Tuesday, May 3, 2016
5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.
In October 2015, the right-wing Law and Justice Party (PiS) won an absolute majority in the Polish Parliament. With surprising speed and aggressiveness, the new government passed laws that have paralyzed the Supreme Court, re-politicized the civil service, and subordinated public radio and TV to direct to government control. It has also launched a frontal assault on the last 25 years of Polish history and is clearly attempting to rebrand the period as the illegitimate child of a morally reprehensible compromise. Most recently, it has moved to ban all abortions. PiS’ radical turn towards illiberalism has provoked a series of stern, but so far toothless reprimands from the European Union. At the same time, increasingly large numbers of Poles are taking to the streets in protest. In this talk, Tony Levitas will discuss the origins, prospects and implications of PiS radical rejection of Poland’s post-communist transformation for Poland and for the European Union.
Professor Michael Kennedy will comment and lead the discussion afterwards.
Tony Levitas is a senior fellow at the Watson Institute in International Studies and Public Affairs who has spent much of his professional life engaged with public administration reform in post-communist Europe in general, and Poland in particular.