Manifestations of polish nationalism


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It has not been easy for the radical right in Poland. The weakness of today's right goes back to the early days of the modern Polish state, whose revival in 1918 was inextricably bound up with the political left. Ultimately and ironically, it was the rise of Nazism that crashed the extreme rights chances in Poland. Theoretically, the grand march of fascism and the onset of WWII have provided great opportunities to the local radical right. But this things didn't work in Poland. Elsewhere in Eastern Europe, the Nazi occupation tunes of the right. However, in Poland rapidly growing support for the left was noticed. The war had radicalized the Polish population. “Actually-existing fascism” had destroyed the appeal of the right for a long time to come.

It was the introduction to the communist rule which dealt the greatest blow to the Polish right. The problem of the right was that the communists proceeded to implement their goals on the of a completely different ideology, replacing integral nationalism with language of class struggle. It is not surprising, therefore, that when the communists initiated their crash industrialization program designed to propel Poland into the modern world, it won much of the support that had previously gone to the right.

A radical right certainly does exist in Poland, with numerous individual sponsors in the political elite and would-be elite. But it has not attracted more than a small following. One of its key problems Is that it lacks a persuasive target against which to mobilize constituents.

The promulgation of ethnic haters has long been a defining characteristic of the radical right, and is treated as such for the purpose of this never sway masses. The radical right thus always initiates its attack on the universal (that is, democracy) through an attack on a particular (that is, an ethic group). Hatreds are useful organizing tools, and to no extremist tendency has been able to forgo them. In Poland, the radical right's hatred of choice has been the hatred of Jews.

For the extreme right revival to be possible, today's fascists need more plausible enemies. For the radical right, 1989 was a time for revival. In an act of calculated provocation, it chose May Day to declare its re-entry into the political scene. One prominent presence at the May Day conference, and the first radical right party emerged with the collapse of communism, was the Polish National Community (PNC) led by Boleslaw Tejkowski. Tejkowski offered Polish public opinion a steady diet of anti-Semitic, anticommunist, and anti-Solidarity diatribes.

One of Tejkowski's chief competitors was the National Movement (NM), that putative continuation of the legacy of Roman Dmowski. Both PNC and NM were small organizations, with actual membership never more than a few hundred at best. The firs radical movement to do real organizing was the Polish National Front (PNF), led by Janusz Bryczkowski. The PNF has organized chiefly among young undereducated males in small urban areas, a constituency facing the highest unemployment rates and worst housing shortages. By 1995, the PNF had been replaced by the Polish National Rebirth (PNR) as the main fascist organization.

The radical right has not done well in the electoral contest. The only explicitly right-wing party to break the 5 percent threshold for parliamentary representation was the KPN, or the Confederation for an Independent Poland, which was founded by Leszek Moczulski.

The organizations and figures discussed thus far have been marginal players in post-Communist Poland. The major development for the right was the emergence in 1996 of a large right-wing organizations such as the Christian Union, the Center Alliance, and the KPN, Electoral Action Solidarity (EAS) was created specifically as a way to unify the right for the 1997 parliamentary elections. What makes the Solidarity vision potentially “radical right” is its view of the elite as a “foreign” or “alien” force acting against the interests of the “Polish nation”.

So far, the radical right has failed. Lacking a persuasive enemy, a coherent economic program, or real organizational infrastructure, it has not managed to win much support.

Nevertheless, the right keeps pushing its message, and there remains considerable social anger out there that the right may be able to tap.


Though it is stated in the article that right failed the recent rise of the extreme right in Polish context was quite a surprise for many observers. In 1990s, Poland was usually perceived as a state without significant populist and extremist movements. It was seen as a stable young democracy, and extremists were excepted as a little annoyance to the liberal-democratic consensus. However, closer to mid-2000s, everything changed; two populist radical parties formed the coalition government with the right-wing conservative Law and the Justice Party. Suddenly, racist extremist attributes were not an obstacle to a high-level career, but were not only permitted but even seemed positively valued. The entrance of extremists into state shouldn't be a matter of individual case, but took on systemic features.


What made such a substantial minority of Poles as Jews vulnerable to evocations of hatred and exclusion?

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