– It is unlikely that anyone will agree to our demands and that is why we do not plan to join a coalition – says Łukasz Potyrała in an interview for “Wprost”. The Confederation’s candidate for the Sejm (constituency no. 41 in Szczecin) also talks about his attitude to the issue of migration.
Rafał Borowski, “Wprost”: At the beginning of September, you were detained by the police for an event promoting the legalization of marijuana. It was supposed to consist in handing out legal “blunts”, i.e. joints with traces of THC, to voters. Looking back, do you think it was a good idea to promote your candidacy for the Sejm?
Łukasz Potyrała, Konfederacja: Ultimately, the happening did not take place, I was arrested before it even started. I wrote about it in detail on my Facebook page. Was it good? I just wanted to draw attention to a certain problem. This is not easy considering the fact that the media does not want to promote Confederation politicians. And since publications on this topic have appeared, it means that I have succeeded.
I’m not talking about legalization but about decriminalization, i.e. not punishing people for possessing a small amount of marijuana for personal use. It’s a matter of personal freedom. So that everyone can eat, drink and smoke whatever they want, and the state won’t interfere. We have legal – but much worse for health – cigarettes and alcohol, and marijuana is illegal for some reason.
I see no reason why the state should have to deal with this and incur huge costs for the work of law enforcement agencies. The actions of the police, prosecutor’s office, laboratories – all this costs money.
Should hard drugs also be decriminalized?
We have the example of Portugal, which recently decriminalized all drugs for personal use. Research shows that drug use has declined. Every adult should be responsible for themselves. I am a libertarian and I believe that everyone has the right to exercise free will.
Personally, I don’t recommend taking drugs to anyone. I study psychology and therefore know the effects of drugs. However, as long as we do not harm anyone and do not force drugs onto someone, the state should not interfere. It should be treated the same as drinking beer or vodka. If you do harm, do it only to yourself, never to anyone else.
You mentioned the costs associated with prosecuting marijuana possession. Are you not afraid that the implementation of your idea would result in an increase in other costs, e.g. for the treatment of drug addicts?
I support the decriminalization of marijuana. For now, I would hold off on decriminalizing other drugs. It would be necessary to first check what the effects of decriminalization of marijuana are, i.e. whether the rates of its use are decreasing.
From a psychological point of view, young people are drawn to what is forbidden. Forbidden fruit tastes the best. It is also said that marijuana introduces people to the world of crime. If we go to a dealer and buy marijuana illegally, the dealer may offer us other drugs. If marijuana were legally available in stores, we would not introduce people to the world of crime.
You are 24 years old. Don’t you think it’s a bit too early to receive a parliamentary mandate and co-decide on the affairs of our country?
I don’t think I’m too young. Besides, maturity is an individual matter. I have been interested in politics for a long time and I know a lot about it. I study part-time and I am present on the labor market. I operate machining machines. I think it’s a good age to use your energy and willingness to act in politics.
Last weekend, the Confederation convention was held in Katowice. Which of your group’s demands is the most important to you?
The postulate regarding education is closest to me. Please imagine that politicians who lie, manipulate, make money at our expense, and that they influence Polish children and their upbringing. I am a supporter of the introduction of an educational voucher through which education can be handed over to specialists, i.e. teachers and school principals.
Those who work in the field and know education best. No politician will be able to create a good program for students. Especially since the program is written for everyone and each student is an individual. Each teacher knows his class and knows how to convey knowledge to each student.
If I understand correctly, you propose abolishing the state education system? Its privatization?
I definitely agree with this. Is our education good at the moment? A young man goes to school according to his age group. The level is equal to the average. The weakest students cannot cope. This breeds violence, such students are mocked at school. The best students, on the other hand, sit in class and get bored. Depoliticization of education may result in an individual approach to the student.
I am a supporter of the privatization of education, but while maintaining state financing, as it is written in the constitution. In practice, parents would receive a voucher for a specific amount – I would like to emphasize that this is not cash – and they would take this voucher to the school of their choice. Thanks to the introduction of the education voucher, parents will be able to choose a school in accordance with their views on how they want to raise their children.
What would you like to do for the residents of your constituency if you managed to get into the Sejm?
This also comes down to it de facto to nationwide issues. I would like to work to give more power to local governments. So that they receive more tax revenues, so that municipalities can compete with each other by creating their own tax policy, so that more decisions are made at the local government level.
In my opinion, this would translate not only into an increase in local government budgets, but also in increased decision-making of residents. They would have more influence over how the taxes they pay are spent.
One of the main topics of the election campaign is migration policy. The Confederation criticizes the United Right government for opening the borders too widely to legal migrants. What alternative do you propose?
I have the impression that the authorities currently do not control what is happening. On the one hand, they included a question about forced relocation in the referendum, and on the other hand, they invite migrants on their own initiative. Migration in itself is good if it provides missing labor.
I am primarily in favor of migration being controlled through work permits. Let them be people who want to come to us and earn money, I have nothing against it. And this must be strictly controlled. And not as a certain lady from the Platform said: let them all in and then we will check who is there. This is clearly bringing a threat to Poland.
It is impossible to quantify how many migrants we need. This should depend on the needs of the labor market. The government should consult this issue with employers.
In the media you can hear the statement that the Confederation will win the so-called controlling stake. The point is that without a coalition with the Confederation, neither the United Right nor the other opposition parties, led by the Civic Coalition, will be able to gain a majority in the Sejm. Can you imagine any alliance?
We have our program and we are going to implement it. The coalition depends only on this. Judging by the programs of other parties, it is unlikely that anyone would agree to our demands, and that is why we do not plan to join a coalition.
Currently, the PiS government is “holding on” only because it has bribed MPs from all parties in its ranks, except Confederation. We do not want to continue this bad political tradition in which MPs are elected from one committee, and after winning a mandate, they “sell themselves” to another committee in exchange for positions.
We certainly do not want to extend PiS’s rule. At the same time, we do not want the Platform’s rule to return. We are often accused in the media – why do we go to the Sejm if we do not want to govern? We want to rule, but neither with PiS nor with the Platform. We want to send their leaders, Kaczyński and Tusk, into retirement.
We operate for the long term. We do not look at what will happen in a few months, but what Poland will look like in 10, 20, 30 years. Politics is a long-distance race. If necessary, we will be in the opposition.