treat all equally. The judiciary shall execute the law, including the most important one – the constitution. All other laws must be compliant with the constitution. This compliance shall be established in accordance with proper procedures. That is how democracy should look like.
The system often recommended today, is in fact the tribunal system. This word is not used officially but should be finally used. In reality, the system based on the overreaching power of judiciary has nothing to do with democracy. Such system primarily serves the needs of oligarchy. If we receive a democratic mandate, we will do everything possible to strengthen our democracy.
What we did over the past four years? In political terms, we can say that we have been rejecting the late form of communism. What is it post-communism? Unfortunately, we still have to use present tense because it is not yet history. Although hopefully very soon it will be history. Post-communism is a system that has developed in Poland between 1980-ties and 1990-ties in such a way that after the fall of communism certain restrictions were lifted, democratic institutions were introduced, certain guarantees of freedoms were made, not always effective but nevertheless existing, and the foundation for free market was built. Those operations were poorly implemented, but nevertheless they totally changed the situation in Poland.
However, two other necessary components of the reforms were not introduced. No new state apparatus was built and no new social hierarchy was put in place. These components were necessary to build a real market economy and true democracy. They are closely linked together. Without a new state apparatus, the building of a new social hierarchy was impossible.
What was the result of it? The result is well known. In Poland the communist nomenklatura, which in the 80-ties and 90-ties changed into a consolidated group with a well-articulated economic interests, began to take over state assets – first as communal property and later in the form of individual rights. In this process, the communist nomenklatura unfortunately co-opted some of the groups with the roots in the Solidarity Movement. Hence, a mechanism was developed, which awarded not always positive social characteristics, even more, it was a mechanism of negative selection of the cadre. This negative selection mechanism so characteristic for the communist system was preserved in the new post-communist reality, with all the consequences of it in the area of free markets, which turned out to be a fiction, and in the area of democracy, which was in significant part superficial.
Such system was permanent and was taking deeper roots. It was gaining stronger foundation through developing a small group of very rich people, operation of foreign capital linked with this system, benefitting from many privileges of this system, through the connections of the elites of that system with outside power structures. This phenomenon made these elites submissive to the outside influence.
Unemployment and Corruption
In the economic sense, this system could endure only because of the hard work of millions of Polish people who at the time of the collapse of communism decided to pursue their own business and built everything from scratch. This way they created 6 million jobs. Imagine what would happen in Poland when we had 3 million unemployment and still 6 million jobs were missing. This number of 3 million unemployed was not even true because those who lost jobs but could work on their farm were not counted as unemployed. So the real unemployment was much higher and the system would not sustain such situation. But paradoxically, the people with initiative, the people of good will, those who had no connections or access to power, sustained this system.
At one point at the beginning of the second millennium, the so-called Rywin affair broke out. It was the result of the internal conflict within this system. The Rywin affair weakened the system because it revealed to the public the back dealings of power and caused shock and scandal. That is how the expectations that the system must be changed were born.
The Fourth Polish Republic
The recommendation to build the Fourth Polish Republic on healthy fundamentals was raised by PiS a long time ago. This recommendation was also made by people who today are on the opposite side of the political spectrum. So, it appeared at one point that there was some prospect for change, that this system would fail. A party of our opponents Civic Platform was born, a party which had a program of radical change and demanded it.
Later it turned out that it was only an illusion. It turned out that the Civic Platform did not want to change the system. They only wanted superficial change while protecting the essence. After a short fight for change in the years 2005-2007, the so-called restoration under the leadership of Civic Platform and Polish Peasant Party took place.
How to briefly describe this system? The founders of this system came to the conclusion that preserving power by implementing the so-called “project” is the ultimate goal in itself. That approach led to various conclusions. The most important conclusion was that the people in power should be considerate to the needs and desires of powerful forces and interests, both internal and external power groups, while the people can be ignored. However, since certain democratic mechanisms existed, the people could not be totally left out. So, for the people a special socio-technique was developed. This technique was called “image management.”
Manipulation instead of Dialog
The image management had various forms. Its negative side consisted of brutal attacks on the internal forces that demanded change. This attack began in 2005 and continued. We, who demanded change, were portrayed as criminals. This image management aimed at building the strong leader. Actions against various groups, operations against sport fans, against pedophiles, saving actions, constantly looking for enemies, all these operations meant continuous manipulation, manipulation of the people, manipulation instead of the dialog, the democratic dialog. The real interests of the people were not important.
The most interesting was the attitude of this formation that represented post-communist towards the state. The state was treated as a group of institutions independent of each other, independent of the people, and not acting on behalf of the people. That is how Donald Tusk talked about the state. Tusk rejected claims that different institutions failed the people and argued that democracy should be like that. So in fact, the democratically elected representatives did not act in the interest of those who elected them.
Consolidation of Power
Another problem was the consolidation of power. Remember, there was an order not to enter in any coalition with PiS at the local or national levels. Their aim was to make sure that the power rests exclusively in their hands. Such situation invited hard-core corruption and give-away corruption.
The second element of their attitude towards the state was forced privatization. Hit squads hired by private companies attacked the opponents. Remember the cable company near Warsaw? Such practices are unacceptable in the democratic society. Also, certain functions of the state were outsourced to the private companies where salaries were much higher. This way the state was simply robbed.
Building the Leader
One way of building the image of a strong leader was through the foreign policy. The clientelism intensely practiced was subjugated to the personal expectations of the Prime Minister. This is very obvious today and this was particularly detrimental to Poland. Also the tendency to shrink the state was very obvious, to withdraw state activities from the countryside by liquidating police stations, schools, transportation routes. The state was fading away because that administration did not like the state.
Finally, this system was characteristic for the waves of corruption scandals and affairs, the bigger, the smaller, all sorts of scandals, but there was no reaction to it. At most some political price was paid. Responsibility were turned into a show. In general, they governed via a show, they make show out of life. The real life went on next this show and it cost the Polish people hundreds of billions of zloty. It cost years of lost opportunity for growth and development. There were many more problems with that system. There were many examples of gross violations of laws and violations human rights. All those things took place back then, under the Civic Platform.
That is how the late post-communism looked like in Poland. And on top of it, at the end of its existence this entire system rapidly turned left, towards social radical left. This was its last phase. They lost. That system must not return.
What did we do?
Our work, very intense work, turned out to be effective. The new administration came. Now we have to ask what have we done over the past years. Were we able to fully reject the post- communist system?
When it comes to late post-communism and its specific and superficial features – then yes. We are the opposite in every respect. The administration of Civic Platform was the opposite of the pro publico bono principle. We are implementing it.
But when it comes to the deeper structures it is more difficult. Although our subsidies programs for the families already reaches that deep structural level but those structures still persist. We cannot say that we fully eliminated them. We have to destroy them and we have to block the ability of these anti-growth anti-democratic trends to return.
What has to be done?
First and foremost, we have to continue the policy of credibility. We have to keep our promises. This is the basis of real democracy. Where there is no credibility, where all sorts of things are said and nothing is being done, then that act of voting is meaningless. It’s a fiction. It is an empty procedure. Credibility is what makes us strong and our opponents weak.
Where do we go from here?
We are ready to undertake the effort to build the Polish version of the state of prosperity. This concept applies not to the certain standard of living for the people but to a certain socio-political and redistribution structure of the state. For example, Indie was treated for many years as the state of prosperity in this meaning. But we are concerned with real prosperity. We have to make the salary increase our priority, the increase of income for our people. This salary increase must be achieved through economic policy and supported by the decisions of the state. So at the end of next year the minimum salary will reach 3,000 zloty, and at the end of 2024 the minimum salary will increase to 4,000 zloty. In 2021 most of the senior citizens will receive two additional monthly benefit payments. Finally, our farmers will receive full subsidies for each hectare of cultivated land, subsidies at the full European level.
But in order to achieve these objectives we still have a lot of work to do. We have to improve our state. We already did a lot. The establishment of the National Treasury Administration was a great success. The reform of public administration was also a success. We strengthened the position of Prime Minister and formed several new institutions. These reforms of procedures and institutions, including the reform of judiciary, must continue because it serves justice and serves our citizens. This reform must continue so that our entrepreneurial people can brake glass ceilings. There are many barriers that have nothing to do with economic rules, market principles or social concerns. These glass ceilings must be taken down. Only them we can move forward and unleash our full potential. Then what our professors from SGH wrote recently could come true. They wrote that with this approach in 14 years we can reach the average prosperity level of the European Union. Today we only have 0.71% of it. In 21 years we could match Germany, not at the current level but Germany in 21 years, much more prosperous than today. This could be possible, and could be possible even a bit earlier.
This is PiS Plan for Poland. It will be presented in greater detail in the social area and in the economic development field. In order to implement this plan, we have to win the elections. Please remember that polls do not win elections. We are happy that there are so many of us. But so many and many more need to work every day towards our election success. Only then we will win and will be able to change Poland for the better.