October 25, 2015 –
By. J. Arnoldski
On Saturday, October 24, 2015, several dozen Poles marched through the cold streets of Lodz demanding that the deindustrialization of Poland be reversed and the country’s US-NATO puppet regime of looters be held responsible.
On the day before parliamentary elections, when everything is supposed to be quiet and orderly in preparation for the routine exercise of “democracy,” the streets of central Lodz were filled with red flags and shouts of “Bankers, bourgeois, you end is coming!”, “Thieves, give us back our work places!”, and “Social Poland, not Liberal Poland!”
The “March of Closed Factories,” organized by the new political party Zmiana (Change), toured the once industrial city of Lodz’s formerly massive factories, which since the 1990’s have been privatized, sold for pennies on the dollar, and converted into shopping malls, clubs, and other consumerist outlets.
In one of the most infamous cases, such a large-scale plant was converted into the headquarters of what is now Gazeta Wyborcza, a newspaper which Tomasz Jankowski, the secretary of Zmiana and one of the leaders of the protest, described as the blow horn for Washington and Brussels’ propaganda in Poland. Gathering in front of the headquarters, protesters chanted “We want work, not propaganda!”
The demands, slogans, and speeches of the march clearly demonstrated a desire to link working-class issues with the necessity of liberating Poland from Western domination.
After visiting several of Lodz’s “closed, destroyed, and looted” (as one of the protest’s chants went) factories, protesters gathered in front of the Lodz city government building where organizers and various party leaders delivered speeches.
Mateusz Piskorski, the leader of Zmiana, presented the closing and conversion of Lodz’s factories as part of the US-NATO subjugation of Poland since the collapse of the Polish People’s Republic and the transformation of the country into a victim of imposed liberal schemes and a semi-colonial reservoir of cheap labor for Western corporations. The situation of Lodz is the same in many other Polish cities according to Piskorski.
Jarek Augustyniak, another of Zmiana’s leaders and a long-time resident of Lodz who, like many others, was forced to migrate from the city due to harsh economic conditions, explained that Lodz was a city “built by an extremely exploitative and harsh capitalism in the 19th century, and destroyed by capitalism in the late 20th and early 21st century.” Only an industrial, social Poland, with strong industrial cities like Lodz, can be truly independent, Augustyniak emphasized.
“Work – Peace – Patriotism”
Zmiana, the party which led the rally, is a new grouping on the Polish political scene. Formed in February, 2014 as a unification of various oppositional and revolutionary organizations from both the Left and Right, Zmiana has called itself the “only true opposition” and the “first non-American party in Poland,” while oligarch and Western-owned media have denounced it as the “Russian fifth column in Poland.”
At the end of the rally, Piskorski announced that Zmiana plans to hold several additional marches on similar themes in other major Polish cities.
While most mainstream, corporate Polish media did not show up to cover the event, PolSat, major Belarusian media, Fort Russ, and a number of independent journalists were present.