Opportunity makes a politician
After two projects on reproductive rights were passed to the Sejm and the scissions it caused within the liberal opposition, the leftist non-parliamentary opposition speaks up more and more. Wanting to seize the opportunity to be heard and use the new left’s proven two-digit potential, Barbara Nowacka’s Inicjatywa Polska has called for a meeting on 28 January that, amongst others, Razem, Zieloni (Greens) and SLD (S&D) are invited to participate in.
Lack of trust
Although SLD has instantly confirmed it would participate, it is not necessarily a good sign, as it means that Razem will be reluctant to join in. Recently, when SLD’s spokeswoman hailed Razem’s new programme presented during a convention as compatible with the one SLD has, one of the members of Razem replied tepidly that “SLD uses its programme only to coax votes”, suggesting that it’s not trustworthy.
Dorota Olko, Razem’s spokesperson, in an utterance for Krytyka Polityczna, explains what causes such a position. “We are united in anger over long years of neoliberal hegemony in Polish politics. Hegemony, which SLD would uphold”, she says. She also adds that the new generation that forms Razem “is disappointed with the political class of Polish transformation period”. In the text, she emphasizes that new left “has been let down by all political parties – maybe even more so by SLD, as it was supposed to answer to the expectations of leftist electorate”.
Olko points out that Razem, on their protests and campaigns, “does not meet with mister Czarzasty” [SLD’s leader]. Her examples included collecting signatures against education reform PiS conducted, anti-racist and pro-refugee manifestations, as well as those in defense of women’s and worker’s rights, stressing that “it is during these events that we meet with activists from Inicjatywa Polska, Greens, trade unions and feminist movements. We get to know each other by fighting together for what we all believe is important”.
Having compared SLD to PO and after pointing out how SLD failed to follow leftist values, she shared her experiences – “I often answer phone calls from media, but also from our supporters”, she says. “They want change and consider us their hope. We treat them very seriously, we don’t want to let them down. We won’t risk their trust to save discredited politicians”.