Poland – On Wednesday evening around 6 pm at the Charles de Gaulle roundabout in Warsaw, a small group of demonstrators, perhaps one hundred people, were standing in the middle of the road blocking traffic. The event was organized by Women’s Strike — Strajk Kobiet — the feminist organization at the root of Poland’s mass pro-abortion protests of late October and early November. Organizers had called on Antifa supporters and business owners impacted by health restrictions to join the event. However, the signs visible among the small crowd were mainly masks with the red lightning bolt symbol of Women’s Strike, and LGBT flags. The police, who were probably as numerous as the demonstrators themselves, asked them to disperse since no demonstration had been authorized on the roadway. The organizers of the micro-demonstration responded by megaphone too, asking their followers to remain in place. At the end of the day, one policeman was injured and a dozen protesters were taken into custody for acts of violence against law enforcement officers.
Their demands do not match those of an overwhelming majority of the demonstrators who took to the streets at the end of October to protest against a judgment of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal prohibiting eugenic abortions(abortions in case of serious and irreversible disability or an incurable life-threatening disease of the unborn child). Lempart and Suchanow want free access to abortion on demand, something which has been prohibited in Poland since 1993 and is opposed by over three-fourths of Poles. And in their eyes, even abortion on demand is just a step toward something bigger. In a long interview published in November in the flagship newspaper of the liberal left, Gazeta Wyborcza, they made clear that their goal is Revolution with a capital “R”. “I had never belonged to anything,“ Suchanow explained, “but a few years ago, for tactical reasons, I recognized that the Women’s Strike was going to change the world and I decided I wanted to be with that force. When young people began to join us, I knew that this alliance would bring change. It is happening now. Fuck [sic], I’m fulfilled. We’re having a revolution!”
Suchanow was a little too hasty in rejoicing at the unfolding revolution after a record protest had gathered a hundred thousand demonstrators in Warsaw on October 30. Since then the numbers have rapidly declined, down to the level of the current mini-protests, which are more like small happenings. The time for a general upheaval has not come. The different and sometimes contradictory struggles of different parts of Polish society have failed to converge. As a matter of fact, bemused Poles have witnessed a multiplication of struggles occurring within the revolutionary movement driven by the radical Left and supported by the liberal opposition, which could not miss such an opportunity to try and weaken the conservatives in power.
Last summer, it was the arrest of LGBT activist Michał Szutowicz, who calls himself “Margot” or Małgorzata (Margaret), which sparked protests, but street actions remained limited to the LGBT militancy and a few supporters, despite the completely disproportionate coverage they received from Western media. Szutowicz’s arrest had been ordered by a judge for acts of violence against pro-life activists.
Michał Szutowicz is the former boyfriend of the current co-leader of Women’s Strike, Klementyna Suchanow, with whom he lived for some time and who he now accuses of sexual harassment. Together with his new girlfriend, who claims to be a lesbian since “Margot” currently claims to identify as a woman, they are the leaders of the Stop the Nonsense Collective (Kolektyw Stop Bzdurom) who gained much publicity when they placed an LGBT flag and offensive writings on a historic statue of Jesus Christ in front of a church in Warsaw city center last summer. Margot claims to belong to the queer anarchist movement, and longs for a Revolution just like Suchanow. However, he refuses to be mentioned, together with his Stop the Nonsense Collective, in the “50 Brave of 2020” ranking published by Gazeta Wyborcza, for his struggle against “homophobia, transphobia and queerphobia,” because the two co-leaders of Women’s Strike also appear on the list. “This ranking features a person guilty of sexual and economic violence, Klementyna Suchanow of the National Women’s Strike,” Michał/Margaret explains, “and also Marta Lempart, who does everything to brush this situation under the carpet, as well as Kaya Szulczewicz, who recently came to attention with her transphobic remarks.”
The revolution has been a flop and its children are already at each other’s throats.
It has to be said, however, that the Polish Constitutional Court’s judgment prohibiting eugenic abortions has still not been published, and it is therefore not yet in force. It will eventually have to be published, and the protest movement may then get a new boost.