The Committee for the Defence of Democracy (Komitet Obrony Demokracji – KOD) is a grassroots civic movement founded in 2015 in Warsaw. Started by a group of concerned citizens, it is independent of any political influence or party. Its only goal is to protect the rule of law, democracy and human rights, defend European values and strengthen civil society. KOD is the movement which organised the biggest mass protests in Poland since the fall of communism, gathering hundreds of thousands of people on the streets of all major cities in the country and numerous capitals worldwide. 1.5 million Poles claim they have at least once attended a KOD protest.
The Committee for the Defence of Democracy was registered in the Associations Register of the Polish National Court Register on 1st March 2016 and in the Brussels Crossroads Bank for Enterprises on 1st July 2016.
The aims of KOD:
- Developing and promoting attitudes and actions which foster the preservation and development of a democratic legal state.
- Promoting and developing the idea of a neutral worldview.
- Promoting and developing the idea of civic society, promoting good citizenship and good behaviour.
- To promote and protect human rights, freedoms and civil liberties.
- Activities promoting European integration and developing contacts and cooperation between societies.
- Taking action against the breaking of the principles of democracy and the rule of law (including state and local authority fraud and when they exceed their rights and competence).
- Activities aimed at disseminating knowledge about the democratic political state system, promoting social justice, ensuring the freedom and human rights of citizens and the safety of citizens – as outlined in the Constitution of the Republic of Poland on 2 april 1997, in the spirit arising from this and on the principles it was based.
In 2016, KOD’s efforts were recognized by the European Parliament which awarded it the European Citizen’s Prize.
KOD is establishing a think tank, which will be led by prof. Radoslaw Markowski, a sociologist, and Władyslaw Frasyniuk, former oppositionist of the Solidarity movement and right hand to Lech Wałęsa. The institution is planned to launch in 2-3 months in Warsaw. As an independent, non-profit organisation, it will support KOD by providing specialist knowledge and expertise in the fields of economics, political science and social sciences.
KOD, as a social organisation wants to spread its wings and, therefore, must effectively engage activists and have the expertise needed for its proper functioning. This allows, on the one hand, to present ideas that KOD needs to fight against, and on the other hand to show that it is fully independent from external institutions. In setting up this think tank, KOD wants to bring together experts from various fields related to the different areas of the state and society, and to accumulate this knowledge for those interested in civic activities.
KOD Media – voice of the people
In response to social needs and the government’s takeover of public media, KOD has launched its own media. On 4 June 2016 the www.koduj24.pl website was launched with a mission is to inform of the situation in Poland from a citizens’ perspective. It was created as a platform to exchange ideas and raise discussions to a higher, non-populist level. Magda Jethon, former head of the most popular Polish public radio broadcaster, was appointed KOD Media’s Editor-in-chief.
Koduj24.pl provides readers with high-quality journalism created by an experienced team of journalists and foremost experts. It will liven up the public discourse, prompting reflections on the current state of society.
Space of Freedom
KOD is launching a series of debates called “Space of Freedom: What Poland we want?” which will be first held in all major cities and then spread into the county. Over 100 experts have already volunteered to present the legal, political, economic and social foundations of democratic state of law. The first debate will take place in Warsaw within the coming months. The current political situation in Poland calls for action to strengthen the sense of citizenship and unity in our society. The Space of Freedom project will provide everyone with a solid foundation necessary to become a conscious, involved citizen of the democratic state. The debates will furthermore serve to prepare a complex report on the social moods and the direction and nature of the social changes in the country.
Sunday, 22 November 2015
Democracy in Poland is threatened. Actions of the government, its disregard for the law and democratic custom, force us to express determined opposition. We do not want Poland to be totalitarian, closed for the ones who think differently than the government orders. We do not want Poland to be full of frustration and desire for revenge. We want Poland to be the place for all Poles, equal before the law, regardless of their beliefs, views, ethics and aesthetics. We do not agree on the appropriation of the state, which divides Poles into better or worse, contempt for the “others”. We also do not agree to any detrimental ideas which are targeting principles of democracy and human rights.
We are determined to talk openly and decisively, with full voice, about decency, law and mutual respect. We are determined to express our views not only at home or on the Internet but also on the streets of our cities and villages, and if there is a need gathering there to express our opinions and demands.
We welcome all for whom democratic values are important to cooperate, regardless of their political views and religion. We do not agree on violation of the Constitution and the introduction of authoritarian rule by abusing the mechanisms of democracy. We have among us people of different views and political orientations – from right to left – believers and non-believers. What unites us is that we are free and we would like to continue to live in our own democratic country where nobody would dictate us how to live or what principles to believe in.