A SKILL OF PURSUING POLITICS

JAN ŻARYN

Today we are being bombarded with the news which – caused by their creators – influence a more and more negative evaluation of the Polish parliamentarism. One the one hand – Poles received a signal due to which they can ask whether the Seym or the Senate are needed, if on 16 December 2016 there appeared paralysis of legislative authority, and the country is still functioning….The government - yes, but parliament? On the other hand – what those who are the quickest in action could think on, whether the Turkish model would not be a suitable antidote to chaos and anarchy caused by the behaviour of the opposition. Anyway, we lost, as Poles, in the conflict, because among us there appeared stronger voices delegitimizing the need/necessity of the existence of legislative authority in independent Poland. I blame the opposition for this situation, which ‘brought up’ the ones asking the above questions. (And I heard them during ‘street’ talks). When it is difficult to find good teachers, it is worth referring to historical characters. In January 1917 Ignacy Jan Paderewski was in the United States, but he was not on holiday, but to take care of Polish issues. In agreement with the founder of the Central Polish Agency in Lausanne, Roman Dmowski, he was to persuade the president of the USA to opt for the sake of the rights of Poles, as the nation, to have their own country. Why was it decided to travel to the USA in this matter, if the Agency was just gaining France and Great Britain for this matter, pursuing a murderous positional war with Germany?

Well, because, unlike the above-mentioned ones, the USA had not participated in the war yet, or did not have any allied commitments either to Germany or to – what is the most important in this case – Russia. France and England, fearing separatistic peace between Russia and Germany, were very afraid of declarations breaching interests of the important ally. Dmowski and Paderewski understood it. Thanks to operations of the latter one, on 22 January president of the USA Thomas Woodro Wilson, aiming at expressing his agreement in the American Congress on the participation of America in the Great War, spoke to his nation. The most important part of Wilson spoken to the Congress of the USA was as follows: ‘No peace can be permanent (…) , which does not acknowledge and does not accept the rule that governments get their whole authority from the agreement of the governed. (…) I consider it as something certain, that statesmen agree with the fact that there should be united, independent Poland’. In the first statement there were essential words that the purpose of the war which the United States will join, is to establish peace based on the rule of national self-determination and democratic order, resulting from American tradition. The second sentence came from a statement given to the president of the USA by our great master. On 8 January 1917 he received an offer from the colonel Edward House, an advisor and friend of Wilson (about whom he used to say: ‘he is my second me’), in order to prepare a memorial in the Polish issue quickly, containing our postulates and needs. Paderewski needed only 2 weeks to make the word embodied and the president could express his opinion to the Congress, which in a few months – when the USA joined the war on the side of France and England – also became a commitment and a counter-argument for the main allies of the Polish policy pursued by the duet Dmowski-Paderewski. Marginalization of Russia by George Clemenceau could appear only due to entering the scene by a more serious player than Lausanne agency. Real Polish politicians understood it very well.

As one can see, it is possible to use 2 weeks in politics in various ways. On the 100th anniversary of this historic event, we should think about those Polish politicians, whose work used to bring and still brings good fruits. It is also worth reminding these words of Thomas Woodrow Wilson to the 45th President of the United States, who has just begun his presidency. Let him remember that America is fighting for self-determination of nations against outer pressures and for democratic order, that is, inner order of things and not giving in to anarchy or authoritarianism!

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„Niedziela” 05/2017

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Lidia Dudkiewicz • Translation: Aneta Amrozik • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl