As some of you may have heard, there were presidential elections in Poland on 12th July. They were narrowly won by the current president Andrzej Duda. Duda is a representative of Poland’s far right ruling party Prawo I Sprawiedliwość (Law and Justice, PiS).
Previously Freedom reported on Andrzej Duda when, together with Polish PM, he decided to join a fascist march in Warsaw in November 2018. The march, organised annually on country’s Independence Day, is one of the largest fascist gatherings worldwide, attended by fash both from Poland and abroad. Over the years, international high-profile participants have included, among others, Roberto Fiore, Milan Mazurek, Manuel Canduela, and wannabe refugee Stephen Yaxley-Lennon.
Duda’s most recent election campaign was primarily based on going after something PiS calls “LGBT ideology”. With the help from Polish state-controlled media, the queer people were demonised, smeared and made into an enemy of the state of highest proportions, threatening traditional (read: catholic) Polish values, citizens and, you guessed it, children. Duda went as far to claim that LGBTQ+ people aren’t people, but merely an ideology.
The dehumanisation of queer people in Poland is not news, and in recent years lead to Pride Marches being attacked across the country in a pogrom-like fashion, brutal beatings of LGBTQ people and their supporters, police harassment, and approx 30% of local councils declaring themselves as so called “LGBT Free Zones”. The recent elections however brought the hate towards queer people to the next level and likely is just the beginning of the Polish state crackdown on LGBTQ+ people, and wider, any form of dissent to the ruling party.
In the UK, many of you declared that you will be boycotting Tyskie beer due to its producer supporting an event organised by “Gazeta Poska”: a Polish paper responsible for triggering the “LGBT Free Zones” campaign. While you should certainly not drink Tyskie, there is much more to do to support Polish queer people, and others who will be suffering under the PiS regime.
Below, Freedom reproduces a fundraising callout organised by Stop Bzdurom („Stop Bullshit”): a radical, feminist and queer collective whos member was arrested two days after the elections and she now awaits her trial. Please read and share it, and, if you can, dig deep in your pockets. The text is edited for clarity.
On the morning of July 14, plainclothes police came to the flat in which Margot [a trans woman] stayed in as a guest. They first threatened to bust the door, and when they were let in they didn’t give a reason for their intrusion, nor allowed their details n to be written down. Then they brutally dragged Margot out of the flat in her pyjamas (without shoes, socks or a sweatshirt), and took her to an unmarked car, threatening her with abuse and death, calling her a f*ggot and a loser. Only after countless of people and NGOs intervened, did the D.A. reveal that Margot was charged in connection with the destruction of a homophobic truck [trucks driving around Polish cities with loudspeakers blasting homophobic propaganda are a thing in Poland at present]. The activist was held up all night, and released the next day by the court, without arrest. Now she needs funds for herself and other people at risk, as well as for further actions of her collective.
About Stop Bzdurom:
The beginnings of our group take place in the spring of 2019. We stopped next to the Foundation Pro (close affiliates of Ordo Iuris- organisation led by extremely influential people in Polish catholic church), which pits people against the LGBTQ+ community, compares it to paedophilia, fights for the penalisation of abortion and a complete ban of sex ed. Totally screwed up – we couldn’t let this slide.
We organized a series of dancing protests in response to the homophobic tents in Warsaw’s downtown. With our friends, acquaintances and people we just met, we partied to the queerest of the songs. With music and shoutings, we drowned out the harmful messages of the Foundation Pro. We showed that there is no space for homophobia and hate. We also showed that we’re here – and when we get there it’s with fun and colours.
We explained that homosexuality does not equal paedophilia, that sex ed is OK. We’ve had a thousand conversations explaining the benefits of sex ed as means to fight sexual abuse and rape of underage people. We’ve made a website explaining the lies and manipulations of Fundation Pro, distributed leaflets and explained the manipulations on site.
Our last protest of this kind-organised with the QueerTour collective – in response to the homophobic statements of Polish president Andrzej Duda („LGBT aren’t people, it’s an ideology”) was called Provocation of the LGBT ideology – was huge!
During our actions we faced police brutality multiple times – on the first day one of us was brutally thrown to the ground by the cops , handcuffed and taken to the police station. Her case was taken up by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights. The D.A’s office doesn’t like us very much, because they ignore our complaints about police brutality, but they would gladly f*ck us up.
We provided queer kids with stickers multiple times – absolutely for free. We supported more than 2 thousand places in Poland and distributed over 50 thousand stickers. You can see them – at least we hope so – everywhere. Until now, we’ve made about 30 custom pieces – but many of the best still await their publication.
Link to the fundraiser is here.