CRF Blog

Mourning Poland’s Anti-Populist Martyr

by Bill Hayes

In Mourning Poland’s Anti-Populist Martyr for Project Syndicate, Slawomir Sierakowski reports that a man set himself on fire in front of Warsaw’s Palace of Culture and Science, leaving behind a letter decrying Poland’s abandonment of liberal democracy.

The letter accuses the government, controlled by the Law and Justice (PiS) party, of restricting civil liberties and undermining the judiciary. Specifically, it condemns the PiS for its discrimination against immigrants, women, LGBT people, Muslims, and others, and for destroying the environment, by supporting coal-based energy, hunting, and logging in Bialowieza Forest.

More broadly, the letter also denounces “the people holding the country’s highest offices” for abdicating government decision-making to PiS Chairman Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who holds no public office; and for converting public television and radio stations into PiS “propaganda organs.” And it laments that the PiS government has made Poland an “object of ridicule” on the world stage. [more]

For a related free classroom lesson, see “Putin’s Illiberal Democracy.” It is available from  CRF’s Bill of Rights in Action Archive. It is currently only in PDF and you will have to register (if you haven’t already), which is free.