The 175th anniversary of the promulgation of the Communist Manifesto passed without an echo, although communism is still very much alive.
It is a pity that the 175th anniversary of the promulgation of the Communist Manifesto passed without an echo, because everything we are familiar with today was already present in it. “Law, morality, [and] religion” were considered by the founders of communism “bourgeois prejudices, behind which lurk in ambush just as many bourgeois interests.” The Communist Manifesto called for the “abolition of the family” and mocked “the bourgeois clap-trap about the family and education, about the hallowed co-relation of parents and child.”
It proclaimed that “the working men have no country.” And although it inaugurated the 70-year-long anarchist phase of communism, with its hopes for the death of the state, from the beginning, despite its widespread constitutional and parliamentary aspirations at the time, it announced “the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions.”
A few years ago, the post-Christian democratic President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, unveiled a statue of Marx in Trier that was funded by Communist China. Marx’s ideas are alive and well, and have become a recognized part of the new European tradition.
This is all the more reason for them to be condemned. The disinterested condemnation of the evils of communism – not only that which we experienced in Poland, but communism in general – should have been the fundamental motivation of Polish cultural policy at the European level. This is worth recalling despite the fact that this assertion seems temporarily – I believe – anachronistic [given the victory of the liberal left in Poland’s October 15 elections].
It is no matter if it is met with indifference and rejection. It will at least make it possible to draw clear lines on the map of the ideological jungle that Europe has become. And anyway, it is not only about our Europe.
An essential element of any criticism of modern Russia should be its failure to condemn and punish communism. The fact that, despite the ongoing war, liberal governments and parties [in Europe] are not bothered by the monuments to Lenin and Dzerzhinsky that are being erected in Russia is yet another thing that should be taken into account for a realistic assessment of the spiritual and political position we find ourselves in.
This opinion piece was first published in Polish in the Do Rzeczy weekly in October 2023
Marek Jurek is a former marshal (speaker) of the Polish Sejm (2005-07), a former member of the European Parliament (2014-19), a founding member of the Right of the Republic party (Prawica Rzeczypospolitej), and the leader of the Christian Social Congress (Chrześcijański Kongres Społeczny).