Hybridizing postsocialist trajectories: an investigation into the biznes of the U.S. missile base in Rędzikowo and urbanization of villages in provincial Poland

Edyta Materka

Abstract


By 2018, Rędzikowo—a post-industrial, garrison village in northern Poland—will host an US anti-ballistic interceptor base expected to protect the Western world from the escalating threat of missile attacks from the Middle East and Asia. Already, American militarization of the rural area is freezing local economic development in the name of global security and subverting the very principles of democracy, transparency and market economy it heralded during and immediately after the Cold War. The U.S.-Polish bilateral agreement has repositioned the Polish state in the northern province, undoing two decades of European Union policies aimed at the devolution of state power and agricultural development programs. It is funding rapid urbanization that is engulfing villages, subverting their political autonomy, rural agency, agrarian identity and postsocialist trajectory. This paper investigates Rędzikowians’ contestation of the biznes (American-style business) accompanying American militarism, and their visions of an alternative postsocialist reality on the local level in contraposition to the militarization and urbanization of the agricultural lands surrounding their village. It questions whether postsocialism can account for these visible contradictory patterns of its reassemblage and reversal. If postsocialism does indeed continue to exist, we need to think about it not as following a trajectory toward market capitalism, but backing up, fast-forwarding, simultaneously canceling itself out, slowing down and then speeding up again in completely renewed and reassembled cycles of development. The collision, contestation and hybridization of multifarious postsocialist trajectories are the result of a constant struggle over space and territory by stake-holders on multiple scales.

Keywords: militarization, contestation, postsocialist trajectories, urban growth, rural identity


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