Jarosław Kaczyński’s “Defend Poland” Speech

Jarosław Kaczyński delivering the “Defend Poland” speech. Source: PiS Official YouTube channel “Oświadczenie Prezesa PiS, Wicepremiera Jarosława Kaczyńskiego”

Recorded in the form of a video clip, the statement of Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński was published on the website of Law and Justice on October 27, 2020. In the video, Jarosław Kaczyński sits at a table in front of Polish flags. The video reminded many Internet users of General Wojciech Jaruzelski’s televised speech from December 13, 1981, in which Jaruzelski declared martial law in Poland. The martial law lasted until July 1983 and was the Communist government’s attempt to curb the activity of the oppositional Solidarity movement by introducing a military junta and using militia and other forces to pacify the protesters (also in ways that led to the protesters’ death). In his speech, General Jaruzelski talked about “the rising violence of extremists” and the threat to socialist Poland caused by anti-Communist demonstrations led by the Solidarity movement. The perceived similarity between the two speeches sparked civil dissent and served as an inspiration for memes and protest signs during the 2020 demonstrations.

For additional historical context, it is important to notice that the so-called “abortion compromise” – which previously regulated abortion law in Poland and restricted the access to abortion to three cases: threat to the pregnant person’s life or health, irreversible and severe damage to the fetus, and pregnancy resulting from rape or incest – was sealed by the legal act of January 7, 1993. In 1996, an amendment was passed to introduce the possibility of terminating a pregnancy due to a difficult material or personal situation of the pregnant person, but it was struck down by the ruling of the Constitutional Tribunal from May 28, 1997.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On October 22, the Constitutional Tribunal issued a ruling on the 1993 legal act on abortion and its constitutionality. The 1993 act bans abortion but allows for it to be executed under certain circumstances, for instance, in the case of severe damage to the child during the prenatal period or in the case of a serious illness that leads to death.

The ruling is fully consistent with the Constitution, more than that – in the light of the Constitution there could be no other ruling.

This institution was decreed by the 1993–1997 Parliament in the year 1997. In that parliament, the left had an advantage, a very big advantage. Today, the ruling became a reason or an excuse for violent social occurrences, occurrences that are happening in exceptional circumstances. We are in a fatal stage of the Covid epidemic, we are in a state where all kinds of gatherings of more than five persons are banned, we are in a state where these demonstrations will surely cost many lives.

Those, who incite [others to demonstrate] and those who take part in [the protests], are calling down a national danger, that is, they are committing a crime, a serious crime. The authorities have not only the right, but also the obligation to oppose events of this kind.

But they [the protests] have yet another aspect. Churches are being attacked. This is a completely unprecedented incident in the history of Poland, at least on this scale. Those are terrible incidents; people can have varying opinions on the Church, one can be a believer or a non-believer – Poland ensures a complete religious tolerance – but there can be no doubt that the moral deposit held by the Church is the only moral system that is commonly known in Poland. Renouncing it is [an act of] nihilism. And we can observe nihilism in those demonstrations and those attacks on the Church, but also in the ways of expressing, the expression of those who demonstrate, their almost unbelievable obscenity, in everything that shows the bad side of some part of our society. And because adults often incite children to partake in those demonstrations, the malignance of this aspect of the whole enterprise is particularly great.

This, I repeat, needs to be repelled. This is the duty of the state, but also our duty, citizen duty. We must defend Polish churches before all else. We have to defend them at all costs. I call all the members of Law and Justice and everyone who supports us to take part in a defense of the Church, a defense of everything that is under attack right now, and not by coincidence.

In those attacks, we observe elements of preparation, perhaps even training. This attack is an attack that is meant to destroy Poland. It is meant to lead to the triumph of those forces whose rule will virtually end the history of the Polish nation as we have known it till this day, a nation that is our nation, [a nation] that we carry in our minds and in our hearts. That [nation] is the object of great Polish patriotism.

Let us defend Poland, let us defend patriotism, and let us show decisiveness and bravery. Only then the war that has been declared, declared by our enemies, can be won.

And we should remember that we are completely right when it comes to the matters of law. This ruling cannot be changed as long as the Constitution remains in its current form. Clearly, there is also no room for a legal act that would allow for abortion on demand, and that is the far-left’s demand, as formulated today in the Sejm amidst the cries “War! War!”

Today is the time when we have to learn how to say “No,” to say “No” to all that which can destroy us. But this is up to us, it depends on the state, its machinery, but most importantly, it rests with us. I repeat this once again. [It all depends] on our determination, our courage.

Let us defend Poland!