A letter from a member of the Revolution Club

| revcom.us


A member of the Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour recently wrote a letter titled “On the Polish Government’s Attacks on Abortion Rights, the Rising Tide of Global Fascism, and the Need for a Radically Different Alternative.”1 This letter stated that:

On January 27, 2021, the fascist regime in Poland announced that it would begin enforcing a ruling, first announced in October, which bans the vast majority of abortions in the country, including making illegal the most common form of legal abortion, those due to fetal defects. This means that now, all forms of abortion are outlawed, with the only exceptions being in the event of rape, incest, or where the life or health of the woman is threatened. This has everything to do with slamming women back into more “traditional forms” of oppression and subservience, in response to and in revenge for the increased participation of women in the economy and social life, and as part of a larger theocratic-fascist agenda and global movement that is on the march, and advancing.

This will eliminate nearly all abortions in Poland.2 It is also good to keep in mind that what happened in Poland can happen in the rest of Europe and the U.S. What we see in Poland currently can be the future of abortion in the U.S. if the Christian fascists keep persisting in getting their way on reversing Roe v. Wade.

Ever since the fascist “Law and Justice” (PiS) party has come into power in Poland, they have made the attack on a woman’s right to her own body a major priority. Around 2016, PiS went as far as to make an attempt to even criminalize a woman for going outside Polish borders to receive an abortion.3,4 Yet this makes one ask, “How did Poland go from one of the countries with the most liberal abortion laws in Europe to one of the most draconian ones in Europe?” This has to do with the particular history of Poland, with deep-rooted veins of nationalism, patriarchy, and Roman Catholicism that find vicious and concentrated manifestations in the current fascist regime. The contradiction of women in Polish history is of them being revered as “heroines of a nation” though at the same time becoming the ones that suffer most due to the patriarchal culture heavily influenced by the Roman Catholic Church. The dynamic of this is complex and it would need nothing less than a Revolution to uproot this.


In 1794, Poland lost its independence and national sovereignty by being divided between Russia, Prussia, and Austria. Poland was off the map until 1918. Throughout those years, Poland would have a number of revolts and uprisings to regain its independence that did end up in failure.5 The men that took part in those revolts were either exiled, executed, or sent to Siberia. Women were definitely involved in this resistance during those years while also being integral in the upbringing of their children to raise “young patriots” that would be the next generation that would keep fighting for Poland’s return to national sovereignty. It was during this part of Polish history that the term the “Mother Pole” came to portray the Polish woman utilizing her motherhood as a patriotic and heroic act.6

Poland, along with other Eastern European countries like Romania, East Germany, etc., was in the Soviet orbit following WW2, with an attempt to “impose” a similar social system there. As Avakian has stated, without anything remotely resembling a thoroughgoing revolution, “socialism never existed in these Eastern European countries ... and it was never created through the class-conscious struggle of the masses there with a proletarian vanguard.”7 Following the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union in the mid-fifties after the death of Stalin, these Eastern European countries, under the dominance of the revisionist Soviet Union, then followed a similar revisionist model. Nevertheless some reforms were enacted as part of this. Abortion actually was legal in Poland from 1956 until 1993.

As the “Solidarity” movement gained strength against the faux8-revisionist “communist” party in Poland during the 1980s, so did the Roman Catholic Church’s influence in the federal government as it headed into the 1990s. The “Solidarity” movement would be eventually co-opted by the CIA with the backing of President Ronald Reagan in the U.S., with an alliance that was formed with Pope John Paul II, the first Polish pope in the Vatican who was held to be a symbol of ethnic pride among religious Poles.9


Now Poland has a legitimate fascist party in charge that not only upholds the patriarchal values of the Roman Catholic Church, but is associated with international Christian fascist groups such as Ordo Iuris that are helping the Polish Constitutional Tribunal with their anti-abortion legislation while at the same time using Poland as a testing ground as they work to attack women’s reproductive rights throughout Europe eventually10—while at the same time they are utilizing Poland’s past as a tool for the oppression of women as the pro-abortion protesters are labeled as people attacking Poland’s values and way of life. This is a similar pattern to what many fascist governments would label opposition protesters in other countries. Poland’s “Justice” party is no different. The “Law and Justice” party11 wants Poland to return to a past deeply rooted in Roman Catholicism where women did uphold motherhood as the biggest form of female heroism as a national identity. “LGBT Free Zone” was promoted for the sake of a false “religious freedom.” These forms of demonization have encouraged fascist street thugs loyal to the “Law and Justice” party to threaten and assault immigrants and LGBT people.

The education rate among women since 1989 has been higher than ever in Poland,12 which would eventually lead to shaking the patriarchal Roman Catholic hegemony that haunted feminism in Poland for hundreds of years. The conflict of women being the heroines of Poland being tied to motherhood historically while advancing in education as well as in the workplace is a contradiction that is clashing in Poland currently.

Women in Poland who wished to pursue higher education along with being career driven had to face a society that would label them as “selfish” for not wanting to utilize their “traditional” duties by getting married and having children. Before World War 2, women had to deal with many roadblocks in pursuing education and careers that countered traditional oppressive relations such as a heavy decrease in pay compared to their male counterparts to the point where it was not affordable for a woman to pursue her ambitions, especially in academia. When Poland’s “communist” party took over to build more of a state-capitalist economy, there was an improvement of women in education and the workplace, but many of those societal expectations dealing with oppressive gender relations were not uprooted while still at times expecting of women to hold onto their traditional place as the “Mother Pole” model was still upheld.

A fetus is not a human while motherhood MUST be a choice and NEVER a patriotic obligation.

This quote from the revolutionary leader Bob Avakian seems very fitting to the situation in Poland currently, off of the 2012 talk BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

[W]omen are subjected to continual assaults on their right to abortion and even birth control. Don’t let these people tell you, these so-called right-to-lifers, that the issue is the killing of innocent babies. The issue is the control over women, exercised by forcing them to be mothers, whether or not they want to be at that time. Now, to have children, to raise children, can be a really beautiful experience if that’s what you want to do and if you feel in a position to do it in the way that you feel it should be done. But to have it forced on you is virtual enslavement. Not to even have the choice as to whether you will do that. And here’s the key to how you know–or one key to how you know–this is not about killing of innocent babies: Try to find one of these rabid anti-abortion groups that is also not opposed to birth control. You’ll have a very hard time. They’re all opposed to birth control, because the issue is not the killing of innocent babies, it’s the control and subordination of women who are regarded as getting all out of hand these days in this society, which is another reason why we have, or a contributing factor to why we have, this vicious pornography. So the goal of these attacks on abortion and, yes, on birth control, the right to them, is to deny women the ability to determine something as basic as when or if they will have children and raise children, or be part of raising them–forcing motherhood on them, once again, and enslaving them in that way.




1. On the Polish Government’s Attacks on Abortion Rights, the Rising Tide of Global Fascism, and the Need for a Radically Different Alternative, revcom.us, February 15, 2021.  [back]

2. For Polish women with scheduled abortions, ruling brings chaos, fearPolitico, October 29, 2020.  [back]

3. Polish Women Protest Proposed Abortion Ban (Again), New York Times, March 23, 2018.  [back]

4. Why Are There Protests in Poland?New York Times, October 27, 2020.  [back]

5. A history of Polish Christianity, Jerzy Kloczowski, Cambridge University Press, September 14, 2000.  [back]

6. The Struggle for Abortion Rights in Poland, Wanda Nowicka.  [back]

7. See Bob Avakian, Conquer the World? The International Proletariat Must and Will.  [back]

8. “faux” means “fake” or “false”.  [back]

9. Reagan and Pope Reportedly Conferred on PolandNew York Times, February 18, 1992.  [back]

10. Four reasons why Poland’s war on abortion should scare youOpen Democracy, February 3, 2021.  [back]

11. Trump Hails Poland as a Beacon of Freedom. Rights Groups Beg to Differ.New York Times, July 6, 2017.  [back]

12. Feminization of Higher Education in Poland 1918-2018, Krzysztof Popiński, December 2019.  [back]

The whole question of the position and role of women in society is more and more acutely posing itself in today’s extreme circumstances—this is a powderkeg in the U.S. today. It is not conceivable that all this will find any resolution other than in the most radical terms and through extremely violent means. The question yet to be determined is: will it be a radical reactionary or a radical revolutionary resolution, will it mean the reinforcing of the chains of enslavement or the shattering of the most decisive links in those chains and the opening up of the possibility of realizing the complete elimination of all forms of such enslavement.

Bob Avakian

Pope John Paul II, the first Polish pope in the Vatican, was held up as a symbol of ethnic pride among religious Poles. The photo is of his first visit to Poland in 1979. As the “Solidarity” movement gained strength against the faux-revisionist “communist” party in Poland during the 1980s, so did the Roman Catholic Church’s influence. The “Solidarity” movement would be eventually co-opted by the U.S. in an alliance with Pope John Paul II.

People gather and face police during a protest against a new anti-abortion law in Warsaw, Poland, January 28, 2021. A near total ban on abortion has finally taken effect in Poland three months after a top court ruled that the abortion of congenitally damaged fetuses is unconstitutional, a move that has sparked a new round of nationwide protests. Photo: AP

“...we have two choices: either, live with all this — and condemn future generations to the same, or worse, if they have a future at all — or, make revolution!

—Bob Avakian

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