Sunday, 24 August 2014

Anti-coal human chain: Green call from Poland and Germany

Anti-coal human chain, Saturday 23 August 2014

Climate change does not stop at borders - join hands across borders in the German-Polish Lausitz region:  against new brown-coal strip mining - for a Europe-wide switch to Green energy!

Green call from Poland and Germany

Swedish energy corporation Vatenfall and Polish energy group PGE are planning to expand brown coal mining in the German-Polish Lausitz region. Huge brown-coal mining fields already destroyed nature, the environment and the homeland of thousands of people there.  Would the plans for new strip mines be realized, further villages would have to be bulldozed. Further billions of tons of dirty brown-coal would be fired in power plants and harm the climate and environment more than any other fuel. In Germany, the State governments in Saxony (CDU/FDP) and in Brandenburg (SPD/Linke) intend to approve the plans for the expansion of brown-coal mining. In Poland, the Polish government is pushing for new strip mines in the Lausitz region despite the fact that local communities rejected these plans in local referendum in 2009.

Climate change is a devastating force which does not stop at borders. We as Greens from Poland and Germany therefore fight together for a Europe-wide switch to Green energy which would also create millions of new sustainable jobs, for 100%  renewables, for more energy efficiency, for clean energy and a good future. We unite to stand up against new brown-coal mining in the Lausitz.

We strongly support local communities in Poland and Germany who have been fighting for sustainable future for their homelands.

And we ask you to fight with us and support people in the Lausitz: Be part of it and join hands in a human chain across borders between Kerkwitz in Germany and Grabice in Poland tomorrow, on Saturday 23 August 2014 – against the expansion of brown-coal mining in the Lausitz region, for a Europe-wide transition to Green energy!

Stop climate change! Create new green jobs! Think European, act local!

Agnieszka Grzybek, Adam Ostolski
Co-chairs of the Polish Greens Zieloni

Sven Giegold
Spokesperson of German delegation of the Greens in the European Parliament

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Łukasz Moll: The 'Old Federalism' is Retreating

Do we really want more Europe, integration and solidarity? Or should we perhaps first ask exactly what ‘more Europe, integration and solidarity’ should look like? The results of the European elections in Poland show that ‘old federalism’ is retreating. - Łukasz Moll in the Green European Journal.

[read more]

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Anna Grodzka MP joins the Green Party

Friday, 27th June. Anna Grodzka MP of the Your Movement defected to the Green Party.  Grodzka will stay in the Your Movement's parliamentary group in order to continue her work as rapporteur of several pieces of legislation: a major progressive revision of the Labour Code, a revision of the Protection of Tenants Act, and a new draft law on gender identity.

Anna Grodzka was elected in 2011 from the list of the Palikot Movement. Before her parliamentary career, she was an entrepreneur and LGBT activist. A self-described eco-socialist, she is currently the only serving transgender member of parliament in the world.

Explaining her decision in an interview with Bartłomiej Kozek of the Zielone Wiadomości (Green News), Grodzka said: „The Greens have a crucial role to play. What we need in Poland is a broad, left-wing, democratic alliance able to resist the duopoly of the right – the neoliberal-statist political block consisting of Law and Justice and Civic Platform. I intend to work on building such an alliance.” The potential for change in the political landscape lies in social movements, Grodzka stressed: „It is social movements that have been the bearers of the will of change, they demand more democracy, a fairer economic policy, sustainable development...”

Referring to her former party, Janusz Palikot's Your Movement, Grodzka said: „Your Movement did change the politics in Poland for the better. […] I am quitting, because the party has fulfilled its historic role. I am glad that I could be part of it. But now, more and more people have the feeling that Your Movement has lost direction […] Janusz Palikot needs to decide whether he wants to build a left-wing party in terms of economic policies, or a liberal one.”

Grodzka pointed out several occasions when she was successful in convincing the Your Movement parliamentary group to take a more left-wing direction. In other cases, however, she voted otherwise than her colleagues. She was against the raising of the retirement age to 67 (from 65 for men and 60 for women) and against supporting the Kraków's bid for being the host city of the Winter Olympic Competition in 2022.

In a press release, the leaders of the Polish Greens Agnieszka Grzybek and Adam Ostolski state that Grodzka has been working together with their party on many issues for a long time. They point out at a deep affinity of Grodzka's political positions and Green policies. They also stress that the Green Party remains equally critical of both parties of the parliamentary left, Your Movement and Democratic Left Alliance alike.

More: interview with Anna Grodzka on her joining the Green Party (in Polish)

Friday, 28 March 2014

Bartłomiej Kozek: Polish and European ghosts of the past

Polish history is shaped today by remembering the failed attempts in regaining independence. This leaves less and less space to tell different, more nuanced stories. This explains why Poland has an ambivalent memory of the First World War. In 1914, it was part of different empires. The end of the war was also the return of its independence. Strengthening alternative narratives may be crucial in opening Poland to stories linking its inhabitants to wider, European history. - Bartłomiej Kozek in the Green Europeam Journal.

[read more]

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Leokadia Oręziak: Private pension funds in Poland – the risk goes to the pensioner

In mid-2013 the Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, announced plans for reform of the country’s pension system. Private pension funds will no longer be allowed to buy governmental bonds, which led to the growth in the levels of public debt. The bonds they acquired earlier will be put back to the public pension system. The obligation to have a private pension fund, which was the second pillar of the pension system, will be lifted, and people will be able to shift their savings to the public insurance company. This reform has sparked much controversy and was fiercely opposed by neo-liberal economists and think-tanks. Professor Leokadia Oręziak rebuffs these criticisms and shows the devastating effects that the partial privatisation of the pensions system had on public debt in Poland.

Read the interview with Leokadia Oręziak in the Green European Journal.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Greens and Pirates: in search of a new majority for the commons

Ever since their emergence within the political landscape, Pirates have been perceived by Greens both as rivals for voters’ support and potential allies in a common cause. The Pirate movement has articulated its distinctive political vision and, in several countries, succeeded in creating a new constituency of voters. Whereas on the level of national politics in various countries Pirates pose for the Greens more or less of a challenge, in the European Parliament, they work together, on a daily basis, on issues such as data protection, network security or intellectual property reform. Is it a result of a contingent overlapping of Green and Pirate agendas, or is it a sign of a deeper affinity, or complementarity, between the two movements?

One of possible answers has been developed by Michel Bauwens, a thinker, a peer-to-peer theorist and the founder of P2P Foundation. Michel Bauwens advanced the idea of a “grand alliance” for the commons. Such an alliance would bring together Greens, Pirates, movements for social justice (trade unions, farmers’ associations), and small entrepreneurs – to protect natural (environmental) and cultural (digital) commons.

I talked to Michel via internet in August 2013, a couple of days before the conference Europe from Below, co-organised by Polish Green Party, Polish Teachers’ Union, and National Union of Nurses and Midwives. Michel took part in a panel discussion on “Internet and digital citizenship.”

Adam Ostolski

Read the interview at the Green European Journal.
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