Law and Justice’s welfare state – Poland for Beginners

At 18:00 CET on Thursday the 6th April 2017, Krytyka Polityczna‘s new Polish for Beginners series was kickstarted with an introduction to Law and Justice’s social policies.

This discussion took place in English and a full recording of the evening can be found below.

Topic / Speaker / Location / Series

About the discussion:

Has Kaczyński snatched the social agenda from the political left?

After two political campaigns in 2015, many experts believed that the Prawda i Sprawiedliwość [Law and Justice] party would run social policies as they had a decade before, when they promised more social solidarity before the elections and then reduced taxes for the highest earners as soon as they were in power.

However, this time is different: the conservative government has introduced the most generous family policy programme since 1989 (the so-called Family 500+), lowered the retirement age (as promised), increased the minimum wage and introduced a minimum hourly wage for non-permanent workers.

What therefore has surprised many people is how PiS is now emerging as an alternative to progressive forces in Poland. Which begs the question, has Prawda i Sprawiedliwość become a people’s party, which stands up for the everyman?’ Are its policies egalitarian and progressive, does the party now offer truly just social policies which compete with the left’s proposals or are these policies just token offerings?


Rafał Woś is a journalist and writer, specialising in economic articles. He has had a weekly column in Polityka since October 2015 and before that he worked as a lead journalist at Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.

The Poland for Beginners series:

Not from Poland? Interested in society, politics or culture, but having a hard time following discussions in Polish? Krytyka Polityczna’s English-language outlet, Political Critique, invites you to a series of English-language lectures which will cover contemporary issues relating to both domestic issues in Poland and Polish actions on the international scene.

These debates are free entry and will take place in Krytyka Polityczna’s premises (see bottom of the page) in Warsaw.

These debates will also be live streamed and you can keep track of the live streams by following Political Critique on YouTube and/or Facebook. Please note that while Political Critique’s Facebook site is all in English, they share a YouTube channel with their Polish sister organisation and many videos will therefore be in Polish.

Attend, listen and discuss!

27 April, Thursday, 18.00

Explaining the Black Protests against the abortion ban in Poland

Why did Polish women mobilise in such large numbers in 2016?

Meet with Elżbieta Korolczuk, a sociologist, activist and commentator.


11 May, Thursday, 18.00

Aaaa we buy compensation claim

How can you become the owner of an inhabited building, schoolyard, public park or city square?

Meet with Jan Śpiewak, a city activist and councillor on the Srodmiecie District Council.


25 May, Thursday, 18.00

✤ From foreign correspondents to migrant magazines, migrants making media in Poland.

Meet with Mamaliga de Varsovia and others.


This and all other Poland for Beginners discussions will take place in Krytyka Polityczna’s edtiorial office at ul. Foksal 16, Warsaw.