Feature

Poland: Jail time for wearing a Che shirt?

Last week, the government amended the penal code to outlaw the display of communist symbols, said Marek Domagalski in Rzeczpospolita.

Marek Domagalski
Rzeczpospolita

Is Poland going too far in banning communist symbols? asked Marek Domagalski. The Polish constitution already forbids the endorsement of “the totalitarian methods and practices of Nazism and fascism,” including displaying the swastika. Last week, the government amended the penal code to outlaw the display of communist symbols, such as the hammer and sickle, as well.

Critics worry that the law is so broadly written that it could give prosecutors the right to close down organizations and websites that are deemed so far left as to amount to an endorsement of communism. And some say it could even give the government the power to “prosecute someone for selling those T-shirts with the likeness of Che Guevara,” the icon of the Cuban Revolution. Already, anti-communist civic groups are planning to use the new law to force the renaming of streets and towns named for communist activists.

Sure, the law provides an exception if communist symbols are used for artistic or educational purposes, and not with the “intent of spreading communist ideology.” But who is supposed to rule on the intentions behind the use of a symbol? The government. Sounds ominously like totalitarianism to me.

Recommended

A surge in violence in Pakistan
The rubble of a Peshawar mosque damaged in a suicide bombing.
Feature

A surge in violence in Pakistan

The Adani Group scandal, explained
Gautam Adani.
Briefing

The Adani Group scandal, explained

China says it successfully cloned 3 'super cows'
5 cows lined up at feeding trough.
carbon copy

China says it successfully cloned 3 'super cows'

Japanese restaurants fight back against viral 'sushi terrorism' trend
Photo of Kura Sushi, a Japanese conveyor belt sushi restaurant chain
save the sushi

Japanese restaurants fight back against viral 'sushi terrorism' trend

Most Popular

The Hogwarts Legacy boycott controversy, explained
Hogwarts Legacy logo photo
Briefing

The Hogwarts Legacy boycott controversy, explained

Republicans oust Ilhan Omar from House committee
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn)
Punitive politics?

Republicans oust Ilhan Omar from House committee

U.S. firm offers Ukraine 2 Reaper drones for $1, plus $10 million in shipping
MQ-9 Reaper drone
Fine Print

U.S. firm offers Ukraine 2 Reaper drones for $1, plus $10 million in shipping