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Statement of ICL Sympathizers and Supporters in Poland Regarding Critical Support of Maria Szyszkowska by “Platforma Proletariacka” in the Presidential Election

The sympathizers and supporters of the ICL in Poland take this opportunity to declare that the position of giving critical support to Maria Szyszkowska  in the presidential election by “Platforma Proletariacka” of 29 July 2005 on the PP internet page (, and the later PP statements – one dated August 11 withdrawing this support and a second dated 28 August, both including justifications of its initial support – were formulated and published without our knowledge or participation, and without the knowledge or participation of the ICL. In our opinion, despite [raising] some supportable demands, such as the legalization of abortion, Szyszkowska (who did not collect the required number of signatures for her presidential candidacy and subsequently withdrew her candidacy for parliament) was at all times a liberal bourgeois candidate, and there was no basis for giving her critical support in the election.

In its statement of August 28, PP claims that “critical support was based on making use of Szyszkowska’s sympathy and vacillations toward the miners, ‘Solidarność’ workers and the oppressed, her criticisms of the ruling social-democratic SLD, opposition to clericalism, and in consideration of [her] pacifist position toward the military adventure in Iraq.” Despite PP’s position that such critical support was “a first in the history of bourgeois parliamentarism in the Poland of Solidarność,” this was not first consulted with the ICL, whose articles and statements PP often publishes on the Internet, giving the impression that PP in some way represents the ICL.  In fact, PP has no affiliation to the ICL and it is we who collaborate in the publication of ICL propaganda in Polish (the Platforma Spartakusowców supplements).

Considering Szyszkowska’s backroom dealings with Podrzycki and Olszewski’s “Polish Party of Labour,” which models itself more on the pre-war Endek* National Workers Union (NZR) than on social democratic parties, it was necessary to scrutinize closely whether entering into such a “compromise” (i.e., critical support in the election) based on her “sympathy and vacillations” toward the workers and oppressed would genuinely serve to “raise, rather than lower, the general level of consciousness of the proletariat” (Lenin). Here it must be stated that Szyszkowska never expressed a class, internationalist position – on the contrary, her criticism never went beyond the schema of nationalism, e.g. the demand for the withdrawal of Polish troops from Iraq (failure to do so was supposed to threaten Poland with retaliation), or sympathy toward striking workers in 1980 who “lost out on the transformations” (no word about immigrant workers or workers in other countries who likewise suffered a devastating defeat thanks to the capitalist counterrevolution).  It’s not hard today for Szyszkowska to declare – 15 years after the Solidarność-led counterrevolution which led to the immiseration of the Polish working masses – that the workers wouldn’t have gone on strike if they had known they would be unemployed, or to oppose the introduction of “Solidarność Day.” Nor does that make one an opponent of the Solidarność counterrevolution.

We do not thus far see any candidate in the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections who would meet the criteria for critical support outlined above. The fact that PP provided critical support to Szyszkowska in the elections testifies, at best, to an attempt to improve her image under the influence of her left-sounding demands or, at worst, to a desperate desire to exist on a “political scene” saturated with the reactionary climate of post-counterrevolutionary Poland.

—Warsaw, 4 September 2005



*Endek (from the initials for “National Democrats”), a rightist, bourgeois nationalist party noted for its virulent anti-Semitism.