Poland highlights the ‘specter haunting Europe’


Tens of thousands of protesters hit the streets of the Polish capital Warsaw Saturday (24 September) to rally against moves by the rightwing Law and Justice (PiS) government that they say undermine the rule of law, EUractiv reports:

Warsaw City Hall officials said up to 30,000 people took part in the demonstration organised by the Committee for the Defence of Democracy (KOD). The protest targeted reforms of the Constitutional Court that the populist PiS government pushed through soon after it swept to power late last year.

Adam Michnik, a leading journalist, leftwing intellectual and former dissident in Poland’s historic anti-communist Solidarity union, warned the PiS it would suffer the consequences of its actions at the ballot box.

“The KOD doesn’t want to overthrow the government… it wants the government of Jarosław Kaczyński to respect the law and the constitution, but if they don’t comply, society will be obliged to remove them from power through democratic elections,” Michnik (right) said. “We cannot accept politics that isolate Poland and trigger conflicts with neighbours,” he added.

Liberal democracy in Europe appears to be increasingly vulnerable to the rise of nativist, populist, and illiberal forces, notes the International Forum for Democratic Studies at the National Endowment for Democracy:

In its forthcoming October 2016 issue, the Journal of Democracy will feature a cluster of articles addressing these developments grouped under the heading “The Specter Haunting Europe.” The cluster concludes with a powerful essay by Ivan Krastev, entitled “The Unraveling of the Post-1989 Order.”

According to Krastev, “This unraveling is working its most devastating and far-reaching effects in Europe, where the post-Cold War order was born and shaped.” He calls for a reinterpretation of the postcommunist period, and also explains why the issue of migration (“the twenty-first century form of revolution”) is at the center of European politics today.

The Specter Haunting Europe


Ivan Krastev, Chairman, Centre for Liberal Strategies, Permanent Fellow, Institute for Human Sciences

moderated by

Marc F. Plattner, Journal of Democracy

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

(lunch served from 12pm to 12:30pm)

1025 F Street NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20004

RSVP (acceptances only) with name and affiliation by Monday, October 3

Livestream of the event will be available here.

Twitter: Follow @ThinkDemocracy and use #NEDEvents to join the conversation.

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