An announced visit to New York by former Polish President, and leader of the Solidarity movement, Lech Wałęsa to stand with, and endorse, the Occupy Wall Street protests was slated to be a major coup for the International left. A hero of the anti-Communist labor movement which liberated Poland from the Soviet Empire endorsing OWS would prove, once and for all, that the demonstrations represented a legitimate, mainstream expression of protest, and that they were not simply astroturf, a fraudulent, artificially contrived, and unrepresentative collection of assemblies of bums, bohemians, and gullible students out for a good time, representing nothing in particular and with no rational agenda, arranged by the hard-core radical left to wave the red flag prominently as a form of agitation at a time in which the left’s grip on political power can be perceived imminently to be slipping away.
Matt Yglesias, in fact, was quick to have a go at hiding the commies behind the anti-Communist hero Wałęsa in his apologia for Occupy Wall Street in The New Republic.
The notion that Occupy Wall Street is a fundamentally radical anti-capitalist movement is completely without foundation. Not only is it odd for TNR to take a harder anti-communist line than, say, Lech Walesa, but this view misunderstands the basic nature of a fluid and rapidly growing movement. The participation of some radicals in the initial organization of the Zuccotti Park protest shouldn’t distract from the fact that the movement has grown by attracting a diverse set of adherents united primarily by an appropriate sense of grievance.
“See?” says Yglesias, “If Lech Wałęsa is willing to stand with them, those protestors cannot possibly be anti-capitalist radicals, agitating for a Marxist revolution.”
But, sorry, Matt, what the American left failed to reckon with, when it tried pulling journalistic strings in Europe to secure a visit and endorsement from Wałęsa is the fact that a significant Polish community exists in the United States, particularly in Chicago, and educated, articulate, and responsible Poles live here, who have family, academic, and political ties to their Fatherland. Ethnic communities with roots in former communist dictatorships and captive nations. not surprisingly, loathe Communism. Poles feel about Marxism and the Left exactly the same way Cubans do. Communists? They hate those guys.
So, what do you know? It just so happened that, hearing reports of that proposed OWS endorsement, an Illinois businessman and political activist with Polish roots named Adam Andrzejewski made it a point to get in touch with people in the Old Country in contact with Wałęsa, to share with him some home truths about just who is who and what is what about those Occupy* protests.
Andrzejewski himself explains what happened at Big Government.
When Walesa’s comments hit the AP wire last week, my team immediately reached out to our Polish contacts. We made the point that the political themes of Occupy Wall Street may have started out with some of the principles that we share, but OWS themes were rapidly being morphed into anti-freedom and anti-liberty messages. At the core is the want for a big, powerful central government to dominate the lives of individual citizens.
Using biggovernment.com plus other news sources, rapidly we painted an accurate picture of the groups training, leading, and organizing the “movement.” The movement is organized by anarchists, Code Pink, the American Communist movement, jihadists, anti-Israel, socialist, and anti- free enterprise interests. OWS folks are politically to the left of President Barack Obama.
At the Lech Walesa Institute Foundation in Warsaw, they were thankful to receive this information.
Based on our discussion and intervention, President Walesa is not going to get involved with the OWS. He is not comfortable with the “organizations” behind the movement. It was not a difficult discussion.
The lifetime of good work exercised by President Walesa has lifted people around the world fighting tyranny. Through the Lech Walesa Institute Foundation in Warsaw, Walesa has supported freedom and liberty around the world. As a man primarily responsible for vanquishing communism in Poland, Walesa has a personal bent toward helping the underdog and the downtrodden.
This spring, when President Obama visited Poland, President Walesa refused to meet with him.
So, no, Mr. Yglesias, you guys did not succeed in bamboozling an aging anti-Communist hero into serving as a useful idiot, and, yes, your protest movement is “fundamentally a radical anti-capitalist” piece of communist agitprop. You lose.