Cafebabel: Can you tell me about yourself?
Konrad: I'm 25, have a university degree, and hail from a small city. I spent a few years abroad.
CB: Why did you decide to vote for Janusza Korwin-Mikke and did you consider voting for other candidates?
Konrad: I chose him, because I have been following his political activity and writing for 11 years. I have talked to him. He checks all the boxes when it comes to my idea of a president: he's affluent, so it's unlikely he sees the post as a way to make money; he comes from a local elite which has an established position in Poland and will strive to defend it; he's an erudite prepared to rule, so no one would have to relieve him of his duties in decision making; he's a polyglot, so he wouldn't need an interpreter in private conversations abroad; he's got a clear-cut personality and has a reputation for being strong and independent, not yielding to pressure. He also offers a clear, coherent and timeless vision of a presidency based on national interest, understood as protection of liberty and property of all citizens. He is intelligent, too, how else would he have managed to make a living of playing cards and chess and writing? I also admire his tenacity in fundamental matters and constancy of his notions on how the state should be run.
I could have backed Jacek Wilk, but I feared that as an inexperienced and relatively young and gifted person, he might have too much of personal ambition that could be used against Poland by the establishment. I also took a liking to Grzegor Braun, who is idealogically similar. Nevertheless, JKM is old and this could have been his last election. There will be time to back others and fix potential mistakes.
CB: Is the politician not lost behind the showman and the provocateur? When you watch Korwin on television, you can see clearly that he is an expert on the media, generous with invectives and maxims equally. Does the whole of Nowa Prawica's political program not suffer because of it, though?
Konrad: No. JKM is rarely shown and can't afford not to be that way, otherwise nobody would hear him, let alone listen to him. Knowing the reality, I'm not surprised people mock JKM. If he supported foreign interests and the postcommunists, he would certainly be presented in a better light. All the major Polish media are in the hands of former informers, and a lot of them (including Cafebabel) are based abroad. We end up exposed to what is shown to us by people who could hardly be called decent, as well as foreigners. Attacks on JKM are in their interest as he takes away their influence.
CB: Do you think it's true that JKM has become popular among the young because entertainment, scandal and hate is their bread and butter?
Konrad: No. I think that JKM is popular among the young because they don't suffer from complexes that characterise people who experienced PRL and they don't expect the state to help them. They would rather the state let them act freely. That's why their only hope is to change the system. People who vote for JKM are nonconformists, yet at the same time they have a respect for tradition. They also have very high ethical and technical standards. Even JKM has to explain himself during meetings. You should go to one of those meetings. You'll see a hall brimming with people and hear uncomfortable questions. I myself went to a few of these lectures and I reckon that to this crowd, the most esteemed values are liberty, responsibility and the vision of the country a generation from now on. If JKM squanders this vision, the young will probably turn their backs on him.
Janusz Korwin-Mikke as Monika Olejnik's guest 13.05.2015
CB: Could you comment on some of the most controversial quotes from Janusz Korwin-Mikke?
- that women should be deprived of the right to vote
Konrad: JKM is not a democrat and would take that right away from everyone, not only women. In some of the cantons in Switzerland women did not have the right to vote until 1990 and the world did not end. Switzerland was one of most liberated and richest countries in the world all the same. From the left-wing point of view women make use of their rights all too seldom, even if they have them. Or they choose men. Do you know that more women voted on JKM than on Ms. Ogórek? Maybe if only women had the vote, JKM would be more successful.
- that EU should be blown up from within
Konrad: EU was made in the interest of Germany. Accepting funds from EU puts us into a position of political dependence and in debt to German banks. We choose mainly those projects we get money for, and these happen to be the ones which don't enhance our potential, only improve our standard of life in the short term. In return for that, Polish companies are weighed down by monstrous bureaucracy which never existed before our entry into EU. This affects our competitiveness negatively and prevents us from getting rich faster than the developed countries. Even important infrastructural projects come to life predominantly on the West-East axis, which is better for Germany (and Russia) than Poland, which needs North-South connections. Poland as Germany's complementary economy is an old concept of Mitteleuropa ('the middle Europe'). The Germans hold us under a political (the Treaty of Lisbon imposes laws on all EU members except Germany) and economic protectorate, they subsidize our country, but tenders are usually won by German companies and then other German companies build their factories in our country where they pay much less for the same job than they would at home. Others still sell their wares of often lesser quality, but higher priced. Poland pays off its mortgages in German banks. Thus Germany profits and we lose. On top of that, a factory is not a university. Our best brains go to West, while at home there is only work for corporation labourers and Polish subcontractors. Our production develops only insofar as it is easy to replace. All trades with a high value added which are in need of specialists and investment of thought and capital are taken over by foreign companies. Poland is a ready market for the West, a supplier of crops, parts and manpower. This is not beneficial for us - Poles. But foreign politicians and companies come off very well on that scheme.
JKM would do away with laws constricting business. We would then have many more big companies in Polish hands and innovations which supply difficult-to-replace products. It's also worth noting that JKM supports the Schengen Agreement, so he doesn't strive towards isolation. We would still be able to travel freely and live in any country signatory to that treaty. Foreigners could also do business in Poland. But JKM would free Polish entrepreneurship and return to Poles the possibility of getting richer.
- that flogging as a punishment should be restored
Konrad: Young offenders go to prison where hell awaits them. If flogging was restored, they would instead get their backside flogged a few times, recuperate in a week and they would lose neither their health nor their future. JKM says flogging wounds the body, but prison wounds the soul. An idea of how flogging could function in a developed country is exemplified in Singapur. I am also for this punishment because it is just - everyone's rear hurts the same.
CB: What could Korwin change in Poland?
Konrad: JKM's program is too extensive to be laid out here. We could expect liquidation of PIT and CIT, VAT to be lowered to 15%, and a lot of legal absurdities abolished. I am positive that fiscal disputes resulting from the legal pandemonium would be decided in favour of the citizens and nobody would be penalized for killing in self defence. Wilczek's act would certainly make a comeback, so everyone would have equal rights to business activity within the boundaries of law, but without hundreds of licences and permissions which are required now. If it was possible to change the Constitution, a strict tripartate distribution of power would be introduced (which would mean restrictions to state power), along with local governments' autonomy, choosing of judges, new electoral regulation in better correspondence with specific electoral bodies, and a ban on creating a budget with a budget deficit. Thanks to these measures Poland would finally start to pay off debts. Depending on support, a gradual transformation towards organisation built on freedom of choice, private property and natural lay would be under way.
CB: How does your environment react to your voting for Korwin? It seems that the left is fashionable with the young people in Poland nowadays?
Konrad: You shouldn't condone what's fashionable but that what is right. That's why I'm trying not to heed what others say, unless they happen to be right. I have yet to meet with a pronounced reaction to my choice. I do believe political views like mine are to others an inconsequential trifle that loses any importance against the practicalities of everyday life. Such people do not feel any shame in voting for random candidates whom they saw briefly on tv. But those who voted like me know that Poland is ill, and illnesses aren't cured by fighting the symptoms. The right-wing remedy might be a bitter pill to swallow, but it will definitely work. We don't need anaesthetics and homeopathic drugs from a phoney but licensed and recommended supplier. Even opinion polls, so beloved of the mainstream, point to a growing support of young voters for the right.