Krytyka Polityczna (Political Critique) is the largest Central and Eastern European liberal network of institutions and activists. It was established in 2002 following the publication of an Open Letter titled, “The Open Letter to the European Public Opinion”, demanding a more open and integrated European policy from the Polish elites. Krytyka Polityczna consists of the online “Dziennik Opinii”(Opinion Daily), a quarterly magazine, a publishing house, cultural centres in Warsaw, Łódź, Gdańsk and Cieszyn, activist clubs in a dozen cities throughout Poland as well as in Kiev and Berlin and a research centre: the Institute for Advanced Study in Warsaw. It employs over sixty people and works with a few hundred volunteers. Krytyka Polityczna organises around 1,500 events and actions every year.
Krytyka Polityczna are the contemporary heirs to the Central and Eastern European traditions of an engaged intelligentsia representing an ethos of public activity and creating a “social glue” through the use of social movements. This tradition dates back to the late 19th century, where the movements were charged with the task of modernising and developing society and was later revived during the 1970s and 1980s through dissident movements, which were seeking to empower society against authoritarian rule and to restore democracy, equality and personal freedoms. All of these movements have centred around building independent institutions, an orientation towards progressive social changes and a desire to maintain a strongly ethical approach.
Perhaps the most relevant social phenomenon that Krytyka Polityczna feels obliged to comment on at the moment is the crisis of social imagination. Despite the widespread criticism of the social, political and economic status quo, it has become hard to imagine an alternative, other than the end of the world. There is a need to confront various theoretical perspectives with current social movements and to find conceptual work with the real phenomena, which are appearing in our social lives. For this reason, Krytyka Polityczna organises seminars and summer schools for local community leaders and activists as well as publishing and promoting over forty books a year by authors such as Judith Butler, Peter Sloterdijk, Tony Judt, Vaclav Havel, Zygmunt Bauman, Slavoj Žižek, Timothy Snyder and Gianni Vattimo. Krytyka Polityczna’s work is based at the first Eastern European Institute for Advanced Study and is comprised of empirical research, which combines different disciplines such as urban studies, sociology and economics.
One of Krytyka Polityczna’s strategic goals is to build partnerships between activists, scholars and artists. Many leading and well known scholars and artists (ranging from the visual arts, theatre, film, music and literature) like Wilhelm Sasnal, Artur Żmijewski, Jan Klata, Michał Zadara, Joanna Rajkowska or Yael Bartana (author of the film trilogy ‘Mary Koszmary’ / ‘…and Europe will be stunned’) have joined the movement. Krytyka Polityczna organises shared projects and initiatives, connects visual artists with social activists (e.g. Venice Biennale 2011 and Berlin Biennale 2011), social scientists with trade unionists, economic experts with environmentalists and architects with local community leaders. It does this by publishing articles in their online media outlets as well as in the quarterly magazine and on social networks, as well as undertaking common research at the Institute for Advanced Study and common actions throughout the network of local clubs and cultural centres.
In order to overcome the perennial problem of commercial success through tabloidization versus niche marginalisation, Krytyka Polityczna created Dziennik Opinii (Opinion Daily), which combines serious analyses of contemporary politics, society and culture with photo-blogs, reviews, interviews and TV materials. Opinion Daily publishes both Polish and foreign authors and is financed by the “third sector” resources of the Association, which enables it to stay independent and is therefore able to avoid the need to lower standards and principles in favour of demands from the advertising markets or politics.
The Institute for Advance Study in Warsaw, established in 2012, is dedicated to conducting academic and didactic research on the most crucial and timely problems of contemporary culture and society. The founders of the institute are motivated by a desire to create a friendly environment, which is conducive to searching for answers regarding the current crisis in liberal democracy, which are as a result of a crisis in societal connections and social imagination. By taking into account that no reflection can replace action and direct engagement is motivated by society’s needs, Krytyka Polityczna also understands the necessity for creating a space for contemplation, free from any direct obligations or practical dimensions.
The Institute means to align itself with the traditions of similar research outposts (other Institutes for Advanced Study) that are not affiliated with any political parties or party organisations, which take advantage of financial support. Instead, it is based on the principle of preserving autonomy in the sphere of actual research and research interests as well as those that anticipate long-term research objectives, break the pre-ordained boundaries of traditional disciplines and that collaborate with other research institutes and organisations as equal partners. The Institute is also going to cooperate closely and share its resources with the Online Daily, the publishing house as well as the network of clubs.
The Institute is composed of a board of designated members from Academic and Cultural spheres and permanent fellows (from fields such as philosophy, economics and social sciences) who, together with a group of coordinators, plan and research actions and supervise the development of the institution. It also includes visiting fellows who are working on their own research projects, comprising of independent research, seminars, lectures, debates with invited guests as well as the publication of their research results and conclusions. The Institute also offers scholarships for inviting international researchers to Poland, as well as sending Poles abroad for research purposes.
The Board of Trustees
“Dziennik Opinii” (Opinion Daily) is the latest initiative of Krytyka Polityczna’s milieu and the Stanisław Brzozowski Association. It is a daily online paper oriented towards high-quality content, rather than clicking-rate and focuses on presenting opinions rather than news or entertainment.
In response to the prevailing trend of the commercialization of the media and the subordination to the principles of mass market culture, Krytyka Polityczna sees a chance for serious, high-quality journalism for the third sector, that is exempt from the direct demands of the (advertising) market. It can be sustained by financial (as well as other kinds of) support from the Association and all of its institutions such as its network of clubs and activists, editorial team of the magazine, publishing house, and the resources of the Institute for Advanced Study.
The Opinion Daily provides readers with opinions on current political events in Poland and from around the world. It also publishes longer interviews and conversations on various topics, reviews, translations and extracts of recently published books, film reviews and articles on various cultural events. One of the general principles to maintain a balance of worldly, regional and local topics. The Opinion Daily publishes influential authors from Poland including essayists, columnists and journalists, as well as film, theatre and literature critics, and foreign contributors, including Immanuel Wallerstein, Robert Reich, Paul De Grauwe or Dani Rodrik. In the future, Krytyka Polityczna plans to develop both English, Russian and Ukrainian language versions of the Daily, in order to expand its impact to international readers, especially those from Eastern Europe.
In comparison to the quarterly magazine, the role of the Opinion Daily is not only to convey opinions and present ideas, but also to attract contributors; both professional and amateur journalists as well as local community leaders and to include them in this project. In short, Opinion Daily serves as a milieu-building centre.
A network of cultural centres (Warszawa, Łódź, Gdańsk, Cieszyn, Berlin and Kiev) and clubs in Poland, Ukraine and Germany is the foundation for enhancing the integration and social commitment of the hundreds of people working with Krytyka Polityczna. These centres and clubs organise public campaigns, local interventions in urban space, run cultural centres for underprivileged groups and debate new ideas and current problems that appear in the public sphere.
The first of these cultural centres was REDakcja, which was established in September 2006 in Warsaw. It served as an open exchange for ideas, debates, training, workshops, art expositions, as well as for presenting social and political projects. The general idea was to break the boundaries between the fields of science, arts and politics. REDakcja was a place in which artists were encouraged to think and act in terms of politics and where officials were encouraged to treat culture as a language, which is crucial for shaping the whole of society. REDakcja held around 300 open meetings with politicians (including the Danish Prime Minister, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen), writers (including Olga Tokarczuk), former dissidents (Karol Modzelewski), intellectuals (Peter Singer and Slavoj Žižek) and artists (Yoko Ono and Rene Pollesch). It organised exhibitions of internationally famous and contemporary artists like Joanna Rajkowska and Wilhelm Sasnal. In just over three years REDakcja became one of the most important cultural centres in the Polish capital.
In November 2009, Krytyka Polityczna moved its headquarters to Centrum Kultury Nowy Wspaniały Świat (Brave New World Cultural Centre), situated in central Warsaw, close to the Warsaw University. It combined one of the most popular clubs and cafés in the city with the venue of a cultural centre, inviting over 50 other NGOs to work alongside Krytyka and worked mainly in the fields of human, minorities’ and women’s rights. Through Brave New World, Krytyka Polityczna gave free access to culture to many thousands of people and held many open lectures and workshops on philosophy, literature, mass culture and history. It also hosted the so-called Critical University, which became one of the most important independent free educational institutions in Warsaw and was attended regularly by hundreds of students. What is more, the Cultural Centre organised over 1,600 cultural events, including 120 concerts and performances, 260 movie screenings as well as lectures and debates, which confronted the audience with well-known politicians such as former Polish President Aleksander Kwaśniewski, former Prime Ministers Tadeusz Mazowiecki and Jan Krzysztof Bielecki, intellectuals including Zygmunt Bauman, Slavoj Žižek, Michael Walzer, Marshall Berman, Claus Offe, Harald Welzer as well as artists such as Agnieszka Holland, Artur Żmijewski, and Joanna Rajkowska. In 2012 many of these activities were held in the new location of Krytyka Polityczna in Warsaw at Foksal 16.
Soon after the launch of REDakcja, thanks to the activities of friends, well-wishers and associates, Krytyka Polityczna started creating Political Critique Clubs in other Polish cities, organising debates, movie screenings, social actions, local interventions in urban space and other events. By the end of 2008 clubs had been set up in cities like Białystok, Bytom, Gdańsk, Kraków, Łódź, Poznań, Toruń and Wrocław, with clubs also in Szydłowiec, Opole and Olsztyn.
In subsequent years Krytyka Polityczna have established three new cultural centres outside Warsaw: in Gdańsk, Cieszyn and Łódź. All three have their own venues where they regularly organise meetings, debates, movie screenings and artistic performances and where they invite intellectuals, journalists, experts, and sometimes celebrities to speak with local audiences and to try and answer important questions from them, as well as discuss the general problems of culture and society. These cultural centres have become very important places in the socio-cultural landscapes of their cities: in Łódź, the cultural centre regularly organises social consultations concerning urban space and involves citizens, local activists and city officials in debates about the future of urban development; similarly in Gdańsk, where the Krytyka Polityczna Club is an important centre for debate, especially surrounding questions focusing on local history and minorities. What is more, it also helps different NGOs and activists in the field of drug policy. The cultural centre in Cieszyn, which is located in the former Polish-Czech border control building on the river Olza, besides running events such as those in the centres in Łódź and Gdańsk, also undertakes regular social work with children and young people from underprivileged environments, as well as inspiring common civic action in the field of educational policy.
Since 2010, Krytyka Polityczna has been present in Ukraine working via a club in Kiev. The club in Kiev runs in conjunction with the Visual Culture Research Center and organises debates, lectures (for example with Zygmunt Bauman) and exhibitions focused mainly on the political dimension of art, and the cultural dimensions of the post-communist transformation engaging citizens in the struggle against the privatisation of urban space in Ukraine. A large group of activists run the Ukrainian edition of the Krytyka Polityczna magazine and have published four issues since 2011, which have dealt with topics such as the repressive drug policy in Ukraine, the socio-cultural dimension of the Euro 2012, as well as human rights affairs involved with independent political and religious activities in Eastern Europe.
Between the years 2011-2012, Krytyka Polityczna ran a series of debates on the political dimension of art, as well as other events in Berlin, in close cooperation with Berliner Kunstwerke and the great art festival Berliner Biennale, whose director was Artur Żmijewski, the artistic director of the Krytyka Polityczna magazine.
The magazine, Krytyka Polityczna, is published quarterly in Polish and a separate edition is published in Ukrainian. In addition to its content and the topics discussed, it plays a milieu-building role and organises people around a common project, attracting contributors from different fields and creates an inspiring and intellectual atmosphere to ignite a growing movement of activists and sympathisers, which in turn develop into other institutions.
The magazine focuses on the most important phenomena and trends in today’s politics, culture and society. One of its main premises was to break the artificial boundaries between politics, arts and science. It publishes the most relevant authors in the fields of sociology (Zygmunt Bauman, Nancy Fraser, Immanuel Wallerstein, Ulrich Beck, Richard Sennett, Claus Offe), philosophy (Jürgen Habermas, Giorgio Agamben, Peter Sloterdijk, Ernersto Laclau, Pierre Manent, Carl Schmitt, Jacob Taubes) as well as art and culture theory (Terry Eagleton, Jacques Ranciere, Hayden White), literature (Michel Houellebecq, Wiktor Pielewin), as well as social activists and politicians (Aleksander Kwaśniewski, Radek Sikorski), and is always trying to combine and confront different perspectives.
The Krytyka Polityczna magazine has over 30 Polish and 4 Ukrainian issues, as well as special editions in Russian, English and German concerned with an enormously wide range of topics ranging from the legacy of the intelligentsia in the modern era, to the hidden exclusiveness of the liberal public sphere, the relevance of the left-right divide today, the legacy of the 1968 revolution, the equally constructed character of history and futurology, love as a political force, different forms of political violence, the potential of imaginative utopia as a political force, hidden forms of social segregation, the myth of Russia as well as the Chinese model and its discontents. There have also been special ‘visual’ issues, embodying the idea of a direct intersection between the arts, social science and Krytyka Polityczna.
The Publishing House of Krytyka Polityczna was established in September 2007, in order to bring the most important works on philosophy, political, social and cultural theory into the Polish public sphere, as well as publishing original diagnoses of society and culture by Polish authors. Krytyka Polityczna publish translations, new books as well as renewed editions of classical works in literature and theory. As of 2012 we have published nearly 200 titles and over 9 series of books (Readers, Ideas, Canon, Commentary, Literature, History, Economics, Non-tourist Guides, Jacek Kuroń Political Writings, Vaclav Havel Writings).
Krytyka Polityczna is among the first in Poland to introduce new political and social theories (in books by Zygmunt Bauman, Gayatri Spivak, Terry Eagleton, Chantal Mouffe, Bruno Latour, Giorgio Agamben, Jacques Ranciere, Slavoj Žižek, Judith Butler, Alain Badiou), new historical perspectives (in books by Timothy Snyder, Tony Judt, Boris Kagarlitsky, Daniel Sidorick, Krzysztof Tomasik and Yaroslav Hrytsak), and critical analyses of different social phenomena (like ‘Taxes’, ‘Public Health’, ‘Cultural Policy’). We also re-edit classical works of literature and political writings, including Polish dissidents’ works by: Jacek Kuroń and Jan Józef Lipski; essays on Stanisław Brzozowski, the Polish philosopher and culture critic, as well as classical philosophy by Adorno and Horkheimer. What is more, Krytyka responds to the most recent phenomena in politics and society by publishing books covering the Economic Crisis in USA and others such as Europe, Occupy! and Indignados movements or the (cultural) phenomenon of Polish Mourning after the 2010 Smolensk plane crash and many others.
The publication of our books is always accompanied by an intensive programme of social action and cultural events (in our network of clubs and cultural centres, and IAS in Warsaw), and internet campaigns (on the website of Dziennik Opinii and various social networks), traditional media (especially major press, cultural papers and opinion building radio stations) and outdoor advertising. Several hundred copies of each publication are sent to opinion-building circles in Poland comprising of intellectuals, scholars, journalists, politicians and social activists. Many of our books are not only reviewed, but also discussed by major media outlets; some of them have become a source of inspiration for social movements and different forms of civic activity.
Our books are produced in co-operation with artists (Wilhelm Sasnal, Artur Żmijewski, grupa Twożywo and others), but also images and other media forms are just as relevant to us as the words that can be found in our books.
Maciej Kropiwnicki [email protected]
Wydawnictwo Krytyki Politycznej
ul. Foksal 16/II p.
History of the Association
Stanisław Brzozowski (1878-1911) is recognised as the one of the most pre-eminent Polish philosophers and literary critics of his generation as well as being a respected author of novels and plays and a charismatic advocate of the Polish intelligentsia at the beginning of the twentieth century. He died aged only 33 but by this time he had managed to write several books and hundreds of essays. His work and biography have become subjects of a century-long heated discussion among Polish intellectuals. It is almost impossible to find an important Polish intellectual who has not devoted a special work to Brzozowski. Leszek Kołakowski, Czesław Miłosz, Bronisław Baczko, Maria Janion, Andrzej Walicki, Andrzej Mencwel and Adam Michnik are only some of the most important people who were fascinated by Brzozowski and who have written about him.
Brzozowski himself was inspired by contemporary European thought. In his works he combined a lot of seemingly contradictory streams; for instance Nietzsche’s philosophy of deed with the ‘young’ Marxist analysis of social relations, or Sorel’s concept of myth with the philosophy of John H. Newman’s Catholic modernism and British romanticism. As an ardent historical materialist, Brzozowski opposed its deterministic version as well as any concepts reifying human beings.
From his youth he was fascinated by great Russian literature and ideas. Brzozowski discussed, among others, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, whose ‘Demons’ he confronted with his own novel, ‘Flames’. In this book he passionately demonstrated the horizon of ideas at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth century, giving voice to critics of wild capitalism, traditionalism, feudal conservatism and clericalism. All of this was no mere testimony to the disputes of the foregone era. Considerations and discussions of the book’s protagonists, which include discussions over what it means to be Polish, the notion of the nation, as well as the ties between economy, culture, ideology and politics, still remain inspiring today.
Brzozowski was above all an acute cultural critic. He declared the necessity for the artist to engage in diagnosing the social reality of his times and in shaping social structure. After almost a hundred years his ideas are still relevant. He provides many tools critical of the liberal vision of the ‘end of history’, where the hegemony of the free market is supposedly an unconditioned necessity, where liberal democracy assumes a ban on thinking about social change, and where freedom is identified with unlimited consumption. Economic relations and working conditions are, according to Brzozowski, human products, and not consequences of any objective mechanisms; art and literature are testimonies to their times rather than of the independent mind of the artist. It is the duty of the intellectual to speak in favour of creating a better society, and to struggle for human subjectivity.
2002 – trailblazing beginnings
The Krytyka Polityczna journal exploded onto the Polish market, scalding a tired, routine-entrenched political environment, with the provocative and smouldering title: “Intelligentsia: helpless or dead?”
Zbigniew Bujak, a Solidarity movement legend, funded the first two editions of the journal. Later, Adam Michnik, a famous Polish writer, thinker, news editor, and activist, slyly commented and applauded the necessity of the question posed, claiming: “This is Zbyszek’s best financial decision, ever.”
The mass media gave the first issue enthusiastic, positive reviews. In support, “Gazeta Wyborcza” reprinted interviews conducted by Krytyka Polityczna journalists.
The first thousand printed copies sold out fast and so a second thousand were ordered. The next edition continued to provoke, with the title: “The Left, The Right – Language Confusion, Language Barriers,” and it included with the final text co-written by the famous dissidents and leaders of the anti-authoritarian opposition of the communist era, Jacek Kuroń and Karol Modzelewski: “Tomorrow’s Left: Sense and Sensibility.
2003 – Watch out, Europe – KP is here!
“An Open Letter to the European Public” is the title of the letter, written by Sławomir Sierakowski and sociologist Kinga Dunin, expressing support for the European Constitution project. The letter also protests against the Polish European policy of the time, which followed the motto, “Nice [the French city] or Death!” The letter was signed by 250 Polish intellectuals and was printed in both Polish and European newspapers, such as “Le Monde”, “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”, “Gazeta Wyborcza” and “Rzeczpospolita”. The letter found an activist audience at home and abroad, which succeeded in pushing Krytyka Polityczna into the wider, European political debate. A talk was held regarding the letter, where the signatories of the letter and Krytyka’s leaders met with the Polish president, Aleksander Kwaśniewski, the Minister of Foreign Affairs,Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz, and minister of European Affairs, Danuta Huebner. Krytyka Polityczna’s leader, Sławomir Sierakowski spoke rousingly in the name of those who signed the letter.
2004 – Homecoming: a flock of artists migrate to KP
Artists from many places and various disciplines began to collaborate Krytyka Polityczna. The relationships proved to be fruitful and fostered the social issues that Krytyka Polityczna focused on in its work. Over time, the number of artists, including visual artists, theatre practitioners, writers, musicians, and film producers working with Krytyka Polityczna increased. Some of Poland’s leading contemporary artistic minds are at the head of the movement: Olga Tokarczuk, Artur Żmijewski, Cezary Michalski, Jan Klata, Wilhelm Sasnal, Mariusz Sieniewicz, Jonna Rajkowska, Michał Zadara, Tomasz Piątek, Kaja Malanowska, Paweł Demirski, Monika Strzępka, and Yael Bartana.
Żmijewski took over the role of artistic editor for Krytyka Polityczna and was soon joined by Yael Bartana. The artistic group, Twożywo created a new visual form and a unique aesthetic to subsequent editions of the journal and later to the books published by Krytyka and the places where their events take place. Polish intellectuals and cultural activists such as Kazimiera Szczuka, Agnieszka Graff, Andrzej Przywara, Beata Stasińska, Maciej Nowak, Joanna Mytkowska, amongst others, became Krytyka’s guides to Polish culture as well as good friends of the organisation.
2005 – Be fruitful and multiply
Krytyka Polityczna announced the establishment of the Stanisław Brzozowski Association. This organisation would become the foundation upon which all other Krytyka Polityczna-related institutions were to be based on. From this point onwards, the activities of the Association were monitored by Dorota Głażewska.
Later, Maciej Gdula, Julian Kutyła, Maciej Kropiwnicki, Igor Stokfiszewski, Michał Sutowski, and others, joined the team as authors, translators and event organisers.
2006 – KP Ed-it: Read-it, Add-(to)-it, Fix-it, Change-it, Pass-it-on
The first Cultural Clubhouse in Warsaw was established. Meanwhile, the editorial activities of Krytyka Polityczna opened with a double event: the premier of Agnieszka Arnold’s film about Karol Modzelewski, titled, ‘Freedom without Censorship’, followed by a debate celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Workers’ Defence Committee.
Famous radical figures from the political, literary and artistic spheres were also hosted, such as philosophers Slavoj Žižek and Peter Singer. Other artists opened exhibitions, which were promoted by Krytyka, honouring their artistic achievements: for example the great literature historian Maria Janion celebrated 50 years of her work and Wilhelm Sasnal screened his some of his movies.
Krytyka organised exhibitions of leading Polish contemporary artists, such as Robert Rumas, Joanna Rajkowska, and Paweł Althamer.
2007 – KP publishing (in da’house)
In collaboration with the Kraków- based corporation Ha!art, the Political Critique Series was launcheed. The literary scene was hit with our first publication: Revolution at the Gates, by Slavoj Žižek. The book sparked fierce debate in the Polish media. A few months later, Krytyka announced the opening of its own, independent, publishing house. The first series to be printed by the new publishing house was a series of user guides to leftist politics.
Today, Krytyka’s publishing house publishes around 9 series and 40 books a year. We translate and publish stars from the world of humanities, such as Jacques Rancière, Bruno Latour, Judith Butler, Gilles Kepel, Alain Badiou, Manuel Castells, Harald Welzer, Gayatri Spivak, Chantal Mouffe, Gianni Vattimo, Boris Buden, Timothy Snyder, Yaroslav Hrytsak, Terry Eagleton and Zygmunt Bauman. We also publish modern Polish prose, plays, short stories, and political commentaries, as well classical writings by Polish dissidents, intellectuals and philosophers. The first volume in our Literary Series – Angels’ Final Sabbath, by Marian Pankowski – was awarded the prestigious Gdynia Literary Prize in 2008; one of our author’s, Paweł Demirski, was awarded the Paszport Polityki prize in 2010 for the most influential weekly opinion column.
The Clubhouse on Chmielna Street was named “Place of the Year, 2008” by journalists from ‘Gazeta Wyborcza’. Over the span of three years, the clubhouse hosted 300 events from discussions, lectures, workshops, seminars to exhibitions and film festivals which were all free, and open to the public.
2008 – Cultural clubhouses: from the people, for the people’ open
Local communities sympathising with our political goals, began to organise a programme of cultural events and social activist-ivities. They organised, coordinated, expanded, inspired, and collectively formed a web of Krytyka Polityczna Clubs all over Poland. Thanks to these local activists and Agnieszka Wiśniewska, the coordinator of our Clubs, Krytyka became active in Białystok, Bydgoszcz, Bytom, Cieszyn, Gniezno, Jelenia Góra, Kalisz, Katowice, Kraków, Lublin, Łódź, Opole, Szczecin, Poznań, Toruń, Włocławek, Szydłowiec, Gdańsk-Gdynia-Sopot, and Wrocław.
2009 – Brave New World!
Krytyka’s new Cultural Headquarters in Warsaw, brazenly named, “Brave New World” was opened. Clubhouses and cultural centres in Gdańsk-Gdynia-Sopot and Cieszyn were also opened.
The Stanisław Brzozowski Association won the rights to a 3-year rental agreement with the City of Warsaw for the new Cultural HQ at 63 Nowy świat. Michał Borucki and Izabela Jasińka were responsible for the grand opening and were later joined by Joanna Tokarz, Katarzyna Górna, Magda Majewska, and Bartek Modzelewski.
The Cultural HQ: Brave New World! soon became the greatest centre for and of, independent cultural activities in the capital of Poland, with concerts, debates, exhibitions, conferences, and other social and cultural activities, taking place daily.
Over three years, Krytyka organised over 1,000 events, and collaborated with over 100 different institutions and organisations. In Cieszyn, on Zamkowa Street and in Gdańsk, on Nowe Ogrody Street, local Krytyka Polityczna troupes formed cultural clubs and safe havens, led by Joanna Wowrzeczka, and Katarzyna Fidos, and are helped today by Agnieszka Muras, Maria Klaman, Marcin Chałupka and other local teams.
The 2009 Academic year saw the addition of seminars and debates being hosted by the newly unveiled Critical University, which were all free, and open to the public.
The dissemination and enthusiasm for our events, clubhouses, cultural centres, and the Critical University proved what we had been saying all along: that our questions, aims, discussions, goals, conversations, ideas, inspire many diverse groups of people from all over Poland. This is a national conversation, and is soon to become an international one.
2010 – Ukraine and beyond
Vasyl Czerepanyn and Oleksyj Radynski began publishing the Ukrainian edition of the Krytyka Polityczna journal, “Політична критика”, and supplemented it with a set programme of cultural and political events in Kiev. This heralded the beginning of Krytyka’s work in Ukraine. In order to cement this relationship, and foster mutual understanding, Krytyka published, ‘Political Critique’s Guide to the Ukraine’, a book-length interview with professor Yaroslav Hrytsak.
2011 – Ukraine, Russia Germany… Łódź
Krytyka’s new cultural house is opened in Łódź. The leaders are Hanna Gill-Piątek and Martyna Dominiak. In its first year, this cultural house received a local award, ‘Point for Łódź’, for its engagement with the Łódź local community.
In celebration of the Citizen’s Cultural Congress, and the European Cultural Congress, Krytyka printed the daily “Culture Courier”. We also organised a cultural project, House of Change, in the villa of the Dzieduszycki family in Wrocław.
2011 was the Year of Brzozowski, the patron of our Association, and the larger Krytyka Polityczna community.
2012 – We (let ourselves) eat cake
We celebrated our birthday, and announced the formation of two new institutions within Krytyka Polityczna.
These initiatives, the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) and Opinion Daily, were established in Autumn 2012. The IAS was inaugurated with a lecture by Zygmunt Bauman as a place for academic research and didactic activity. Soon it attracted hundreds of students who wanted to study. Opinion Daily was launched as a platform for high-quality journalism and from the very beginning inspired heated debates on culture, society and politics.
“Thinking about an international career”
By 2014, Krytyka had published 39 books, 3 issues of the Krytyka Polityczna magazine, had over 1100 new texts published on the Opinion Daily website with outreach of around 1 mln users a year and had organised over 400 socio-cultural events in Poland and Ukraine including debates, workshops, meetings with authors, film screenings, exhibitions as well 17 seminars at the Institute for Advanced Study and a series of economic lectures and two conferences. Further to this, Krytyka Polityczna developed our international platform by opening a Cultural Center in Kiev and launching an international website PoliticalCritique.org.