Protests of People with Disabilities as Examples of Fledgling Disability Activism in Poland


  • Pawel Kubicki Warsaw School of Economics
  • Rafal Bakalarczyk PhD, University of Warsaw
  • Marek Mackiewicz-Ziccardi MA, independent scholar



The article outlines the causes, course and consequences of the protests of people with disabilities and their carers that took place in Poland in 2014 and 2018 respectively. Said protests took a form of occupation of the Polish parliament building. This was intended to draw attention to the considerable difficulties people with disabilities face, as well as to advocate for raising social benefits. We also describe the process of people with disabilities gaining subjectivity and the role of non-governmental organisations and various experts, including but not limited to academics. Moreover, the article demonstrates circumstances to be considered with regards to disability activism. We argue that the systemic transformation that Poland underwent in 1989 and the following years pertained chiefly to matters relating to improving the country's economic situation. This led to civic matters being treated as less of a priority. Subsequently, people with disabilities became one of the marginalised groups. Their incomplete emancipation has hindered the proper application of the principles of the CRPD. The article was co-written by persons with disabilities, who draw on their experiences, and their non-disabled colleagues in academia who are actively engaged in supporting disability activism.

Author Biographies

Pawel Kubicki, Warsaw School of Economics

Warsaw School of Economics

Rafal Bakalarczyk, PhD, University of Warsaw

PhD, University of Warsaw

Marek Mackiewicz-Ziccardi, MA, independent scholar

MA, independent scholar



How to Cite

Kubicki, P., Bakalarczyk, R., & Mackiewicz-Ziccardi, M. (2019). Protests of People with Disabilities as Examples of Fledgling Disability Activism in Poland. Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, 8(5), 141–160.