A Communist Whitewash

The 4th of June, 1989 is one of the red letter days in the history of the world. In a case of extreme irony, it was on the 4th of June that on one side of the world, Communism reigned supreme while on another corner of the world, Communism was dealt a death blow.

As detailed in yesterday's post, it was on the 3rd of June that the People's Liberation Army of China began massacring protesters in the Tiananmen Square. The massacre lasted until the 4th of June, by which Tiananmen Square was completely evacuated.

Thus, in the Eastern Hemisphere of the World, the Communist Chinese Government managed to sustain itself and crush the Tiananmen Square Protests. Yet, in the West, communism virtually collapsed in the country of Poland, dealing it a death blow across the erstwhile Soviet bloc.

While everyone acknowledges the impact of the events which occurred in Tiananmen Square in 1989, the elections in Poland which occurred on the same day, is something that even while influencing the world in a large way is yet unknown to the masses.

In April 1989, round table talks were held between the Communist Party and the Solidarity Party, the largest opposition group. A decision was taken to hold partially free and fair elections which were decisively 'match-fixed' in favor of the Communists.

Of the two legislative bodies of Poland -the Senate and the Sejm, only elections to the Senate were completely free and fair. In the Sejm, only 35% (161) of the seats would face elections while the rest 65% were reserved for the Communists and their allies. in addition, all 35 seats elected via the country-wide list were reserved for the Communist candidates provided they won a minimum amount of support. Thus, the fixed nature of this election provided a huge advantage to Communists.

On June 4th, elections were held for the first time in post World War 2 history of the country, which was under the Soviet sphere of influence. The results were astonishing. In a sweeping victory for the Solidarity, it won 99 of the 100 Senate seats. In the Sejm it was a clean sweep, it won all 161 seats which it was allowed to contest. Of 35 seats of the country-wide list, the Solidarity won a whopping 33.

The Communists, on the other hand were completely routed. They drew a blank in the elected Sejm seats as well as in the Senate . Of the 35 seats of the country-wide list it managed to secure only a single seat, while it's ally grabbed another. The results virtually signaled an end to the Commmunist Party dominance.

The election result came as a surprise to many, who didn't expected that the Solidarity to win more than a paltry 20 seats. The Communists in Poland lost all credibility. Across the world, anti-communists welcomed the electorate's verdict.

The effect of this election is something that is not as widely known and acknowledged to the masses as other events, like the Fall of the Berlin Wall are. Perhaps it didn't catch the imagination of the people as much as the Fall of the Berlin Wall did. But the result of this landmark election was what initially began and precipitated the fall of the Communist Bloc.

Poland became the first Soviet Bloc country to achieve such a historic feat. Dissatisfaction against the Communists Governments, already at historically high levels rose worldwide. People were inspired by the electoral whitewash of the communists in Poland. Across Europe, the effect was held.

Hungary too overthrew Communism and was followed by East Germany. This dealt a death blow to the Soviet Union and it's communist ideology. After 2 years, the Soviet Government fell. Communism vanished from the face of the world, with the few exceptions being China, North Korea, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, other Communist Governments in Mongolia, Cambodia, Ethiopia and South Yemen too fell.

This elections also led to the emergence of democracy which until then was restricted to first-world countries and India. Today over half the world's countries are democratic.

The 1989 Poland Elections were the beginning of the steady decline of the Communist ideology in the world. On the 4th of June 1989, Poland kept it's tryst with democracy by overthrowing Communism, effectively changed the world forever.

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