“There are and there won’t be.” Poland displaced from consciousness in Magdalena Okraski’s new book – Two

In the book “There is and there will be”, Magdalena Okraska – a social activist, ethnographer and teacher who is fascinated by Polish cities as organisms and photographs them from different angles – travels to cities that everyone has heard of them, but no one visits them. He asks questions about industry, work, but above all, simply about life. It speaks of a Poland stuck between the old and the new. You can follow some of these considerations in his Columns on the RCKL website. In “Morning Two”, Okraska reveals the details of her latest book.

– Life stayed there because it had to – says Okraska about her destinations. – Wałbrzych, Ozorków near Łódź, Włocławek or Tarnobrzeg. What do these cities have in common? Everything and nothing in fact. This book has no “geographical backbone”. I chose cities without a geo-historical key. These are places that are a model example of cities where political transformation and the decline of industry have left their mark in various contexts.

Admittedly, the “post-industrialism” of cities and the shared experiences of communities that once lived around workplaces are the code that comes to the fore “There is and there will not be”. Recall that the “factory closure” entails the closure of the surrounding recreation centers, community centers and health clinics – institutions that the factory offered to its employees and their families. This is equivalent to the loss of a large number of jobs.

A story of loss

Magdalena Okraska asks her interlocutors in the “forgotten cities” what their life was like and what it looks like about 30 years after the political breakthrough and the closure of workplaces. “There Is and There Will Not Be” is not meant to be a nostalgic* trip down memory lane, but to describe the process of change over the past thirty years.

“They took”, “stole”, “crushed” – there is no such thing. This is the most commonly heard story from residents of post-industrial Polish cities. It’s not light. There is bitterness in her after the loss of her current life, betrayal and evil, which – unfortunately – are passed down from generation to generation.

– The young people also know that there were establishments and that there are none. She remembers the community centers and movie theaters she went to in the 1990s. One of my contacts went to 45 kindergartens in a row because one after the other was closing. Young people have lived it, they remember it. They also feel a loss, says Okraska.

And it is the young inhabitants who are wondering: leaving or staying in town? In most cases, this is determined by the city’s offer. The universal answer is often: good jobs nearby. These are the most important. In addition, places of culture. As the author of “There is and there will not be” points out, new pizzerias are appearing. “But a pizzeria won’t keep people in town.”

A story of incompetence

– We have the term “Homo soveticus”, which was probably coined by Father Tischner. To this day, it is happily distributed by some as having everything, miraculously, to explain the gaze cast on the inhabitants of towns, villages or former state farms. This term is contemptuous. Recognizes that the unemployed are powerless. This can be partially accepted. We were forced to be flexible and nimble, which, in light of systemic changes, simply couldn’t happen. Or at least not among all members of these communities – explains Okraska.

We believed the narrative that WE were to blame for so transforming and erasing the entire world from the face of the earth! After which we were played: workers, workers marked with cards. Not giving you the opportunity to practice a similar profession. Madeleine Okraska

Thus, according to Okraska, since the 1990s there has been a narrative affirming individualism – individual success, individual (professional) failure. It is a discourse that blames citizens who have been deprived of their means of subsistence by the state, often without giving an alternative.

– It was believed that going to work physically abroad by people with higher education was a great idea, it was believed that there are no jobs in Poland and there will not be . We believed the narrative that WE were to blame for so transforming and erasing the entire world from the face of the earth! After which we were played: workers, workers marked with cards. Not giving the opportunity to work in a similar profession – summarizes Magdalena Okraska.

Small town poetry

Hip-hop songs are contemporary urban poetry, contemporary protest songs that often deal with the lives of average people in “medium towns”. These are the thoughts of young people expressed in words. Magdalena Okraska considers contemporary hip-hop as sociological and social observations, in addition to internal observations. Therefore, it is worth getting to know the cities, referring not only to the texts of scientific experts (especially when the scientist is only an external observer).

* Nostalgia for the People’s Republic of Poland

– I do not cultivate nostalgia – underlines the author of “There is and there will be”. – I believe that nostalgia is cultivated by those who aspire to a certain aesthetic of the People’s Republic of Poland. We don’t miss the People’s Republic of Poland, we miss socialism! We lack stability, working conditions, the possibility of enjoying culture close to home and for little money. We miss the world in order.

Was there a historical necessity that compelled the authorities to “turn off” the world of industrial cities in Poland?

– The social cost was then treated very “at the foot” – summarizes Okraska. – And this social cost is really a lifetime. Whole lives of people who have spent fighting for survival, struggling with moves, looking for jobs. These are times we remember much better than the People’s Republic of Poland.

Also, in the show:

  • Announcement of the concert tour Dagadana + Troye Zillia. The first concert of the series Free Ukraine “We will win with music” this Sunday at the Kwadrat club in Krakow. On April 27, the bands will perform in Warsaw. Proceeds from ticket sales will be used to support the Polish Humanitarian Mission.
    6:19 Dwojka 2022_04_23-07-49-17 Morning of two.mp3 A series of Free Ukraine concerts (Dwójka / Poranek Dwojki)
  • Exposure “In conversation. Ukrainian traditions at the Polish table “ at the Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum in Łódź. The exhibition was created in a spirit of communion with the Ukrainian nation. In the center of the exhibition hall, a table symbolizes the unity and community of Poland and Ukraine. Over the next few weeks, educational activities will be carried out at this table, introducing Poles to the traditions and culture of our neighbours.
    07:46 Dwojka 2022_04_23-08-14-44 Morning of Two.mp3 The exhibition “In dialogue. Ukrainian traditions at the Polish table”
  • invite for XIII Tatra Music Festival Złote Kierpce. On April 23 and 24, a review of the regional children’s and youth teams will take place in Zakopane. Children’s game shows, as well as May songs and courtship will be presented on stage.
    5:23 Dwojka 2022_04_23-08-41-20 Poranwk Dwójki.mp3 13th Tatra Music Festival Złote Kierpce (Dwójka / Poranek Dwójki)
  • In the next episode of “Źródłosłowo” we will listen with a certain delicacywithout which it is difficult to imagine Easter in the Eastern rites.
  • A theologian and musicologist Marianna Jara will talk about Easter in Ukraine.
    06:51 Dwojka 2022_04_23-09-17-13 Morning of two.mp3 Marianna Jara recounts Easter rites in Ukraine (Dwójka / Poranek Dwójki)

We listened :

  1. Savagery There on the hori in Holhofi (4:44)
  2. Stegie Chlopy Tango Rocket (4:07)
  3. Melanie Bonis Sonata op. 64, IV. Final (moderate) Juliette Hurel, Hélène Couvert (3:37)
  4. Karolina Cicha & Company A bit of shahard (3:24)
  5. Fermaine Tailleferre Harp Sonata, III. perpetual mobile Adam Cicchillitti, Steve Cowan (3:03)
  6. Dagadana Hey read (4:02)
  7. Francois Danzi Symphonie concertante in E flat major, III. Allegretto roundabout French Winds, Munich Chamber Orchestra (5:22)
  8. Wernyhora Oh sobosiu sobosejko (4:04)
  9. WAMozart, 24 Piano Concerto in C Minor, Part One
  10. See Siang Wong (p) + Southwest German Philharmonic Cond. Philippp von Steinacker (13:38)
  11. Nino Rota When the grass was greener Alice Sara Ott (2:51)
  12. Johann Friedrich Fasch Concerto for violin and oboe in D minor, WV Ld4, III. allegro Emmanue Laporte Thibaullt Noally, Les Accents (2:56)
  13. Stegie Chlopy When sleep does not come (4:19)
  14. Antonio Vivaldi Concerto for violin, strings and harpsichord in G minor, R. 331, III. allegro Giuliano Carmignola Venice Baroque Orchestra (4:00)
  15. Bastarda + SWPS University Choir Spring (fragment)
  16. Artists for Ukraine We have ourselves Music Against War (4:03)
  17. Południki Idy dopczyku (2:20)
  18. Stegie Chlopy To return to (4:26)
  19. Max Reger Lose Blaetter, op. 13, XII. Choral Markus Becker (1:23)
  20. Bob Marley The song of redemption The Kanneh-Masons (3:50)
  21. kurbasy Gryc (0:50 intro) (6:33)


The title of the show: Folk Morning Dwójki

He led: Piotr Kedziorek

Issue date: April 23, 2022

Airtime: 09:30

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