© 2000

Privatizing the Police-State

The Case of Poland


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xx
  2. Opening Considerations

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Maria Łoś, Andrzej Zybertowicz
      Pages 3-9
    3. Maria Łoś, Andrzej Zybertowicz
      Pages 10-24
  3. The 1980s: The Post-Totalitarian Party/Police-State?

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 25-25
    2. Maria Łoś, Andrzej Zybertowicz
      Pages 27-59
    3. Maria Łoś, Andrzej Zybertowicz
      Pages 60-76
    4. Maria Łoś, Andrzej Zybertowicz
      Pages 77-103
  4. After Communism: The Posthumous Life of the Police-State

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 105-105
    2. Maria Łoś, Andrzej Zybertowicz
      Pages 107-123
    3. Maria Łoś, Andrzej Zybertowicz
      Pages 124-153
    4. Maria Łoś, Andrzej Zybertowicz
      Pages 154-185
    5. Maria Łoś, Andrzej Zybertowicz
      Pages 186-197
  5. Conclusion

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 199-199
    2. Maria Łoś, Andrzej Zybertowicz
      Pages 201-215
    3. Maria Łoś, Andrzej Zybertowicz
      Pages 216-231
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 232-270

About this book


This is the first book that documents and analyses the paramount role of secret services in the decomposition of the communist system and the conversion of its elites into new capitalists. The surge of civil society in 1980s Poland prompted a parallel expansion of the police-state apparatus. The book traces the subsequent reconstruction and privatization of social, political and material resources of the police-state and shows how these covert operations shaped other, more visible aspects of the East/Central European transformation. A Note from the Authors: Since the publication of this book, the events in Poland and elsewhere have demonstrated the extraordinary influence and longevity of the power networks spawned by the communist police state apparatus and its eventual privatization. There is new evidence uncovered almost daily, whose interpretation would not be feasible without the conceptual and historical framework elaborated first in this book.


capital communism crime globalization Marx police revolution secret service service transformation

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of CriminologyUniversity of OttawaCanada
  2. 2.Institute of SociologyNicolaus Copernicus UniversityToruńPoland

About the authors

MARIA LOS is Professor of Criminology at the University of Ottawa and an Adjunct Research Professor at the Institute of European and Russian Studies and the Department of Legal Studies, Carleton University. Before coming to Canada in 1979, she taught and conducted research at the University of Sheffield, University of Warsaw and the Polish Academy of Sciences. Her publications include The Second Economy in Marxist States, Communist Ideology, Law and Crime, and Multi-Dimensional Sociology (with A. Podgorecki) and numerous articles in several languages.

ANDRZEJ ZYBERTOWICZ is Associate Professor and Director, Institute of Sociology, Nicholas Copernicus University, Torun, Poland. He has been a Visiting Fellow at the Clare Hall, Cambridge University and Visiting Research Scholar in Law at the Macquirie University, Sydney. His publications include (in Polish) Between Dogma and a Research Program, In the Grip of Secret Services: The Collapse of Communism and the Post-nomenklatura Networks and he has edited several books and published many articles in Polish and English.

Bibliographic information


'This study is a model of what scholarship on secrecy-enshrouded topics should be.' - from the Foreword by Gary T. Marx

'...a fascinating and troubling book...[the authors] raise important questions about the nature of privatized Poland.' - Choice

'It is a well-done piece of research that integrates a wealth of information and makes visible some major trends in the transformation process.' - Nils Christie in Slavic Review

'Privatizing the Police-State examines the privatization of the state control apparatus and the impact this has had on post-socialist property relations and on the possibilities for a full break with the authoritarian system. [The authors] use sources gained through years of reading and careful field research.' - Louise Shelley in Demokratizatsiya

'This is a very important book for those who are interested in communism and in the structures of social domination in post-communism. It is important as an attempt to combine contemporary history, political science and institutional/political sociology. It is an important challenge to the prevailing understanding of communist rule, transition and current social and political structures in Poland.' - Andras Sajo in Law and Politics Book Review