Gary T. Marx




The Police as Social Change Agents? The Curious Case of Poland’s Transition

As Gary T. Marx points out, the police in post-Soviet Poland played an independent and central role in the easy transition from the collapse of Communism to the advent of capitalism as intermediaries between Polish privatization and the global economy. In this sense, Polish police are privatized. As market elites overwhelm democratic elites, police will swear allegiance to the highest bidder. With superficial adherence to ideologies other than self-perpetuation, the police are leaders in labor “flexibility.” Poland’s situation made their policing transition much easier, an ultimately unfortunate occurrence. Post-Soviet Poland’s capitalist “shock therapy” generated the fastest economic growth in Europe, but it destroyed an effective health and welfare system and created skyrocketing unemployment and vast inequalities.

democratic transition — Eastern Europe; police — Poland; intelligence services — Poland; internal security — Poland; democratization

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 27, No. 2 (2000): 106-112