WE DEMAND BREAD
Still true today – the poverty, not the massive strikes (those were for another, long past repressive era)…
Many historians consider the Poznań 1956 protests to be an important milestone in modern history of Poland, and one of the events that precipitated the fall of communism in Poland. Nonetheless it should be noted that the protests of 1956 were not motivated by anti-communist ideology; the workers’ demands were mostly of an economic nature, centering around better work conditions rather than any political objectives. The workers sang “The Internationale” and their banners read “We demand bread.” It was the government’s consistent failure to fulfil the first demand which eventually led to the demands for political change, but even during the history of Solidarity few demanded wide political reforms.
Witness as history repeats itself. This is exactly what happened in Poland in 1990. As Parliament holds emotional debates whether or not to keep a crucifix in the Chambers, there was a fire sale going on outside. The cross won after a prolonged fight, (YAY! God has finally won over the godless Commies!) and duly covered by the media. But as the people emerged victorious from the battle, they found the places they had worked in were sold and gone, jobs gone, food prices had risen 100% and their money was worthless. And watched in horror and shock as the streets filled with fancy cars, mansions, homeless people and garbage….
Somebody must have got double cause I ain’t got none…….
DON’T GET DISTRACTED!!
So I’m at the demonstration to save Białowieża forest, the last remaining virgin forest in Europe. The current government is busy cutting it down because it can. My dog runs over to this dog Elvis. Elvis has a Mohawk haircut – a strip of hair running down his back with the sides shaved. The owner says he’s cooler this way – meaning both temperature and attitude. He looks like a famous singer or may actually be that guy. I’m not good at this so don’t ask because I don’t want to look stupid. Famous people walk the streets of Warsaw regularly. Those with talent, that is. Celebrities travel in entourages and limos. So we walk to the demo and continue talking about Elvis, both the dog and the person, which leads to politics and then to music because he is able to identify the obscure song from the 60s that they are playing over the loudspeakers, Wipeout by the Ventures.
By this time, people are walking over to him and shaking his hand and mine (!). Limelight effect.
I decide he must be this guy so ask and of course he says yes. I tell him I’ve forgotten his name (I’m allowed because he knows I’m American) and he tells me, not offended by my lack of hipness. I ask him how is life in the fast lane and he says not always pleasant.
Finally TV finds him and begins an interview. I take my leave at this point because they are going to march 7 kilometers to the Ministry of the Environment. If it were 1968, I would do it but….. Before I go, I hand him my card because he took a pic of my dog and he says he’ll send it to me.
All because of Elvis…….
Parent conference at my school. What the hell am I doing here?
The teachers’ cars are parked legally in the background. He parks wherever he wants….
It’s a Ferrari by the way……
After experiencing living under Communism, it was easy to see the similarities in the US long ago.
“….more than a generation after defeating the Soviet Union in the Cold War, the United States of 2017 seems to be doing its level best to emulate some of the worst aspects of its former foe and once rival superpower.”
Pop quiz. Which country is this?
……deeply authoritarian, a grim surveillance state with an economy dependent on global weapons sales; that it was intent on nuclear domination; that it was imperialist and expansionist; that it persecuted its critics and dissidents; and that it had serious internal problems carefully suppressed in the cause of world mastery, including rampant alcohol and drug abuse, bad health care and declining longevity (notably for men), a poisoned environment, and an extensive prison system featuring gulags. All of this was exacerbated by festering sores overseas, especially a costly and stalemated war in Afghanistan and client-states that absorbed its resources (think: Cuba) while offering little in return.