'Bye, 'bye Solidarity
Official results from the Polish general elections on Sunday September 23, have confirmed a sweeping victory for the Democratic Left Alliance, or SLD. The Democratic Left won 41 per cent of the popular vote, but failed to win an absolute majority of seats in the important lower house of parliament. The Democratic Left may have to find allies to form a coalition government or attempt to form a minority government. Another aspect of the election was the complete rout of Solidarity. It failed to win a single seat in the new parliament. Solidarity had led the previous government. It won only a 4.4 per cent vote but needed 8 per cent to win seats in parliament. The Peasant Party, a long-established farmers grouping, secured a 9.9 per cent vote. Solidarity and its former leader, Lech Walesa, who was backed by the CIA and the Vatican and held up as a hero by the likes of reactionary British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, turned out to be incompetent and without any clear program for Poland's present troubles. The destruction of many of the social gains made by the Polish people during the years of socialist construction in Poland is Solidarity's main "achievement". Unemployment is now running at approximately 16 per cent and foreign investment, which is regarded as a saviour by governments that commit themselves to capitalism, has dropped considerably. Economic growth has stalled. The Democratic Left seems to be much more akin to a social democratic party than to a communist party although it is led by "former communists" according to news reports. It has pledged to continue with economic "reforms" and intends to position Poland within the European Union and NATO policies that do not hold the solution to the economic and social problems of the Polish people. About a quarter of the votes cast went to parties and groups opposed to Poland joining the European Union.