Jan Sowa’s talk revisits recent Polish history from the point of view of walter Benjamin’s famous quip that “behind every fascism, there is a failed revolution.” he looks at a history of roughly 35 years, beginning from the early 1980s. the original revolutionary event is the appearance of Solidarność, a worker’s move- ment with a social message and little sympathy for private enterprise, crushed under martial law. Its ideals soon disappeared in the course of so-called communism’s collapse and the oppres- sive neoliberal transformation in the late 1980s and early 1990s. today, it is replaced by popu- lism as a reactionary, post-neoliberal formation.
This development is typical of the former so- called communist countries on the whole, form- ing a perverse avant-garde on the semi-periph- ery of the world system, where the social and political consequences of neoliberalism occur in a particularly striking, unmitigated form. After his talk Jan Sowa joins in conversation with Ekaterina Degot.
Social theorist and author JAn SOwA holds a PhD in sociol- ogy and a habilitation in cultural studies. His research assignments took him to several universities in Poland and abroad, recently to Warsaw University and University of São Paulo. Sowa is the author and editor of numerous publications, including the volume of essays A Joy Forever: Political Economy of Social Creativity. He lives in warsaw.