Cześć, and welcome to my blog. It’s about, as it says on the tin, supporting civil society in Poland and across Europe. Among other stuff that may be interesting to me in the future, which may include birds that look like Hitler or something. I used to write Wroclaw workshops.
Why am I doing this? I’m someone who works as a trainer and youth exchange leader, tour guide and singing teacher who has lived and worked in difficult countries, someone who is interested in civil society issues. Professor Andrzej Rychard, regarding the 11/11/11 violence by neo-Nazis in Warsaw spoke of how the civil society in Poland is weak, something that led to a support of average people of a march organised by violent racist fascists, a support given due a lack of a developed culture of criticism. (One can see a video of the interview with him here.)
As a consequence I wish to offer my humble attempt to strengthen people who engage with civil society in different ways: Political activists, NGO members, youth workers, those who work with historical education, anarchists, trainers, artists, anti-fascists, feminists and those who work against prejudice, among others.
That however the issue of a strong civil society is not just a concern in Poland, and that I have experience of and contact with such an issue in different countries, this blog is not just for people who live in Poland. The struggle for tolerance, economic justice and understanding is not just a Polish issue, and what happens in Poland also happen in other countries. Therefore, and this is central to the blog, I wish to see this place as a forum for dialogue.
Why “theredandblackstork”? For a start, the red and black colours indicate my political leanings. I’m also someone who likes to go bird watching. For me birds are very philosophical figures; while living in certain geographical areas, they are not always there or identity themselves with those areas. Storks (whether black or white) breed across central and eastern Europe, however they migrate to the African continent as well as Turkey. They live their lives according to basic needs and their only limits are geographical and ecological. That I take a largely anarchist approach to things, I see labels attached to people (nationality, sex, ethnic group) to not be “natural” things about people, things that became invented (things that can however still be relevant, something murderously so).
Furthermore, while, like the black stork I can feel at home in a certain area or line of thought or group, it doesn’t mean that I wholly identify myself with one particular thing. While being left-wing or Christian I am still very critical of various aspects of behaviours within the “we-group”. In other words, I’m an awkward bastard whose articles will probably piss you off at some point.
The main influences upon me are, regarding violence, René Girard; regarding identity, Amartya Sen; regarding history, Harold Marcuse and Norman Davies; regarding theology, Walter Wink; regarding direct action, CrimeInc.; and regarding economics, Karl Marx; regarding humour, Malcolm Tucker.
I think that there will be articles here that will interest you. How about keeping in touch via RSS Feed, Twitter and/or Facebook (see above on the right)?