March 2013        


Western commentators shocked by their own darling

The former president of Poland Lech Wałęsa has shocked people all over the world with an appalling homophobic outburst. In a television interview on 1 March he declared that “gay people have no right to sit on the front benches in parliament and, if there at all, should sit in the back or even behind a wall.” He added that gay people should not be allowed to “rise to the greatest heights” in society.
      These remarks will be all the more bewildering for people in the west, because they were always told by the media that Wałęsa was a heroic campaigner for human rights. However, this outburst will be of no shock to communists, who have long argued that Wałęsa was always an arch-conservative and reactionary.
      Lech Wałęsa first came to international prominence in the 1980s as leader of the Solidarity “trade union.” Officially, Solidarity claimed that it wanted more democracy and freedom. In reality it was a Catholic conservative movement dedicated to rolling back the gains of the socialist revolution and restoring the landowning class to power.
      The fact that Solidarity was supported by infamous union-busters like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher probably should have provided some clue that Solidarity was not a genuine trade union or workers’ movement. Still, this did not stop the opportunist left from supporting Wałęsa and holding him up as an icon of “democratic socialism.”
      Both the social democrats and the ultra-left were determined to show their anti-communist credentials during the Cold War, so they rowed in behind the counter-revolutions in eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. Some on the ultra-left even went as far as cheering on the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan who were fighting against the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan and their Soviet allies. The Mujahedeen wiped out decades of progress in Afghanistan, especially rights for workers, landless labourers, and women, as well as paving the way for the Taliban to seize power in the 1990s.
      We can apply these lessons from history to contemporary times as we see the right wing and the charlatan left join hands to cheer on NATO-backed Islamist rebels in Libya and Syria in wars that will strengthen western imperialism.
      It is also interesting to note that Lech Wałęsa is a former winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace. This is an entirely discredited award, biased in the interests of capitalism. Former winners include the war criminal Henry Kissinger, President Barack Obama, and of course the European Union, which was comically awarded the prize in 2012 at a time when the EU was promoting austerity policies that were leading to mass unemployment, social unrest, and the rise of racism across the European continent.

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