This week's editor

Heather McRobie

Heather McRobie is an editor at 5050.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

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?

Majority voting is outdated

Peter Emerson is director of the de Borda Institute in Belfast that works on improving voting systems. How for example could decision-making in Poland's parliament be organised, as an alternative to the absolute power that even the tiniest majority currently wields? Interview.

Ukraine, and a Europe-Russia crack

The conflict in Ukraine is part of a wider tussle over eastern Europe's political orientation. The European Union remains pivotal to progress, says Krzysztof Bobinski.

Commercialisation and nationalism in Polish football

Could there be a link between the increasing commercialisation of Polish football and the rise in far-right hooliganism?

Who is the biggest supporter of Ukraine?

Oleh Kotsyuba (Krytyka, Ukraine) speaks with Sławomir Sierakowski (Krytyka Polityczna, Poland) about the events in the aftermath of Ukrainian President’s decision not to sign the Association and Free Trade Agreement with the European Union.

Shining a spotlight on Poland

Poland has long been the subject of offensive stereotypes and a hostile UK media. Our new Spotlight on Poland hopes to shine a light on this misunderstood country.

Put Vaclav Havel in any election today and he would lose. Is that OK?

In our series on the Polish left, an interview on the future of politics in Europe and beyond with the sociologist, founder of the Krytyka Polityczna movement in Poland, and director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Warsaw.

Conservative culture and the far right in Poland

Most Poles agree that far right attacks are on the rise in their country, but the government and police are unable, or unwilling, to challenge it.

Wrocław is afraid: an experiment in the European Capital of Culture 2016

What happened when two teachers from one of the biggest and most populated cities in Poland, decided to put multicultural Wroclaw to the test; and how they encountered serious problems the minute they actually tried to implement their programme.

The false promise of a new left in Poland

As the old, post-communist left struggles with its own failures, the nascent new left already appears to be compromising with a liberal centre - a simple repeat of the old left's mistakes. For the left in Poland to survive, something has to give.

Academies of hatred

A series of public events in Wrocław, Poland’s European Capital of Culture in 2016, have been disrupted by radicals. Those responsible are not only supported by the main right-wing opposition party. They have also received strong material support from the present Polish government.

What's Left in Poland?

In the first article of our new debate on the Left in Poland, Anna Grodzka MP discusses her party, the Palikot Movement, and its commitment to freeing up and encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit of the Polish people.

Poland's 1980s, and "transitology" today

The 90th birthday of General Jaruzelski, the military figure who imposed martial law in Poland in 1981, was marked by a flurry of backward-looking, politicised debate. A pity, says Krzysztof Bobinski, for the experience of those times offers potential lessons to many regions around the world.

Populism: a European warning shot and what to do about it

This sudden emergence of populism was in fact a true sign of modernity. This is what you might describe as a warning shot – and when you see it happen, you have to realize that something is very wrong with democracy. An interview.

The helpless and the resourceful, or the beginnings of Polish populisms

Poland has two populisms: “the populism of the dispirited”, mobilising those who struggled to adjust to life in the new Poland; and a form of neo-liberal populism, embracing free market capitalism and excluding those who did not prosper. Both have deep roots in Poland’s history.

CIA prison will haunt Poland

Poland's role in hosting a CIA "black site" is now certain. Whether the government will voluntarily admit it is another matter. 

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