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This week's editor


Guest editor Ronan Harrington introduces this week's theme: Spirituality and Visionary Politics.

Ronan is a freelance political strategist and co-creator of Alter Ego, a gathering exploring the future of progressive politics.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Poland: a total ban on abortion?

With unprecedented political momentum for a total ban on abortion in Poland, thousands are marching in protest and the Prime Minister is receiving coat hangers in the post.


As Poles shift right, democracy runs scarce

While the Law and Justice party insists that local disputes are best settled at home, Polish opposition and fearful individuals have been reaching out to international forums for support.

Youngsters and refugees, or how exile changes eastern Europe

Official anticommunism never contented itself with making an equation between fascism and communism. It gravitated toward depicting communism as an absolute evil, whose enemies became new role models.

Silence – the EU’s strategy for human rights abuses in its neighbourhood

Talk in Brussels among non-governmental organisations and parliamentarians is that the EU lacks a strategy to address human rights violations in the European neighbourhood. However, what if the EU has a strategy?

Euroradio: from Warsaw for Belarus

What do you do when your national media is state controlled? For Belarusian 'non-State' media the answer has been to broadcast from neighbouring Poland. Here’s Euroradio’s story.

The Polish boomerang: how Warsaw’s adoption of the 'Budapest Model' could threaten the original in Hungary

The new Polish government seems keen on following the authoritarian 'Budapest model' promulgated by illiberal democrat Viktor Orbán, but this could backfire on the Hungarian leader.

Poland's right turn: inexplicable madness or rational response?

Western commentators see the 'sudden' right-wing turn of Poland as a so-passé mixture of nationalism, populism and deficits of democracy. But the truth is very different.

A message to my country: refugees are victims of terrorism, not its source

The new right-wing Polish government is trying to use the Paris attacks as an excuse to scapegoat refugees and stir up nationalist fervour. This is my message to them. Polski.

The drowned and the saved: Foucault's texts on migration and solidarity

This is (along with Islamism and neoliberalism) one of a certain number of global issues on which Foucault can be credited with having shown a degree of prescience; and the future he foresees is sombre.

Fighting the wrong battle: Central Europe’s crisis is one of liberal democracy, not migration

The hostile response of central and eastern European heads of states to the prospect of accepting Syrian refugees is emblematic of a wider problem of democracy and liberalism in these countries.

The materialist turn in Polish politics

Could two surprising new political parties - and Razem - shake up the conservative political system in Poland? 

Does the Polish left have a future?

Poland’s left-wing parties have formed an electoral alliance to contest October's parliamentary election. However, the as-yet-unnamed coalition still faces formidable obstacles.

European Commission’s deregulation drive threatens EU nature laws

Deregulation is often packaged as a fight against red tape or a drive to improve efficiency by removing so-called ‘burdens’ on business or ‘barriers’ to trade. But such ‘burdens’ are the social and environmental standards that protect us all and the world we live in.

Lithuania needs to listen to its Poles before the Kremlin does

Lithuania's Polish and Russian minorities are oddly friendly with each other, which is causing a headache for the Lithuanian government. Here's how to avoid a potential disaster.

The Polish presidential election: what happens now?

Everything you need to know about Poland's recent presidential election, at a glance.

Europe’s migration crisis: central Europe’s dangerous game

Should a serious migration crisis erupt as a result of conflict escalation in Ukraine, the odds are that the V4 would need assistance through exactly the kind of EU solidarity mechanism they now oppose.

Polish presidential election: the Left decides which Right wins

Does it make sense for the Left to participate in a race between two conservatives? Should we leave home and vote for the harmless and bland Komorowski, or should we allow for a victory by the Law and Justice candidate, Duda?

Poland: trust no one but the law

Last week the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg rejected a Polish appeal on CIA-prison cases involving the violation of numerous human rights' guarantees on behalf of two Guantanamo detainees. This was an important lesson. 

Interethnic communication in ‘Borderlands’

The Macedonian government shows little interest in fostering interethnic communication. It relies on nationalistic rhetoric and interethnic tensions.

Secret prisons, disappearances and torture

In a ruling described by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch as “landmark”, the European Court of Human Rights has passed excoriating judgment on the US “war on terror” following the attacks of 2001.

Jacek Kuroń - hero of the Polish anti-communist resistance

The radical political ideas of Jacek Kuroń, the Polish opposition leader of the 1960s and 70s - without whom Lech Wałęsa’s Solidarity would never have come into being - have been relegated to the archives far too soon. It's time to revive them.

The environmental and economic case against Donald Tusk’s energy union

Some European leaders, such as Polish PM Donald Tusk, are using the Ukraine crisis as a pretext to revive national fossil fuel industries in defiance of EU emissions targets.

From China to Poland, lessons from June 4, 1989

What can we learn from comparing the 1989 revolutions in Poland and in China?

Wojciech Jaruzelski: the communist strongman who continues to divide Poland

Wojciech Jaruzelski, the last communist leader of Poland, is due to be given a full state funeral today. However the debate over his controversial legacy will continue long after his death.

Eurovision and Euro elections: the final straw in Polish gender wars

How is the victory of Conchita Wurst being politicized in Poland? What is the connection between Eurovision and the upcoming European Parliamentary elections?

Silence remains the easiest answer: Polish non-reactions to Snowden’s disclosures

Legitimising the politics of mass surveillance wouldn’t be possible in Poland if it wasn’t successfully tested by much more influential governments – such as the UK or France – and white-washed by the EU. 

Poland’s diplomatic offensive in Ukraine and Europe

It manages to strike hard without straying from the politics that have defined Poland's conciliatory and unifying role in the EU over the past decade. 

Euro elections 2014: You Tell Us bloggers discuss the far right in Europe (part one)

Our young bloggers from across the EU discuss the rise of the far right in Europe. Part two here.

Celebrating the Polish way

What is the place of far right and nationalist parties in Poland? Do they stand a chance at the upcoming European elections? What is their future?

We don't talk about politics in Poland

Today there is a whole generation of people who don’t remember communism. And these people don’t vote either. Read more from our You Tell Us bloggers on the topic of apathy in Europe.

Poland must rediscover its anti-fascist voice

It is imperative that Poland finds an independent voice that includes a condemnation of the far-right both at home and in Ukraine.

Polish parliament - guarding human rights?

The decision by the Polish parliament to set up a subcommittee for the implementation of European Court of Human Rights judgments is a positive step for both the country and for Europe.

Polish prospects in the May 2014 elections

The European elections in Poland will be treated as a test of political parties' national popularity, rather than any belief in Poland's role in Europe. Euro elections landscape, 2014.

Ivan Krastev: Balkan smuggler of ideas

In In Mistrust we Trust: Can Democracy Survive When We Don't Trust Our Leaders? Ivan Krastev concentrates on why we live under conditions of “democracy without the possibility of choice, meaningless sovereignty, and globalization without legitimacy?” How does he do? Here is the polemical foreword to the Polish edition. 

Trans rights: Poland's last iron curtain

A new iron curtain in Poland is being drawn between mainstream society and its most vulnerable groups. Part of our series on What's Left in Poland?

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