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The “No for Acta” Movement

Published on January 31, 2012 by: in: Society

The “No for Acta” Movement. Young Poles take to the streets not to defend jobs and wages, but in the name of the freedom of the Internet.

Is the government building by its arrogance a generational experience that young Poles lack? Perhaps, from the passive generation Side by Side, we are becoming a very active ANTI generation.

If you look back to 2011 – the year of revolution in which young people have played first fiddle – from Tahrir Square to the Occupy Wall Street movement, it can be concluded that young Poles missed the moment. It is difficult today for young people in Poland to catch ‘Revolution’ for many reasons. Since we were little, we have been told that someone else won the freedom for us and the only thing we can do is to do something practical with it –  the best idea is to invest in ourselves and increase GDP. In this mood the young generation describes the Michał Boni’s (Polish Minister of Administration and Digitization) report the “Young 2011”, which, as I wrote here, shows us as a generation of softies – who joyfully trade freedom for little stability – in the name of an iPhone, work in a corporation and holidays in Turkey. In these rising material and lifestyle aspirations, the “Young 2011” report sees the opportunity to build a new model of Polish communalism. It does not see the potential in the young to rebel, because rebellion is not worth-while for us.
The creators of the report, while describing “the youth” keep forgetting about one thing – to go beyond the digit, outside the Warsaw’s parlour and give voice to those who they describe.

So “the young” spoke. Welcome to the real world.

And here on the street just turns out, that contrary to the assumptions that “stupid audience will swallow it all” (Kisielewski –  Polish writer, publicist, composer and politician), however, there are things that can piss us off – and it is not the lack of work or earning 1200PLZ. It is the overwhelming arrogance of power.

The Side by Side generation speaks out.

Let’s do it by turns. The ethnographic research (about which more can be read here) gives us a picture, as opposed to the wishful thinking of the Boni’s report, that the generation is not willing to co-create Poland, about which the authors of the “Young 2011” report dream so much. Young Poles with whom I spoke, live rather Side by Side. They have no expectations from the country. They know that their country has little to offer. They don’t give a fig about their country. But they also hope that the state will leave them alone. They do not see the point of rebellion, they are not ANTI. A sense of historical injustice, so popular among our peers in the West, is not present in them (in us). There is also no brotherhood, community and willingness to go beyond, which are necessary to create a social movement. Up to some point.
Because it’s all changing in front of our eyes.

When the Side by Side generation becomes ANTI.

We are witnessing something we have considered as impossible since now. The generation of egoists, the generation of 1200, the generation that lives Side by Side just take to the streets of Polish cities. And it is not to defend work and pay, but to defend the freedom of the Internet. The government by its actions in an amazing way stimulated the young Poles to civic activity. One would like to say “well done” and write a manual on how to create active citizens in 24 hours. The government by its arrogance is building the generational experience we, young Poles, lack – from the passive Side by Side generation, we are becoming the active ANTI generation. It is amazing that the arrogance of the authorities makes us able to take to the streets – not in defence of a clearly defined self-interest – jobs, wages, money – we know the government will not take care about that for us. The time when the government enters into what we recognize as our own playground of freedom is already one step too far.

Translation: Kamila Kwiecień

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About Dominika Blachnicka - Ciacek

Sociologist and PhD student at the Goldsmiths College University of London. For many years she has been doing research on social and cultural changes in Europe and Middle East. Founder of Culture Tales, author of documentary films.

Fredrich Naumann Foundation For The Freedom
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