Left Together

Left Together (Polish: Lewica Razem) is a left-wing political party in Poland.[1]

Left Together
Lewica Razem (Razem)
LeaderCollective leadership
Founded16 May 2015
HeadquartersNowy Świat 27, Warsaw
Youth wingMłodzi Razem
Ideology
Political positionLeft-wing
National affiliationThe Left
Colours  Alizarin carmine
Sejm
6 / 460
Senate
0 / 100
European Parliament
0 / 52
Regional assemblies
0 / 555
Website
partiarazem.pl

It was formed in 2015 as "Together", and it was one of the eight nationwide committees standing in the 2015 parliamentary election. It was a member of the Progressive International, and it has cooperated with DiEM25 since 2016. In 2022, Razem ended cooperation with both organizations, criticising their "lack of an unequivocal declaration of recognition of Ukraine's sovereignty and the absolute condemnation of Russian imperialism" during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[2] It is headed by a collective leadership, although Adrian Zandberg serves as its main representative. It supports principles of democratic-socialism[3] and has expressed progressive views.[4] It also maintains a syndicalist faction.[5]

HistoryEdit

Razem was founded as a response to the unsuccessful attempt to create a left-wing political platform in Poland during the 2015 presidential election.[6] Another reason was dissatisfaction with the role of the post-communist Democratic Left Alliance as the main centre-left party.[7] Many founders were previously activists in the Young Socialists, The Greens or local initiatives, including Kraków Against Games.[8]

Razem's main political stances were formulated during the founding congress on 16–17 May 2015, when Razem's first National Board was elected, consisting of Jakub Baran, Aleksandra Cacha, Alicja Czubek, Maciej Konieczny, Magdalena Malińska, Mateusz Mirys, Katarzyna Paprota, Adrian Zandberg, and Marcelina Zawisza. However, several local structures were active even earlier, in March and April. The party was officially registered on 21 July 2015.

Razem registered lists for the 2015 parliamentary election in all electoral districts and received 3.6% of the vote in the election, below the 5% threshold to gain seats in parliament.[9][10] However, having met the 3% threshold, the party received state subsidy for their election campaign.

In 2016 Razem instigated mass protests (called the Black Protest) against a bill that would impose a complete ban on abortion, proposed by a citizens' initiative.[11][12][13] In 2016, Foreign Policy magazine included Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk of the Razem National Board, together with Barbara Nowacka of Polish Initiative (Inicjatywa Polska), in its annual list of the 100 most influential global thinkers for their role in organising the protest.[14] In 2018, Forbes magazine included Marcelina Zawisza on its annual European Forbes 30 Under 30 list in the "Law & Policy" category for her role as a co-founder of Razem and one of the organizers of "black protest".[15]

Since 2016, Razem has also been cooperating with the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM25) pan-European movement, founded by Yanis Varoufakis.[16][17] In May 2017, Varoufakis has expressed DiEM25's support for Razem in the 2019 European Parliament election.[18]

On 6 July 2017 Razem organised a protest against Donald Trump's visit to Poland. Protesters were dressed as handmaids from Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, as a symbol of the stripping down of women's rights both in Poland and the United States.[19]

In September 2017, Razem activists filed a complaint with the National Electoral Commission on behalf of the party, alleging that the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists had helped to fund a Law and Justice conference during the 2015 parliamentary election campaign in violation of European Parliament rules as well as Polish electoral law.[20] On 29 October, the commission announced that it would investigate the complaint.[21][22]

Razem was reluctant to launch a youth organisation, claiming that the party is already run by relatively young people and does not need a separate entity for teenage activists. Eventually, in May 2019, Razem formed Młodzi Razem (The Together Youth), which recruits supporters between 13 and 25 years of age. The organisation focuses on local activism and minority rights; several of its members are assistants to the party's politicians.

For the 2019 parliamentary election, Razem formed a coalition with the Democratic Left Alliance and Wiosna, known as The Left, winning 6 seats in the Sejm. Soon after the election results were announced, the National Board voted to oblige the six elected MPs to donate all income surpassing triple the minimum wage to charity;[23] universally lowering politicians' pay to this threshold was one of the early postulates.[24] Since the electoral list was formally registered to SLD, Razem's candidates could not receive funding from their own party. Instead, they made personal donations after having cashed out "appreciation bonus" from the party's budget. The situation caused uproar and was met with opposition within Razem.[25]

Since January 2021, the party regularly releases a podcast "Partia Razem mówi ciekawe rzeczy" (The Together Party talks about interesting stuff). Episodes consist of interviews, discussions, solo talks, and speeches recorded during the parliamentary sessions. Outside of this, Razem livestreams on Facebook and YouTube.

IdeologyEdit

 
Razem activists protesting the Polish Constitutional Court crisis

Economic, tax and labour policyEdit

The party advocates labour rights and opposes deregulation and privatisation of public services. Among its main goals are strengthening redistribution, adopting a 35-hour workweek, raising the income tax threshold to the equivalent of 12 times the minimum wage (ca. $3,200 as of 2016), establishing progressive corporate tax, and creating a healthcare programme funded directly from the state budget. It also wishes to completely remove special economic zones from Poland. The party's economic program is partially inspired by the Nordic model.[26] The party considers itself part of the anti-austerity movement.[27] British economist Guy Standing describes Razem as "the first authentic movement in Poland representing the precariat".[28]

Social policyEdit

 
Razem activists during 2018 Parada Równości

Razem is progressive on social issues, supporting drug liberalisation, sex education in schools and LGBT rights. It also strictly follows gender quotas and is for liberalising Poland's abortion law.[29] The party is not known to be particularly antireligious, however it does hold secular agenda, including opposition to teaching Catholic religion in public schools, outlawing the conscientious objection right, limiting state funding of the Church and taxation thereof.

It has opposed the introduction of Single Member Electoral Constituencies for elections to the Polish Sejm, which in their opinion leads to the creation of a two-party system.[30]

The party maintains a nuanced attitude towards the Polish People's Republic: while condemning its authoritarian practices, it is respectful of its legacy in terms of social progression and modernization. The party also opposes the so-called decommunization laws and the Institute of National Remembrance, which they deem are used by the ruling PiS party to wage a war against the historic memory and legacy of the political left.[31][32]

Razem believes that Poland should "actively engage in the fight against climate change" and expresses its willingness to "take the necessary steps to adapt the economy [of Poland] to the challenges of climate change".[33]

Foreign and defence policyEdit

Razem supports an active role for Poland in the international community, citing the United Nations and OSCE as the most important organizations in that context.[33]

The party is a strong supporter of the European Union and has taken a stance against Brexit. The party believes that the EU, in its current form, represents the interests of 'big business', but has nonetheless found 'indisputable successes' and could be reformed to create a 'progressive' pan-European social and tax policy. The party is a proponent of stronger European integration.[34] The party further proposes the creation of an EU army.[33] On the other hand, it has criticised the Eurozone, stating that it had been 'poorly thought-out' and could lead to financial shocks in 'weaker Union economies', however adding that if the 'reformed' Eurozone were to become 'truly solidary', it would fully support Poland's adoption of the Euro.[35]

The party has declared that it is convinced that NATO was 'not a sufficient tool' to ensure the lasting security of Poland and Europe, instead preferring the creation of an EU Army through the Common Security and Defence Policy.[33]

It strongly supports efforts for international arms control and disarmament as part of a larger 'peace policy'.[33]

The party states that it opposes 'all forms of imperialism' and has condemned the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which they deem to be a violation of international law.[33]

It has also condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin's foreign policy, what they deem to be the Kremlin's 'nationalist hysteria', 'extreme conservatism' and 'legally sanctioned homophobia', as well as the Russian annexation of Crimea. It criticised the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine as "Putin that has repeatedly broken international law by infringing upon the territorial integrity of a neighbouring country" .[36] At the same time, it has criticised 'the policy of the conservative-liberal Ukrainian government'. It has stated that, if in power, it would 'support social justice [in Ukraine] and limit the influence of the Ukrainian oligarchy'.[37]

The party opposes TTIP and CETA, as they believe they will "lead to the undermining of financial stability and rapid growth of debt".[33]

It poses a welcoming stance to refugees entering Poland and considers it an obligation of the Polish state to 'help the most deprived'. It also opposes the construction of border barriers.[38]

The party has expressed sympathy and support for the Syrian and Turkish Kurds and has condemned Turkey's ruling AK Party, which they consider authoritarian and discriminatory.[39]

Razem and other The Left politicians actively support the Belarusian protesters in Warsaw, following the hijacking of the Ryanair plane.

StructureEdit

The party has no singular leadership. Instead, it is governed by five branches:[40]

  • Congress — the supreme authority of the party; elects the members of the National Executive Board, Council and Audit Commission, enacts the party program
  • National Council — the legislative body
  • National Executive Board — the executive body; members of the Board also act as public representatives of the party
  • National Audit Commission — the control body
  • National Court of Arbitration — the judicial body

This structure is mirrored on the local level, with the District Assemblies, Boards and Councils.

As of January 2021, the Board consists of five people: Anna Górska, Bartosz Grucela, Paulina Matysiak, Maciej Szlinder and Joanna Wicha.

Members elected to the IX term SejmEdit

Name District Votes (%)
Magdalena Biejat Warszawa (no. 19) 19,501 (1.41%)
Daria Gosek-Popiołek [pl] Kraków (no. 13) 17,488 (2.69%)
Maciej Konieczny Katowice (no. 31) 22,262 (4.74%)
Paulina Matysiak Sieradz (no. 11) 16,757 (3.64%)
Adrian Zandberg Warszawa (no. 19) 140,898 (10.20%)
Marcelina Zawisza Opole (no. 21) 19,206 (4.73%)

Election ResultsEdit

SejmEdit

Election Votes % Seats Change Government
2015 550,349 3.6 (#7)
0 / 460
n/a Extra-parliamentary
2019 2,319,946 12.6 (#3)
6 / 460
  6 Opposition
As part of The Left, which won 49 seats in total.

European ParliamentEdit

Election Votes % Seats Change
2019 168,745 1.2 (#6)
0 / 52
n/a
As part of the Left Together coalition, which did not win any seats.

PresidentialEdit

Election year Candidate 1st round 2nd round
Votes % Votes %
2020 Supported Robert Biedroń 432,129 2.2 (#6)

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^
    • "Poland's left must offer a real alternative to break the right-wing deadlock". Open Democracy. 26 October 2018. At the 2015 parliamentary elections, the young left-wing party Razem (Together), made the significant achievement of crossing the three percent threshold needed to receive state funding.
    • "Migrant kids returned to border, Polish minister admits". EUobserver. Retrieved 2021-12-29.
    • "Poland: Following the European elections, PiS maintains its dominant position in spite of the changing political scene | Heinrich Böll Stiftung". Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung. Retrieved 2021-12-29.
    • "Has Poland's Left-Wing Rebel Learned to Be a Team Player at Last?". OZY. 2020-02-23. Retrieved 2021-12-29.
    • "Michał Kamiński: Przywództwo Schetyny jest zerowe". Rzeczpospolita (in Polish). 17 January 2018. Retrieved 2021-12-29.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ "W związku z brakiem jednoznacznej deklaracji uznania suwerenności Ukrainy i bezwzględnego potępienia imperializmu rosyjskiego przez @ProgIntl i @DiEM_25 , Rada Krajowa Razem postanowiła wczoraj zakończyć współpracę z tymi organizacjami". Twitter. 2022-03-01. Retrieved 2022-03-01.
  3. ^ "Deklaracja programowa" (in Polish). Retrieved 2021-01-27.
  4. ^ "Polen: Was steckt hinter dem Erfolg der PiS?" (in German). Retrieved 2020-01-29.
  5. ^ "Partia Razem. Nowa partia dla prekariuszy" (in Polish). Gazeta Wyborcza. Retrieved 2015-09-26.
  6. ^ Żuberek, Dorota (2015-10-14). "Apel: Chcemy wspólnego startu lewicy społecznej. "Lewicy w Sejmie teraz nie ma. Jest Anna Grodzka"" (in Polish). TokFm.
  7. ^ Szczerbiak, Aleks (2015-07-28). "Does the Polish left have a future?". openDemocracy. Retrieved 2015-10-14.
  8. ^ Paprzycki, Cezary (2015-05-19). "Uporządkowana antysystemowość" (in Polish). pikio.pl. Archived from the original on 2015-05-20.
  9. ^ "Razem to tylko "fanpejdż na fejsie"? Nie. Partia wystawi listę ogólnokrajową" (in Polish). gazeta.pl. 2015-09-14. Retrieved 2015-10-14.
  10. ^ "Wykaz komitetów wyborczych" (in Polish). pkw.gov.pl. Archived from the original on 2015-09-27. Retrieved 2015-10-14.
  11. ^ Interview: The #czarnyprotest and Monday’s women strike might be a turning point in Polish politics
  12. ^ To ona wymyśliła #CzarnyProtest. Mówili, że lajkami na Facebooku i czarnym ubraniem nie wygramy. No więc wygraliśmy!
  13. ^ "Czarny protest. Partia Razem przeciw zaostrzeniu prawa aborcyjnego". 2016-09-24. Retrieved 2016-10-05.
  14. ^ "Foreign Policy's Annual List of the 100 Top Global Thinkers". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2016-12-12.
  15. ^ "Marcelina Zawisza". Forbes. 2018-01-22. Retrieved 2018-01-22.
  16. ^ "Razem – DiEM25" (in Polish). Partiarazem.pl. Retrieved 2017-05-30.
  17. ^ European Spring Webpage (retrieved on 17 October 2018)
  18. ^ Yanis Varoufakis über Europas Zukunft: "Wir fangen gerade erst an" - taz.de
  19. ^ "Handmaid-Costumed Activists Protest Trump's Visit to Poland". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2017-07-06.
  20. ^ Olko, Dorota. ""Właśnie złożyliśmy wniosek @partiarazem o kontrolę PKW w związku z doniesieniami @gazeta_wyborcza o finansowaniu PiS z funduszy unijnych"". Twitter.com. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  21. ^ "PKW sprawdzi kampanijne finanse PiS. Mazurek odpiera zarzuty: to fake news". Tvn24.pl. TVN24. 29 September 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  22. ^ ""W poniedziałek, 2.10 Państwowa Komisja Wyborcza zajmie się wnioskiem @partiarazem w sprawie sprawozdania finansowego @pisorgpl"". Twitter.com. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  23. ^ "Część pensji poselskiej na cele społeczne". Partia Razem - Inna polityka jest możliwa! (in Polish). 2019-11-15. Retrieved 2021-06-03.
  24. ^ "Partia Razem chce pensji poselskiej jako trzykrotności płacy minimalnej". www.gazetaprawna.pl (in Polish). 2018-04-06. Retrieved 2021-06-03.
  25. ^ "Ogromne zarobki zarządu partii Razem". www.rp.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 2021-06-03.
  26. ^ "Partia Razem objawieniem debaty. Zrobią z Polski drugą Szwecję, albo... Grecję" (in Polish). Money.pl. Retrieved 2015-11-07.
  27. ^ "Razem: We need to reclaim the social minimum". Veronika Pehe. Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  28. ^ Głos prekariatu – Guy Standing at YouTube
  29. ^ "Stanowiska" (in Polish). Partia Razem. Retrieved 2015-10-14.
  30. ^ "Stanowisko o jednomandatowych okręgach wyborczych w wyborach do sejmu". Partia Razem - Inna polityka jest możliwa! (in Polish). Retrieved 2019-10-17.
  31. ^ "Elbląg: Bronimy pomników walki z nazizmem". Partia Razem - Inna polityka jest możliwa! (in Polish). 2018-01-10. Retrieved 2019-10-16.
  32. ^ "Chronimy pamięć o Dąbrowszczakach". Partia Razem - Inna polityka jest możliwa! (in Polish). 2017-12-19. Retrieved 2019-10-16.
  33. ^ a b c d e f g "Stanowisko w sprawie polityki zagranicznej". Partia Razem - Inna polityka jest możliwa! (in Polish). Retrieved 2019-10-17.
  34. ^ "Razem za Unią solidarną. Przeciw Brexitowi". Partia Razem - Inna polityka jest możliwa! (in Polish). Retrieved 2019-10-17.
  35. ^ "Stanowisko w sprawie integracji europejskiej". Partia Razem - Inna polityka jest możliwa! (in Polish). Retrieved 2019-10-17.
  36. ^ "Resolution of the National Council of Lewica Razem regarding the Russian Federation's invasion of Ukraine". Partia Razem. 2022-02-25. Archived from the original on 2022-02-25. Retrieved 2022-03-02.
  37. ^ "Stanowisko w sprawie konfliktu w Ukrainie". Partia Razem - Inna polityka jest możliwa! (in Polish). Retrieved 2019-10-17.
  38. ^ "Stanowisko ws. uchodźców". Partia Razem - Inna polityka jest możliwa! (in Polish). Retrieved 2019-10-17.
  39. ^ "Stanowisko w sprawie Kurdów". Partia Razem - Inna polityka jest możliwa! (in Polish). Retrieved 2019-10-17.
  40. ^ "Statut" (PDF) (in Polish). Partia Razem. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-10-13. Retrieved 2015-10-14.