As a group of feminist, pro-democracy organisers, Polonia Glosuje (Polish Diaspora Votes) has been actively mobilising Polish communities in the UK since 2016 to protect minority rights and independent courts in Poland; successfully fight back against Poland’s ban on abortion, and mobilise the diaspora around issues of migrant and EU citizens’ rights in the UK. We have organised more than 30 protests, the largest of which attracted more than 400 participants. We have collaborated with organisations internationally through the Festival of Choice, WoW Festival, Repeal the 8th Campaign, and worked with activists across Ireland, Central Europe, Canada, US, and Central America. Through our online and social media activities, we have collectively reached tens of thousands of Poles in the UK, and our efforts have contributed to a gradual increase in the number of Poles becoming active socially and politically.
Last year, our team ran a successful “Get Out The Vote” campaign — funded by Guerrilla Foundation — to boost UK diaspora turnout in Poland’s 2019 parliamentary elections. As a result, we created space for democratic discussion across a diversity political spectrum, while driving historic voter turnout among young first-time voters. Through digital organising efforts, we reached almost 95,000 Poles in the UK, while on-the-ground outreach targeted every geographic region of London.
Our long-term goal is to shift attitudes across Polish diasporic communities about the power of democratic, collective action.
This year, our group is keen on growing our community organising network by engaging an unprecedented number of Polish voters in the UK ahead of Poland’s presidential elections in May 2020. Beyond dramatically increasing voter turnout, this mobilisation will 1) lay the groundwork for future on-the-ground organising among Polish people in London, 2) use digital strategies to foster stronger connections between Polish communities across the UK, and 3) increase the visibility of grassroots activist-driven organising efforts across the UK. We will tailor outreach to low-propensity voters and marginalised groups, including women, low-income people, and those who identify as LGBTQ+.
Our long-term goal is to shift attitudes across Polish diasporic communities about the power of democratic, collective action. At the individual level, we want to create more opportunities for those facing marginalisation to become advocates for progressive social change. At the community level, we want greater civic participation, more mechanisms for improving lives and livelihoods, and higher levels of integration into the countries’ multicultural societies.
However, we must remain nimble as COVID-19 may push back the elections to September or later.