Dispute on criticism of Belarus

April 2005 saw occurring in Poland of many events which touched political circles and the public opinion. Beside death of Jean-Paul II and the election of a new pope, a new disturbance campaign appeared in reaction to a speech of the Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko. The Belarusian autocrat criticized Poland, in particular his politicians, for their attempts aiming to organize a strong antipresidential opposition and inciting rebellion against him. It didn't take long time for the Polish politicians to answer him. Multitude of thundering declarations fell down, coming as well from the left and the right policical side. The Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister also intervened on this subject. The martial tone and moralizer of the declarations of the Polish leaders let think that their country constituted the accomplished example of a State of right and democracy, in which the elected officials fill their electoral obligations conscientiously, in which the workers profit from all the civic and economic rights and that country were developing towards a radiant future.
But enormous existing contrast between showed image and reality obliges us to raise this question: in the name of what moral right the Polish politicians can criticize Lukashenko? Without delving into question of the validity of criticisms regarding the domestic policy of president Lukashenko, it should be noted that all its denouncers were and are themselves the authors of the political and socio-economical changes that Poland experiences since 1989. They are thus co-persons in charge for the current state of the country. And what is this state?


If one refers to the classifications establish by Statistics Finland on two hundred countries, Polish country is among ten first of the world regarding unemployment. The only ones which exceeds Poland are those in which military operations proceeded. There has been destroyed in a way planned of the thousands of average and large companies which ensured the subsistence of more than 2,5 million families. To reconstitute the same level of employment in the new companies, it would be necessary to invest at least 400 billion zlotys (about 130 billion US dollars) above investments currently carried out.

Polarization of the incomes

The differences in incomes in Poland are among the highest in the world. They approach those one finds in the authoritative or dictatorial States of Latin America and Africa. Social cleavages do not only provoke social disturbances , but macro-economic as well, by reducing the bases of development of the companies.

Absence of prospect for the young people

Low wages, which represent only hardly a third of the virtual average income, do not allow or at least make difficult the foundation of families, make impossible to accumulate the necessary money for future retirements, because in fact the first ten years of employment are most important for the calculation of the retirements coming from the funds of investment. It is necessary to contributions flow regularly. But it is not the case because of catastrophic unemployment within this social category. And, when somebody is likely to be able to work, and pays his contributions, the value of those remains insufficient because of the level of the wages, so even after forty years of contributions, the value of the retirement would be always lower than 500 zlotys a month (about 130 US dollars).

Common public contempt of the poor

The form of liberalism which dominates in Poland, as well in the economy as in the political life, despises the people having weak incomes, little equipped, but on the other hand it homages the wealthy. An atmosphere of denunciation reigns in the media with regard to the paid workers, in particular of those having the wages low.

To fully understand the factors shaping economic system in Poland and this contempt with regard to the poor, we must examine some aspects of the existing relations between the economic phenomena and the moral values or principles rising from the spirit of laissez-faire. As one can note it everywhere, the contempt of the poor constitutes the fundamental feature amd is essential for this kind of liberalism. It seems to to me that this fragment drawn from a work of Milton Friedman constitutes a good starting point for our reflexion. It writes (this is Polish to English translation of original booklet): "In the market society, the fundamental function of the income according to the production has in fact for objective to ensure an effective allowance of the resources without using the force, but it is not very probable that this principle was tolerated if we considered that it should also make it possible to reach a right division" [1]. The product, it is an object or a service (and also a work) which is sold on the market. Following an act of purchase-sale, one establishes the price of the market. As long as it is not sold, it does not have any value, because the practical value and the exchange value (the price) in the liberal economic theories constitute identical concepts [2]. This identity is supposed to result from the fact that the purchaser does not spend more his money for given goods than he finds it usefull. It comes out of this, the higher the price is, the higher utility for the purchaser the good presents.

The principle of establishment of the value that I have just stated does not extend only to the material objects, but it also makes possible to evaluate human work, and indirectly the people themselves. A salesman bringing on the market the goods sought by the customers, does not only satisfy needs of buyers, but he grants them the good in every meaning of this word. By bringing good, he behaves in an ethical way. He is morally good. It results from this, that the better he meets the needs of his customers, the better he is evaluated morally. For this useful activity, the market (i.e. customers) remunerates the contractor by granting a high profit to him. Therefore, the one who receives the highest income, is who satisfies the customer requirements as well as possible - he is more useful, he is better integrated into the market. Such an individual is marked by desired features of character as the force, energy, autonomy, the entrepreneurship, the adaptability and resourcefulness. It is from here that the liberals prolong their reflexion and draw from it very simple conclusion that the higher the income a person has, the higher moral and social status possesses. One is rewarded for ones commercial utility, and thus for ethic acts for making benefits to all market partakers. This is why in the socieities organized according to liberal ideas of laissez-faire (free play of the market forces) the people who have particularly high incomes gain also the social and moral recognition.

This specific logic of liberal morality also extends in another direction. Indeed, any person earing little or finding oneself without means of existence is obviously itself faulty (is to blame), because one does not obviously meet the needs of customers. In the case of the employees, the cause of their poverty is due to the fact that their offers are bad, inadequate with the needs of the contractors. Such a person does not receive good incomes, because the market evaluates his/her in such way; she/he is useless.

Since the market economy is supposed to epitomize the quintessence of the Good, in any case - any good, consequently those who do not manage to find themself there obviously lack of desired features of character. In the eyes of a liberals, poor does not have any quality nor any ethical value. Poor are deprived of any possitive features. The liberals say that the poor find oneself in this state because they are passive, lazy, aversion towards the knowledge, are not interested to adapt to the needs of the market, are not conscientious, not very exact, but so willing to the fight, drunkenness, the wasting of the working time, overusing the ill-considered holidays and the unjustified certificates of disease, etc.
It is obvious that the features of character which we have been just mentioned do not belong to the catalogue of the features considered to be positive. It starts from from this vision that the typical liberal develops the justification of his negative attitude towards the groups economically underprivileged. One can thus summarize the liberal attitude like this: the one who obtains a handsome profit on the market is that one who works well. Thus if you earn badly (your work is cheaply evaluated) it is to say that you work badly, that you are bad. And from that, poor is also a person of low value on the moral level. The moral disapproval of the poor gives birth to disrespect and eventually contempt and social rejection.

One finds in Poland the consequences of this philosophy in many fora of discussion. All quotations regards to montly wages. Anthology:

Some of liberals are of the opinion that devoidance of means of living resulting from impairment or handicap, bad fate does not violetes rule of justice. Beceause it is natural situation. These a few examples express faithfully spirit of liberalism.

The above sketched liberal attitude to the poors explains negative stance on civic social aid. Redistribution of the incomes, i.e. the fact of taking a part of money from the rich to transfer it to the poor, what is a form of assistance to poorest, is suppossed to be immoral [6]. It is immoral because this approach is compared with plundering, with the robbery of the private money [7]. The quintessence of this logic of liberal morality can be found in the work of Aleksander Chromik where one can read: "is it right to promote the idleness by the robbery and the division of the goods created by honest people working with the sweat of their face? "[8]. This citation containts the essence of the liberal attitude towards the poor and the assistance that one allots to them. The author identifies the assistance to the poor with plundering, the people living in poverty with the lazy ones, and the people rich with honest hard-working citizens. Janusz Korwin-Mikke, journalist and main liberal representative of liberals and also political leader of the Union for a Real Policy, ultra-liberal party, calls the whole of the poor people as "rabble". He calls as well democratic regime where people have vote choice and influence on the state - the governments of the rabble.

As I showed above, this liberalism is convinced of the absence of ethical and social values of the poor. This liberalism means also disrespect for the needs of the poor and the refusal of their right of expression. This set of features is described unambiguously as contempt. It is thus allowed to support the statement that liberalism has deep-rooted the contempt for the poor.

This contempt appears various ways. The softest form is hatred. It appears by the desire to withdraw the poor all the rights belonging to a human being. One can quote among them:

It is from this hatred or contempt for the "unable" people what develops the manifest rejection or even the contempt with regard to the organizations and of the social institutions, the political parties and even the individuals who seek to avoid the negative consequences of poverty and try defend the right of the poors. This disavowal appears in the form of sarcastic remarks and of rejection of the scientific work going against liberal opinions. The article of Pawel Pertkiewicz illustrates this well. The author writes that the public Work Inspection, the social inspection of work, the Office of the Technical Inspections (i.e.Certification Centres), the Social Policy and Ministry of Labour and many of other institutions are there only to break the freedom of companies [10]. This contempt goes hand in hand with a feeling of moral and social superiority of oneself. Some time ago, a speaker signing under the pseudonym of "Rico - the ultralibéral" wrote on public website:
I will vote for people who will not lose the money of the local communities for silly things like the apartment houses or board for the plebs [note: plebs states here poor men in contemtous fashion]. To have a beautiful apartment in a new building of quality, I had agree to work much, whereas various rebuffies of the society, without any social position and without education, receive apartments for FREE! How is it made that I must work hard and that somebody receives that free, thanks to my taxes?! This is that justice?! What is "odd", the inhabitants of my housing estate are all of the extreme antisocialists and we all contempt for unemployed hooligans and their allies of the Polish Socialist Party, of the Union of Work, Self-Defence or the League of the Polish Families. However, in our estate, one finds only people of a high social standing, while the plebs remains behind the doors. Beyond the doors the frustrated socialists or others unabled can shout and prowl. Here, we have silence, calm and safety. But why this useless mass from various shady districts can decide about future of the community, of the city, district with a voice equal to the people of mine? These sub-men without education, social position, money, talent... Who can they elect? Here is the answer: NOONE. As a graduate of a university and pertaining to what is called the private initiative, I do not observe any feature of common nature between me and the electorate of Self-Defence or the Socialist Party. In our estate, they are other candidates who receive the voices. Candidates who represent apropriate level and capacities to collect assets. We will vote only for enterprising people. The idiots in love with the socialist distribution and all kinds of assistances for the useless mass of the losers will not obtain any support here"

It comes out of this text not only deep feeling of superiority of the author, but also deep and authentic contempt for the "plebs" or "the rebuffies of the society". It is expressed directly to denounce political organizations established to represent the poor.

Sometimes one can even meet a justification of the physical aggression towards weakest having a lower material status. In the same forum of discussion, one found opinion about the trade-union demonstrations of Warsaw:

"Why nobody did shoot down this waste from the process of transformation? What to make? ... There is no rules of Iron Lady here and the plebs thought that the Parliament, it is either an intermediary or a social canteen. The cattle always expresses claiming attitudes. It is strange, but I do not feel threatened by unemployment. There are 20 % of people belonging to the higher category and 80 % of plebs which has just shown that they can only demolish. Shoot this dung! There will be less spongers in the country. Why should we have a rebellious plebs in XXIe century? I do not understand why... "

Even if we regard these opinions as a form of intellectual provocation, that does not decrease therefore the actions of the contractors, the media and the institutions which propagate the attitudes of laissez-faire, of the actions which in the general opinion break the principles of justice.

Regime's legal contempt

The dominating spirit of the liberal contempt towards the people less equipped (mainly the unemployed ones and the average employed persons) starts to penetrate the higher institutions of the state, not excluding the apparatus of justice. In 2001, the State Work Inspection (PIP) noted violations of the right like non-payment of the wages or other income dues in conformity with the Fair Labor Standards Act in more than 60 % of the controlled companies [11]. One noted that the level of violation of the right had been identical for several years, which shows the dispatch of following agency of July 4, 2004: "the State Work Inspection has controlled last year 74 000 companies employing 5 million people. Control disclosed nearly 102 000 violations of the labour law. Mainly not paid wages." In the same dispatch, one could read (author translation from Polish to English): "35% of 850 crime notifications relating to suspicions of offences (against the rights of the workers) reported to public prosecutors were dismissed or discontinued because these offences are regarded as being of minor importance". The public inspectioncarries out two types of statistics and control. There are the controls engaged after receiving complaints and controls carried out by the means of the representative statistic method. These are precisely the second controls which made it possible to disclose the extent of the offences made against the labour law and which made it possible using the tool of the mathematical statistics to evaluate the parameters for the total population of workers. It comes out from it thatn in Poland 5,2 million employees are regularly stolen of incomes to which they have right.

The liberals oppose clearly against state established minimum wage for work. They argue that such a practice violates inalienable right of the contractors for disposal with their own incomes. It also is supposed to violate the principle of the free choice and freedom to shape contracts between private people [12]. It is the same with the payment of the wages. The liberals are conviced that the employee is paid for his work by advance, i.e. he receives his wages for work before the contractor could draw benefit from the fruits of the work of employee [13]. From this, the liberals affirm that they do not have moral problems to stop the payment of the wages in a situation when the contractor does not have financial means for that or did not obtain the payment for sold goods,
The attempts to sanction this practice legally are the proof. In the middle of 2004, the Polish ministry of the Economy, Work and Social Policy submitted a bill which would have made the companies possible to pay their wages in parts or quite simply to cease paying them "in the justified cases". The liberal Adam Szejnfeld, deputy of the Civic Platform, expressed a positive attitude toward this initiative while issuing some reserves: "This idea is not new. I would support this (...)"[ 14 ]. This type of requirements is not the monopoly of the Polish political community. One finds also abroad circles which are keen on it as well. At the time of the period of recessionin German economy, the president of the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), Ludwig Georg Braun, had proposed that in the following years, the workers would be employed without wages for 500 overtime [15].

The situation of the Polish worker remains however particularly hard. He has been deprived of the most basic elementary human rights despite of the legal standards existing in bills. He was shoved into noeliberal capitalist terror, subjected to an economic oppression which he had not known since the end of the Second World War. According to investigations' of institute CBOS going back to this year, a third of the Polish employed persons is without employment. For every two workers employed there is one unemployed. Even if somebody has work, he cannot count on carring out his life in dignity. Hardly a quarter of all the employed persons is in a position to declare that he works in a company where receives honest wages. And when happens that the worker is starting to engage against his employer for nonpayment of his wages, he has only 65 % of chances to see the court accepting the examination of his complaint.

The systemic despotism with regard to the poor is not limited to the labour law. We have had for several years of the examples of extremely light judgements announced in the cases of financial scandals existing in the circles of the great business. But we have simultaneously extremely severe judgements with regard to the workers who approprieted the sums of a few hundreds of zlotys, or of the long prison sentences for the beggars who have stolen rolls of bread at baker's. These judgements are the direct consequence of the approval and the adoption of the liberal morality based on the contempt towards the weak ones and the tolerance or rather the moral justification of the actions of the rich individuals.

Economic terror in which the Poles were included is producing its terrible fruits. A million children faces difficulty of obtaining their daily food and physical and social degeneration, the drama of their parents being endagered of biological annihilation, forfeiture their children. All this pushes those people towards the delinquency and the prostitution. It removes the joy in life, the hope of the future. It destroys their desire of living. One noted 30 thousand of additional suicides for economic causes compared to similar period of socialist Poland.

Liberalism in which the journalists, the politicians, the judges (without excluding the supreme Court and the constitutional Court) are in love, constitutes a philosophy with the criminal character, which is based on the contempt of weakest. Thus returning to the question that I posed at the beginning of tje article, I can support firmly that the Polish political elites do not have the moral right to be placed in position of judge, of defender of the ethical and civic values. The crime of which they are the authors exceeds without any comparison by its proportion and its importance, the violations of the right made by the authoritative president of Bielorus.

  1. Cf. Capitalism and freedom by Milton Friedman, p. 156 (Polish edition)
  2. The term "liberalism" includes extremely various theories, so its employment causes often confusion. At the XVIIIe century, liberalism was a doctrine of freedom, but at the XXe century and in the only economic field, it became on the contrary a formulation of the law of the strongest. In this case, one does not speak any more personal freedom, but of that of the fort to dominate the weak one. Milton Friedman, and with him all the school of Friedrich von Hayek, complaited on these ambiguities so much so that he uses term "liberal" when it is addressed to the public, but says "libertarian" when it is addressed to his friends and wishes to prevent the misunderstandings.
  3. citation of ~Swietlik 013
  4. citation of An educated man, April 26, 2004
  5. Site of UPR, May 24 2004, Paweł Sztąberek, "Sprawiedliwość społeczna", Strona prokapitalistyczna republika.pl/kapitalizm
  6. Stanisław Michalkiewicz, "What does God trully think about taxes?", Strona prokapitalistyczna
  7. Jan Michał Małek, "Imperatyw ekonomiczny "nie kradnij", Strona prokapitalistyczna
  8. Aleksander Chromik, "Pan Bóg w służbie postępu", Strona prokapitalistyczna
  9. AFP of February 24, 2003
  10. Paweł Toboła-Pertkiewicz, "Czy państwo powinno ustalać warunki pracy?", Strona prokapitaistyczna
  11. PAP, daily Report of August 10, 2002.
  12. Paweł Toboła-Pertkiewicz, "Czy państwo powinno ustalać warunki pracy?", Strona prokapitaistyczna
  13. to see for example, Strona prokapitalistycza, Walka klas, Mateusz Machaj, but also articles of Friedrich von Hayek and Ludwig von Mises
  14. Newspaper "Super Express", June 8, 2004
  15. PAP of January 17, 2003.
Issued on website: 15th of June 2005
Issued on lewica.pl: 21nd of May 2005
Article was issued on ReseauVoltaire.net and was translated by phd Bruno Drewski in May 2005
English translation by author: 2nd of May 2007