The Populist Radical Right in Poland: The Patriots 0415473535, 9780415473538

In this important and accessible study, Rafal Pankowski makes sense of the rapid growth of organized radical nationalism

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The Populist Radical Right in Poland: The Patriots
 0415473535, 9780415473538

Table of contents :
Book Cover
Title
Copyright
Contents
Series Editors’ Preface
Acknowledgments
1 Introductory remarks
2 Pre-Communist legacies
3 Communist period legacy
4 After Communism
5 The League of Polish Families and its integral nationalism
6 Self-Defence: Radical populism
7 The anti-liberalism of Law and Justice
8 Nationalist populism in power: The 2005–2007 experiment and beyond
9 Conclusion
Epilogue
Appendix A
Appendix B
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Citation preview

The Populist Radical Right in Poland

In this important and accessible study, Rafal Pankowski makes sense of the rapid growth of organized radical nationalism on the political stage in Poland by showing its origins, its internal dynamics and the historical, political, social and cultural context that has made it possible. From political obscurity to the heart of mainstream politics, the recent rise of the extreme right in the Polish context surprised many observers. In the 1990s Poland was usually referred to as a country without significant extremist or populist movements. It was considered to be a stable, even if young, democracy, and ‘extremists’ were perceived as just a minor nuisance to the liberal-democratic consensus. In the mid-2000s, the picture changed completely: two populist radical right parties entered into a coalition government with the right-wing conservative Law and Justice Party. All of a sudden, racist extremist affiliations were not a hindrance to a high-level career, but were tolerated or even seemed positively valued. The entrance of extremists into state structures was no longer a matter of isolated individual cases, but took on systemic features. Presenting a detailed analysis of the Polish national populism, the book uses theories of social movements (in particular the concept of discursive opportunity structure), as well as relevant theories of transition and democratization. In particular, the specific cultural resources of Polish nationalist populism are analysed because they are deemed to be among principal reasons for the relative success of the radical nationalists and their particular brand of identity politics. The book not only provides a detailed analysis of Polish nationalism but will also have a much broader transnational significance. It is essential reading for scholars of national populism in the context of post-communism and beyond. Rafal Pankowski has served as deputy editor of Nigdy Wiecej (‘Never Again’) magazine since 1996. He has published widely on racism, nationalism, xenophobia and other issues including the books Neo-Fascism in Western Europe (1998) and Racism and Popular Culture (2006). He currently works as a lecturer at Collegium Civitas and head of the Warsaw-based East Europe Monitoring Centre.

Routledge Studies in Extremism and Democracy Series Editors: Roger Eatwell, University of Bath, and Cas Mudde, University of Antwerp-UFSIA

This new series encompasses academic studies within the broad fields of ‘extremism’ and ‘democracy’. These topics have traditionally been considered largely in isolation by academics. A key focus of the series, therefore, is the (inter)relation between extremism and democracy. Works will seek to answer questions such as to what extent ‘extremist’ groups pose a major threat to democratic parties, or how democracy can respond to extremism without undermining its own democratic credentials. The books encompass two strands: Routledge Studies in Extremism and Democracy includes books with an introductory and broad focus, which are aimed at students and teachers. These books will be available in hardback and paperback. Titles include: Understanding Terrorism in America From the Klan to al Qaeda Christopher Hewitt Fascism and the Extreme Right Roger Eatwell Racist Extremism in Central and Eastern Europe Edited by Cas Mudde Political Parties and Terrorist Groups (2nd Edition) Leonard Weinberg, Ami Pedahzur and Arie Perliger The New Extremism in 21st Century Britain Edited by Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin Routledge Research in Extremism and Democracy offers a forum for innovative new research intended for a more specialist readership. These books will be in hardback only. Titles include:

1. Uncivil Society? Contentious politics in post-communist Europe Edited by Petr Kopecky and Cas Mudde 2. Political Parties and Terrorist Groups Leonard Weinberg and Ami Pedahzur 3. Western Democracies and the New Extreme Right Challenge Edited by Roger Eatwell and Cas Mudde 4. Confronting Right Wing Extremism and Terrorism in the USA George Michael 5. Anti-Political Establishment Parties A comparative analysis Amir Abedi 6. American Extremism History, politics and the militia D. J. Mulloy 7. The Scope of Tolerance: Studies on the Costs of Free Expression and Freedom of the Press Raphael Cohen-Almagor 8. Extreme Right Activists in Europe Through the magnifying glass Bert Klandermans and Nonna Mayer 9. Ecological Politics and Democratic Theory Mathew Humphrey 10. Reinventing the Italian Right Territorial politics, populism and ‘post-Fascism’ Carlo Ruzza and Stefano Fella 11. Political Extremes An investigation into the history of terms and concepts from antiquity to the present Uwe Backes 12. The Populist Radical Right in Poland The patriots Rafal Pankowski

The Populist Radical Right in Poland The patriots

Rafal Pankowski

First published 2010 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada by Routledge 270 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2010. To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledge’s collection of thousands of eBooks please go to www.eBookstore.tandf.co.uk. © 2010 Rafal Pankowski All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Pankowski, Rafal. The populist radical right in Poland : the patriots / Rafal Pankowski. p. cm.—(Routledge studies in extremism and democracy) Includes bibliographical references. 1. Political parties—Poland. 2. Conservatism—Poland. 3. Populism—Poland. 4. Right and left (Political science). 5. Poland—Politics and government—1945–1980. I. Title. JN50.P365 2010 324.2438′03—dc22 2009035630 ISBN 0-203-85656-2 Master e-book ISBN

ISBN 13: 978-0-415-47353-8 (hbk) ISBN 13: 978-0-203-85656-7 (ebk) ISBN 10: 0-415-47353-5 (hbk) ISBN 10: 0-203-85656-2 (ebk)

Patriots of the wasteland torching two hundred years Dragging my spirit back into the dungeon again Bring back crucification cry the moral death’s head legion Using steel nails manufactured by the slaves in Asia Joe Strummer, The Clash, ‘Three Card Trick’

Contents

Preface Acknowledgments 1

Introductory remarks

xi xiii 1

On the importance of nationalist traditions 8 2

Pre-Communist legacies

15

Józef Piłsudski’s civic nationalism 15 Roman Dmowski’s ethnonationalism 21 Bolesław Piasecki’s national radicalism 31 Jan Stachniuk’s super-totalitarian neo-paganism 39 3

Communist period legacy

42

Legitimization of nationalism in the post-war period: the national question and the communist regime 42 Solidarity as a national movement 56 4

After Communism

64

The Polish transition and its flipside 64 The weakness of the populist radical right before 2001 78 The main players on the populist radical right in the 1990s 84 The growth of extreme right cultural resources 95 Symbolic mobilizations and antisemitism 104 5

The League of Polish Families and its integral nationalism History 111 Ideology and cultural references 114

111

x

Contents Popular support 124 International connections 129

6

Self-Defence: radical populism

132

History 132 Ideology and cultural references 135 Popular support 146 International connections 148 7

The anti-liberalism of Law and Justice

151

History 151 Ideology and cultural references 152 Popular support 165 International connections 167 8

9

Nationalist populism in power: the 2005–2007 experiment and beyond

169

Conclusion

190

Epilogue

193

Appendix A: Radical nationalist groups in the 1990s

197

Appendix B: Selected electoral results of political parties (parliamentary elections)

199

Notes Bibliography Index

200 224 249

Series Editors’ Preface

The academic literature on extremism and democracy continues to grow at a fast pace. Following the electoral growth of extreme and radical rightwing parties that began in the late 1970s, the majority of these studies have taken as cases in Western Europe their main focus. Less well examined, however, is how this phenomenon has taken shape in Central and Eastern Europe; its roots, its ideology, and its base of support. This bias within the literature is odd given that some of the most strident forms of ethnic nationalism and right-wing extremism have emerged outside the borders of West European states. During the inter-war era, Poland was for a time governed by the Pilsudski dictatorship which many non-Polish commentators have seen as part of a wider set of right-wing authoritarian regimes. However, whilst the regime was undoubtedly underpinned by a strongly ‘patriotic’ ideology (few in Polish history have openly termed themselves ‘nationalist’), it cannot neatly be situated on the right. Moreover, whilst there was a notable anti-Semitic strand in Polish culture, there was little support for truly fascist movements during times when elections were relatively free. Following the fall of communism during the 1980s, few commentators either within or outside Poland predicted the rise of a notable extreme or populist right (though there were widespread fears about such developments in the ex-Soviet space). The rise of Solidarity meant that democratization had started relatively early, and there were strong cultural links with both Western Europe and the USA, not least through the Catholic Church. However, the new party system proved to be notably unstable. For example, the Democratic Left Alliance which won Poland’s 2001 elections with over 40 per cent of the vote, slumped in polls to a quarter of this not long afterwards. Growing resentment towards corruption in government and the growth of Eurosceptic sentiment helped the rise of the right. By 2006, two populist right-wing parties, the League of Polish Families and Self-Defence, had formed a coalition with the conservative Law and Justice Party. This presented a very different face to that of the classic European Christian Democrat parties in other large Catholic countries, such as Germany and Italy, with their historic commitment towards ‘ever closer union’.

xii

The Populist Radical Right in Poland

For example, the League of Polish Families was backed by the traditionalist Catholic Radio Maryja which campaigned on ultra-nationalist and relatively reactionary views. Moreover, the coalition saw the entry into government and prominent public positions of extreme right-wingers, including the leader of a skinhead nationalist organization and the publisher of a Nazifanzine. All were in their twenties and thirties, and had been nurtured in a strong sub-culture which most commentators on the transition to democracy had missed. As the author notes in his introductory remarks, ‘The distance between the political margin and the political mainstream proved dramatically small.’ Rafal Pankowski is ideally suited to write a book about these developments. He has spent fifteen years working on extremist and populist rightwing politics in Poland, and has a unique knowledge of the field and a good knowledge of the wider academic literature on these issues, including debates on the definitions of terms such as ‘extremism’ and ‘nationalism’. The result is the first serious book-length study of these cultural and political trends in English (there is very little in Polish too). The main focus is historical and ideological, though the book also brings out important structural factors in these developments, and the story is brought up to 2009. By this time, the right had itself suffered notable electoral setbacks, especially following the mobilization of young people who sought to show their distaste for the more radical right-wing elements. However, as Pankowski stresses in the pages which follow, right-wing activists and ideology are likely to play a notable part in Polish politics for many years to come, especially as they play on what he terms ‘long durée’ strands in Polish ‘nationalism’. He particularly stresses throughout the continuing influence on the right of anti-Semitism, in spite of the fact that very few Jewish communities survived in Poland post-1945, in part a reflection of the fact that such prejudice frames a wider hostility to diversity and liberal democracy in a country characterized by a high level of ethnic homogeneity. This pioneering study will, therefore, be of interest to not simply those who specialize in Polish, or extreme and populist nationalist politics. There is also much which is of vital interest to those who study wider topics such as political culture, democratization, and party systems. Roger Eatwell and Matthew J. Goodwin Bath and Manchester, December 2009

Acknowledgments

First and foremost, I would like to acknowledge Cas Mudde’s crucial guidance, advice, and encouragement in writing this book. I shall always be grateful for his support. I am also grateful to Roger Eatwell for his valuable remarks and assistance in obtaining some useful publications related to my subject. I would like to thank Craig Fowlie at Routledge for being patient and cooperative. I also want to thank Craig’s assistants, Natalja Mortensen and Nicola Parkin, for their cooperation. I would like to use the opportunity to thank my Polish academic mentors, Aldona Jawłowska and Jerzy Jedlicki, as well as my main Oxford tutors, Jonathan Wright and David Hine. They have influenced my thinking and taught me a great deal. I appreciate all the help I received from all my colleagues and friends – they are too numerous to list them all here. Last but not least, I would like to thank my loved ones for their support in all the crucial moments.

1

Introductory remarks

This book was written in the course of one year but it can be read as a summing up of more than 15 years of my research into the Polish populist radical right. This particular political specimen comes in a variety of shapes and colours in post-communist Poland, while ideologies and traditions of radical national populism define its core identity. Thus both labels – ‘populist radical right’ and ‘national(ist) populism’ – have been employed in the text to the point of interchangeability. Back in the 1990s, some signs of political radicalization could be seen on the horizon, but it was generally inconceivable that so many protagonists of then marginal political subcultures would soon become members of the country’s ruling elite. In the 1990s Poland was usually referred to as a country without significant populist radical right movements. It was considered to be a stable, even if young, democracy, and ‘extremists’ were perceived as just a little nuisance to the consensus. By the mid-2000s, the picture changed completely. In 2006, two populist radical right parties (the League of Polish Families and Self-Defence) entered into a coalition government with the right-wing conservative Law and Justice party. A member of a ‘national-socialist black metal’ sect, the publisher of brochures under titles such as ‘National Socialism. Goals and principles’ became the official spokesman of one of Poland’s three governing parties. The leader of a skinhead nationalist organization became the minister of education. Another one became a vice-minister of sport. A publisher of a nazi-skinhead fanzine became the chairman of the board of state TV. There were many more similar examples . . . All of the above mentioned individuals were in their late 20s or early 30s. Their political socialization happened through the extreme-nationalist movement, drawing both from the traditions of the 1930s radical-nationalist right and from contemporary cultural resources such as the racist skinhead culture. All of a sudden, racist extremist affiliations were not a hindrance to a highlevel career, but were tolerated or even seemed positively valued by those who had a direct say in their appointments. The entrance of extremists into state structures was no longer a matter of isolated individual cases, but took on systemic features.

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The Populist Radical Right in Poland

The distance between the political margin and the political mainstream proved dramatically small. In just a few years, groups of the populist radical right, including extreme right elements, went all the way from the fringe to the very centre of politics in one of the European Union member states. Expressions of xenophobia and intolerance, promoted by media outlets such as Radio Maryja, became the quasi-official ideology of the Polish government, to many observers’ dismay and disbelief. The government that included the populist radical right collapsed after little more than a year and the most extreme members of its coalition were voted out of the parliament after an unprecedented mobilization of (especially young) voters. The 2009 European Parliament election results in Poland confirmed the roll-back of radical nationalism and the main radical right group was reduced to just 1 per cent of the vote. Nevertheless, some nationalist populist ideas (and activists) have remained firmly established in Polish politics and they are set to stay as important players in the years to come. The main aim of this book is to outline and analyse the journey of the populist radical right in Poland from political obscurity to the heart of mainstream politics (and back). The book aims to make sense of the rapid growth of organized radical nationalism on the political level by showing its origins, its internal dynamics and the historical, political, social and cultural context that has made it possible. In particular, the specific cultural resources of Polish nationalist populism are discussed here because they are deemed to be among the principal reasons for the relative success of the Polish radical nationalists and their particular brand of identity politics. Surprisingly, there is not a single volume on the contemporary Polish populist radical right (or nationalist populism, or extreme right) in English today. In fact, very little has been published on the subject by Polish academics either. This book therefore tries to fill an important gap in existing English-language literature concerning a large European country that has traditionally attracted significant international interest for its history and politics. Let me stress that I do not intend to present the totality of the Polish political life in this modest book. That would be impossible. I have not tried to exhaust the subject of the Polish nationalist and populist right either. I have rather tried to propose a way of looking at the subject, prioritizing its cultural and ideological aspects at the expense of conventional ‘political sociology’ understood, for example, as an analysis of voting patterns. In the case of Poland the latter tool is highly problematic. The reason is partly to be found in the extreme fluctuations in electoral support (in a typical example, the social democratic SLD won 41 per cent of the vote in 2001 and just 11 per cent at the next election in 2005). Radosław Markowski notes . . . a great electoral changeability, which is a symptom of the lack of social roots of the parties. At the aggregate level, between the years

Introductory remarks 3 2001 and 2005 the change of political party support amounted to 38%, whereas in Western Europe the same indicator reached approximately 9%. Furthermore, in 2005 as many as 63% of Poles cast their votes for a different party than four years before, and as many as 28% changed their preferences en bloc, that is from left-wing to right-wing parties or vice versa.1 The electoral volatility is connected to the notoriously unstable political landscape of party labels, splits, changing leaders, etc. All this makes any durable ‘political sociology’ analysis of particular parties a near-impossible task, simply because the actors change constantly. As a result, some analyses included here may read like contemporary history, rather than political science, but I hope this does not devalue the overall analysis itself. In contrast, the cultural threads described in this book belong to the ‘long durée’ features of Polish identity. It can be expected that nationalist populism, which feeds on them, will remain part and parcel of the country’s political life in the years to come. In this sense, this book is probably going to retain much of its relevance in the foreseeable future. Antisemitism is crucial to the Polish populist radical right, but Germanophobia and Russophobia have been very important to several brands too. Moreover, their authoritarianism is important to note, including its ties to traditionalist Roman Catholicism. The latter aspect is strongly interlinked with the contemporary Polish radical right, which employs the discourse of moral absolutism. Homophobia in particular has played an increasingly important role in right-wing populist propaganda. At the same time, we must realize that the Polish extreme right is largely about antisemitism, much more than anything else. It is simply a central element of the nationalist political tradition. The number of Jews in Poland today is minimal, but the anti-Jewish prejudice serves as a code for a general hostility to diversity and to Polish (liberal) democracy. In Poland, and in much of East Central Europe, it is a paradigmatic form of intolerance. For this reason, this book is in large measure also a book about antisemitism, as expressed in Polish political discourse, even though it is not its exclusive focus. My goal is to provide at least a partial answer to the question, how was it possible for the extreme right and national populism to make such rapid advances into the Polish political mainstream? In particular, what were the symbolic resources it used and the cultural frames that informed its outlook? What are the ideologies of the Polish extreme right and national populism? I have treated ‘ideology’ in the broadest possible sense here: as Stuart Hall put it, By ideology I mean the mental frameworks – the languages, the concepts, categories, imagery of thought, and the systems of representation – which different classes and social groups deploy in order to make sense of, define, figure out and render intelligible the way society works.2

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The Populist Radical Right in Poland

The terminology employed in the following text includes a number of essentially contested terms. I do not claim to have ‘discovered’ the only and true meaning of each of the controversial terms such as ‘extreme right’, ‘nationalism’, ‘fascism’, ‘populism’, etc. They are, and will remain, controversial and some measure of arbitrariness in their usage is unavoidable. Various political groups described in this book can be characterized by one or more of the above labels. It does not mean they are all the same. Instead of lumping them altogether, I will try to describe their relevant similarities as well as some key differences. As Jerzy Tomaszewski writes, ‘It is a feature of the Polish political scene that hardly any people with serious ambitions declare themselves to be nationalists’.3 In contrast, we employ the term ‘nationalism’ in a more valueneutral way throughout the book, even though it could be argued that the traditional Polish distinction between ‘patriotism’ and ‘nationalism’ is not without its merits. Nevertheless, we reject an essentialist understanding of the nation – which is still generally speaking hegemonic in Poland and across much of East Central Europe – in favour of a constructionist perspective on the nation as an ‘imagined community’.4 Nationalism can thus be defined broadly as a political ideology that is centred on the notion of the nation as its core value. In the classic formulation of Ernest Gellner, ‘Nationalism is primarily a political principle, which holds that the political and the national unit should be congruent. Nationalism as a sentiment, or as a movement, can best be defined in terms of this principle’.5 In historical practice, in Poland (and in the broader East–Central European region) the nationalist principle has expressed itself most often in the form of ethno-nationalism, where ethnic bonds of shared ancestry take priority over civic affiliations. The civic nationalism of Józef Piłsudski was, arguably, an exception to this rule, and – as we will argue in the subsequent chapters – any broader popular awareness of that multi-cultural aspect of the Polish national tradition is largely a thing of the past. Moreover, the sharp distinction between the supposedly radically dissimilar types of nationalism: ‘civic’ (which is said to be prevalent in Western Europe) and ‘ethnic’ (which is attributed to the East), has been criticized and problematized by some contemporary authors. They suggest that nationalism is in fact a mixture of both elements: it ‘always includes political/civic and cultural/ethnic aspects’.6 Indeed, they can be seen as abstract ideal types which do not exist in actual reality, while the political practice of nationalism is always located in the broad grey zone between the ‘civic’ and the ‘ethnic’ poles. The history of Polish nationalism provides more evidence of that. The ‘extreme right’ is, arguably, an even more controversial label, one which even fewer actors would willingly adopt. In our understanding of the extreme right in the Polish context, it would apply to those political groups and ideologies that subscribe to a radically anti-pluralist, homogeneous vision of the national community and reject the basic democratic values. Violence

Introductory remarks 5 often accompanies extreme-right politics, either directly or implicitly (e.g. through a discursive justification of violent means). This book prioritizes the (nominally democratic) populist radical right as well as the (openly anti-democratic) extreme right as the focus of our attention (seen against the background of the broader cultural and political phenomenon of national populism). It does not mean, however, that all the groups and parties mentioned here belong to this category. For example, the Law and Justice party has tolerated extreme-right activists as its allies and even in its ranks, but its political pedigree is different. Nevertheless, the analysis would not be complete without discussing the role Law and Justice has played in the story. Analytically, it is possible to set apart the extreme right from the (populist) radical right, i.e. from those groups which espouse a ‘strong’ version of typically right-wing ideas (such as the free market, traditional moral norms, etc.), but their ideas and methods are within the confines of democratic rules. The distinction between the radical and the extreme right is sometimes difficult to maintain, however, especially in describing those polities where mainstream political actors are not necessarily keen to distance themselves from extremist groups and ideas. The new democracies of East Central Europe often fall into that category. There is also some persisting confusion on the left–right dichotomy in transition-period post-communist societies, where a conservative approach is typically associated with post-communist parties, while anticommunists have argued for a large-scale reconstruction of the way society works. For these reasons, typologies of ‘left’ and ‘right’ have been notoriously unstable and prone to controversy. Nevertheless, there are political actors who deserve the ‘extreme right’ tag without doubt. Their ideological differences notwithstanding, they are part of an international ‘political family’ of the extreme right.7 Predictably, the ‘extreme right’ comes close to another highly charged political label, which is ‘fascism’. A debate is still underway whether or not the term has any contemporary, as opposed to historical, cognitive value.8 The work of scholars such as Roger Eatwell, Roger Griffin, and Tamir Bar-On9 convinces us that neo-fascism is indeed a living ideological and political phenomenon, even if the attempted consensus on its definition is not on the horizon. Roger Eatwell defines it as an ideology ‘which preaches the need for social rebirth in order to forge a holistic-national radical Third Way’.10 Roger Griffin has emphasized the ‘palingenetic’ features of fascism as a generic ideology.11 Elsewhere, I have proposed my own perspective on (neo)fascism as an ‘ideology of total cultural homogeneity’.12 There is little doubt that some of the activists and ideologists described in this book would find themselves in proximity to the ‘fascist’ ideological family even if they are loath to admit it. However, in order not to become embroiled in a semantic discussion, which is not the main aim of this work, I have resorted to the term very seldom. Populism is another important term, which has evoked much scholarly

6

The Populist Radical Right in Poland

discussion in the recent years. In its historic, 19th-century Russian and American variants ‘populism’ stood for mass movements with fully-fledged coherent ideologies. In the course of the 20th – and, arguably, the 21st centuries – the term took on rather different associations, often pertaining to a political style rather than an ideology in its own right. In this work, I have avoided the description of the traditionally powerful Polish agrarian movement (similar to other such movements across the region) as ‘populist’. I have applied the term ‘populism’ in a broader sense, as proposed by Cas Mudde: an ideology that considers society to be ultimately separated into two homogeneous and antagonistic groups, “the pure people” versus “the corrupt elite”, and which argues that politics should be an expression of the volonté générale (general will) of the people.13 Let us add that in many ways populism has permeated contemporary (post)modern democratic politics across the spectrum, to the point where it can be seen as the essence of political campaigning. Moreover, let us pay special attention to the cultural aspects of political populism. The notions of cultural resources and cultural hegemony are central here. They lay at the junction of the cultural and the political, which are surely not radically separate realms and ought not to be approached as such. Both notions are related to the question of cultural capital. Bob Edwards and John D. McCarthy define cultural resources as ‘artifacts and cultural products such as conceptual tools and specialized knowledge that have become widely, though not universally known. (. . .) This category includes tactical repertoires, organizational templates, technical or strategic know-how encompassing both mobilization and production technologies’ as well as ‘specific cultural competences or collective identities’.14 We might add here the specific traditions that legitimize particular aspects of political actions. Edwards and McCarthy classify them under ‘moral resources [which] include legitimacy, solidary support, sympathetic support, and celebrity’.15 The related notion of cultural hegemony, rooted in post-Gramscian social science, is useful in explaining the role of cultural resources in Polish nationalism in the broadest sense. Cultural hegemony is usually coded as popular ‘common sense’. The concept of hegemony is very close to the notion of ‘discursive opportunity structure’, which, according to Ruud Koopmans and Paul Statham, determines ‘which ideas are considered “sensible”, which constructions of reality are seen as “realistic”, and which claims are held as “legitimate” within a certain polity at a specific time’.16 According to Lawrence Grossberg, ‘Hegemony defines the limits within which we can struggle, the field of “common sense” or “popular consciousness” ’.17 It seems that populist movements have been successful where they manage to make a connection with a culture of the ‘common sense’ ordinariness. In the Polish case, the populist common sense includes, for instance, the belief that ‘all Poles are Catholics’ and the underlying assumption that members of

Introductory remarks 7 ethno-religious minorities cannot be ‘truly Polish’. It impacts directly or indirectly on discursive opportunities and the political space available for nationalist-populist mobilization. No cultural hegemony is ever complete, however, and therefore there is always a potential for counter-hegemonic forces to construct and successfully promote an alternative discourse in the longer term. Cas Mudde has argued convincingly for the term ‘populist radical right’ to be applied to those political parties which combine nativism, authoritarianism, and populism in their ideology.18 No doubt many of the protagonists of this book belong to that broadly conceived political party family, even though they differ in relative proportions of the ingredients of the ideological mixture. Among the political parties that participated in the 2006–2007 government, only the League of Polish Families can be called without hesitation a radical right populist or even an extreme-right party. The Self-Defence party can be labelled social populist, while the Law and Justice party can be characterized as right-wing populist. In reality, the ideological differences between them became rather blurred. Apart from general populist features, they shared a strongly nationalist and illiberal outlook and tolerated extremeright elements among their members. I have drawn extensively from the social movement perspective in describing contemporary Polish nationalist and populist groups. Social movement literature is relevant here not least because each of the main forces of nationalist populism in Poland has profited from extra-parliamentary mobilization and they cannot be reduced to a purely institutional account (e.g. as parliamentary political parties). We conceive of a social movement in the broadest possible way, as collective action based on shared goals. It does not mean that nationalist groups are necessarily to be perceived as ‘authentic’, or ‘grassroots’, movements. Indeed, they are largely elite-driven or elite-manipulated phenomena. We put a special emphasis on the identities expressed through, and forged by, nationalist and populist movements. As Anne Kane writes, ‘solidarity and political alliance between diverse groups in social movements is made possible through the construction of symbolic systems of meaning, such as ideology and identity structures’.19 It is difficult to avoid the normative aspects of social movement activity. In the words of Polish sociologist Edmund Wnuk-Lipin´ ski, ‘The social movement functions, above all, in the axiological public space, introducing new interpretations of social reality to public discourse’.20 The worldview of the Polish radical nationalists is not necessarily ‘new’, but its axiological elements constitute its backbone. A methodological remark: this work rests on a careful qualitative analysis of primary sources authored by protagonists of the radical populist and nationalist right spanning more than a hundred years, with a special focus on the 1989–2009 period. I have studied hundreds of publications, including books, press articles, electoral manifestos,21 leaflets, fanzines, Internet sites, etc. In addition, I conducted several long interviews with extreme right

8

The Populist Radical Right in Poland

insiders. I have also referred to other sources such as radio and TV programmes, films and music recordings. They are, arguably, important for the subject of nationalist populist cultural resources, too. Various quotes expressing extreme views are used in the text. A question can be asked, are they in any way representative of the broader political groups discussed in this book or do they originate from irrelevant fringes? I do not intend to overstate the significance of the Polish populist radical right and its ideology, but I have done my utmost to argue that in many cases such utterances do represent a mainstream position within those larger groupings or, at the least, they have been condoned or tolerated by their leaders. I selected them for their general representative character.

On the importance of nationalist traditions As we noted, the notion of nationalism, when applied to East Central European politics, is far from clear. It is also the case of Poland. The term ‘nationalism’ (‘nacjonalizm’) in Polish has rather peculiar connotations and a much narrower meaning than in the case of the English (Anglo-Saxon) equivalent. In short, it is mostly understood as ethno-nationalism, with undertones of expansionism, racism and xenophobia. No wonder, with few exceptions, the term is generally shunned and major political actors shy away from self-description as ‘nationalists’. If we take their pronouncements at face value (which is frequently the case with scholars of Polish politics), we would undoubtedly conclude that the idea of nationalism is confined to the narrowest margin of radical nationalist groupings such as the National Rebirth of Poland, who call themselves ‘nationalist’ explicitly and proudly (e.g. the extremist Internet portal close to the NOP is actually called nacjonalista.pl). Interestingly, there has been some reluctance to accept the ‘nationalist’ label even among those political groups on the populist radical right that would be defined as such by almost every other observer. For instance, Roman Giertych, the leader of one of the important populist radical right currents, has warned his followers not to use the label, and encouraged them to use the Polish neologism ‘narodowcy’ instead. In fact, any linguistic analysis would demonstrate that ‘narodowcy’ in Polish means just that – ‘nationalists’ (‘naród’ meaning ‘nation’). Nevertheless, the Polish word sounds nobler as the movement’s own self-description and aims to separate semantically the Polish nationalists from their foreign counterparts. Even a cursory look through the various publications of the Polish populist radical right shows that the term ‘narodowcy’ is used commonly, while ‘nationalists’ (‘nacjonalis´ ci’) as a self-description is rare. Jarosław Tomasiewicz, a former protagonist of the Polish nationalist movement, admits ‘the Polish endeks [National Democrats – R.P.] approach the term “nationalism” with cautiousness and distance’.22 In this vein, Roman Giertych, in his speech at the conference entitled ‘Visons of Polish

Introductory remarks 9 Patriotism’ in 2006 stated that nationalism was ‘an aberration of the love of the fatherland’.23 Similarly, Maciej Giertych, Roman’s father and the movement’s leading ideologue, proposed to distinguish between nationalism (‘understood as a willingness to get rich at the expense of other nations’) and, positively valued, ‘national thought’.24 Such attempts at dropping the ‘nationalist’ label are not confined to the Giertych family. At the outset of the formation of the contemporary populist radical right in Poland, W. Olszewski, another protagonist of the movement, tried to replace the term ‘nationalism’ with ‘modern patriotism’, defined as ‘civic virtue based on attachment to national community’ and ‘the superior principle of action in collective life’.25 In this context we may mention that even Roman Dmowski, arguably the founding father of modern political nationalism in Poland, had expressed his reservations as regards ‘nationalism’, calling it ‘an unfortunate term’.26 It is appropriate to note that Zygmunt Balicki, Dmowski’s colleague and chief ideologue in the early days of the movement, at the turn of the 19th century, called it ‘nationalist’ without much hesitation.27 Some other authors close to the movement have little problem calling it ‘nationalist’, too. One of them is Bogusław Grott, a professor of religious studies at Jagiellonian University and a leading academic connected with the Polish nationalist movement today. At the same time Grott notes: ‘With time passing, the term “nationalism” has remained in use generally only within groups that are marginal in terms of the number of followers and extreme in their ideas’.28 The main issue, however, is not just the fact that the relatively radical groups avoid ‘nationalism’ as a self-description of their political identity. In this case we can actually ascribe the label to them without major problems and without running a risk of excessive arbitrariness. What is more problematic is the fact that nationalism, in the much broader meaning of the Anglo-Saxon tradition, stretches far beyond the radical spectrum and encompasses rather vast areas of Polish mainstream political discourse. Here it is much more difficult to avoid charges of arbitrariness in determining what counts as ‘nationalism’. At the same time, it is important to understand that nationalism (in the broad sense) forms the backbone of much Polish politics, even when it is not proclaimed explicitly. This important cultural fact provides a significant pool of resources for the populist radical right, as we will discuss in more depth later on. It is appropriate to add here that Poland is far from being an exception in this regard. Many polities where nationalism is said to be a dominant mainstream ideology beyond the radical fringe and across the social and political spectrum have been described. Examples include such diverse cases as contemporary Russia and Romania as well as the United States and Israel. In fact, it can be argued that the very organization of international society into nation states itself forces the hegemony of nationalism in modern politics. According to Ernest Gellner, ‘Nationalism [is] the organization of

10

The Populist Radical Right in Poland

human groups into large, centrally educated, culturally homogeneous units’.29 Nationalism is prevailing and naturalized to the point where it actually becomes invisible or ‘banal’.30 Nationalism may often be mainstream, but this is not to say that mainstream nationalism manifests itself in the same way in all those different societies. The content of nationalist ideology varies significantly, too, between countries and within them. To state simply that nationalism cuts across the whole political spectrum and to end inquiry here is therefore grossly insufficient. Such a statement risks overlooking or losing some important distinctions and cleavages and therefore is wrong epistemologically. It is wrong morally, too, as it may serve to neglect the seriousness (or the danger) of some of the specific forms of nationalism, while lumping together, labelling and essentializing whole groups by saying the Poles, the Israelis, the Russians, etc. are ‘nationalistic’. We acknowledge the fact that nationalism in Poland is a much broader phenomenon than is generally recognized. It provides an important cultural base for the extreme right movements. At the same time, we want to point to the diversity of the Polish political traditions that, according to Western criteria, could be described as nationalist in one way or another, even if they are not routinely labelled as such. The diversity of traditions explains the variety of ideological repertoires available to nationalist political movements in Poland. It also contains a certain symbolic potential that may work against the extreme-right interpretations of the Polish political tradition. Roger Eatwell rightly emphasizes the importance of national political traditions in the study of fascist and extreme-right movements: Stressing the importance of political traditions does not necessarily involve believing that national identity is written on tablets of stone or coded in the genes. Nations are diverse organisms, and capable of evolution. Political systems, too, are not rigid structures: parties rise and fall, and constitutions change. Even so, some political systems clearly have firmer roots than others, are more capable of sustaining shock or of marginalizing challenges. And the past shapes the present in a variety of ways. It helps to define what is familiar rather than alien, what is legitimate and what is unacceptable: all crucial factors in understanding the actions of both political leaders and the masses.31 It is the interwar period that provides the single most important point of reference in terms of the formation of nationalist political identities in the East Central European region. As Natalia Sineaeva wrote, ‘With the collapse of the communist block and formation of new states, people faced with co-existence of old and new ideologies, including national ones, frequently resort to previous notions of their identity’.32 According to Vladimir Tismaneanu:

Introductory remarks 11 In that part of the world, the phantoms of the past continue to haunt the collective imagination. Sometimes they contribute to peace and reconciliation; at other times they inspire and mobilize resentments and animosities. To be able to comprehend the present mosaic of ethnic, political, and cultural strains and its implications for the future, it is vitally important to revisit the historical experience of the East European countries between 1918 and 1945, before the advent of communist regimes, in the aftermath of World War II. It may seem like a cliché, but for the nations of Eastern Europe the precommunist past is prologue.33 A similar account is provided by Marjorie Castle and Ray Taras as regards the specific Polish situation: To a certain degree the interwar experience served as a model in the crafting of a democracy, for it was natural in the flush of triumph after the 1989 democratic breakthrough for the major political players to look to Poland’s prior experiment with democracy for guidance.34 Again, this is not to say the traditions reproduce themselves automatically. There are no guarantees on the way the traditions play out in a changed context. As Beverly Crawford and Arend Lijphart argue, ‘it is the immediate context [that] provides the conditions under which past legacies will or will not play a role in shaping the direction of regime change in post-communist societies’.35 The contemporary movements attempt to locate themselves within specific traditions, seeking legitimacy and ideological repertoire. The traditions amount to an important contextual factor, providing key structural and cultural opportunities as well as interpretative frameworks for the contemporary movements. It is important to note that ‘with the establishment of democratic political systems, legacies became tools of political discourse and mobilization in the competitive political process’.36 As Lawrence Goodwyn writes: . . . common facts of everyday life and politics are performed within a huge array of rules and customs that come down out of the past and are codified in laws and buttressed by enforcing mechanisms, both legal and social. These rules and customs of society can be summarized in a rather simple phrase of description; they constitute the “received culture” within which social and political life takes place. In all its ideological dimensions, secular and religious, this culture determines how the young of the land are raised, how they are instructed in the formulas of making do and going ahead, which modes of conduct augment one’s influence and which modes detract. Though the formulas, variously familial, ethnic, geographical, and sociopolitical, are elaborate and contradictory, they share an educational purpose: to teach the ongoing generations

12

The Populist Radical Right in Poland how to live. Here, in highly generalized terms, is the starting point of ‘politics’.37 According to Marjorie Castle and Ray Taras: . . . to identify the cleavages potentially present in any country (. . .), we must examine that country’s history, searching for conflicts deep and broad enough to generate enduring cleavages’38 . . . ‘a cleavage based on lasting values (. . .) [is] reproduced by intrafamily transmission as well as social patterns of association’.39

In the Polish case it is especially important to bear in mind that: [numerous electoral] campaigns were dominated by cultural and historical issues (. . .) the existing parties have their origins in history rather than in programs (. . .) It is the historical–cultural cleavage that has structured the party system, shaping elite choices to form new parties or to become involved in a particular party, as well as limiting the possibilities of cooperation between parties.40 Upon analysing empirical evidence pertaining to all the election campaigns in Poland since 1989, the political sociologist Mirosława Grabowska writes: ‘Electoral preferences and voters’ behaviour in Poland are not determined by the position in social structure and interests related to that. They are determined by historically conditioned identities, values and convictions’.41 Indeed, it may be argued that issues of historical tradition have come to occupy an ever more central place in Polish political discourse since 2005. Historical controversies have resulted in fierce public debates, by far overshadowing most other political topics. According to the Polish–French political scientist Aleksander Smolar, ‘the right (. .) has made the past into a principal field of political struggle. (. . .) The politics of history – the struggle for the interpretation of the past – has come to replace real politics, both internal and external.’ Smolar links this phenomenon with ‘the end of the transformation’ that started in 1989 and was symbolically complete with Poland’s entry to the European Union on 1 May 2004. He also points to the problem of social disintegration and the low level of trust in Polish society (these are, we may add, classical conditions for the growth of rightwing extremism): ‘We are a society of lonely individuals, distrustful of each other. Referring to history, pointing to great, important national experiences is meant to evoke patriotism, link citizens with the state, serve social integration.’ In other words, political elites have resorted to the use of history as a discursive resource in managing society when policy options are scarce. Framing (‘adopting and broadcasting a shared definition of an issue or performance’42) through the prism of tradition is especially important for

Introductory remarks 13 nationalist movements, which claim to represent some kind of national essence and subscribe to a primordial version of identity going back to times immemorial. In the process, they reinterpret and effectively reconstruct the traditions. That applies equally, or even especially, to the conservative and reactionary traditions. As Ernesto Laclau notes: Even if the aim of the rebellion is the restoration of a previous identity, it has to reinvent that identity; it cannot simply rely on something entirely given beforehand. The defence of the community against an external threat has dislocated the community, which, in order to persist, cannot simply repeat something that preceded the dislocatory moment. This is why someone who wants to defend an existing order of things has already lost it through its very defence.43 The politics of today is certainly not a replay of the politics of the precommunist period. Most frequently, there is little more than an imagined continuity between the pre- and post-communist politics. One can easily detect elements of both ‘radical return’ and ‘radical continuity’ (to use Michael Shafir’s terms)44 in contemporary radical nationalism in Poland. Indeed, as Cas Mudde argues, ‘the vast majority of racist extremist organizations in the region [of Central and Eastern Europe] are truly post-communist phenomena, addressing post-communist issues (corruption, minority issues, EU enlargement), rather than harking back to a communist or pre-communist past’.45 The contemporary mutations of older political identities are frequently rather dissimilar to the originals. At the least, they operate under radically changed post-communist social circumstances. Their functions in political systems change, too. Sometimes they bear little resemblance to the original traditions, except some symbolic fixtures. Nevertheless, in order to understand the symbolic resources that are claimed by the contemporary nationalist movements, we need to look at some of those traditions. The aim of this book is not to give a detailed account of Polish history. Therefore, we are not going to explain the early context of Polish nationalism, which can be traced back to the national struggles of the 19th century, the 18th-century incomplete Enlightenment, the 17th-century ‘democracy of the nobility’, and so on.46 Instead, we are going to concentrate on the traditions that took shape in the course of the 20th century (as a matter of fact, they crystallized in the interwar period of 1918–1939), even if parts of their genealogies go back much further.47 The plethora of right-wing groups in the interwar period included a number of very small openly fascist and national socialist groups, i.e. those that used the term ‘fascist’ or ‘national socialist’ in their very names. With little exception they can be labelled ‘mimetic’ as they did not even try to create original programmes or modes of organization but directly copied the Italian and German discursive patterns. The fact of their incidental existence has

14

The Populist Radical Right in Poland

enabled some current-day Polish scholars to shift attention away from the infinitely more important endeks (Polish nationalists) or even the National Radicals as the possible candidates for academic analyses of Polish fascism.48 This book is not trying to paint an accurate picture of various nationalist groups that operated in Poland in the 20th century. We are sketching out the profiles of those ideological currents that have proved important as points of reference for contemporary extreme-right groups. Therefore, we have decided not to discuss some historically significant groups such as the National Workers’ Party (Narodowa Partia Robotnicza, NPR), or the less well known Union of Young Nationalists (Zwia˛zek Młodych Narodowców, ZMN), because they have little or no direct impact on the Polish nationalist movement after 1989.

2

Pre-Communist legacies

Józef Piłsudski’s civic nationalism The first tradition is associated with the figure of Józef Piłsudski. Its roots are republican and it was originally connected with radical and liberal politics. However, upon closer inspection, the Pilsudskite tradition can be seen as an incarnation of both political Romanticism and pre-modern authoritarianism. It does not belong to the far right. Piłsudski had been a leader of the clandestine Polish Socialist Party (Polska Partia Socjalistyczna, PPS), formed in 1893, which fought a revolutionary struggle against Tsarist Russia and played a significant role during the 1905 revolution. The PPS combined a socialist message with commitment to regaining Polish independence. Piłsudski’s famous formulation went: ‘A socialist in Poland must strive for independence of the country, and independence is a significant condition for the victory of socialism’.1 This stance was not too dissimilar to the long-term standpoint of the Irish nationalist republicans following in the footsteps of James Connolly. For example, as late as 2000, a statement from the republican splinter group Irish Socialist Republican Movement claimed that ‘there can be no socialism without national liberation in Ireland, nor can there be national liberation without socialism’.2 At least one Irish researcher argues that the parallels were not just accidental, but at least in part they resulted from an influence Piłsudski actually had on Connolly: I demonstrated that his international orientation as a practising socialist politician was towards the Polish Socialism of Joseph Piłsudski in the first instance, and towards the wing of the German Social Democratic Party that supported the German war effort from August 1914 to the end of his life. In 1898 he recognised Piłsudski’s Polish Socialism as being of a kind with his own Irish Republican Socialism, and in his alignment with Germany in 1914–16 he was again in tune with Piłsudski.3 The position of the PPS provoked discussions in the Socialist International,

16

The Populist Radical Right in Poland

which at the time agonized over its stance on the national question. Interestingly, the combination of socialist ideology with calls for Polish national self-determination was generally accepted by, among others, Lenin4 (it had been Marx’s position, too), but met with vehement opposition from Rosa Luxembourg, who belonged to a rival social-democratic party in Poland. Luxembourg was right in accusing the PPS of nationalism, in the sense that it anchored its political action in the idea of the historic Polish nation, as opposed to a radical class-based internationalism. Indeed, from the point of view of global working class struggle, the insistence on national independence could be seen as little more than a distraction. Gradually, the group led by Piłsudski prioritized national goals over social revolution. In the words of Marjorie Castle and Ray Taras, ‘it emphasized the primacy of national independence over proletarian internationalism’.5 In 1906 the PPS split and the Pilsudskites formed the Polish Socialist Party – Revolutionary Faction (PPS – Frakcja Rewolucyjna), which devoted itself fully to the preparation of an armed national insurrection. During World War I they sided with Austro-Hungary and Germany against Russia. In 1918 Piłsudski emerged as the leader of the newly independent Polish Republic and in 1920 he led the war against Soviet Russia.6 The 1920 episode has made him a bête noire of much international Marxist historiography, both in its Stalinist and Trotskyite persuasions. The full story is somewhat more complicated. Throughout the conflict the endek propaganda accused Piłsudski of maintaining secret contacts with Trotsky.7 Castle and Taras stress that ‘Piłsudski’s troops (. . .) were not allied with the White Armies fighting the Bolsheviks’.8 It is a little known fact that Piłsudski actually entered a truce with the Bolsheviks in 1919, allowing them to defeat the White army of General Anton Denikin. After all, the Red leadership included some old comrades of the anti-Tsarist struggle and, more importantly, the Whites did not renounce the old-fashioned Russian imperial idea that denied Polish independence. He refused to assist General Wrangel’s White army again in the autumn of 1920. Even today some authors on the Polish radical right – following in the footsteps of anti-communist writers such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Józef Mackiewicz – condemn Piłsudski for that lack of action: e.g. the nationalist weekly ‘Mys´ l Polska’ calls it ‘one of the biggest mistakes in history, not just Polish history’.9 Disillusioned with the parliamentary democracy he had helped to create, Piłsudski retired in 1923. However, in May 1926 he returned to lead a military coup under the slogan of ‘sanacja’ (‘restoration to health’) of public life. It secured him a de facto personal dictatorship until death in 1935. A man of contradictions, Piłsudski represented different things to different people. Although the 1926 coup was initially supported by the trade unions and a broad leftist coalition (including, briefly, even the communists), his drift away from the left was clear and he skilfully positioned himself ‘above’ party politics and the left–right cleavage. His seizure of power was seen by many to prevent a probable coup by the National Democrats, who were

Pre-Communist legacies

17

impressed by Mussolini’s success in Italy. Piłsudski’s coup was supported by diverse groups in the general belief that parliamentary democracy in Poland could no longer be guaranteed. Socialists and conservatives alike identified with Piłsudski’s rhetoric of civic virtues, moral discipline, moderate social reforms and soft-touch state intervention in the economy. At the same time, political rights were curtailed, the parliamentary representation of the opposition parties was marginalized and a new authoritarian constitution was introduced shortly before Piłsudski’s death in 1935. Nevertheless, the liberal and left-leaning intelligentsia did not fully abandon its emotional investment in Piłsudski as a symbol of the progressive civic identity, contrasted with the bigotry, antisemitism and intolerance displayed by the main opposition force, the National Democrats. The intellectuals gathered around the weekly Wiadomos´ ci Literackie were often critical of the dictatorship but saw in Piłsudski’s actions an attempt at transforming Poland into a modern country.10 The opposition National Democrats, in turn, ‘attacked [Piłsudski’s bloc] BBWR for tolerating liberal-progressive elements in its midst and for the activity of the [Pilsudskite] left-leaning youth organizations’.11 Importantly, Piłsudski rejected the exclusionary idea of unity of Church and nation. His indifference to the claims of the Catholic church can be illustrated by the fact that he himself formally converted to Lutheranism as a young man in order to marry a divorcee. Paradoxically, born in a traditional Polish–Lithuanian noble household, in many ways Piłsudski remained a pre-modern politician, with some rather anachronistic ideas. His personal attachment to the former Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was significant. According to Timothy Snyder, ‘this early modern nation was called “Polish”, but the term signified citizenship and civilization rather than language or ethnicity’.12 That multi-ethnic and multi-religious statehood had broken down in the 18th century, but its memory lived on through the Polish Romantic literature and the consecutive uprisings such as in 1830 and 1863. Timothy Snyder writes that ‘variants of the early modern nationality of the Commonwealth survived its demise by more than a century’.13 The dream of restoring the political unity of the area between the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea informed Piłsudski’s unsuccessful efforts at a compromise with the Lithuanian and Ukrainian national movements. Piłsudski’s plan was to construct a federation of smaller nations in East Central Europe, which would be strong enough to keep the strategic balance between Russia and Germany.14 These efforts were bound to fail, since by the 1920s the bulk of both the Lithuanian and the Ukrainian nationalists subscribed to a much more ‘modern’ idea of territorially compact ethno-nations and had little time for multiple identities or for the pre-modern multicultural nostalgia. In the end, Piłsudski’s federal drive alienated both Lithuanians and Ukrainians, which resulted in some bitter hostility. In contrast, the Pilsudskite movement enjoyed strong support among the

18

The Populist Radical Right in Poland

Jewish minority. Jan Gross notes repeatedly that ‘Jews were often among the most reliable supporters of the Sanacja regime established in Poland after the May 1926 coup by Józef Piłsudski’, and: Polish Jews were the most law-abiding and state-supporting community in interwar Poland, and sociological analysis of voting patterns demonstrates that they supported the ruling Sanacja regime from the mid-1920s onward more consistently than did any other category of citizens.15 Czesław Miłosz, the Lithuanian-born Polish Nobel-prize winning poet, had come from the same social milieu that produced Piłsudski. He gave the following revealing insight into the latter’s mindset: He was a man of the Polish 19th century, that means brought up on Polish Romanticism, the works of Mickiewicz and Słowacki (. . .) the young Piłsudski was imbued with the ideas of his gentry environment. They were to modify his revolutionary socialism in the patriotic direction. (. . .) Piłsudski thought in the way his environment thought at the time of his childhood and early youth. He called himself a Lithuanian and a Pole, or maybe a Pole and a Lithuanian. (. . .) The federal plans of Piłsudski undoubtedly resulted from the fact he was a son of the Great Duchy [of Lithuania – R.P.] and he realized the multinational character of those lands (. . .). Federation was the only possible solution, here, however, Piłsudski encountered a decisive obstacle, namely the nationalism of the Polish parliament and the recently born nationalisms: Lithuanian, Belarussian and Ukrainian. All those ambitions, queries and hesitations of Piłsudski were impossible to understand and repugnant to Polish nationalist opinion.16 Timothy Snyder gives a similar account of Piłsudski’s peculiar brand of national identity: His patriotism was founded not upon a modern ethnic or linguistic definition of Poland, but upon nostalgic republican ideas of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which he opposed to a historical notion of an autocratic Russia. Piłsudski, who called himself a Lithuanian, spoke the literary Polish of his home, the folk Belarussian of the countryside, and the rough Russian of his Siberian exile.17 Despite some attempts by authors such as Adam Skwarczyn´ ski, the statist idea of the Pilsudskite camp was never codified into a fully-fledged political ideology. To some extent it has remained an empty signifier, a hallmark of political populism,18 filled with radically differing values and interests by different actors. Following Piłsudski’s death, his political movement rapidly disintegrated into several opposing factions. Some of its leaders, such as

Pre-Communist legacies

19

Eugeniusz Rydz-S´ migły, came close to accepting the National Democratic ideology and through the National Unity Camp (Obóz Zjednoczenia Narodowego, OZN)19 tried to forge an alliance with fascistoid elements in the broad National Democrat movement, an anathema to the more orthodox Pilsudskites. The liberal-centrist sanacja press expressed alarm at ‘the growing influence on the ideology of the ruling camp of people who joined it crossing over from the nationalist movement’.20 At the other extreme, some leaders turned back to the traditional values of the left and formed a liberalprogressive Democratic Party (Stronnictwo Demokratyczne, SD). Still others rejoined their former socialist comrades in the PPS. There were even a number of Piłsudski followers who volunteered to fight in the Spanish Civil War on the republican side. Aleksander Galla tries to make sense of Piłsudski’s social background vis-à-vis his opponents and supporters: ‘socially Piłsudski was a typical representative of the revolutionary intelligentsia of noble origin, he was hated by the nationalistically-oriented bourgeoisie as a leftist but loved by his soldiers, who originated from all social classes’.21 Ernesto Laclau’s description of the meteoric rise of the 19th-century French populist General Boulanger can be read as a fairly accurate account of Piłsudski’s appeal to diverse social forces: Boulanger’s social support had a strong proletarian element but in actual fact it cut across most social strata (. . .). [T]he idea of an extraparliamentary intervention was equally appealing to the radical Left, which saw in it a way of achieving a combination of strong state and direct democracy, and to the Right, for which it was the road to a conservative and militaristic nationalism. (. . .) [T]he only thing that kept all these heterogeneous forces together was a common devotion to Boulanger and his undeniable charisma. The proof is that, when he disappeared from the political scene, the coalition of his supporters quickly disintegrated.22 The possible French parallels do not end here. The Pilsudskite tradition of authoritarian politics has obvious similarities to the Napoleonic and Gaullist currents of French politics.23 Today, too, Piłsudski means different things to different people. His position in the national pantheon is unrivalled. Noting the omnipresence of monuments and portraits of Piłsudski in contemporary Poland, with some exaggeration one might conclude that his status as the symbol of Polish independence and ‘father of the nation’ bears some similarity to that of Ataturk in Turkey, another early 20th-century dictator nation-builder. Andrzej Nowak notes: The strength of identification of its icons, its heroes, testifies to the fact that imagination, also collective imagination – in which political communities and their traditions look at themselves – is a reality.

20

The Populist Radical Right in Poland Undoubtedly Józef Piłsudski remains such an icon of the political imagination of the Poles, still – in the light of various polls and surveys – considered the most outstanding Polish politician of the 20th century or even of the whole Polish history.24

The reverence for Piłsudski extends to various contemporary political currents. Tellingly, both main candidates for the presidency in 2005, the conservative Lech Kaczyn´ ski and the liberal Donald Tusk, declared Piłsudski as their hero during a key televised debate. Even the post-communist (socialdemocratic) daily Trybuna is titled after an underground paper edited by Piłsudski in the days of the PPS. The assessment of the Piłsudski heritage has to be ambiguous. His legacy arouses conflicting associations. On the one hand, there are the idea of the civic nation and the rejection of ethnic chauvinism, the modernizing republicanism and the separation of church and state, the social reforms and emancipation of women. On the other hand there are the repression of political opponents, violent disregard for the rules of parliamentary democracy, the contempt for liberal values and individual rights. Obviously, among those who subscribe to the Piłsudski tradition today, there are some who prioritize the former set, and there are those who focus on the latter. If only the heritage could be neatly divided into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ aspects. In fact, it is not easy to see clearly where the stress on civic values evolves into excessive statism, and the idea of ‘an ordered democracy’ with a strong executive transforms into a dictatorial dream and a quest for a ‘strong man’. Piłsudski’s military seizure of power in 1926 reflected a Europe-wide wave of anti-parliamentary reaction, even though his dictatorship seemed moderate in comparison with other autocratic regimes in the region (arguably, Piłsudski’s Poland was more liberal than Lithuania under Smetana or Hungary under Horthy), not to mention the fledgling totalitarian systems. Piłsudski denounced fascism and rule by terror.25 Nevertheless, the repression of the political opposition was a fact. In the words of Adam Michnik, a dissident before 1989 and a leading Polish intellectual: ‘Piłsudski for us is a symbol of the glory of regained independence, but also of the shameful Brzeg trial [of political opponents in 1930 – R.P.]’.26 For many Poles, Piłsudski remains a symbol of ethnic tolerance, too. He is never referred to as a nationalist.27 ‘Piłsudski [was] alien to any kind of nationalism’ – states, typically, Andrzej Romanowski, a liberal historian of ideas, on the pages of Tygodnik Powszechny, the progressive weekly of Catholic intellectuals, renowned for its opposition to xenophobia.28 At the same time it seems that the anti-ethnonationalist element of the tradition proved not to be strong enough to prevent alliances of some Pilsudskites with protagonists of the very ethnic nationalism that Piłsudski sought to oppose. In other words, the civic nationalism of Piłsudski did not seem to constitute sufficient long-term protection against the temptation of a radicalized, ethnic form of nationalism.

Pre-Communist legacies

21

In any case, it is possible to detect a latent aspect of the Piłsudski heritage today in the prevailing Polish hostility to Russia. Although Piłsudski himself was at home with Russian culture and in his socialist period wrote dozens of pages about solidarity with Russian anti-Tsarist revolutionaries, he is better known as the author of statements such as ‘Every Russian is a closet imperialist’.29 Here, hostility to the state is not easily distinguishable from hostility to the Russian identity as such. The supposed rationale for it is not to be found in particular actions by Russian governments, but in some supposedly innate, unchanging Russian national features. Nowadays the prejudice is naturalized to the point of becoming ‘banal’ and ‘invisible’. As some observers noted, in certain highly elite intellectual circles where, for example, instances of antisemitism would not be tolerated, russophobic expressions are the norm.30 Adam Pomorski notes: ‘The polarized system of Polish ideological references juxtaposes the civilizational normalcy of the West with the Russian anti-civilization of abnormalcy’.31 A recent characteristic editorial in the high-brow Rzeczpospolita daily is thus titled ‘Monster – Russia’ and starts with eponymous words: ‘Contemporary Russia poses a serious threat to the civilized world’.32 Today the Socialist roots of the Pilsudskite movement are very rarely invoked. The 100th anniversary of the 1905 revolution went ‘virtually unnoticed’.33 Ironically, the figure of Piłsudski tends to be interpreted as an icon of the right rather than of the left: a reversal of the situation during his actual lifetime. ‘The key to Piłsudski’, by the maverick arch conservative Stanisław Cat-Mackiewicz, first published in London in 1943, was a provocative reinterpretation of Piłsudski’s biography, a symbolic appropriation by the right; by the 21st century its main arguments about Piłsudski as a conservative have become quite standard.34 It may be argued that for the majority of Polish people Piłsudski today – routinely depicted in military uniform riding on the back of his beloved horse, Kasztanka – symbolizes little more than a vague reference to basic patriotism to the independence of the country. The ‘contents’ of the independence thus remains largely unspecified.

Roman Dmowski’s ethnonationalism In the case of Roman Dmowski and his ideological legacy, the term ‘nationalism’ arouses much less controversy, even though – as we saw – he and some of his followers actually eschewed the label. The term ‘national’ (‘narodowy’) is often used by uncritical researchers to describe this historical and contemporary political current.35 This self-description ‘has indirectly expressed a sense of superiority above other organizations or even suggested their anti-national character’.36 In comparison with Piłsudski, his erstwhile rival, Dmowski, has been less often recognized as a hero in the popular political imagination. On another

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The Populist Radical Right in Poland

level, however, his lasting influence on the way national issues are framed cannot be understated. Dmowski’s National Democrats (narodowcy or the endeks as the movement came to be known) developed in response to the fledgling socialist movement. They sought to prevent social revolution while redefining national political priorities. Most importantly, they rejected Piłsudski’s anachronistic attachment to the pre-modern multi-ethnic version of Polish identity. For the endeks, Polishness had to be defined in strictly ethnic terms and thus opposed not only to the occupying powers, Germany and Russia, but also to other groups, such as Jews, who had previously been considered part and parcel of the Polish nation. In the words of Timothy Snyder, ‘By relocating the nation to the people, Polish nationalists [endeks – R.P.] redefined the Poles as one ethnic group among others’.37 They were clearly in line with an international tendency. Snyder describes the ‘modern national idea’ that came to dominate Eastern Europe: ‘The prevailing conception of nationality expected state borders to confine linguistic communities, and the languages of speech, politics, and worship to be the same’.38 Gradually, antisemitism became a crucial part of the core message of the movement. At a time that the Jews constituted some 40 per cent of the population of Warsaw, anti-Jewish propaganda resulted in key boundary activation in the process of constructing a nationalist political identity.39 In contrast to Piłsudski’s PPS, the endeks rejected armed insurrection as a means of achieving national goals. They preferred to concentrate on political, educational and economic activities. By the beginning of the 20th century the National Democrats already possessed a significant social movement base, as defined by Charles Tilly and Sidney Tarrow: ‘Social movement bases consist of everything from movement organizations, networks, participants, to accumulated cultural artefacts, memories, and traditions’,40 or in other words: ‘the social background, organizational resources, and cultural framework of contention and collective action’.41 From the outset, the endeks were a thoroughly modern political movement. Initially calling themselves the pan-Polish movement (or All-Polish, ‘wszechpolski’), they can be compared to the then popular proto-totalitarian ‘pan movements’, such as, for example, the pan-Germanic movement, as described by Hannah Arendt.42 They disposed of the elite model of politics as practised by Polish conservative aristocrats. Instead, they rooted their activity in the newly politicized masses and took care to spread their nationalist message among all social strata, with particular attention paid to the countryside. In the words of Aleksander Hall, ‘The goal of the movement was to create a modern nation’.43 Thanks to the endeks, the national consciousness would spread from several hundred thousand descendants of the old gentry to the millions of ethnic Poles. The movement had some success among peasants and earned the adjective ‘democratic’, which was to stay as part of its name long after the endeks abandoned their early popular-democratic leanings.44 It may be argued that the modern shape of Polish national identity

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has been influenced decisively by the long-term effects of the endek education of the masses. In a way, it was the endeks who forged the modern Polish identity. Andrzej Micewski demonstrates that Dmowski’s shift to the social right was indeed correlated with the changing composition of the financial backers of the movement: from the patriotic émigrés to the big business alarmed at the threat of social revolution.45 The National Democrats became a solidly middle-class political formation. During the 1905–1907 revolution armed groups of endek supporters clashed violently with socialists in the name of law and order. The bloodshed remained a key element in the Socialist and Pilsudskite propaganda against the National Democrats for decades.46 To understand the lasting, even if passed-over, importance of that drama, let us quote a 2008 article of a renowned Polish journalist trying to make sense of the tense silence surrounding the 1905–1907 events, with some examples of what happened: Reading the memoirs of the participants of the revolution and reporting them in an essay about the revolution in ‘Gazeta Wyborcza’, I understood reasons for this lack of outspokenness. In the spring of 1907 in Łódz´ , after PPS members smashed windows of an endek cooperative, a militant squad of the [endek] National Workers’ Union murdered 36 people and injured 41 people in three days. An endek squad fired shots at the funeral of workers killed by another endek squad. Eight of the mourners died as a result. In revenge, the militia of the PPS–Left faction blew up two houses in Bałuty [a district of Łódz´ – R.P.], where the rightwing militant groups used to meet occasionally, together with their tenants. The point of journalistic writing about history is also to bring into the open the poisoned roots of the present.47 Feliks Tych estimated the death toll of the violent clashes between endeks and socialists in Łodz´ in 1906 alone at 280.48 The 1905 revolution is nowadays rarely invoked, but emotional cleavages going back to the 1905–1907 period occasionally still resurface, even after a century. As late as 2007, an MEP and League of Polish Families leader, Professor Maciej Giertych, explained his hostility to the politics of Jacek Kuron´ (a left-wing Solidarity activist and advocate of minority rights in the 1990s who died in 2005) by the following fact: in 1907 Władysław Kuron´ (Jacek Kuron´ ’s grandfather’s brother) had supposedly led a raid by a PPS armed squad on a factory owned by the Giertychs, which Maciej Giertych defined as ‘an act of banditry’. Maciej Kuron´ (Jacek’s son) defended his family heritage and reiterated by calling Władysław Kuron´ ‘a real hero’.49 By the outbreak of World War I, Dmowski fully supported Tsarist Russia as a guarantor of social stability. In this venture ‘he underscored the tactical importance of collaborating with the Russian autocracy, an argument that he justified by invoking Neo-Slavism’.50 In fact, the collaboration with Russia

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The Populist Radical Right in Poland

became a strategic choice rather than a tactical alliance and remained a feature of National Democrat creed. As a deputy in the Russian Duma, Dmowski advocated increased national rights for the Poles in exchange for renouncing dreams of full independence. He identified Germany as the mortal enemy and participated in several pan-Slavonic congresses that aimed to mobilize various Slavonic nations in support of Russian foreign policy. The alleged negative influence of Jews could be rivalled only by the equally mischievous Germans, and Dmowski frequently accused both enemies of working hand in hand against Poland. The pro-Russian orientation has remained a hallmark of the National Democratic tradition ever since, frequently confusing foreign scholars of Polish nationalism. Some leading endek authors were surprisingly positive about the role of the Soviet Union in Polish affairs after 1945. Indeed, they expressed admiration for the alleged continuity between pre- and post-revolutionary authoritarianism in Russia. Adam Pomorski has argued convincingly that the endek pro-Russian orientation could not be seen as a genuine break from the Polish russophobia. It has little to do with actual Russians and more with a positively valued stereotype of Russian power and discipline: ‘such arguments are not qualitatively different from the considerations about the eternal enemy of Poland in the East: the scheme remains the same, only the geo-political vector changes’.51 The endek outlook on regional politics is complete with the hostility to Lithuanian, Belarussian and Ukrainian national movements, to the point of denying the very existence of those nations. At the peak of his career, Dmowski was Poland’s representative at the Versailles peace conference in 1919. In later years, apart from briefly holding the office of Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1923, he did not rise to any position of official significance, remaining in the shadow as his movement’s ideologue and mentor. From the late 1920s till his death in 1939 he gathered around him a growing group of young, radicalized activists who demanded a more aggressive opposition to the Piłsudski regime. The young endeks were clearly inspired by the perceived success of the Fascist movement in Italy and, later, of the nazis in Germany. Dmowski himself encouraged such inspiration and his own writings bore marks of an increasing obsession with alleged international Jewish and Masonic conspiracies. He also paid more attention to the demands for formal recognition of Catholicism as the state religion. He famously argued in a programmatic book Kos´ ciół, naród i pan´ stwo (‘Church, nation, and the state’): Catholicism is not an addition to Polishness, colouring it in some way, but is a part of its essence, in large measure it defines its essence. The attempt to separate Catholicism from Polishness, to separate the nation from religion and from the Church, is a destruction of the very essence of the nation.52

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Although he reportedly did not care much for Catholic ethics in his own private life, Dmowski skilfully, even if cynically, exploited the political potential of Catholic identity in Poland as a valuable cultural resource to tap into. The Catholic clergy, in turn, overwhelmingly identified with the National Democrats.53 It was not Dmowski, of course, who invented the connection between Roman Catholic religion and Polish national identity. It was the National Democrat ideology, however, that helped cement decisively what had previously been a frequently uneasy relationship. In the 19th century ‘the fusion of the Polish national and Catholic identities took place even in the face of reactionary Vatican policies that consistently supported the conservative monarchies and condemned Polish risings’.54 Historian of ideas Andrzej Walicki elaborates this point further, strongly contrasting the religious ethno-nationalism with earlier notions of Polish identity: We do not even generally realize that the symbiotic association of Polishness with Catholicism started only after the great defeat of the [1863] January rising. Before that such a symbiosis would have been unthinkable because the identification of Poles with Roman Catholics and with Latin civilization would have meant that Poland extended only to Siedlce where the Eastern rite started. If Poland had been Roman Catholic, its territory would have been one quarter of the size of what was then considered Poland. Only as a result of Russification after the January rising, and of Bismarck’s Germanization, was Polishness – the language, the ethnic substance and the absolute symbiosis with Catholicism – perceived as a major pillar essential to the Polish character that must be defended.55 Although the National Democrats did not seize power, which was firmly held by Piłsudski and his successors, by the late 1930s Dmowski’s ideas on nation and church became virtually hegemonic in Polish society, and especially among university youth. Szymon Rudnicki writes, ‘The general success of the national movement was the education of a significant part of the society with the stereotype of “the Polish-Catholic” as well as with the extreme nationalism and antisemitism – as elements of a specific mentality’.56 In contrast to the Pilsudskite movement, which never produced a unified ideology and effectively disintegrated, the endeks elaborated a coherent doctrine, and they managed to maintain a high degree of continuity as a political current both in exile as well as in Poland that was to last well into first decade of the 21st century. The early works of the National Democratic founding fathers: Jan L. Popławski, Zygmunt Balicki and, of course, Roman Dmowski himself, felt like a breath of fresh air in Polish nationalist politics. They advocated abandoning counterproductive insurrectionary illusions and the futile moralizing that characterized much of the 19th century. Instead, they proposed

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The Populist Radical Right in Poland

cold-blooded calculation and a more rational, pragmatic, down-to-earth approach to politics with the goal of re-energizing and modernizing Polish society. The rhetoric (if not the actual practice) of political realism still characterizes post-endek discourse today. Ironically, this early undogmatic attitude was later to transform itself into a rigid doctrine with its own high priests enforcing increasingly strict ideological purity on followers. The cold-bloodedness often edged on ruthless moral cynicism. Hall writes: ‘Dmowski understood patriotism as defence of the objective national interest, which can be defined by reason. This interest needs to be in agreement with neither the will of the majority nor the ideas of global humanitarianism’.57 An important ideological work of National Democrat founding father, Zygmunt Balicki, was aptly titled ‘National Egoism’ and argued against sentimental fraternization with other nationalities. In this vein, national history had to be reinterpreted. In the words of Castle and Taras, ‘For Dmowski, Poland’s past failures were precisely the result of its religious toleration, ethnic equality, and humanist tradition’.58 Antisemitism was initially a cynical tool of political mobilization and a way to consolidate support among the Polish middle class, which was eager to replace the alleged Jewish control of trade and business. It became more pronounced at the same time as anti-Russian sentiments were being removed from the endek discourse in the years before 1914. By the 1920s and 1930s, however, antisemitism became the genuine raison d’être of the endek movement. The struggle against Jews became a central element of the endek mindset and the highest national priority of all times. In 1935 the masscirculation endek daily Gazeta Warszawska defined the basic political cleavage in the following terms: ‘If we fight the current ruling camp in Poland, it is primarily because of its attitude to Jews and its Jewish policy’.59 All the numerous misfortunes of Polish history were attributed to Jewish conspiracy. Roman Dmowski wrote for, example: The Polish Commonwealth pursued a fatal policy in the course of a couple of centuries prior to the partitions, a policy which led to such Judaization of the country that it had more of them than all the rest of the world and won for Poland some kind of title as the European fatherland of Jews. So it seemed in the eyes of Jews. They regarded it as a new Palestine, and in it they destined Poles for a future role more or less similar to that which in biblical times the non-Israelite majority of the population of Canaan had. (. . .) The achievement of this aim was easiest by bringing about the collapse of the Polish state and the passage of Polish territory to foreign rule, which could avail itself of Jewish assistance for domination in Poland. So far our historiography has not yet explained the role of Jews in the disintegration of the political life of the Commonwealth and its partitioning. But what we already know is that in the period of captivity the power of Jews in Poland rose quickly and their political behaviour was often more than tellingly contrary to Polish aims.

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(. . .) The struggle against the obstacles placed in the way of the Polish question by the Jews became henceforth the most difficult task of Polish politics.60 The above excerpt is not an isolated quote – the endek leader wrote hundreds of such pages and by the end of his life antisemitism was definitely a core feature of his political credo, by that time transmitted to a whole generation of younger followers. It was Dmowski who elevated antisemitism from a historically and religiously rooted prejudice to the level of political ideology and action. Frequently, the struggle against Jews reached metaphysical registers, presented as a central element of an increasingly Manichean worldview. According to Feliks Koneczny, a professor at Jagiellonian University who elaborated endek antisemitism into lengthy intellectual tracts, the anti-Jewish fight was a part of an eternal mortal struggle of whole civilizations. Poland represented a forepost of ‘Latin civilization’ (identified with Catholic culture) against the deadly threat of a corrupt and materialist ‘Jewish civilization’. Koneczny’s works, popularized by successive generations of the Giertych political dynasty, remain obligatory reading for the followers of the Polish extreme right today. Koneczny published some of his tracts prior to 1939 but the bulk of his writings were to be published in the decades following his death in 1949. The manuscripts were smuggled out of Poland by the Giertych family and published in London by Je˛ drzej Giertych.61 In the 1990s they were given countless re-editions and were the subject of numerous discussions and detailed exegesis by right-wing authors. By the beginning of the 21st century, it was the obscure philosophy of Koneczny that counted as the ever-lasting endek doctrine rivalling the influence of the more time-contingent (and hence losing some of its original relevance) pieces authored by Dmowski himself.62 The issue of endek antisemitism has been subject of much discussion in the recent years. Several authors have argued it was substantially different from the racially motivated antisemitism of the nazis.63 Indeed, explicitly racist arguments were rarely, if ever, used by the endeks. Instead, their antisemitic discourse employed religious, cultural as well as economic arguments. In addition, one needs to point out the participation of a number of prominent endeks in efforts to save Jews under Nazi occupation. In several known cases they courageously opposed the lethal racist policies of the nazis without ever renouncing their own long held religious and political antisemitic views. Let us not overstate the above arguments, however. True, the endek antisemitism was not identical to Nazi antisemitism. But it has been frequently demonstrated throughout history that racism in general, and antisemitism in particular, does not need to express itself in the form of crude positivist arguments about biologically determined racial supremacy. It may hide itself beyond various kinds of culturalist and religious rhetoric without losing its racist discriminatory character.64 In this sense the antisemitism of

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The Populist Radical Right in Poland

the Polish National Democrats was, and is, a form of racism, even if they would deny racist motives. Dmowski himself did not resort to biological racist arguments, but he did oppose the assimilation of Jews into the Polish nation even when they renounced Judaism. In the important 1904 book Thoughts of a Modern Pole, he wrote: In the character of this race [the Jews], so many different values alien to our moral constitution and harmful to our life have accumulated that assimilation with a larger number of Jews would destroy us, replacing us with decadent elements, rather than with those young creative foundations upon which we are building the future.65 The endeks did not call for the physical extermination of the Polish Jewish population. They did demand legal discrimination and stripping the Jews of civil rights. They conducted economic boycott campaigns that endangered the material survival of Jewish shopkeepers and artisans: for example, socioeconomic research showed that the number of Jewish-owned shops in 11 towns of East Central Poland decreased by 30 per cent in the period between 1932 and 1937 in a pattern clearly attributable to the boycott campaigns.66 The National Democrats proposed state-organized mass emigration as their favourite solution to the Jewish question, while calling for eradication of Jewish contributions to Polish national culture. In addition, it may be argued that the endeks – through their antisemitic campaigns in the 1920s and 1930s – decisively contributed to a prevailing social climate of general hostility to Jews and to the social isolation of Jews that minimized the chances of their survival under Nazi occupation. Historians have noted that the tragic plight of the Jews was often met with indifference in Polish society, which had been the receiver of so much antisemitic propaganda in the pre-war years. It is also true that some Poles engaged in violence against their Jewish neighbours and the most serious outbursts of such violence took place in some of the regions where the 1930s antisemitic endek propaganda had been the strongest (i.e. the Łomz· a area where massacres of Jews occurred in Jedwabne and other towns).67 Such attitudes were influenced by the endek ideology. On such basis, two researchers of Polish antisemitism stated that ‘Although Dmowski did not commit the Holocaust of the Jews, he is partly to blame for the fact the Holocaust happened so efficiently.’68 The relationship of Dmowski’s National Democrats to European fascism has been another controversial topic. Marxist-influenced historiography often treated the endeks as yet another incarnation of international fascism. Research published in recent decades has usually sought to prove the opposite.69 A more balanced approach would seem appropriate. Many endek leaders, especially of the older generation, distrusted totalitarian solutions. They were staunch believers in capitalism and even in

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the parliamentary system (Dmowski and his younger entourage were more ambiguous on both counts). The middle-class social base of the National Democrats was essentially conservative and not eager to support any overtly radical experiments based on the fascist model. A form of nationalist authoritarianism rather than fascist totalitarianism was seen as a solution to Polish problems by the majority of the endeks. Some of the young endek radicals were frustrated as a result and in 1934 defected to form their own pro-fascist National-Radical Camp (see section below on Bolesław Piasecki’s National Radicalism in Chapter 2). At the same time, the fascination of leading endeks with Mussolini’s and, to a lesser extent, Hitler’s example was genuine. The National Democrat demonstrators protesting the election of the liberal Gabriel Narutowicz as Poland’s president in December 1922 shouted ‘Long live Polish fascism!’70. Remembering the creation of the Greater Poland Camp (OWP) in 1927, Dmowski himself ascertained ‘When we formed the OWP we had our eyes set on fascism’.71 The OWP, with its strict discipline, hierarchy, raised hand salutes and uniforms, was a clear indication of the militarization of endek political style. It was banned by the Piłsudski government in 1932. The National Democrats’ admiration for the nazis was much more muted due to their deeply rooted anti-German stance. Nevertheless, there was widespread support for anti-Jewish measures of the newly established Hitler regime in the endek press. Sympathy for Hitler withered as it became clear that Poland appeared on a list of future targets of reinvigorated German territorial revisionism. Henceforth, many endeks absurdly claimed that Hitler and Jews actually coordinated their actions (this claim could be heard on the Polish populist radical right well into the first decade of the 21st century). Interestingly, the National Democrats consistently emulated what they imagined to be the free-masonic, i.e. conspiratorial, style of organization. Apart from the official structures, the movement was run by a hierarchical secret clique under the name of the National League (Liga Narodowa, LN).72 In a revealing interview, one participant of the endek movement stated: ‘There is no political movement without a secret organization’.73 As we already noted, the National Democrats were much more unified than the eclectic Pilsudskite camp. Nevertheless, there were some internal divisions within the broad endek movement, too. One of the factions most vocal in their identification with foreign fascist movements was the group of young radicals close to Dmowski who did not follow into the splinter ONR despite their many shared ideological tenets. Je˛ drzej Giertych was an outspoken leader of the group. In a characteristic passage, he wrote: ‘We are one of those movements like Italian fascism, German Hitlerism, Portugal’s Salazarism, Spanish Carlism and Falangism bringing down the old freemason–plutocrat–socialist–Jewish system and building a new order, a national order’.74 As late as April 1939, Giertych argued against Polish participation in the anti-Hitler coalition, stating: ‘I find it improper for Poland to take part in any ideological war and, on top of that, on the Jewish side’.75

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The Populist Radical Right in Poland

Ironically, it was none other than Je˛ drzej Giertych who made his mark on the future shape of the continued endek tradition. A prolific writer, he produced numerous books and other publications in his post-1945 British exile. He further codified the endek creed into a rigid set of antisemitic, anti-German and anti-masonic conspiracy theories. Faithful to his father’s political legacy, Je˛ drzej’s son Maciej, an Oxford-educated biology professor, became the movement’s chief ideologue, while Maciej’s son Roman became the leader of the resurrected endek movement in the form of the League of Polish Families in 2001. The All-Polish Youth, the re-formed endek youth organization, held year-long festivities to commemorate Je˛ drzej Giertych’s centenary in 2003, a testimony to his lasting spell as the canonic interpreter of the endek heritage. To be sure, there have been other organized attempts at claiming the endek heritage, too. Some of them amounted to endek revisionism, e.g. they rejected Giertych’s conspiracy obsession and tried to reinterpret Dmowski’s message, playing down or even criticizing antisemitism and other chauvinistic elements of the National Democrat ideology. Eventually, however, all those attempts proved futile and doomed to political failure. The place of Roman Dmowski’s legacy in contemporary Polish society is paradoxical. On the one hand, he cannot be compared to Piłsudski in terms of his visibility as a symbol of Polish tradition. There are monuments and streets named after him, but they are few compared to the recognition enjoyed by his arch-rival. Unlike Piłsudski, he is not often invoked in political speeches of the highest-level office holders. On the other hand, those who hang Piłsudski’s portraits in their offices sometimes turn out to be believers in Dmowski’s ideology, and the division between the traditions becomes blurred. One such example is Father Henryk Jankowski, one of the best known Polish priests, famed for his role in the rise of the 1980 Solidarity movement and for outrageous antisemitic sermons in the 1990s. Asked by a tabloid journalist about his opinion on the National Democratic legacy, he answered with characteristic frankness: You can say I am an endek. Strong Poland, strong nation. My education has done it. I value Dmowski very highly. I blessed his monument in Warsaw. I don’t have his portrait in my parish house. I have him in my heart. I keep Piłsudski on the wall of my living room. For his character. And for the fact that he knew how to keep everything under his boot.76 Arguably, Dmowski’s vision has won broader acceptance than is usually admitted. The ethno-religious concept of Polish identity that he advocated has become common sense, which largely reflects the social and demographic reality. World War II and the post-war population movements destroyed the historic multi-ethnic Poland that was so dear to Piłsudski. Dmowski ‘stressed the need to give a homogeneous, exclusively Polish character to a new state’,77 and this idea proved genuinely prophetic. By the late 1990s, ‘Polish society

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was exceptional in its ethnic and religious homogeneity: 98 per cent were ethnic Poles and 96 per cent were Catholic’.78 Indeed, ‘The continued religious and ethnic homogeneity of Polish society anchors community identity’.79 Aleksander Hall, a latter-day politician inspired by the ideas of Roman Dmowski, has noted with some satisfaction: ‘Today’s Poland, basically uniform nationally and significantly moved to the West in comparison with the 2nd Republic, is most certainly closer to the visions of Dmowski than those of Piłsudski or any other leading politician of the interwar period’.80 If Dmowski’s legacy was not often officially recognized in the 1990s, by the early 2000s changes were discernible in this regard. On 7 January 1999, a resolution was carried by a vast majority in the Polish parliament (311 votes in favour, 35 against, 54 abstained), which praised Dmowski’s patriotism and political achievements. The resolution made no mention of antisemitism or any other controversial issues that may have tainted the idealized image of the endek leader. Even more significantly, the resolution was seconded by representatives of all the parliamentary factions, including the centrist and left-wing parties. None other than Józef Oleksy, a former prime minister and a key leader of the postcommunist social democrats, spoke approvingly of the proposed resolution. Oleksy emphasized that he represented the collective view of his party. His speech included the following, highly confusing, words: We think Dmowski had no other option but to stress very strongly the national aspect of Polishness, because it was necessary after the liberation from the partitions to ascertain the strength of bonds of society that was actually multinational, in building the Polish state. The then understanding of, and the motivation for this deeply national dimension of state-building, of the reclaimed Polish state, are historically fully justified. (. . .) We think he has been a great Pole (. . .) We are ready to draw common conclusions for today’s assertion of patriotism, the national value, the game for Europe and the good place for Polish interests in this Europe.81 The above passage reflects the weakness, or indeed, the absence of the Polish social democrats’ own historical narrative, to the point of an explicit acceptance of Dmowski’s ethnic definition (the ‘national dimension’) of Polishness and ‘nationness’. Moreover, the parliamentary debate, which lacked a single voice of criticism towards Dmowski’s heritage, reflected a growing confidence in reclaiming the endek tradition as a cultural resource in Polish politics and society that was to bear more fruit in the years to come.

Bolesław Piasecki’s national radicalism The National Radical tradition on the Polish far right comes closest to what may be termed Polish fascism. Born out of the direct inspiration from the

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The Populist Radical Right in Poland

Italian and German models in the mid-1930s, it has survived well into the 21st century and serves as a popular pool of symbolic resources for contemporary extremist movements. Some authors treat it simply as a variation on the endek theme, not without good reason. Indeed, the National Radicals emerged from the National Democratic movement and all its major figures received their political education in the ranks of endek youth organizations such as the All-Polish Youth (Młodziez· Wszechpolska, MW). Roman Dmowski himself provided an important encouragement and inspiration to the generation of young radicals who were prepared to take the nationalist endek creed to its more extreme conclusions. At some point, however, some of the radicals embarked on their own political course. According to Szymon Rudnicki, the emergence of the National Radicals ‘was a result of the education of endek youth in the fascist spirit’.82 Jan Józef Lipski argues that the National Radical movement ‘was one of the chains in the evolution of the endecja, which gradually and slowly evolved from a right-wing, socially and politically conservative demo–liberal party into a fascist party. (. . .) Due to the far-reaching differences of the programme and of the attitude – it is appropriate to consider the ONR as a political phenomenon distinct from the endecja’.83 In the early 1930s the young radical endeks dominated the (proto-National Radical) Greater Poland Camp (Obóz Wielkiej Polski, OWP), which had been set up by Dmowski who tried to copy the fascist model. The OWP, however, was banned by the government in 1932–1933. In 1934 some of the young activists formed the National-Radical Camp (Obóz NarodowoRadykalny, ONR), which their former mentor did not condone. Nevertheless, it is the radicalized endek idea of national-Catholic identity that has informed the ONR tradition. Even today, elements of National Democratic and National Radical symbolism and ideology appear amicably together, often interchangeably, which makes it hard to draw a clear demarcating line between those two distinct but closely connected traditions. As we argued above, the endek tradition, once undogmatic and relatively liberal, has undergone a rigid codification, mostly by Je˛ drzej Giertych, and in the process it acquired a dominant interpretation among its current followers, which is radically anti-democratic, totalitarian, and antisemitic. In many ways, what is left of the living endek political tradition today is indistinguishable from the fascistic National Radical ideology. If many Polish political leaders who hang the portraits of Piłsudski in their offices appear to be true believers in the endek ideology, then many of today’s self-proclaimed endeks are indeed nothing but an incarnation of the ONR spirit. The ONR leadership consisted mostly of students or university graduates in their 20s. They were disaffected with what they perceived as a half-baked position of the endek leadership. They sought a more radical tactic against the Pilsudskite regime and they would not shy away from using violent means. Importantly, they drew an even more direct inspiration from Italian fascism

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as well as from the recent triumph of Adolf Hitler’s NSDAP. The latter fascination was tempered, however, by the residual endek anti-Germanism, which the National Radicals generally retained. Nevertheless, Szymon Rudnicki points to cases of alleged financial support for Polish National Radical groups from both Italian and German fascist sources.84 Additionally, Jan Józef Lipski highlights the role of long-term secretive Nazi infiltration of the ranks of one of the National Radical groups.85 If National Democracy stopped short of endorsing an ‘adventurist’ socialrevolutionary rhetoric, the National Radicals had no problem employing a radical anti-capitalist posture. The global economic crisis of the early 1930s hit Poland’s underdeveloped economy with particular severity and, in the words of Szymon Rudnicki, ‘The army of the young who could not find their first employment was growing’.86 In the early 1930s the number of unemployed youth was estimated at around 900,000. A leading National Radical, Wojciech Wasiutyn´ ski, wrote of this formative experience of his generation in March 1933: ‘As we enter life – we join the ranks of the unemployed, so we are all revolutionaries’.87 The crisis provided a fertile ground for further radicalization of the whole generation, using the cultural and political means of expression that were the most available, and that included especially antisemitism. The ‘overproduction of the intelligentsia’ led many of the younger generation aspiring intellectuals to see their Jewish peers as the major threat to their own well-being, as well as to the nation in general. They linked capitalism’s evils with Jewish presence and the anti-capitalist rebellion dove-tailed with increasingly violent antisemitism. The ONR thus described capitalism as ‘based on social injustice, a source of Jewish influence and of the poverty and exploitation of the Polish toiling masses’.88 National Radical activist Kazimierz Hałaburda exclaimed: ‘The slogan of the Polish toiling masses is to destroy Jewry together with capitalism!’89 In an internationally familiar pattern, it was Jewish influence rather than structural problems that the National Radicals identified as the most pressing issue. One of them, Tadeusz Lipkowski, put it in simple terms: ‘When you expropriate Jewish riches without compensation, when you deprive the Jews of the right to occupy professions, there will be no unemployment in Poland’.90 According to Szymon Rudnicki, the National Radical antisemitic outlook conveniently ‘provided virtually unlimited opportunities for attacking capitalism without taking on its basic nature’.91 To be sure, left-wing radicalism of various shades existed in the interwar Poland, too. However, the economic crisis of the early 1930s did not result in a comparable rise in the fortunes of, for example, the illegal Polish Communist Party (Komunistyczna Partia Polski, KPP). As Jan T. Gross argues, ‘Between the wars, Communism was but a fringe phenomenon on the Polish political landscape. The Polish–Bolshevik war of 1918–1921, threatening the nation’s newly regained independence at its dawn, put the communists

34

The Populist Radical Right in Poland

outside of the boundaries of legitimate political discourse for most of the Polish populace’.92 The pattern of channelling general socio-economic discontent primarily through extreme-right discourse was to be repeated under different circumstances in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The government decided the ONR posed a significant danger to the social order and moved quickly to ban the ONR. The leaders were briefly imprisoned in the newly created ‘isolation camp’ of Bereza Kartuska (its establishment was itself a sign of the authoritarian character of the Piłsudski regime93), alongside communists and Ukrainian nationalists. The ban stayed in place till the outbreak of World War II, although the ONR groups could continue their activities in a semi-clandestine mode throughout the late 1930s. Following the leaders’ incarnation, they discovered internal differences that led to a permanent split in the newly formed movement. Hence, the ONR label was used to describe two groups, the so-called ONR-ABC and the ONR-Falanga. The ABC group (named after a daily newspaper it controlled) represented the more conservative wing of Polish National Radicalism. It sought a remedy to the perceived corruption of modern life in a return to mediaeval forms of social and economic organization, a corporatist state dominated by omnipresent Roman Catholic religion. The Falanga group, led by the barely 19-year-old law student Bolesław Piasecki, espoused a similar ideology, but with a more uncompromisingly totalitarian direction. Unlike the ABC faction, the ONR-Falanga, also known as the National-Radical Movement (Ruch Narodowo-Radykalny, RNR) developed a typically fascist leader cult.94 It elaborated a vision of a violent revolutionary transformation (‘a National Breakthrough’) into a mono-party hierarchical system. According to the RNR vision, the state would control the economy, too, drawing inspiration from the apparent successes of the Soviet programme of industrialization. One of the RNR’s ideologues, Wojciech Wasiutyn´ ski, wrote in 1938: The National-Radical Movement promotes the idea of a revolution as a deep shock, which will shake the nation, and will give it a unity of worldview and of civilization, a dynamism, it will destroy the aliens and the parasites on its body.95 Both ONR factions, however, were united in their violent opposition to Jews, socialists and democrats. They frequently engaged in terrorist actions, shoot-outs and street fights against members of ‘enemy’ groups and, occasionally, against each other. Although the ONR groups won little or no influence outside of the youth milieu, in the late 1930s they effectively took over from the endeks as the dominant political force in student politics. Their violent anti-Jewish actions in academic institutions across the country secured the ONR a dubious distinction of a permanent fixture in the memoirs of student contemporaries. The militant squads enforced the segregation of Jewish students in lecture

Pre-Communist legacies

35

halls, the so-called ‘bench ghetto’, eventually enshrined into law by the Ministry of Education. The antisemitic demand for ‘numerus clausus’ (a limit on the admission of Jewish students to state universities) gave way to a more radical cry for ‘numerus nullus’ (banning Jews from universities altogether), promoted through several waves of mass student strikes and blockades. Violent attacks were the order of the day.96 As a result of the ongoing pressure, the proportion of Jewish students at the Polish universities dropped from 20.4 per cent in 1928/29 to 11.7 per cent in 1936/37.97 Although the National Radicals did pay lip service to the Catholic ethic (which officially did not accept crude biological racism, especially since the Pope’s encyclical condemning it in 1937), their antisemitism took on an explicitly racist and even exterminationist (‘eliminationist’) slant.98 The National Radical activists stated: ‘baptism cannot change the legal situation of the jews (sic!)’ and ‘baptism should not change anything concerning rights neither for the baptized Jew nor for his offspring’.99 This point was driven home by the public slapping of Father Tadeusz Puder, a Catholic priest with Jewish background, in Warsaw’s St. Jacek’s church.100 Jews were to be deprived of citizenship and land property and subject to total separation from society at large. An early National Radical programme on the Jewish question, published in November 1932, included measures that were strikingly similar to the nazi Nuremberg laws to be introduced three years later.101 Official discrimination against Jews would not have satisfied National Radical demands. By the late 1930s they called for a solution to the Jewish problem through a removal of Jews from Poland by any means necessary. Eventually, they were to be forced out of the country. Some of the National Radical press articles fantasizing about anti-Jewish violence could be interpreted as an invitation to genocide. One such publication, written by Kazimierz Hałaburda in 1938, praised the ‘solution’ meted out by the Turkish military to the Armenians, concluding: ‘The Turkish way is the best!’102 In hindsight, these words invoke an association with Hitler’s notorious dictum in August 1939: ‘Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?’, and ‘Our war aim does not consist in reaching certain lines, but in the physical destruction of the enemy’.103 Undoubtedly, there were discernable similarities between the Polish National Radicals and the other European fascist movements.104 The ONR-Falanga in particular claimed affinity with European fascisms. The ONR output easily meets the criteria to be classified as fascist as an ideology ‘which preaches the need for social rebirth in order to forge holistic-national radical Third Way’105 or a ‘political ideology whose mythic core in its various permutations is a palingenetic form of populist ultra-nationalism’.106 Most notably, the ONR resembled the Romanian Iron Guard in its peculiar mixture of extreme nationalism, violent antisemitism, youth ‘idealism’, and religious fanaticism (or mysticism). One difference concerned religious affiliation: in the Romanian case it was Eastern Orthodoxy, while in Poland it was Roman Catholicism. It is possible to argue, however, that

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The Populist Radical Right in Poland

religious markers in both cases were not theologically motivated, but fulfilled the function of a strong marker of collective identity, especially vis-à-vis minority groups. The National Radicals liked to stress their devotion, thus merging the religious and the political. According to Bolesław Piasecki’s famous oft-repeated formulation, ‘God is the highest goal of man. Man’s path towards God is through his work for the nation’.107 Years later, his then close associate, Wojciech Wasiutyn´ ski, termed it ‘an attempt at a doctrine joining religion with nationalism in a totalitarian fashion’.108 Szymon Rudnicki comments: Using Catholicism among the main slogans resulted both from genuine faith of the youth as well as from a realistic evaluation of the influence of the Catholic church in Poland. Nevertheless, combining a Catholic universalism with simultaneously preached racism and chauvinism, Christian mercy with a totalitarian cult of might and violence did not create any practical difficulties for the ONR activists. We are not aware of neither conflicts between them and church authorities nor of any condemnation of their views by the clergy.109 In this vein, Konstanty Gebert notes that ‘The ONR was supported by at least part of the Catholic church’.110 The supposedly deeply Christian nature of the endek and, especially, National Radical ideology is easily overplayed by those who wish to prove an alleged uniqueness of the 1930s (and later) Polish nationalism, usually with a tacit goal of whitewashing its ideological legacy.111 One needs to look no further than the Spanish Phalange, Action Française or the Rexists – to name just several examples – to see the falseness of this argument. Every radical nationalist movement claims uniqueness but such claims do not have to be taken at face value. This is, of course, not to deny the specific conditions, shape and ideology of each movement. Another similarity with the foreign fascist movements was the primary social base of the movements in question: urban youth. According to Szymon Rudnicki, writing about the ONR’s predecessor, ‘As regards the meagre influences in the countryside, the OWP did not differ from similar organizations in other countries. The exception was the Iron Guard in Romania, which was able to ground its position among the peasantry’.112 Indeed, all the press hype notwithstanding, the National Radicals never extended their support much beyond their original home, i.e. universities. This factor, arguably, contributed to their ultimate failure in the late 1930s, despite some progress they made in convincing the conservative elites of their usefulness. In the Warsaw city council election of 1938, a rare test of its electoral attractiveness, the ONR won a mere four seats, compared to the endeks’ 11, sanacja’s 39, and the PPS’s 27. Szymon Rudnicki is right, however, that the National Radicals’ significance ‘was decided not by a large scale of the organization, but by its influence on the climate of political life’.113

Pre-Communist legacies

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Despite their ostentatious anti-sanacja position and their revolutionary chic, both ONR groups at some points came close to reaching an agreement with a part of the ruling establishment. As explained above, after the death of Piłsudski the sanacja regime became increasingly prone to accepting aspects of the nationalist ideology it used to consider as rival. The ONR youth was looked upon as a source of a possible rejuvenation for the ailing authoritarian dictatorship. In 1937 RNR activists were put in charge of the newly formed mass pro-government youth organization, the Young Poland Union (Zwia˛zek Młodej Polski, ZMP) and a National Radical, Paweł Musioł, was nominated by the government as the administrator of the Polish Teachers’ Union (Zwia˛zek Nauczycielstwa Polskiego, ZNP). These steps caused uproar, and mobilized the still influential Pilsudskite left.114 As a result of the counteraction, those responsible for the flirtation with the young fascists were purged from their official positions in a matter of several weeks.115 The cooperation with the right wing of the post-Piłsudski regime was therefore short-lived and the goal of a ‘national revolution’ remained unfulfilled until 1939. By that year, both ONR factions were commonly treated as a spent force. Nevertheless, the war did not spell the end of the National Radical movement. The wartime and post-war histories of the ex-ONR cadres are in fact very interesting and they explain how was it possible for their particular brand of fascism to survive as a credible and attractive political tradition for decades after 1945. Although the ONR came close to being the Polish equivalent of the nazi movement in the 1930s, the German occupation government did not seek their collaboration. It loathed the Poles as Slavs and preferred to rule Poland by sheer terror rather than by consent of the local population. The anti-German stance of the Polish nationalists was an obvious obstacle to collaboration, too. Unlike in many other countries of occupied Europe, no Quisling-type leader emerged and no collaborationist government was formed in Poland and thus the extreme right did not emerge from the war stained with national treason. Konstanty Gebert writes: As the Germans had not been interested in any institutionalized form of collaboration with Polish Untermenschen, many anti-Semites became patriots and often valiantly resisted the Germans with arms in hand. They emerged from the war, their prestige – and their anti-Semitism – intact.116 Unlike many other non-communist politicians who were to suffer Stalinist persecution, Piasecki was allowed to reform his group, this time under the label of the ‘Pax’ Association. It was officially registered in 1952 and gathered former members of the Falanga who did not hide their roots. In the spirit of Dmowski’s understanding with Russian power half a century earlier, the pro-Soviet ‘Pax’ was allowed to operate legally until the end of communist

38

The Populist Radical Right in Poland

rule in Poland, with its own representation in the parliament, a large publishing house and an independent business mini-empire. The ideology of ‘Pax’ was a mixture of nationalist, Catholic and socialist rhetoric and the association was known for its support for the more hardline, illiberal factions within the communist leadership.117 Bolesław Piasecki died as ‘Pax’ chairman and member of the State Council (collective presidency) of the Polish People’s Republic in 1979. Thanks to parallel tactics, one of heroic anti-communism and one of pragmatic cooperation with the communist system, the National Radical tradition survived symbolically and materially until and after 1989. Today, it is invoked by those radical nationalist groups that wish to supplement or substitute imported fascist symbols with an equivalent but indigenous, homegrown tradition. Thus, the contemporary extreme right groups, such as the National Rebirth of Poland (Narodowe Odrodzenie Polski, NOP), claim the ONR legacy. The material heritage of the ‘Pax’ Association (after 1989 renamed again as ‘Civitas Christiana’), especially in the form of real estate, remains a factor in contemporary extreme right politics, too. Numerous nationalist conferences took place, alliances were formed and political platforms were announced on the former ‘Pax’ premises. The swastika-style ‘Hand with the Sword’ symbol of the ONR is the most widespread sign used by the Polish racist skinheads. Since the 1990s a series of skinhead political groups have appeared whose very names leave no doubt about their subscribing to the National Radical tradition, such as the National Breakthrough (Przełom Narodowy, PN), the National-Radical Offensive (Ofensywa Narodowo-Radykalna, ONR), and, last but not least, the National-Radical Camp (Obóz Narodowo-Radykalny, ONR – the abbreviation hereafter refers to this group). Unlike in the 1930s, the contemporary National Radical groups have met few obstacles from the state in their development. Some have been registered as political parties, like the NOP, and some chose to register themselves as associations, like the National-Radical Camp. In both cases they have actually received the protection of the state as legitimate organizations. It does not mean, of course, that they have enjoyed mainstream status, although some of their activists have found their way to the mainstream (it will be discussed in Chapter 5). None of the post-1989 parliamentary parties has claimed direct descent from the ONR.118 An important exception in official treatment of the National Radical legacy has been the recognition of the role of the National Armed Forces (Narodowe Sily Zbrojne, NSZ) as a group of heroic anti-communist freedom fighters, especially by the Institute of National Memory (Instytut Pamieci Narodowej, IPN). This important state institution, charged with historical commemoration issues, has organized numerous exhibitions and conferences as well as published books and articles in honour of the NSZ. For example, in 2008 the IPN advertised and promoted a music compilation CD in tribute

Pre-Communist legacies

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to the NSZ featuring, among others, various skinhead nationalist bands. Not surprisingly, this tendency to rehabilitate and reward the NSZ has provoked criticism from various corners. Thus, Marek Edelman states: ‘to commemorate the NSZ with plaques after 50 years today is to commemorate a fascist organization’.119

Jan Stachniuk’s super-totalitarian neo-paganism The neo-pagan ‘Zadruga’ was a marginal group of Polish extreme nationalists in the late 1930s. It never achieved any serious public support for its bizarre ideology. Nevertheless, it is worth discussing here because it has managed to inspire a discernable following in the extremist youth scene in the 1990s and later. ‘Zadruga’ originally meant a Slavonic organic community from the pre-Christian times. Scott Simpson notes that ‘Stachniuk may well have believed that the word “Zadruga” was itself an ancient Slavic word but it was a scholarly neologism, coined to describe one theory of how the Southern Slavic indigenous economy worked’.120 The ideology of Zadruga was extreme even by the standards of the radical nationalist groups of the 1930s. As Szymon Rudnicki wrote, Zadruga ‘was the only right-wing group in Poland opposed to Catholicism’.121 Its Nietzschean-style anti-Catholic (and generally anti-Christian) stance was closely linked with its antisemitism. Zadruga considered Christianity to be a Jewish invention, which did not allow for a flourishing of the true national spirit. Jan Stachniuk, a business graduate, started his political activity in the left-Pilsudskite Union of Polish Democratic Youth (Zwia˛zek Polskiej Młodziez· y Demokratycznej, ZPMD), but he later referred to his membership in the ZPMD as a ‘misunderstanding’.122 In the words of Szymon Rudnicki, he subsequently ‘accepted nationalist ideas and found himself on the opposite pole’.123 Stachniuk argued that Poland must be purged of Christianity, and Roman Catholicism in particular, if she is to regain her historical greatness. He advocated a return to ‘authentic’ old Slavonic spirituality that preceded the advent of Christianity in Polish lands in the 10th century. In the words of Maria Janion, ‘The old-Slavonic, neo-pagan, collective and national myth became the foundation of Stachniuk’s retrospective utopia’.124 Stachniuk accused the National Radicals of selling out to the Catholic clergy, an agent of Judaization. Nevertheless, despite religious differences Zadruga claimed, rightly, some ideological similarity with the ONR Falanga. Stachniuk was in contact with, among others, ONR leader Jan Mosdorf and National Radical publisher Stanisław Piasecki.125 Here again, apparently irreconcilable views on religion gave way to shared ideas of another order: extreme nationalism and hostility to democracy. In Stachniuk’s view, a ruthless totalitarian reconstruction of the whole of society and culture was desired. Scott Simpson sums up Stachniuk’s vision:

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The Populist Radical Right in Poland

‘The new order would be unified by the Zadruga “myth”, homogenous in blood and culture and kept to a military discipline’.126 The result would be a new ethic, which would completely erase all remnants of individualism and instil a new, disciplined, collective mindset of a society modelled on the ants and bees. Stachniuk published a series of pretentious works under titles such as ‘The Heroic Community of the Nation’ and ‘Collectivism and the Nation’. Stachniuk’s books were characterized by numerous neologisms, which contributed to their general incomprehensiveness. He gradually strengthened the extremist message. By the end of its evolution, he proposed to dispose of ‘Poland’ altogether in favour of ‘Slavia’, a larger Slavonic entity, based on ethnic and racial characteristics. Although the ideologues of Zadruga claimed their originality, almost every author analysing their output points to its affinity with the parallel neo-pagan tendency in German Nazism.127 Needless to say, Zadruga won few followers with its eccentric message in a predominantly Catholic country. One of the few converts was the eccentric artist Stanisław Szukalski. Szukalski designed the Zadruga symbol (Toporzeł), which bears some similarity to the Italian fasci. In his articles, Szukalski displayed particular hatred of other races, even by the 1930s standards, and he coined a new derogatory term, ‘NegroSemites’.128 Interestingly, he found Stachniuk not extreme enough in his racist zeal and eventually left Zadruga with a small circle of supporters.129 As it was the case with the National Radicals, some members of Zadruga found themselves in the anti-German underground during the Second World War.130 Their ideology, however, remained rather extreme. In 1943, when the horrors of Nazi occupation were all too obvious, Stachniuk published a book under the title The Question of Totalitarianism, in which he criticized Hitler for being too liberal and for stopping short of a radical reconstruction of society. The leader of Zadruga rejected labels such as totalitarianism and fascism just for this reason: he deemed these ideas just too closely associated with the West’s liberal past. After the war, Stachniuk threw his lot with the communist regime, in which he sought an ally in a desired clampdown on the Catholic church and in the construction of a totalitarian system. The pan-Slavonic element of Zadruga ideology was invoked in support for the newly triumphant Soviet Union. In the late 1940s Stachniuk published several books in which he continued to promote his ideas. The communists did not appreciate his enthusiasm and did not embark on the political rollercoaster ride he offered them, their post-1945 cultural policy being positively conservative. In turn he became critical of the government, which was to cost him a prison spell between 1949 and 1955. Jan Stachniuk died in 1963. Although the communists were sceptical about Stachniuk’s calls for a restoration of the pagan cult, some of his close associates did obtain relatively high posts in the post-1945 administration. Zygmunt Felczak, founder of the postwar neo-pagan journal ‘Arkona’, held the office of the

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vice-voivod (regional governor) in the Bydgoszcz province, while another Zadruga activist, Feliks Widy-Wirski, became the voivod of Poznan and, in 1947, the undersecretary of state in the Ministry of Culture, responsible for information and propaganda. Nevertheless, Zadruga was all but extinguished as a living tradition. Kazimierz Koz´ niewski estimated that between 1956 and 1987 only seven articles were published mentioning Stachniuk in the Polish press, most of them written by professional historians in specialist journals.131 The tradition in fact lived on, but it was largely dormant: ‘Zadruga unofficially began to function again after Stachniuk’s release [from prison] as an intellectual clique which occasionally published articles in the communist-controlled press’.132 The seemingly extinct movement made a return in the 1990s. Not all neo-paganism in Poland necessarily has to be in line with the ethnocentrism of Zadruga. Arguably, however, it is the totalitarian nationalist ideology of Zadruga that has frequently dominated the larger Polish neo-pagan scene. In this context, Maria Janion has argued for a rediscovery of the more humane aspects of the Polish and Slavic pre-Christian heritage, in order ‘to reclaim it from the hands of the fascists’.133 Indeed, the neo-paganism of Zadruga seems to be little more than the worship of the ethno-nation. Scott Simpson rightly notes the paradox of the Polish neopaganism: ‘In spite of its low public-awareness, Neo-Paganism is of deep significance to Polish identity. It is both an affirmation and a radical critique of the received tradition’.134

3

Communist period legacy

Legitimization of nationalism in the post-war period: the national question and the communist regime In order to understand the cultural backdrop to the rise of organized political nationalism in Poland in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it is not sufficient to study the pre-war nationalist traditions. The post-1945 reality is no less important in terms of further legitimization of nationalist discourse. Two dates need to be marked as particularly important here: 1968 and 1980–1981. In different ways, they provide useful insights into the role nationalism has played in Polish society, mostly as a way of (re)connecting the political elites with the mass of the population. Both periods provide important behaviour patterns and they constitute references in present debates about nationalism and national identity, and for this reason we need to look at them with great care. We are not going to provide an account of Polish political history after 1945. Instead, we are going to present some selected aspects of the post-war period, which are directly or indirectly relevant to the problematic of cultural resources of the contemporary populist radical right, especially with regard to antisemitism. On the surface, communism was a thoroughly internationalist ideology and movement, opposed to all kinds of ethnic and religious discrimination, including antisemitism. Indeed, many original adherents of the Polish communist movement found it attractive precisely because they saw in it the most consistent and principled response to the antisemitism that was rampant in Polish society in the 1920s and 1930s. They also rebelled against elements of conservative Jewish identity. In the words of Marcin Kula, ‘They frequently joined the communist movement, (. . .) in some measure in order to dispose of their condition as Jews’.1 According to some estimates, in the 1920s and 1930s around 22–26 per cent of the Polish Communist Party’s membership was made up of Jews, while Jews made up 9 per cent of the entire Polish population.2 At the same time, the Jewish communists were a marginal group within the wider Jewish community. The clandestine Communist Party of Poland (Komunistyczna Partia Polski, KPP) remained relatively weak and was dissolved by order of Stalin’s

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Communist International in 1937. Many of its leaders were subsequently called to Moscow, imprisoned and murdered by the Soviet political police during the mass purges. When the communists re-emerged as the ruling Polish Workers’ Party (Polska Partia Robotnicza, PPR) imposed by the Soviet Union after World War II, the stereotype of ‘Jewish communists’ became even stronger as part of the popular psyche. Jan Gross remarks: As to the persistence of the z· ydokomuna (Jewish communism) myth in popular memory, one may attribute it, among other reasons, to an attempt by complicitious Poles to deflect their own guilt over having contributed to the triumph of communism.3 In fact, Jewish communists constituted a rather small part of the post-war leadership, and they usually hardly identified themselves as Jews at all. After the Holocaust, the Jewish community in Poland still numbered some 250,000–400,000. Many of them left the country in subsequent waves of emigration, for example after the Kielce pogrom in 1946 and in 1956, when the emigration regime was liberalized. By 1968 only 25,000–30,000 Jews lived in Poland. Meanwhile, sinister currents of institutionalized antisemitism appeared across the communist bloc. Stalin ordered the execution of the leaders of the wartime Jewish Antifascist Committee in the late 1940s, and his anti-Jewish obsession reached new heights with the alleged uncovering of a ‘Doctors’ Plot’ in 1952. In the words of Vladimir Tismaneanu, ‘Morbid anti-Semitic campaigns were organized by Stalinists in the Soviet Union against Jewish writers and literary critics. The specter of a massive pogrom loomed over the Soviet Jewish population’.4 Such tendencies were in turn reflected by the other communist regimes, most famously during the trial of Rudolf Slansky in Czechoslovakia in 1952. State-sponsored communist antisemitism owed a great deal to Stalin’s personal paranoia, but it also reflected deeper dynamics. According to Tismaneanu, ‘Communist regimes had appropriated the rhetoric of the left, although in reality they were authoritarian dictatorships based on the manipulation of both nationalism and internationalism’.5 The regimes were increasingly seeking their legitimacy in nationalist rather than revolutionary rhetoric. They were occasionally trying to reach out to non-communist sections of society and to find some acceptance among a wider public, which, in some cases, meant turning a blind eye to antisemitism or even actively sponsoring it. Moreover, as the Soviet Union sought allies in the Arab world, ‘anti-Zionist’ language became widespread. This encapsulates what happened in Poland in the late 1960s, when a growing wing in the party expressed nationalistic sentiments, combined with an anti-Jewish zeal. The eruption of antisemitism in 1968 has to be understood in this context. The communist system enshrined the ethnic principle into legal and

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The Populist Radical Right in Poland

political frameworks. Across Eastern Europe, communist institutional practice inscribed each territory and each individual with an ethno-national essence. Timothy Snyder points to the fact that ‘the Soviet Union actively defined and created nationality for the entire mass population. The territory of the Soviet Union divided into national territorial units, and every citizen of the state was eventually assigned a nationality’.6 In a similar vein, Rogers Brubaker writes: Far from ruthlessly suppressing nationhood, the Soviet regime pervasively institutionalized it. The regime suppressed nationalism, of course; but at the same time (. . .) it went further than any other state before or since in institutionalizing territorial nationhood and ethnic nationality as fundamental social categories. In doing so it inadvertently created a political field supremely conducive to nationalism.7 Brubaker focuses on the Soviet Union itself but similar discourse and political practices dominated throughout the bloc in the East European satellite states. Frequently, the official ideology was a far cry from the Marxist internationalist premise. For example, Romania’s Nicolae Ceausescu ‘established an original version of national communism whose eclectic ideology included elements of simplistic Marxism-Leninism and far-right ethnocentrism. (. . .) His dream was to create a strong, highly centralized, and ethnically homogeneous state’.8 In Poland, too, the veneer of the original cosmopolitan ‘movement culture’ of the communists proved thin and they succumbed to residual features of what may be called ‘received culture’ (in Lawrence Goodwyn’s use of the term9). The communists, like others before them, also ‘learned a great truth: cultures are hard to change’.10 After all, ‘the communist regime did not inherit a normative tabula rasa’.11 According to Tismaneanu, ‘Among the salient characteristics of the Polish political culture in the first decade of communist rule were the persistence of nationalism, the weakness of Marxist-Leninist ideology, and the political authority of the Catholic Church’.12 In dealing with this reality and in their quest for legitimacy, the Polish communists profoundly contributed to the strengthening of certain features of that culture and amplified them through the institutions of the totalitarian state. The hegemony of the ethno-national principle was thus confirmed and reinforced. The tragic experience of the war had meant the Holocaust of the Jews and the Roma, the nazi persecution of ethnic Poles, but also, for instance, the cruel civil war and mutual ethnic cleansing between Poles and Ukrainians as well as between Poles and Lithuanians. The period of war institutionalized ethnicity as a central element in people’s lives, determining their very chances of survival and ways to live, on a level never experienced before. If we accept that ‘social knowledge is experiential’,13 than we would understand how people ‘learned’ ethnicity as a basic and constitutive fact of all individual and collective life.

Communist period legacy

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The almost complete ethnic homogeneity of post-war Poland was routinely stressed by the new communist authorities as a positive factor: They argued (. . .) that the interwar state had failed because of its nationality structure, and proposed what the National Democrats had proposed in the interwar period: a “national state”. As the war ended, they came to power in the baggage of the Red Army to build something very much like ethnic communism.14 Timothy Snyder points to the paradox of ‘a postwar Polish state legitimated by ethnic homogeneity but governed by communists’.15 It was the communistdominated government that presided over the deportations of ethnic Ukrainians and Germans. The communist regime displayed indifference or reluctance to come to the aid of Jews who had survived the Holocaust and were victims of postwar antisemitism. Jews returning to ethnically cleansed communities were often met with hostility and violence.16 In this context one needs to remember that ‘the war eliminated a large part of the Polish Jewish community, but it did not eliminate the pre-war antisemitism’.17 Snyder further notes that the idea of ethno-national homogeneity was naturalized to the point of becoming ‘banal’: In interwar Poland national minorities had meant different things to the Left and the Right, but both navigated a polity in which their presence was taken for granted. Now their absence was taken for granted. In 1944 we can see the consensus about national homogeneity as it emerges: before it attains the invisibility of all matters of profound agreement, and the legitimacy of policies that have already been implemented.18 In the case of Poland, both World War II and the postwar years of communist rule were crucial elements in this transition to a broadly internalized, ‘normalized’ modern nationalism. In the years to follow, the communist regime embarked on an ambitious programme of reconstruction and modernization through rapid industrialization, combined with social engineering, population movement, urbanization, upward social mobility of peasant offspring, mass literacy programmes, the spread of mass media, including radio and, later, television, and so on. These are the typical ingredients of the making of a modern national identity and they contributed to the increased ‘nationalization’ of Polish society. In the words of Ernest Gellner, ‘Industrialization engenders a mobile and culturally homogeneous society’,19 and ‘the roots of nationalism’ are to be found ‘in the distinctive structural requirements of industrial society’.20 As a result, Polish society emerged as an additionally homogenized, compact unit, or so it seemed. The post-war upward mobility and the cultural homogenization had several sources. First, war and emigration wiped out whole sections of the pre-war

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The Populist Radical Right in Poland

society, especially the country’s traditional elites. Secondly, the communist ‘revolution from above’ contributed to radical changes in social structure. Thirdly, and probably most controversially, one could mention the Holocaust and its aftermath, including the postwar anti-Jewish violence, as a major factor in the transformation of large socio-economic niches previously occupied by the Polish Jews.21 The communist regime invoked a particular interpretation of national history to justify its policies. It was claimed that: People’s Poland was a logical result of the whole Polish history and the successor to all its tradition. The claim that this form of social organization had appeared as a result of the historical logic of class struggle, was of secondary importance.22 The ideal of a ‘Piast Poland’ was officially proclaimed: it recalled the medieval Piast dynasty, which ruled the early Polish state within borders roughly similar to those of People’s Poland (Polska Ludowa) after 1945. The edge of the Piast idea was directed against Germany as Poland’s eternal enemy. Władysław Gomułka in particular was prone to employing anti-German propaganda: in the 1960s he ‘seized the high ground of nationalism in an effort to prompt his sagging popularity through anti-German tirades’.23 For example, Gomułka’s successor in the post of the party’s first secretary, Edward Gierek, spoke typically in the following terms in his keynote parliamentary speech on the 30th anniversary of the Polish communist system: the regime’s important achievement was that made it possible for Poland ‘to return to her immemorial Piast territories on the Odra river and the Baltic Sea’.24 The security of Poland’s newly gained, and thoroughly Polonized, western territories (portrayed as ancient Slavonic heartlands) was stressed as the communist government’s chief claim to fame. The idea of ‘Piast Poland’ projected the modern notion of nationality to the 11th century and claimed that the country returned to its original, and proper, ethnic homogeneity. It was juxtaposed with the rival vision of Piłsudski-style ‘Jagiellonian Poland’, which included large multicultural territories in the East (the Jagiellons were a Lithuanian-bred dynasty that succeeded the Piasts in the period of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and the expansion to the East in the 15th and 16th centuries). The triumph of the ‘Piast’ idea embodied by the communist regime held a paradoxical victory for the endek idea of the nation. This phenomenon was further promoted by the communist ‘partisan’ faction in the 1960s. The so-called ‘partisan’ wing of the ruling Polish United Workers Party (Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza, PZPR) in the 1960s was led by the Interior Minister, General Mieczysław Moczar. Ironically for a self-styled Polish nationalist, his own ethnic background was actually Belarussian, but that was kept strictly secret.25 Moczar gathered around himself a significant group of war veterans (hence the group’s popular name), younger party

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cadres, military and security personnel and bureaucrats, as well as some writers and artists. They were unified by an eclectic ideology that combined socialism with patriotic pathos, praised the heroic aspects of national history and expressed hostility to all forms of alleged ‘cosmopolitanism’. The ‘partisans’ ’ venom was directed against ‘revisionists’ – a code word for leftist dissidents and members of the liberal wing of the party who were regarded as an obstacle towards building a more authoritarian nationalist regime. Jews too were an obvious target of the ‘partisans’ ’ growing anger. The ‘partisans’ believed the party could regain public support by publicly purging itself of Jews and by employing nationalist rhetoric. The aim was to construct a system of national communism, with a mixture of communist, nationalist and populist ideology. Jan Gross called it ‘a variation of National Socialism plain and simple’.26 Piotr Ose˛ ka describes the partisans in the following terms: ‘Their worldview was a specific version of nationalism expressed through the language of the communist doctrine’.27 Mieczysław Rakowski wrote: ‘In this way the national-communist group took shape, and it quickly attained nationalist colours’.28 The extent to which Władyslaw Gomułka, the first secretary of the Central Committee of the party – and therefore the de facto leader of the country – personally shared the ‘partisans’ ’ nationalist ideology is debatable. Gomułka had led the party in 1945–1948, but was later dismissed and imprisoned for alleged ‘right-nationalist deviation’ in the 1950s. In 1956 he was swept back to power on the wave of popular protest, and subsequently introduced a more humane version – in relative terms, at least – of the communist regime in Poland. He was forced to resign in the wake of a massacre of shipyard workers by the military forces in Gdan´ sk and Szczecin in 1970 in which around 40 people died. According to most accounts, Gomułka remained a convinced communist internationalist till his death, and in this context it was often mentioned that his wife was Jewish. Nevertheless, he presided over the increasingly antisemitic policy, probably fearing the ‘partisans’ could turn against him as the old guard of the communist leaders were pressed to give way to the younger protégés of Moczar. Gomułka’s acceptance of antisemitic elements in the party policy and propaganda reached its peak in the late 1960s, when tension in the Middle East was used to legitimize another wave of anti-Jewish purges pushed for by the ‘partisans’. In the early and mid-1960s, purges of Jewish officers began in the Ministry of the Interior as well as in the army. A special unit was set up in the Ministry of the Interior that compiled a secret list of Jews living in Poland deploying the same criteria that were behind Hitler’s infamous Nuremberg Laws. The list included all kinds of personal information to be used in the years to come. In 1960 Marshal Biriuzov, a Soviet deputy minister of defence, reportedly remarked to his hosts while visiting Poland, ‘an army commanded by Jews and counterrevolutionaries cannot be used in the fight against imperialism’.29 This comment sparked off the systematic removal of the remaining Jewish

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The Populist Radical Right in Poland

officers from the Polish army, supervised by a special commission. Although only a few hundred out of the total number of 40,000–45,000 officers in the Polish military at that time were actually Jewish, the number of those purged also included many officers who were considered sympathetic or friendly to their Jewish colleagues. This tendency reflected a changing power situation in the Middle East, where the Soviet bloc provided increasing military assistance to the Arab states in their conflict with Israel. On 9 June 1967, in the wake of the Six Day War, the Warsaw Pact states, with the exception of Romania, decided to break diplomatic relations with Israel. The Middle Eastern conflict served as a pretext for unleashing antisemitic smears and vendettas at home. An atmosphere of suspicion and denunciation swept the country. For example, Moczar was said to have prepared and passed to Gomułka a list of 94 young Jews who allegedly contacted the Israeli embassy as possible volunteers for the Israeli army. Indeed, Israel’s victory was actually viewed with sympathy in many sections of Polish society. Many Poles saw it as a setback for the despised Soviet bloc. They felt a connection with Israel, based on the history of the Jewish presence in Poland and the fact that many Israeli citizens had their roots in Poland. Nevertheless, ‘the Polish government went on its insane anti-Semitic binge’.30 On 19 June 1967 Gomułka made an important speech at a Trade Union Congress, in which he declared that ‘every citizen of Poland must have only one fatherland – People’s Poland’. He shocked many by referring to Israel’s alleged sympathizers as the ‘fifth column’, a term strongly charged with memories of German-inspired sabotage during the Second World War. Years later, Gomułka was said to have regretted using such language to describe Polish Jews. Nevertheless, through the Trade Union Congress speech he provided an official justification to the mass antisemitic campaign already unleashed by Moczar’s supporters. On 8 October 1967 Moczar made a speech on the anniversary of the establishment of People’s Militia in which he likened the Israeli military to the nazis. This close similarity, according to him, was lost on ‘blinded Zionists, including our Zionists in Poland’.31 A campaign of intimidation against Polish Jews, including numerous anonymous letters and threatening phone calls was in full swing. In 1967, a group of about 500 Jews emigrated from Poland. Meanwhile, a democratic movement of students and young intellectuals emerged in Poland. It had obvious parallels with youth movements in the Western world as well as with the Czechoslovak reform movement.32 It was assisted by older Marxist dissidents such as Jacek Kuron´ and Karol Modzelewski and supported by a number of liberal-minded professors at Warsaw University, among them the renowned philosopher Leszek Kołakowski, sociologist Zygmunt Bauman and economist Włodzimierz Brus. The crushing of the movement was accompanied by aggressive ‘anti-Zionist’ propaganda. The protest against antisemitism became part and parcel of the general democratic movement that emerged in the weeks that followed. In February

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1968, Warsaw University students distributed a leaflet entitled ‘Against Fascist Provocation!’ penned by Karol Modzelewski in response to the antisemitic leaflets distributed by security services. On 29 February 1968, at a memorable meeting of the Polish Writers’ Union (Zwia˛zek Literatów Polskich, ZLP), the famous Polish historian Paweł Jasienica quoted an antisemitic leaflet distributed by security services in Warsaw and commented critically on the authorities’ acceptance of such propaganda. As a result Jasienica was put on a list of forbidden authors and was not able to publish any works until his death in 1970. The official propaganda stressed the ‘cosmopolitan’ outlook of the student activists, often emphasizing their alleged family connections with the Jewish communist elite of the Stalinist period. The newspapers enjoyed printing the Jewish-sounding names of the young dissidents, frequently commenting on their allegedly privileged background: Seweryn Blumsztajn, Henryk Szlajfer, Józef Dajczgewand, and so forth. In the case of Aleksander Smolar, the official line emphasized the fact that his father had been the editor of ‘FolksSztyme’, a Yiddish language newspaper published in Poland. In particular, the Jewish-communist family background of the 22-year-old student leader Adam Michnik was remorselessly exploited by official propaganda, which reminded readers ad nauseam that his father had been a censor, while his half-brother had served as a court martial judge during the early years of communist Poland. Such attacks on Michnik were continually repeated in the organs of communist propaganda over the next several decades. Significantly, they persist today in the discourse of the Polish populist radical right. Michnik is now the editor of the country’s main liberal newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza, and is considered to be a founding father of Polish liberal democracy, which makes him a prominent bête noire for the nationalist extremists. Similar treatment has been meted out to one of Michnik’s closest collaborators in the student movement of Warsaw in the late 1960s, Jan Gross, who later became a political science professor in the United States. Gross is the author of ground-breaking books about antisemitism that are loathed by contemporary Polish nationalists.33 Official propaganda always stressed the Trotskyist influence on the dissidents. And there was, indeed, a degree of ideological inspiration as well as organizational assistance provided to the 1960s’ student movement by groups of Trotskyists in Poland and abroad. Nevertheless, according to historian Jerzy Eisler, the exaggerated importance attached to it by the official propaganda could be interpreted as another means of highlighting the Jewish background of some of the opposition activists: ‘after all Trotsky’s name was Leib Bronstein and he was a Jew by origin’.34 A curious term – ‘ZionistTrotskyite’ – was coined and it became a regular feature of the media campaign against the dissidents in 1968. This was reflected by propagandists such as Bogdan Hillebrandt, who span conspiracy theories linking ‘Zionists, Trotskyites and revisionists’ with former members of Hashomer Hatzair, a left-Zionist youth organization.

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The Populist Radical Right in Poland

‘Zionism’ was a key charge in all the accusations. In most cases, there was rather little doubt that it simply served as a shorthand for being Jewish or sympathizing with Jews. ‘Zionist’ Jews were presented as a rootless yet unified and homogeneous transnational group working for the benefit of Israel and the United States. They were accused of ‘cosmopolitanism’ and ‘nationalism’ simultaneously. Such apparent contradictions are in fact a typical feature of antisemitic discourse throughout the centuries. The protagonists of the campaign preferred to talk about ‘Zionism’, rather than about Jews per se so that, if needed, they could always point to a handful of ‘good Jews’ who could be used to prove their point. According to Professor Michał Głowin´ ski, who analysed the discourse of 1968, ‘the good Jew’ was a permanent feature of the propaganda.35 In other words, ‘Zionist’ became an offensive term used against real or perceived Jews whatever their political persuasion. Communist rhetoric did not allow openly targeting people on the basis of racial criteria, while the targeting of alleged ‘Zionists’ was perfectly acceptable. As Kenneth S. Stern wrote, it is ‘easy (. . .) for one form of antisemitism – anti-Zionism – to open the floodgates for expressions of the other strains, tarring Judaism as a religion and Jews as people’.36 For example, in the key state media company, Interpress, six journalists were excluded from the party organization for being ‘Zionists’. Asked what he actually meant by ‘Zionist’, the director reportedly answered that he had no time to check it precisely in an encyclopedia but he believed a Zionist is a person whose parents were Jewish. Similar situations were commonplace.37 The state-sponsored mobilization required mass participation. In March and April 1968 all over the country televised official rallies were organized in support of the government with slogans such as ‘Zionists Go to Zion’, ‘Antisemitism no! Anti-Zionism yes!’, and the most curious of all ‘Zionists to Siam!’ (‘Syjonis´ ci do Syjamu!’). The last slogan was indicative of the fact that the participants in the rallies did not really care about the real objectives of Zionism or about the Middle East as such, which seemed distant and irrelevant to the Polish situation. On 11 April 1968 Bolesław Piasecki condemned, in his parliamentary speech, ‘the anti-Polish – internal and external – action of Zionist nationalism’. This charge against ‘nationalism’, made by the historic leader of Polish extreme nationalists, demonstrated a curious yet characteristic inversion of meaning, according to which the liberal and Marxist dissidents were associated with ‘Jewish chauvinism’ while the hard-line totalitarian antisemites hid behind the label of progressive ‘anti-Zionism’. Piasecki threw his lot with General Moczar, and the Pax Association took an active part in the antisemitic campaign. Its publications, such as the daily newspaper Słowo Powszechne, thundered against ‘Zionists’ and ‘cosmopolitans’. It claimed the Polish student movement was manipulated by ‘a political triangle formed by Washington, Bonn and Tel-Aviv, in unity with the global Zionist movement’.

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A meeting of young party members with General Moczar on 8 April 1968 was characteristic of the dominant propaganda, too. The Minister of the Interior claimed that ‘all the Western press, as it is commonly known, is generally controlled by Jewish nationalists smearing the Polish nation and the Polish government’. Radio Free Europe, for example, was ‘dominated by Zionist elements’. He went on to attack Jews among the party ranks. According to Moczar, ‘it is a worrying phenomenon in our social-political life that many ex-policemen from the ghetto today occupy responsible positions in the party and in the state in socialist Poland’.38 The Nazification of Zionists and Jews was again on display here. In the first half of 1968, some 40 people were sacked from the staff of the State Scientific Publishing House (PWN). The pretext was found in the fact that an encyclopedia that had just been published, under the entry ‘Hitlerite concentration camps’, overemphasized Jewish suffering and neglected the issue of ethnic Polish victims. The question became a major subject in the official press. A new entry was printed and sent to the encyclopedia subscribers with a request to remove and replace the relevant page. A stream of articles was published in the press that eulogized Polish assistance to Jews during World War II, while highlighting the cases of supposed Jewish collaboration with the nazis. Even the most crude antisemitic arguments were used in the ‘anti-Zionist’ campaign. ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ and similar antisemitic materials were secretly printed in 1968 and distributed through party channels, in the military and security forces.39 The party committee in Łódz´ , one of Poland’s industrial centres, published a special brochure titled ‘Zionism, its genesis, political outlook and anti-Polish position’, in which ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ was quoted as a supposedly reliable source. The same Łódz´ committee circulated a leaflet which turned out to be based directly on an article in the notorious Nazi newspaper Der Sturmer. Once alerted about it, Gomułka ordered an internal investigation which established that an officer in the Ministry of the Interior, Władysław Ciaston´ , was responsible for the publication. He was subsequently dismissed but later reinstated to his position. He worked as the head of the Security Service and vice-minister of the interior in the 1980s before being nominated to the post of Polish Ambassador to Albania in 1988. As part of repressive measures that followed the student unrest, hundreds of students were expelled from universities. It resulted in a massive purge of alleged ‘Zionists’ in universities and many other key professional fields. Together with a wave of forced mass emigration of Jews, it deprived Poland of a big part of its intellectual talent. Professors who were seen as sympathizers of the student movement were sacked. In the words of Alain Touraine and his colleagues, analysing the impact of that tendency on future events in Poland, ‘The authoritarian reaction, nationalist and anti-Semitic, orchestrated by the Partisan faction led by General Moczar, silenced many revisionist, reforming and liberal intellectuals, not to mention those of Jewish origin’.40

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The Populist Radical Right in Poland

In this way, Polish academia was deprived of its leading stars, especially in the field of humanities. Kołakowski, Bauman, Brus, Hirszowicz and many others were dismissed and emigrated to continue their careers as eminent academics in major universities in the West. Shortly after his arrival in Israel, Zygmunt Bauman issued a statement in the Ma’ariv newspaper in which he asserted: ‘Polish workers are not antisemitic, and the intelligentsia is far from it either. The regime rests chiefly on the antisemitism of the new bourgeoisie, which is composed of army officers, governmental and party officials’. Many members of this ‘new bourgeoisie’ were more than happy to occupy the positions as part of their upward social mobility. The purge extended to family members of the democratic activists, as well as those representatives of the communist establishment who expressed reservations about the antisemitic campaign, such as the widely respected Foreign Minister Adam Rapacki. A leading old-guard communist, Stefan Je˛ drychowski, also spoke out, along with the nominal head of state Edward Ochab. Ochab resigned from all his official posts in protest against antisemitism. His letter to the party leadership stated: ‘As a Pole and a communist, I protest most strongly against the antisemitic campaign organized in Poland by various dark forces; yesterday’s ONR members and their prominent supporters today’.41 Andrzej Werblan, a party ideologist, countered such arguments in an article on the pages of the monthly journal Miesie˛ cznik Literacki, in which he complained of over-representation of Jews in academic jobs and other important positions (‘much higher than would result from the proportion of the Jewish population in our society’). The Jews, he wrote, ‘are prone to revisionism and Jewish nationalism, Zionism in particular’. In conclusion, he called for further ‘correction of an incorrect nationality structure in the central institutions’.42 The purge continued downwards, reaching lower levels of the administration and party organization as well as various professional bodies, media outlets, local schools and many other institutions. Hundreds of real or perceived Jews or ‘Zionists’ were sacked or forced to resign in humiliating circumstances. As Konstanty Gebert writes, ‘In that period, a Jewish-sounding name was enough to get one into trouble’.43 The wave of repression raised concerns of international public opinion. Among others, on 6 April 1968, the philosopher Bertrand Russell protested in defence of the dismissed academics on the pages of The Times. In the face of reports in the international press, on 13 April 1968, the Polish Ambassador to France held a press conference in Paris where – in a familiar pattern to be repeated by Polish diplomats for many decades – he informed the international press that antisemitism in Poland did not exist. About 15,000–20,000 Jews were forced to emigrate from Poland in an atmosphere of intimidation in 1968 and 1969, and some 25 per cent of them settled in Israel. As noted by Jan Józef Lipski, the emigrants could hardly be described as Zionists: ‘People who felt ideologically connected with Zionism

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had left much earlier, before 1968’.44 Piotr Ose˛ ka referred to the emigration as ‘the last Jewish exodus in history’.45 Ose˛ ka likens the emigration to deportation, ‘even though in place of physical coercion a more subtle form of coercion was employed – psychological and material’.46 All the emigrants were forced to renounce their Polish citizenship. Among them were many prominent figures in intellectual and artistic circles, such as the writer Henryk Grynberg, film director Aleksander Ford and Ida Kamin´ ska, the 1967 Oscarwinning actress and founder of the Jewish Theatre in Warsaw. By May 1968 Gomułka himself became seriously alarmed by the antisemitic excesses and ordered the ‘anti-Zionist’ campaign be halted. The damage to society and to Polish–Jewish relations, however, was not reversed. It can be argued that in the end the ‘anti-Zionist’ campaign of 1968 contributed to the gradual undoing of the communist regime in Poland. By embracing antisemitic rhetoric, the regime lost whatever remained of its ideological credentials as a progressive force. A whole generation of students and young intellectuals subjected to harsh repression emerged as experienced activists. Many of them played a leading role in the formation of Solidarity in the 1980s that eventually defeated the regime. On the other hand, the antisemitic campaign helped the communist elite in its quest for reconnecting with the broader population. ‘The antisemitic propaganda was (. . .) a response to a deterioration in public mood’, wrote the historian Jan Skórzyn´ ski.47 Far from an isolated episode, it was an element of ‘the long-term strategy of Polish communists seeking a nationalist legitimization’.48 It seems that the campaign resonated well with a significant part of society, although it is difficult to establish whether a majority ever supported the antisemitic purge. According to Mieczysław Rakowski, a longtime member of the party elite, ‘there was a tacit, and sometimes open, [popular] support for this shameful action’. Rakowski added: ‘To arouse nationalistic feelings in Poland has never been a difficult task’.49 The antisemitic campaign of 1968 left permanent scars upon Polish society. The anti-Jewish and nationalist discourse employed by the communist authorities has become a permanent feature of political life in Poland, today echoed by the nationalist and populist radical right. According to Konstanty Gebert: Even today, March ’68 remains a politically sensitive topic, about which no consensus of opinion has yet emerged. This is not due to a lack of information about what happened, but rather to the fact that March ’68 still means different things to different people.50 The protagonists of the antisemitic campaign can be found among members of political contemporary political parties, left and right, including the extreme right. Konstanty Gebert writes 40 years after: ‘What makes March ’68 important today, though, is its continuing impact on the attitudes of those who were involved; the way it shaped – and deformed – mentalities’.51

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After 1968, open outbursts of official antisemitism were rare. Nevertheless, the central appeal to national unity and patriotism, rather than to Marxist ideology, increasingly underpinned the ruling regime. Throughout the 1970s the official ritual ‘referred mostly to the state-national tradition, leaving the revolutionary rhetoric of Marxism-Leninism aside’.52 For example, it was noted that the Polish party leader Edward Gierek, in his programmatic speech of 8 February 1971, used the words ‘communism’ or ‘communist’ only three times, while the term patriotism was used 12 times, ‘Fatherland’ (‘Ojczyzna’) 13 times, and ‘nation’ 20 times.53 Ethnic homogeneity was in fact positively celebrated. According to Jan Kubik, the communist propaganda of the Gierek period (1970s): . . . emphasized (. . .) the elements of the nation’s heritage that concurred with the vision of the Polish state as an ethnically and culturally homogeneous entity. (. . .) Thus, construction of the image of an ethnically homogeneous Poland was one of the priorities of the official propaganda and was guarded carefully by the censorship. One of the results of this policy was the almost total elimination of the Jews from official Polish history.54 The imposition of martial law in December 1981, a last-ditch attempt to save the communist regime against the onslaught of opposition forces, was accompanied by patriotic rhetoric. According to Jan Skórzyn´ ski, ‘it was justified almost exclusively through national and patriotic arguments’.55 General Wojciech Jaruzelski’s military council that took over called itself, characteristically, the Military Council of National Salvation (Wojskowa Rada Ocalenia Narodowego, WRON), and the new communist-led political front organization created in 1982 was called the Patriotic Movement for National Rebirth (Patriotyczny Ruch Odrodzenia Narodowego, PRON). The PRON was nominally chaired by none other than Jan Dobraczyn´ ski, the Catholic novelist and longtime associate of Bolesław Piasecki. Another body created by General Jaruzelski in 1986, his Advisory Council (Rada Konsultacyjna), included, among others, Professor Maciej Giertych, a known radical endek. Other nationalist intellectuals and activists were co-opted by the regime during the 1980s, occupying seats in the government and parliament on a scale that surpassed the previous waves of such cooptation in Piasecki’s lifetime. From the point of view of the right-wing nationalists, the collaboration with the communist regime was usually justified by geopolitical arguments of the Dmowski school, pointing to the might of the Soviet Union, which did not seem likely to collapse. The realist school condemned the insurrectionary tradition and sought to further ‘nationalize’ the system from within. Moreover, they fundamentally shared the regime’s hostility to the liberal, Western-oriented dissidents. General Jaruzelski himself symbolized the peculiar national character of

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Polish communism: a son of a traditional Catholic gentry family, forcibly exiled to Siberia in 1941, he joined the Polish army in the Soviet Union and made a career in the military. In the late 1940s he participated in forced deportations of the Polish Ukrainians from the east to the west of the country and took the post of Defence Minister in the period of antisemitic purges in the officer corps in 1968. After imposing martial law in December 1981 he was often compared to Chile’s Pinochet and earned particular hostility from Polish democrats and human rights activists (eventually, many of them have been inclined to give him a much more positive mark for his later constructive role in the democratic transition). Jaruzelski’s spectacular bridge-building gestures towards the endeks in the 1980s had much to do with political games vis-à-vis the underground democratic opposition and, especially, the Roman Catholic Church. The government tried to maintain good relations with the church hierarchy, and it is not to be forgotten that Maciej Giertych was simultaneously an official adviser to Primate Józef Glemp, the head of the Polish Church. By 1989, however, Jaruzelski abandoned his endek supporters in favour of a much more ambitious strategic ‘round table’ agreement with Solidarity, guaranteed by the Church. We mention those little remembered alliances here because they reflected some significant cultural realities of the 1980s. They were made possible by the wholesale acceptance and further legitimization of national discourse by the regime. Moreover, they illustrated the fact that the nationalist endek movement itself survived the communist period as a cultural tradition, reasserted its presence and was re-establishing itself firmly in the country’s political culture. The communist movement’s own extreme nationalist antisemitic wing was partly organized in the 1980s in the form of the ‘Grunwald’ Association (Grunwald had been the site of the 1410 victorious battle against the German-speaking Teutonic Knights and an important element in the Polish patriotic history narrative). The group was established in 1980 and lasted until it was formally disbanded in 1995. It supported the communist authorities, while vehemently attacking Solidarity and other democratic opposition movements using nationalist and, especially, antisemitic rhetoric. For example, in 1981 it conducted a much-publicized action on the anniversary of the events of 8 March 1968, simultaneous to a public discussion organized by Solidarity. Grunwald members chose the day to commemorate the Polish victims of Stalinist terror. The activists held signs with the victims’ names as well as those of Jewish state prosecutors who had accused them during show trials. The prosecutors’ names were selected to prove that Stalinist terror had been organized by Jews against Poles, a familiar element of the partisans’ propaganda back in 1968. Grunwald accused Solidarity activists of being Jews or Jewish stooges and it produced large quantities of antisemitic publications, including re-editions of 1968 material as well as Je˛ drzej Giertych’s émigré writings, which criticized the Polish opposition in similar terms.

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Grunwald’s best-known leader was Bohdan Pore˛ ba, a film director, a Polish–Soviet Friendship Association (Towarzystwo Przyjaz´ ni PolskoRadzieckiej, TPPR) activist and hardline party member, who was among the handful of delegates voting against the PZPR’s self-dissolution at its last congress in January 1990. Grunwald had some friends among the top party leaders but it was not able to prevent the eventual compromise, which was reached between Jaruzelski’s leadership and the Solidarity movement in 1989. Its historical role, however, can be seen also in terms of educating a significant group of die-hard nationalist activists, many of whom experienced a curious identity shift,56 and went on to become leaders of extreme-right organizations in the 1990s and beyond. That includes Pore˛ ba himself who was subsequently a member of a dozen or so radical nationalist political groups. He has also continued to provide the cultural framework of contention57 for the nationalist movement. His latest artistic claim to fame was a 2005 patriotic drama production sponsored by the Self-Defence party, repeatedly broadcast by TV Trwam (the TV station operated by the far-right Radio Maryja) and shown to Polish diaspora audiences during a tour across North and South America. Pore˛ ba has compared himself to Mel Gibson and to the Russian film director Nikita Mikhalkov. He has also claimed never to have changed his political orientation. In an interview he said, among other things: – Have your political views changed? – Never! (. . .) I joined the party in 1969 to struggle against the sovietization of the country. (. . .) I joined the party when the white-red colour appeared there. (. . .) That accompanied the Polonization of Poland that took place progressively after 1956 (. . .). I was oppressed by Jewish communism (z· ydokomuna).58

Solidarity as a national movement The emergence of Solidarity as a mass movement in 1980–1981 shook the foundations of the regime and eventually contributed to its downfall. The heritage of that movement is among the most valued and frequently invoked symbolic legacies in contemporary Polish politics. It is also hotly debated, various episodes of Solidarity history giving fuel to heated discussions. Indeed, many of the current political cleavages have their roots in internal divisions in Solidarity in the early 1980s. Any analysis of Solidarity and its lasting heritage is further complicated by the extremely heterogeneous character of the popular movement. As Marjorie Castle and Ray Taras note, ‘By the time its membership had reached nearly 10 million in 1981, Solidarity was a broad social movement that included in its ranks workers and white-collar employees, intellectuals and entrepreneurs, Catholics and communists’.59 Jan Kubik argues that Solidarity should be seen as ‘a social formation that was symbolically unified, but ridden by latent political tensions’.60 The rather short period in which Solidarity could operate

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legally resulted in many of those internal differences being initially treated as issues of relatively minor importance. They remained hidden or just potential, to be discovered and fought over in the years to come. It is possible to find examples of diametrically opposing views within the ranks of Solidarity on almost any subject: Solidarity itself can also be analysed as first and foremost an open platform for expressing various opinions rather than as a political movement with clearly defined objectives. That applies to issues such as national traditions and minority rights. The recognition of minority concerns and their inclusion in the general democratic struggle was an important part of the Solidarity agenda. On the other hand, nationalist–populist and, especially, antisemitic tendencies could also be discerned within the broad movement. This apparent paradox cannot be understood without taking into account the multi-faceted and polyphonic nature of Solidarity as a grass-roots social phenomenon. Jan Kubik rightly stresses that ‘Solidarity was a multistranded and complicated social entity from the beginning of its existence’.61 Lawrence Goodwyn remembers the perplexingly eclectic nature of the original Solidarity movement: ‘Clearly, Solidarnos´ c´ was socialist, Catholic, patriotic, working class, democratic and insurgent. Clearly. What did it all mean?’62 As Marcin Kula notes, the events that gave birth to Solidarity ‘had a strong load of traditional values as well as a strong modernizing tendency simultaneously!’.63 It follows that, if Solidarity heritage provides the symbolic basis for today’s politics in Poland, for example, both pro- and anti-minority attitudes can draw from this symbolic resource. The inclusive approach to national identity was especially represented by those Solidarity leaders who had been active in, or cooperated with, the older oppositional organization, the Workers’ Defence Committee (Komitet Obrony Robotników, KOR).64 The KOR had existed since 1976 and was composed of intellectuals and human rights activists, including many former activists of the 1968 student movement. Some of the KOR leaders, such as Jacek Kuron´ and Adam Michnik, had a long record as left-wing dissidents and the PPS tradition seemed especially popular in KOR circles. Solidarity became a chance for the previously suppressed minority narratives to be heard and for alliances to be formed on behalf of minority rights. Thanks to Solidarity, historical events such as the deportations of Ukrainians, or the antisemitic campaign of 1968, were for the first time subject to critical public debates. The Ukrainians, the Jews and other groups were inspired to see themselves as part of a broad movement for democracy. Minority activists were often enthusiastic about Solidarity, one of them being Marek Edelman, the surviving deputy commander of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising and a former leader of the Jewish socialist party Bund, who became a leading member of Solidarity in Łódz´ . In the mid-1980s Edelman inspired Solidarity and several other opposition groups (including the Pilsudskite KPN) to organize their own yearly commemorations of the Warsaw Ghetto

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uprising anniversary: ‘Thereafter, until the end of communist rule, unofficial ceremonies at the Ghetto Monument became important Polish patriotic events with the mass participation of the Gentile population’.65 The government, in turn, resorted to xenophobia to attack Solidarity as unpatriotic, for example, ‘As Polish communists sought to discredit Solidarity, they emphasized its support for equal rights for Ukrainians in Poland’.66 The government propaganda in the 1980s frequently resorted to xenophobic rhetoric. It was during this period that Jan Józef Lipski, a leading KOR and Solidarity activist, published his classic pamphlet entitled ‘Two homelands, two patriotisms’, containing a powerful and damning critique of the Polish nationalist view on history. KOR was not the only opposition group whose activists joined and influenced Solidarity. Two other organizations in particular left their imprint: the Young Poland Movement (Ruch Młodej Polski, RMP) and the Confederation of an Independent Poland (Konfederacja Polski Niepodległej, KPN). Both of them prioritized grand, national goals over other, more mundane considerations. The RMP continued the tradition of Roman Dmowski’s National Democrats, although they renounced antisemitism. The KPN saw itself as an incarnation of Józef Piłsudski’s pro-independence movement. Both of them were staunchly anti-communist. However, one has to note that both the RMP and the KPN were careful to distance themselves from ethnic chauvinism. On the other hand, an alternative tendency emerged within Solidarity, which was closely connected with internal political struggle over control of the movement. It came to be known by its self-description as ‘real Poles’ (‘prawdziwi Polacy’), in contrast to supposedly non-Polish background of its opponents. Konstanty Gebert explains that ‘ “real Poles” is a self-description often used by Polish anti-Semites, who want to thus differentiate themselves from the rest of the nation supposedly corrupted by Jewish blood and ideas’.67 This radical populist wing emphasized both bread-and-butter economic issues and national goals over human rights and democratization. According to Alain Touraine and his co-researchers: The nationalist component of the movement (. . .) tended to break away and enter into conflict with the democratic element, which remained close to the positions which the KOR had defended for years. (. . .) The democratic component, then, was weakened by an upsurge combining nationalism with the discourse of workers’ power, having fundamentalist tendencies, and representing a populist appeal to both national and class identity.68 The ‘real Poles’ wing was led, among others, by Marian Jurczyk, the regional Solidarity organizer in the coastal city of Szczecin (Solidarity’s second most important stronghold after Gdan´ sk) and one of the most influential activists of the trade union movement (he came second in a contest for

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the union’s chairmanship at the Solidarity first national congress in 1981).69 His radical speech in Trzebiatów in October 1981 caused uproar. Jurczyk mentioned the need to build gallows on which government officials would be hanged and claimed that three-quarters of the government was in the hands of Jews (in the late 1990s and early 2000s Jurczyk went on to become a member of the Senate and the mayor of Szczecin). Although Jurczyk’s views were not representative of the majority of Solidarity opinion, there was no resolve to confront and condemn them for what they were. Jurczyk was not criticized because the contents of his statements were morally unacceptable for a democratic movement, but chiefly because they objectively helped the communists, who used them in their propaganda against ‘extremist’ Solidarity. Jagielski, one of Jurczyk’s former associates, recalled that characteristic timidity later in his memoirs: The chairman [Jurczyk – R.P.] should have shown some restraint, although he had the full right to express his personal views. It is sad that anti-Jewish accents could be heard in his speech. Many of us would not have shared such views. An uncomfortable situation resulted from that, because any veto, or criticism, would have led to an escalation of the propaganda against the union, which anyway attacked the regional chairman in all possible ways.70 The pattern of denial eventually became a characteristic discursive strategy of dealing with extreme nationalism by Polish elites in the decades to come. Jagielski remembers that some activists claimed Jurczyk actually had never made any speech in Trzebiatów. He also reinspects the role of an alleged ‘provocateur’ in preparing Jurczyk’s statement. All doubts were dispersed by Marian Jurczyk himself who admitted: ‘Nobody wrote the speech for me. These were my own words’.71 The national and religious symbolism permeated the movement from its very beginning, frequently confusing Western supporters of the trade union. As Marcin Kula wrote, ‘the patriotic ethos of the striking workers at Gdan´ sk Shipyard in 1980 astonished observers who subscribed to the stereotype of workers having no fatherland’.72 Lawrence Goodwyn wrote that confused ‘outsiders tried to ascertain whether the strikers were radical socialists or pious churchgoers’,73 ‘For journalists from outside of Poland, conventional political terminology proved inadequate as an explanatory aid’.74 Solidarity was perceived as the only public platform for expressing national feelings in a country dominated by alien Soviet power. Nationalism – in the broad sense – provided a powerful mobilizing resource. Writing about events at the Gdan´ sk shipyard Charles Tilly and Sidney Tarrow emphasize that ‘The strike’s leaders built an explicit linkage between Poland’s national/Catholic heritage and the material demands of workers’.75 The usage of national symbols by the movement implied its opponents were outside the national community. Lawrence Goodwyn wrote, ‘The red and white flags asserted a

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The Populist Radical Right in Poland

shared memory. The cause was historic, cultural, collective, national, tribal; the party was oppressive, anticultural, alien’.76 Konstanty Gebert mentions that elderly members of the Jewish community ‘feared the Catholic and nationalistic aspects of that movement’.77 It is for similar reasons that ‘Many Belorusians or Ukrainians – dominating in this Church [Eastern Orthodox – R.P.] – did not have particular reasons to support Solidarity, a movement which so strongly emphasized its Polishness and Catholicism’.78 It might be added that a significant part of the Polish Ukrainian minority anyway lent their support to the Solidarity movement due to an anti-communist motivation (amplified by the memory of the 1947 deportations), while a large section of the Belorussian minority remained loyal to the communist government due to similarly painful memories of the antiBelorussian actions by the Polish nationalist underground (especially the NSZ) after 1945.79 Polish ‘real-existing socialism’ was not simply a copy of Soviet communism, imposed from outside. To claim otherwise is manifestly untrue, because the regime did have a substantial domestic support base, an important factor that is often forgotten in historical discussions.80 However, by the 1980s the system was indeed perceived as both inefficient and alien to national aspirations by the majority of Polish society. In extreme examples, representatives of the regime were alleged to be of Russian or Jewish background. More often, they were accused of lacking ‘Polish values’ because of their allegiance to Soviet communism.81 Therefore, it is difficult to separate the social from the national ingredients in Solidarity’s anti-communist revolution. It was the nation rather than any other entity that was the prism through which Solidarity activists looked at the social universe, their main interpretive framework. The near complete hegemony of national discourse proved decisive here. Arguably, the national factors received gradually more attention from the Solidarity leaders at the expense of more typically trade unionist, occupational and economic demands, which had been more important in the beginning. The national rhetoric might have had a certain compensating function in the face of ‘a lack of real successes’.82 Neal Ascherson argued that the dynamics of Solidarity could be interpreted as a case of ‘frustrated nationalism’.83 Faced with their own helplessness in terms of influencing the structure of the communist socio-economic system (and having serious difficulties in understanding it), Solidarity activists were pushed towards seeing themselves as heroes of a national narrative that was at hand. This dynamic was later reinforced during the period of underground activity after December 1981, when ‘the conflict was increasingly organized along the symbolic axis “nation – antination” ’.84 Paradoxically, the communist regime had contributed to that by prioritizing the national narrative and ‘normalizing’ it as the hegemonic discourse of social relations during several decades of its rule (as we saw in a previous section). When Solidarity seized the national narrative, the authorities in turn emphasized their own patriotism, in a typical cycle of mutually reinforcing

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rhetoric competition.85 On those rare occasions when the authorities and Solidarity reached an agreement, the shared patriotic motivation was stressed more than anything else. A famous letter of support for the striking workers, signed by 64 prominent opposition intellectuals, called on the government to dialogue with the strikers to reach ‘an understanding in the interest of our common fatherland’.86 When the August 1980 agreement was sealed both sides repeatedly referred to the success of talks ‘as Pole to Pole’.87 Marcin Kula notes with irony that nobody even thought of an alternative formula, say, ‘we reached an agreement as a workers’ government with its own social class’.88 Framing all political issues through a national perspective was strongly pronounced here. As a result, thinking in national terms became ever more hegemonic as a discourse universally employed to legitimize various kinds of political action. According to Antoni Macierewicz, a Solidarity-aligned oppositionist (and a future leading protagonist of the nationalist populist radical right), Solidarity was ‘not a trade union’, but ‘the nation organized’.89 Interestingly, Gebert invokes a very similar interpretation: ‘Solidarity was more than just a union: with ten million members out of a total population of thirty-eight million, it represented the nation organized’.90 Kula turns to the sociological composition of the Polish working class in the 1980s to explain the relative weakness of specifically working class political symbols, and the importance of national symbols, in Solidarity’s elaborate symbolism. Among others, he points to ‘the rupture of the sociological continuity in relation to the prewar period’. The workers were usually firstor second-generation urban dwellers, who were not familiar with older traditions of the Polish workers’ movement as a living movement. On the contrary, they associated socialist symbols and class discourse almost exclusively with the authorities against whom they revolted. The national tradition proved the key symbolic resource for the movement culture: ‘As a result of cultural conditioning of the Poles, patriotic slogans in Poland are a much better tool for social mobilization than anything else’.91 The early Solidarity was undoubtedly a populist movement in the broad sense of the term: a movement that symbolically aspires to speak on behalf of ‘the people’. For example, Goodwyn, an enthusiast of both Solidarity and of the 19th-century US Populists, wrote: ‘the creation of Solidarnos´ c´ was a protracted development that can most easily be understood as the sequential construction of the building blocks of popular democracy’ [emphasis added – R.P.].92 He invokes an early assessment of Solidarity as a ‘uniquely Polish kind of populism’.93 In this sense Ernesto Laclau is right to discuss Solidarity as a quintessential example of populism: The Solidarnos´ c´ symbols (. . .) did not remain the particular demands of a group of workers in Gdan´ sk, but came to signify a much wider popular camp against an oppressive regime,94 (. . .) at some point, the symbols

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The Populist Radical Right in Poland of Solidarnos´ c´ in Poland became the symbols of the absent fullness of society.95

It united a broad mass of people through a general appeal to social justice and national liberation. Indeed, paradoxically, the often vague character of the Solidarity outlook could be seen as one of its strengths, at least initially. According to Castle and Taras, ambiguity could be considered ‘as an organizational weapon’.96 Ost termed it ‘indispensable ambiguity’.97 On the other hand, the unspecified, open-ended nature of this appeal underscored controversies and future conflicts. As we saw, an exclusionary nationalism appeared on the scene as one possible interpretation of the movement’s rhetoric. Some features of the movement culture were transparently at odds with liberal democratic values, giving rise to some critical voices. One of them, the historian of ideas Andrzej Walicki, claimed ‘the idea of anticommunist collectivism could not serve as the basis of political pluralism’.98 One of the charges against Solidarity movement culture was that, despite its broad and diverse base, it allowed little space for dissent. Movement unity was stressed first and foremost. In the same vein, the nation was constructed in Solidarity discourse as an organic entity of harmonious cooperation rather than a pluralist amalgam of competing interests and opinions. This strongly communitarian culture was traced back by some writers to certain features of national tradition, deeply rooted in Polish history. Jacek Kaczmarski, the opposition’s bard, wrote his famous song ‘Mury’ (‘The Walls’) as a critique of the excessively collectivist mood of Solidarity as a mass movement. Ironically, that very song, deeply misunderstood in spite of the author’s protests, became the unofficial anthem of the underground Solidarity. Another specific aspect of the movement culture was its symbolic emphasis on direct democracy and broad grass-roots participation. Arguably, it was among the most valuable achievements of Solidarity as a genuine democratic movement that was weary of any trace of behind-the-scenes manipulation. Institutional procedures of representation were often distrusted. In actual practice it led to conventional rules of procedure being broken, and to discussions becoming dominated by those with the loudest voice, both metaphorically and literally. Many witnesses recall the very emotional nature of early Solidarity meetings. It favoured those with radical, even if irrational, demands and agenda since there was no room or time for a more reasoned mode of informed debate. The story of Solidarity has increasingly served as a symbolic resource of national discourse also because it achieved its major success on the level of national independence. It contributed to Poland’s leaving the Soviet bloc. The memories of details of the socio-economic reality in Poland in the 1970s and 1980s and of Solidarity’s demands on those issues seem increasingly distant. The non-national, systemic or ‘class’ dimensions of Solidarity are therefore increasingly difficult to make sense of: the grand plane of national high politics is thus much more present in popular consciousness. On the level

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of social and economic demands, however, the success of the movement is much more problematic. Solidarity had originally placed its hopes in a vaguely social democratic model of a welfare state run by workers’ self-government. It was at pains to stress it did not aim to challenge ‘the basis of the social ownership of the means of production’.99 The neoliberal capitalist system introduced in the 1990s was a far cry from those original quasi-utopian demands, even though the transition was presided over by post-Solidarity elites. Therefore, one should not be surprised that the national demands have been given much more attention in retrospective constructions of the Solidarity legacy. Ironically, the main attempts at revising the Solidarity myth came from the nationalist-populist right, especially after 2005. They were mostly connected with the rewriting of the movement’s history in a way that minimized the role of left-leaning liberal cosmopolitan intellectuals and emphasized the role of supposedly more uncompromising and patriotically-oriented working-class participants. Conspiracy theories, sometimes with an antisemitic slant, often accompanied those arguments. In a standard formulation, it was claimed that ‘the truth regarding the most recent history of Poland has been kept hidden from Polish society’.100 The voices that critically evaluate the national-populist strain in the heritage of Solidarity in today’s Poland are few and muted. One such example can be the criticism offered by Professor Andrzej Romanowski, a public intellectual who was connected with Solidarity during its heroic period. In an interview, entitled ‘They stole Solidarity away from me’, in the wake of the Kaczyn´ ski government, he expresses his . . . . fundamental disagreement with everything the broadly conceived camp of Solidarity has come to. (. . .) As long as we do not reject all the baggage of Solidarity that has led us to Law and Justice, Poland is going to be stuck in mire. It is going to keep turning its back on the world. One cannot be blind – the baggage of Solidarity has led us not to Michnik but to Kaczyn´ ski. It is necessary to draw conclusions from that.101

4

After Communism

The Polish transition and its flipside The post-1989 period has brought about large-scale changes in the political and economic spheres. It has also resulted in significant social and cultural transformations in Polish society. It is important to see the cluster of changes as an exceptionally multi-faceted and highly complex process. The general dynamic of the transition has led the country in the direction of liberal democracy and the market economy. The process of democratization has resulted in the institutionalization of the liberal democratic system and of the protection of minority rights in line with international standards. The nationalist extreme right was marginalized in Polish politics, unlike in many other post-communist countries: or so it seemed. There is no denying the important achievements of the 1990s. They lay the basis for a pluralist democratic system in Poland, known as the Third Republic (Trzecia Rzeczpospolita). At the same time, however, there have been parallel processes that directly or indirectly aided the rise of the populist radical right, which finally made itself felt at the political top in the mid2000s. This flipside of the Polish transition has to be taken into account so that a more nuanced multi-dimensional picture could emerge. This section will try to sketch out the strength of the liberal democratic consensus accompanying the immediate post-communist transition period accompanied by the relative weakness of nationalist populist movements in the 1990s. We are not going to go into various details of the transition: there is a well-developed body of other ‘transitology’ works. We need to note that several key factors played strongly in favour of democracy and the market, and against the extremist challenge in Poland. One of them, arguably the most important one, was the fact that a nucleus civil society had existed in Poland, preceding the collapse of communism itself. Many authors detailed the specific ethos of the Polish clandestine society in the 1970s and 1980s, which developed an impressive array of independent unofficial (illegal or semi-legal) activities in various spheres of life, engaging thousands of people in what was often their first taste of civic participation.1 The idea underlying this phenomenon was thus described by Adam Michnik,

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a leading Polish dissident, in 1982: ‘The essence of the programs put forward by the opposition groups (. . .) lay in the attempt to reconstruct society, to restore social bonds outside official institutions’.2 The ethos was rooted in much older traditions of dissidence and resistance, which had been formed in Polish history.3 Many of the participants of those original civil society networks became leaders of the burgeoning ‘third sector’ of non-governmental organizations in the 1990s. They also made their mark on the newly formed political parties and the mass media, to name just some key elements of modern democracy. Needless to say, an active democratically minded citizenry is always the best barrier against anti-democratic tendencies.4 In other words, the collapse of the communist system in Poland was not accompanied by, or it did not immediately result in, a kind of social vacuum devoid of civil society, which could be easily filled by extremists and populists. The Catholic Church exercised significant influence throughout the transition period. It welcomed the collapse of communism and was generally sympathetic and supportive of the changes that were taking place: ‘When change came, when Communist rule ended and the political system democratized, the church could fairly claim a considerable share of the credit’.5 Far from rejecting democracy as such, it concentrated on securing its legal position and asserting its influence in the new political and cultural reality, cemented by the Concordat in 1993. The support given by Pope John Paul II and the majority of the Polish bishops to Polish membership in the European Union, before the crucial referendum in 2004, has to be noted here. At least until the death of Pope John Paul II, the Church could be counted as a key pillar of the newly established democratic system. The emergence of Radio Maryja as a powerful voice from within the Church has somewhat changed the picture in latter years, but there is no doubt the Church had assisted the very first fundamental steps of democracy-building and granted it an important source of legitimacy. The Solidarity trade union was another key institution that actively sought to aid and protect the fledgling democracy and the market. Although it lost much of its previous might and parted ways with many of its former leaders, it remained an important player, both through its position as a large trade union and through its symbolic power. It frequently sheltered consecutive governments from waves of discontent in the belief that the market system had no alternative and it had been, after all, Solidarity’s own goal. As a result, radical economic reforms, such as the so-called Balcerowicz plan of 1990, could be implemented without the fear of trade union revolt. Workers’ militancy did not materialize as a threat to the system even when large sections of industry were being privatized or altogether disbanded under changing economic realities. By the late 1980s, Poland had a well developed nucleus of private entrepreneurship. Unlike the other communist countries, it could boast a small but robust private sector even during the communist period. For example,

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The Populist Radical Right in Poland

since the mid-1950s the bulk of the agriculture was in private hands. In the words of Bruce Parrott: ‘not all national societies went through so shattering a totalitarian experience as did the nations of the USSR, and this lent them greater political resilience. Poland, where the Catholic Church retained a substantial measure of autonomy and agriculture, was never fully collectivized, is probably the best example’.6 The last communist government, led by Mieczysław Rakowski, had liberalized the economy and opened new doors for non-state actors even before the 1989 breakthrough: ‘limited experimentation with a Western market economy model preceded the [1989] Balcerowicz plan by a few years’.7 The market orientation was well embedded and had a clear support of the majority in Polish society. Marjorie Castle and Ray Taras ascertain that: For many Polish citizens, Westernization more than anything meant converting the economy from a command model to a free market. Related to this was the conviction by many that only a capitalist system could promote economic development beyond the early stages of industrialization.8 This dominant pro-market attitude also contributed to the stabilization of the system during the difficult economic transition, even if it was later to decrease somewhat, due to a measure of disappointment of individual hopes for prosperity. Poland’s democracy in 1989 was not a result of a bloody revolution but of a negotiated and gradual take over (Andrew A. Michta called it a ‘negotiated revolution’)9. The presidential campaign in the autumn of 1990 constituted a brief upsurge of political populism:10 Lech Wałe˛ sa’s campaign contained elements of anti-intellectualism and even some thinly veiled antisemitism;11 Stan Tymin´ ski, a Polish–Canadian businessman finished a surprising second with 25 per cent of the national vote and his campaign was built exclusively on populist tricks. Within months, however, the populism was muted, as President Wałe˛ sa continued the strategic direction of liberal and pro-Western policy. The former communist party PZPR dissolved itself in January 1990 and its leaders moved on to form new parties with a social democratic orientation, which were fully integrated in the new democratic system. They were in fact among the staunchest supporters of both economic and political reforms. The leading post-communist Social Democrats were the technocratic disciples of the liberal Mieczysław Rakowski, and had little time for authoritarian nostalgia. One of them, Aleksander Kwas´ niewski, succeeded Lech Wałe˛ sa as the country’s president in 1996, and throughout his two terms in office worked hard to keep the country on the democratic and pro-Western track. President Kwas´ niewski sought to bridge the past divisions among political elites and minimize the level of conflict: ‘Kwas´ niewski’s style was consensual, not conflictual, which earned him widespread popularity and reelection in 2000’.12

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The elite consensus limited the scope of contested issues: the general direction of changes was not questioned. Parliamentary democracy, market economy and European integration were accepted as strategic signposts across the political spectrum left, right, and centre. Foreign policy was indeed an important element in the Polish political consensus. There was a wide acceptance of the pro-European direction the country adopted. It applied both to the political class and to the general population. It was felt that Poland’s place was in the family of Western European nations, where it had supposedly rightfully belonged. The Poles identified their heritage as part of Western culture. As Lena Kolarska-Bobin´ ska put it, it has been standard wisdom that ‘For Poland integration with the European Union means more than just adopting a certain direction in foreign policy. It represents a choice of civilization’.13 Notions such as ‘the West’ and ‘Europe’ were generally synonymous with ‘democracy’ and thus the broad support for democratic reforms could be taken for granted. The pro-Western orientation was sealed by the country’s official joining of NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004. The effort was not an easy one but it was possible thanks to the political momentum that was maintained by both centre-right and centre-left governments throughout the period. The pro-European policy was supported by a large majority, both in consecutive parliaments and in the general public. EU membership in particular was not a single event and ‘few anticipated how complicated the process of accession would be and how it was going to involve more than political considerations’.14 In fact the decade preceding the accession saw a process of thorough reform to match the European standards in numerous spheres, profoundly affecting the legal and economic framework. However, the June 2003 referendum confirmed the popular enthusiasm for EU accession with 77.45 per cent of the vote. The Polish people en masse have proved to be one of the most consistently pro-European societies. The introduction of institutionalized European standards applied to the ethnic and national minorities.15 In the 1990s Poland adopted a number of international law provisions to safeguard human rights and minority rights.16 As noted, the minorities in post-war Poland were not numerous and any disputes were bound not to affect political stability. For this reason the affirmative-action-like waiving of the standard 5 per cent threshold for parliamentary representation for electoral committees of national minorities did not influence the political composition of the parliament: the number of MPs elected thanks to this provision peaked at two (ethnic German) representatives out of the total of 460 members of the lower chamber. It was, however, a gesture signalling the inclusion of minorities into institutions of the Polish state. The minorities developed activities aimed at reviving their cultures and traditions, often with significant financial support from the state. The Parliamentary Committee on National and Ethnic Minorities was led by the veteran dissident, KOR and Solidarity leader Jacek Kuron´ , an important ally

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of minorities in their various concerns. Timothy Snyder writes: ‘Although the parliament’s lower house, the Sejm, was slow to produce legislation on minorities, Jacek Kuron´ (then the most popular politician in Poland) acted as informal representative of their interests’.17 The parliament eventually enacted the Law on National and Ethnic Minorities in January 2005. The arrival of democracy was generally speaking not accompanied by an eruption of nationalist revanchism against neighbouring countries, unlike in the cases of countries such as Hungary (with claims on the lost territories of Transylvania and Southern Slovakia) or Romania (with claims on neighbouring Moldova). The Polish political consensus supported the formation of new independent states in Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania and the Polish governments did not seek to politicize the issues of Polish minorities abroad or the painful legacy of ethnic conflict. Contrary to some common regional patterns, the Polish authorities generally refrained from engaging in so-called ‘homeland nationalism’,18 or political manipulation of the ethnic Poles living in neighbouring states. The stability of borders and common interests were prioritized. The generally moderate strategy of Polish foreign policy bore fruit even in the historically charged relations with Russia. The departure of Soviet troops was negotiated and executed peacefully by 1993. The friendly policy towards Poland’s neighbours and towards the country’s own national minorities owed much to the progressive heritage of the democratic opposition and the more forward-looking exile intellectuals. Long before 1989, independent historians began to question the nationalist narrative of Polish history.19 As Snyder writes: ‘the promise of a European future was set against the national conflict of the twentieth century, and “Europe” provided the ideals and the rhetoric that motivated reconciliation between states’.20 This, again, was an element of the broad political consensus which characterized Poland in the 1990s. The above aspects of democratic consensus could be taken for granted in any stable democracy. However, the examples of tragic conflicts in Yugoslavia or, lesser known, Moldova, point to the fact that other, less lucky scenarios of nationally motivated tensions were indeed possible in Eastern Europe in the 1990s, too. The example of authoritarian tendencies that came to dominate political life in Belarus and, for a time, in Slovakia – not to mention the Russian Federation itself – also makes the Polish example shine in comparison. The social capital of popular support for the regime change was relatively high and long-lasting, surviving the first wave of ‘shock therapy’. The support for democracy and economic liberalism in Poland was stronger than in the majority of the other post-communist countries. For example, as late as November 1995, a relatively high percentage of Polish respondents expressed their satisfaction with the development of democracy in their country (50 per cent, compared to Hungary’s 30, Slovakia’s 27 and Russia’s 6). In the same poll, 62 per cent of the Polish respondents expressed their support for the idea of market economy (compared with Hungary’s 38, Slovakia’s 39, and Russia’s 19 per cent).21

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Under the conditions of the democratic consensus, radical political groups did not enjoy any broader legitimacy and they were perceived as a permanently marginal phenomenon. On more than one occasion Poland was proclaimed ‘a country without extremism’, in contrast to other postcommunist polities where national populism became rather strong. Andrew A. Michta ascertained that by 1996 ‘none of the political players has advocated non-democratic programmatic solutions’.22 The democratic system was symbolically consolidated with the adoption of the new Constitution by the National Assembly and approved in a referendum on 25 May 1997. It was carried by 52.71 per cent of the vote with a turnout of less than 43 per cent. The Constitution defines ‘the Polish Nation [as] all citizens of the Republic’, thus symbolically including non-ethnic Poles. It envisages that ‘The Republic of Poland shall be a democratic state ruled by law and implementing the principles of social justice’. The Constitution states, among other things, ‘No one shall be discriminated against in political, social or economic life for any reason whatsoever’. In its Article 13 it also explicitly bans racist organizations.23 The Constitution was the fruit of the joint effort of both Social Democrats, who were then the ruling party, and former members of Solidarity: primarily the post-communist Aleksander Kwas´ niewski and the liberal Catholic Tadeusz Mazowiecki. It was thus a document of a compromise, which brought together both sides of a historical–political division. At the same time, the first cracks on the liberal democratic consensus appeared, accompanying the adoption of the Constitution. The Solidarity trade union, which had been among the founding blocs of Poland’s democracy, allied with the extra-parliamentary right and some parts of the Church, campaigned for a rejection of the document in the referendum. The union’s chairman, Marian Krzaklewski, compared the Constitution to the 1920 Bolshevik invasion against the country. In response to the draft, he called for an enthronization of Christ as King of Poland. The demand was made in all seriousness, and it was in line with the symbolism of an ultraconservative religious tradition that is to be found in some Catholic countries, especially in Latin America. Nevertheless, it earned Krzaklewski quite a lot of ridicule, even from within the church. The anti-constitutional campaign itself, however, was in full swing, drawing heavily from the nationalist populist repertoire. The social democrats and liberals supporting the draft were labelled as traitors in the pay of Moscow. Apart from calling for a more unequivocal recognition of the nation’s Catholic identity, the critics rarely questioned particular points of the document they opposed. They objected mostly to the centre-left and liberal origin of the Constitution’s authors and placed them firmly outside the imagined national community. In fact the exclusionary rhetoric of the failed anti-constitutional campaign resembled the ‘real Poles’ ’ utterances of 1981. Similar discourse was bound to reappear time and again in Polish political life in the years to come.

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The Populist Radical Right in Poland

This leads us to consider some more problematic aspects of the Polish transition. In the 1990s and well into the 2000s a decidedly optimistic picture reigned in political science portrayals of the Polish transition. For example, Andrew A. Michta ascertained: ‘Compared to the majority of postcommunist states, the Polish transition to democracy has been a success’.24 In many ways, indeed, it could be seen as a success and it was often contrasted with other East European post-communist polities. The successes of the transition came at a price, however, and the ‘by-products’ of the transition were often overlooked by protagonists and observers alike. We are going to mention some of those aspects of the transition period which, arguably, prepared the scene for the rise of the populist radical right in the 2000s. It has been argued that during the period of underground activity between 1982 and 1989 the dominant group of Solidarity leaders went through a process of re-examination of their social and economic agenda. The resulting revision of the Solidarity goals led to subsequent accusations of a ‘sell-out’ or ‘treason’ on the part of the movement’s leaders. Other observers pointed to a dissolution of the alliance between workers and intellectuals that had been the initial backbone of the movement in the early 1980s. The intellectuals, it is alleged, went their own way and abandoned working-class interests, which they had pledged to champion. Instead, they embraced the neo-liberal creed of rapid privatization, which hit hard at the urban working class base of the movement. The above interpretation is highly simplistic, to say the least, but it contains a grain of truth as far as the socio-economic roots of the upsurge of rightwing extremism are concerned. It does not explain, however, why the resulting socio-economic frustration turned largely in the direction of nationalist and xenophobic populism, and why it took more than a decade for the populist-nationalist groups to enter the mainstream. We shall return to the vital cultural aspects of the phenomenon soon. Even if the socio-economic circumstances cannot be seen as the only cause for the rise of the populist radical right, they must not be ignored. From 1990 on, the economic reform proceeded rapidly and not without painful shocks. Marjorie Castles and Ray Taras thus note: ‘Admittedly the short impact of shock therapy was high unemployment, double-digit inflation, a decline in industrial production (. . .) and a drop in real income. Thus over the period 1989–1992, the cumulative GDP fell by 17 per cent, cumulative inflation was 175 per cent, and unemployment rose to 13 per cent’.25 The reorientation of economic links meant that numerous Polish companies largely lost their previous access to vast markets in the East, which had been open to them during Soviet times. Russian importers were unwilling or simply unable to buy Polish produce, and agricultural producers especially were hit hard as a result.26 Inflation and rapidly changing currency rates meant that for numerous Poles their savings, either in Polish złotys or in dollars, lost most of their value

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in the early 1990s. Moreover, changing interest rates resulted in many small entrepreneurs, and farmers in particular, being hopelessly caught in a trap of debt. The latter issue was to provide the immediate impulse for the creation of what became Self-Defence, a populist movement that subsequently shook the entire political system. Privatization, initially supported by a broad consensus, rapidly became one of the most contentious reasons for grass-roots discontent. Successive governments insisted on privatizing the previously state-owned industries at market value, both for ideological reasons and because the revenues helped balance the tight state budget. Given the lack of domestic capital and the general poor state of those enterprises, the buyers were frequently foreign and the prices they paid were way below what many would consider the ‘real’ value of the privatized companies. In many cases, the new owners downsized the production, sacked big parts of workforce or stopped activity altogether, selling the equipment and buildings. Accusations of corruption abounded, and often with good reason.27 As the perception of corruption had become widespread by the mid-2000s, it featured prominently in nationalist-populist campaigns. Economic restructuring resulted in large–scale structural unemployment. Numerous former employees of the restructured industries became unemployed for many years. In some areas unemployment was so widespread that it became the norm in whole communities. Social benefits were minimal and the unemployment benefit in particular was withdrawn after a fixed number of months. Large numbers of people seemed simply abandoned in pockets of deep structural poverty. It concerned, among others, former employees of state-owned agricultural enterprises who were laid off in one sweep. They found themselves in particularly hopeless situations, with negligible chances of finding any new source of income or life purpose, their offspring ending up with extremely limited life chances, too. Economic deprivation and a pattern of social exclusion in such areas were commonly augmented with pervasive alcohol abuse.28 Widespread social exclusion was accompanied by the collapse of the vital cultural infrastructure, especially in the countryside: small-town provincial cinemas, libraries and cultural centres were no longer supported and were closed down in large numbers. This single factor alone does not explain the rise of a new culture of violence among Polish youth, but it helps understand the condition of cultural deprivation that prevailed in some social milieus. This wider tendency has parallels in other post-communist countries.29 The economic hardship was initially accepted as an unavoidable cost of the early transition in Poland. As it came to be seen as a permanent condition, popular acceptance of the social costs shrank. Bruce Parrott wrote mid-way through the East European transition: ‘For most voters, political patience has thus far outweighed economic dissatisfaction, but a long term economic downturn and an appearance of unchecked social injustice might alter their outlook’.30 This prediction rang true by the mid-2000s.

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The dramatic impact of economic reforms was often connected with Poland’s rapid integration in a global market. The same was true for the other East–Central European countries whose newly-won independence often proved illusory: ‘the country’s independence has been severely restricted by new factors: a combination of the European Union, the superpower status of the US in world politics, and the forces of the global economy’.31 The Polish capitalist transition coincided with the period of globalized ‘turbo-capitalism’: Poland’s economy faces the same challenge from globalization as that of many other countries today. World trade produces benefits to all participants, but not in equal proportions. Furthermore, those in Poland gaining from the global economy overshadow the many who obtain nothing or even suffer because of loss of employment, reduced benefits from a scaled-down state, or inability to organize their interests effectively.32 Characteristically, the left-wing discourse and movement for an ‘alternative globalization’, popular in the West and beyond,33 has taken little hold in Poland until recently. Opposition to the injustices of global capitalism has been articulated in national rather than global terms. For example, the Polish section of ATTAC, the international alterglobalist movement, used to engage in heavily nationalist rhetoric. The leading ‘anti-globalist’ journal Obywatel (‘The Citizen’) has turned out to be a platform for the extreme right.34 It would be wrong, however, to assume that Poland’s semi-peripheral position in the world economy somehow ‘justifies’ the merger of anti-globalism with radical nationalism. The level of reflection on the structural aspects of economic globalization in the nationalist movement does not go beyond a global conspiracy cliché. The problems that Poland faced throughout the transition were not just economic. The cultural dimension is just as important. As we noted, Poland has enjoyed a longed-for symbolic re-absorption in the West and its resulting cultural modernization. As a matter of fact, it has also experienced a serious cultural crisis. As Christopher Williams writes: The perceived cultural crisis, which frequently finds nationalist expression, is seen either as the product of a transition to a post-industrial society or as the negative outcome of globalization as a whole. Either way, so the radical right would have us believe, outsiders are to blame.35 Western social scientists have often underestimated the extent to which large segments of the post-communist societies have perceived the collapse of the former system as a social and cultural disaster. Due to Poland’s symbolic anchoring in the Western culture, its cultural dislocation may be less pervasive than in some other Eastern European countries. Nevertheless, it has been a discernable social factor with political repercussions, too. Elemer

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Hankiss’s insight into the dynamics of the post-communist cultural transition can be useful here: When a given world and social structure collapse, a substantial proportion, if not the majority, of the population will suffer from an unsettling of, if not an insult to, their sense of identity. Changes of social setting, disruption of networks, crises of confidence, loss of work, the devaluation of skills, the necessity to relocate – all these things can weaken and destroy people’s sense of themselves, their self-identity.36 Polish democracy was a result of an elite ‘round table’ agreement between the reform communist establishment and an elite group within Solidarity led by Lech Wałe˛ sa and his advisers, mostly from the former KOR circle. The process was to be carefully managed and outbursts of popular anger were to be contained. Instead of grass-roots participation, parliamentary democracy run by professional politicians was the fashion. The ideal of participatory democracy was delegitimized. Grass-roots civil society as an ideal was neglected and the formal institutional framework was mistaken for a living democratic culture. The discrepancy between the democratic legal framework and everyday social practices was pronounced across Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). As Cas Mudde wrote, commenting on the issue of racist extremism in the region, ‘at least on paper CEE countries are quite well protected against racist extremism. (. . .) However, as most authors note, despite the well-established legal frameworks, there are important shortcomings in the implementations’.37 The gradual character of the Polish political reforms meant there was no clear rupture with the previous system. Although Tadeusz Mazowiecki came to lead the government as a non-communist Prime Minister in September 1989, the cabinet still included communist ministers in some key posts such as Defence or Home Affairs. General Jaruzelski was President until December 1990 and the first freely elected parliament assembled only in November 1991. The incorporation of former communists in the democratic system was one of its achievements but it was at the root of some serious problems, too. First, the presence of former communists in high positions in politics and business delegitimized the Third Republic in the eyes of some Solidarity supporters who expected a different outcome. Instead of becoming active citizens, they became alienated outsiders prone to extreme-right propaganda. Secondly, on a more general level, the incorporation of the former communists weakened the moral fundament of democracy in Poland. Ironically, it eventually helped populist and extreme-right groups in the 2000s: once they won some minimal electoral support and representation, they too were allowed to participate in political dealings on local and national level without risking ostracism from the other parties, in the name of an all-encompassing inclusion, irrespective of the abhorrent traditions and values they represented.

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The liberal-democratic consensus that dominated Polish politics in the 1990s led to a serious limitation of ‘issue politics’. Since all the major actors generally agreed on the market reforms and pro-Western foreign policy, their differences were played out in the symbolic field, reinforcing the oversymbolization and overculturation of political life. Although it may seem to be contradicting the previous paragraph, it was no contradiction but a result of a peculiar political culture where pragmatic policy making on hard issues was, on another level, accompanied by personal animosities and identity politics, invoking national, religious and European symbols for public consumption. In particular, the dominant discourse provided little discursive opportunity for the expression of socio-economic grievances. Large social groups gradually lost trust in the system, which manifested itself, among others, in low levels of civic participation and voter absenteeism in particular. In what became a standard pattern, frequently the majority of the eligible voters did not cast the vote. For example, the 2004 historic election to the European Parliament, the first in Polish history, attracted just a 20 per cent turn out. The important national parliamentary election in 2005 had a 40 per cent voter turn out. Dariusz Gawin described Polish society in the early 2000s as ‘close to the situation of anomie’.38 According to empirical studies, Poland was rated as a society with exceptionally low levels of social trust.39 It has been argued that ‘After political and economic transformation, the Poles need more trust in order to adjust to the new institutions, but form· akowski wrote: ing the required levels of trust is nowhere in sight’.40 Jacek Z ‘We need a democratic education, that means to create a culture of trust and the ability of collective action’.41 Indeed, social trust rarely extends beyond the tight family unit. For this reason, Polish society has been described as the society in which ‘family egoism’ reigns.42 Let us note here that the choice of the name for the principal extreme-right party in the 2000s, the League of Polish Families, was a very clever move, appealing to many voters for whom the Polish family was the symbol of security in a hostile world. According to Parrott, ‘A civic political culture embodies high levels of interpersonal trust, a readiness to deal with political conflict through compromise rather than coercion or violence, and acceptance of the legitimacy of democratic institutions’.43 It seems that a large part of the Polish civic culture, conceived in such terms, evaporated in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The democratic culture proved largely superficial and the quality of Polish democracy suffered. The social capital of the democratic system was wasted, and trust in political institutions has decreased steadily since 1997. For some time the process was accompanied by a belief that democracy is, after all, a good idea; until, in late 2005, only 45 per cent of Polish society thought democracy was the best form of government, and 40 per cent preferred a strongman to be in charge.44 Importantly, Polish youth, coming of age during the postcommunist period, did not necessarily seem attached to the democratic ideal.

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Its attitudes varied mostly from an indifference to an outright hostility to democracy. Those rather shocking results demonstrate that already by 1995 ‘there was a clear generational cleavage in Poland on the issue of democracy versus authoritarianism’.45 Contrary to what might be expected, it was the young (and, perhaps less surprisingly, the retirees) who displayed anti-democratic attitudes on a mass scale. Democratic education, with its most important component, the experience of living in a democratic society, failed. As we will see later, extreme-right political organizations in the 1990s, weak and fragmented as they then were, had been similarly composed of a few elderly activists and a mass of very young members, many of whom subsequently went on to influence more mainstream politics. The 1990s anti-democratic youth culture, as exemplified in an extreme form by the burgeoning skinhead movement, brought concrete political outcomes in the 2000s. We will return to this key cultural aspect of the rise of the populist radical right in our next chapter. The transition is commonly thought of as a process that began in 1989 and quite possibly ended with Poland’s entry in the European Union in 2004. This approach tacitly accepts that the transition is a more or less linear process, going progressively through some stages, from point A (communism) to point B (market democracy). It goes without saying that the reality is much more complex. While progress is made on some issues, there is regression on others. If we understand democracy as a living ideal that organizes collective hopes and aspirations through the intensity of participation rather than through a formal set of institutions, then Polish society may have been more democratic at the beginning of the transition than by its end in the mid2000s when cynicism, or – in the words of Przemysław Wielgosz, ‘political nihilism’46 – reigned. A leading charge against the Polish democratic system has been its lack of responsiveness to real social problems.47 It is quite possible to argue that the main political debates in Poland in the 1990s and beyond did not reflect some of the serious and genuine issues the country faced. Since the early 1990s, consecutive election results suggested the majority of the voters favoured a more ‘solidary’ economic policy over strict monetarism. Such sentiments, however, while vaguely encouraged in the course of electoral campaigns, were routinely ignored by the political establishment when it came to policy making. Importantly, socio-economic issues were accorded little prominence by two actors who could have been expected to act upon them: the political left and the trade unions. As we noted, the former communists wholeheartedly embraced the liberal creed: it was the Social Democratic Prime Minister Leszek Miller who proposed the introduction of a flat tax rate instead of progressive taxation in an effort to boost economic growth, a corollary of right-wing economic thinking. It was Leszek Miller’s government who sent Polish troops to support the controversial US intervention in Iraq with the blessing of post-communist President Aleksander Kwas´ niewski.

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Several attempts at creating alternative groupings on the left brought little result and the hegemony of neo-liberalism remained virtually unthreatened on the left flank. Left-wing analyses of Poland’s transition were rare and the political left was generally helpless in its lack of an original discourse. Even more importantly, the orthodox left discourse found next to zero resonance in broader society. To be sure, the weakness of the radical left and the hegemony of neo-liberal discourse were global patterns in the 1990s, far from an exclusively Polish phenomenon. In Poland, however, the crisis of the left seemed even more acute than anywhere else. The very real social and economic grievances, which resulted from the transition, as described above, were rarely framed in left-wing or class terms and they did not lead to left-wing political action. In contrast, the nationalist populist discourse was readily at hand. Writing in the late 1990s, David Ost tentatively proposed the following hypothesis, which at the time did not seem likely even to himself: ‘Perhaps, if the former communists in power discredit the left in the mid-1990s the way former Solidarity leaders discredited liberalism in the early 1990s, we might see the emergence of a strong national populist movement’48. In some ways, it is precisely what happened in the following years. In 2008, Naomi Klein was led to conclude (arguably, under the influence of David Osts’s subsequent book The Defeat of Solidarity): ‘If the left did not seek the votes of the socially excluded in Poland, the extreme right did it’.49 Social discontent came to be expressed routinely through a nationalist repertoire of contention. One is entitled to pose the question why the above mentioned injustices and frustrations have not led to a resurgence of the Polish radical left. As the leading East European political scientist Ivan Krastev asked, writing about Polish and Slovak politics of the mid-2000s: ‘The reasons why pro-European liberal reformists lost the election are not hard to pinpoint: they are above all high unemployment and rising social inequality. It is more difficult to explain why populists and semi-fascists were the sole available alternative’50. We may agree with David Ost, who writes that historically, ‘Hatreds were a way to explain economic problems’.51 Equally important, however, has been the existence and development of a culture which channelled the social anger towards nationalist populist discourses. Roger Eatwell wrote on the issue of the extreme right as an expression of social protest in Europe: In most countries, there is a choice of “protest” parties, but it is the extreme right which recently has made the main electoral progress (. . .). Alternative extreme left and green parties (. . .) have in some cases even lost votes (. . .). People tend to vote for parties with which they have some form of ideological affinity (emphasis added – R.P.).52 Poland saw numerous social protest actions in the 1990s. Grzegorz Ekiert and Jan Kubik demonstrate that the protests by themselves were not

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necessarily ‘extremist’, and by and large they were not directed against the democratic system as such.53 However, for the most part the individual protests, and their specific reasons, were not articulated into a coherent narrative explaining what was wrong with society at large at a given historical junction. They did not crystallize into a broader movement and they did not seem to have much influence on the general direction in which the country was going. Each protest and each grievance was bound to remain isolated until a broader cognitive framework could be established that provided a semblance of a broader discursive coherence. In the absence of a broadly accepted systemic critique of neoliberalism, the familiar nationalist narrative came to establish itself as the only credible option for many participants of the protest movements. As we saw earlier, all kinds of expressions of social protest had been routinely accompanied by national symbolism since the emergence of Solidarity in 1980. In the course of the 1990s, however, they frequently took on a decidedly nationalist populist outlook, with extreme-right rhetoric becoming part and parcel of those expressions. This important cultural turn took place, even though the organized extreme-right still remained politically fragmented and marginalized. More than a trade union, Solidarity remained an ideologically ambiguous social movement, conceiving of itself as an expression of national goals. The centre of gravity within the organization moved strongly to the right as the most part of its liberal and left-leaning elements left or were purged in the 1990s, until the union could be described as a virtual ‘bastion of political illiberalism’.54 It was the involvement of Solidarity’s leaders, and especially Marian Krzaklewski, which resulted in the creation of a broad right-wing coalition (including the extreme-right National Right group, Prawica Narodowa, PN): Electoral Action Solidarity (Akcja Wyborcza Solidarnos´ c´, AWS) which dislodged the post-communists from power in 1997, to be defeated by the returning SLD in 2001. According to Ost’s main argument, Solidarity activists proved unable to grasp the systemic inequality as a feature of the capitalist economy. Instead, they carried on and radicalized their identity struggle against imagined ‘external’ enemies of the nation. Social and economic issues remained grossly neglected. Lech Wałe˛ sa, Solidarity’s founder who went on to become the country’s democratically elected president in 1990, was heckled at the trade union’s congress in 1992. Wałe˛ sa presided over neo-liberal economic policy that caused social hardship, but the union delegates did not attack him on the social economic questions. They charged the president with being ‘a simple communist agent’, and positioned themselves as defenders of the national Catholic community.55 Ost describes the dynamic according to which the nationalist populists, who had been marginal in 1989, filled the discursive vacuum and took over the role of critics of the new system, hijacking the ‘anger’ resulting from

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structural capitalist injustice. The workers followed the right-wing turn because liberals (the former Solidarity left) did not offer an alternative interpretation of their class experience. The antiliberal culture that came to dominate Polish politics resulted from expressing class conflict through identity politics. The other side of the social conflict was routinely portrayed not as an opponent but as an alien. Ost eventually admits that structural aspects played a big role, but what ultimately decided the question was the role of ideas.56 The question of autonomous agency as a basis for political action emerges here. After all, activists act the way they do, in an open democratic society, because they want to, and not just because they are manipulated by a mysterious constellation of ‘objective’ circumstances. They act out the values that they consider true, and they too depend on positive responses from their constituency. An extreme example of Solidarity’s turn to national populist discourse in the 1990s was the rise of Zygmunt Wrzodak, the union leader at the Warsaw–Ursus tractor factory, who used particularly inflammatory rhetoric portraying ‘liberals, foreigners, and Jews’ as being ‘the root of all evil’.57 Wrzodak emphasized the national element in the Solidarity discourse over all else. For example, he addressed the Ursus workers in typical fashion: It is thanks to you, the Catholic workers of Ursus factory, thanks to your faith, strength and perseverance that the Polish tractor is produced in Poland, which works the Polish fields so that Polish bread could appear on our tables in Polish homes.58 Since 1994 Wrzodak had a regular column in the national Solidarity weekly and in 1995 he organized large-scale antigovernment riots in the streets of Warsaw with the help of the Solidarity apparatus. They were accompanied by antisemitic chants. Echoing the ‘real Poles’ of 1981, Wrzodak famously accused Jewish KOR activists, who had assisted Ursus workers repressed after their 1976 strike, as ‘Polish-hating pink hyenas’ in his speech on the 20th anniversary of the events.59 Again, like Jurczyk before him, Wrzodak was hardly censored for his unabashed antisemitism and even became a leader of national significance. It is the organized political populist radical right to which we will turn attention now.

The weakness of the populist radical right before 2001 The Polish populist radical right remained almost completely insignificant politically until 2001. By that time, however, it developed sizeable cultural bases, pockets of social legitimacy on which political organizations could build. These cultural resources proved highly useful in allowing the populist

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radical right to enter the political mainstream in 2001 and even more profoundly in 2005. As discussed in the opening chapter, the application of labels such as ‘extreme-right’ is almost always contestable. This is the case with ‘populism’ and ‘nationalism’, too, even more so. In post-communist Poland, the political terminology has been particularly unclear, not only because of the chaotic and unstable reconstitution of the political scene following the collapse of the former regime, or the continuous re-creation of the fluid party system, but also because of the lack of a clear demarcation in the political spectrum that divided the mainstream from the extreme, and, especially, the ‘democratic’ right from the ‘extreme’ right. Arguably, this blurring of distinctions, instead of withering with the passage of time, became more pronounced towards the end of the 1990s. Before we proceed to describe the growth of the populist radical right, and its relative political weakness in the 1990s, let us first mention two parties that we do not consider extreme right, even if some researchers initially included them in this category: the National Christian Union (Zjednoczenie Chrzes´ cijan´ sko-Narodowe, ZChN) and the Confederation of Independent Poland (Konfederacja Polski Niepodległej, KPN). Both of them are now defunct, but they used to play a big role in Polish parliamentary politics, especially in the early to mid-1990s. The ZChN was founded by former Solidarity activists and Catholic intellectuals in 1989. It received 8.74 per cent of the vote in the 1991 parliamentary election and 6.37 per cent in 1993, but its political significance was bigger than the numbers would suggest. Professor Wiesław Chrzanowski was the party’s chairman and ‘with a reputation among the political class as a decent and fair individual who happens to have right wing views, he was acceptable enough to liberals’,60 to become the Speaker of Parliament. Due to its political pragmatism, the ZChN was able to enter coalitions with various other parties and its leaders held posts in the majority of frequently changing cabinets from 1990 till 2001 (with a sole break from late 1993 till 1997). The Church hierarchy largely sympathized with the party and occasionally expressed their support quite openly. Therefore, the ZChN was often perceived as the voice of the Catholic Church in Polish politics, especially on issues of ‘public morality’: the ZChN pushed the issue of ‘Christian values’ to be embedded in the legal framework. The ideology of the ZChN could be described as conservative rather than extreme right. To be sure, it drew from the nationalist endek legacy, supplemented by a strong Christian Democrat influence. Several of the ZChN main leaders had been RMP activists. Wiesław Chrzanowski, the elderly and widely respected party chairman, a political prisoner of the Stalinist period, had been a member of the endek youth groups in the 1940s, but he also devoted a large part of his life to revising the old National Democrat ideology. In the 1990s, it included strengthening the Christian programmatic elements at the cost of nationalist ones, denouncing antisemitism, accepting

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democratic rules, market economy and European integration. In the words of Paul Hockenos, ‘it is the Christian element that receives the greatest emphasis, and nationalism second’.61 The ZChN’s zealousness in promoting Christian values stood in contrast with the liberal zeitgeist of the West. As Hockenos wrote, ‘Although it describes itself a Christian democratic party, the CNU’s [ZChN’s] ideology is at odds with the basic assumptions of even the most conservative Christian democratic parties in Western Europe’.62 The ZChN acquired an almost roundly negative image in Polish pop culture and it engaged in additionally self-damaging and ultimately fruitless court cases against several famous rock stars, most notably Paweł Kukiz and Kazik Staszewski. Nevertheless, the party, generally speaking, did not reject the main tenets of the Polish democratic consensus. In fact, with hindsight it may be perceived as one of those forces that effectively shaped the Polish transition. After the ZChN’s absorption in the Electoral Action Solidarity (Akcja Wyborcza Solidarnos´ c´,) (AWS), and its subsequent demise in the early 2000s, some of its former activists joined the League of Polish Families, which – despite outward similarities – represented an altogether different type of merger of national and religious values: the anti-European and antisemitic integral nationalism of the Giertych variety and the radical Catholic populism of Radio Maryja. While some ex-ZChN members found their way to the LPR, many others joined the Law and Justice party, and still some other leading ex-members, such as Stefan Niesiołowski, joined the ranks of the liberal-conservative Civic Platform. The Confederation of an Independent Poland (Konfederacja Polski Niepodległej, KPN) was an anticommunist political party, formed already in 1979, ostensibly modelling itself on the Pilsudskite tradition, with its authoritarian and militaristic sentiments. It was the biggest force on the more radical wing of the Polish democratic opposition in the 1980s, which earned its leaders lengthy prison sentences. It criticized the negotiated character of the Polish transition and, in particular, the monetarist economic policies that followed it. With 7.50 per cent of the vote in 1991 and 5.77 per cent in 1993, the party did not join successive governments, but it was an important political actor in the parliament. Its outbursts of populist rhetoric were somewhat tempered by the pragmatism displayed by its leaders Leszek Moczulski and Krzysztof Król. In contrast to the ZChN, the KPN was often critical of the influence the Catholic Church had in politics. In line with the Pilsudskite heritage, the KPN avoided the self-description as ‘right-wing’ or ‘nationalist’ and it expressed respect for the historical PPS, even entering in a short-lived coalition with Jan Józef Lipski’s Socialists in 1989. It also stressed the nonethnic basis of its patriotism, espousing strong nostalgia for the historic Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Timothy Snyder called the KPN ‘radical secular Polish patriots’ and praised its forward-looking position on the need for reconciliation with the country’s neighbours. Hockenos tended to classify the KPN as a ‘bad’ party, but he too wrote

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that it ‘steers clear of excessive nationalism and anti-Semitism, (. . .) doesn’t fit the category of most typically chauvinistic East European nationalist parties’.63 Back in 1988 the KPN was the prime organizer of the important unofficial commemoration of the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and condemned antisemitism on numerous occasions.64 On a lighter note, the KPN deputy leader Krzysztof Król ceremonially handed an honorary party card to the African migrant (Joel Pedro Muianga from Mozambique) who complained of discrimination in a cabaret song by the rock band Big Cyc. Again, the KPN representative stressed the inclusive basis for his party’s ideology, stemming from the Piłsudski tradition.65 By the late 1990s, however, the KPN too made concessions to ethnonationalism, which was slowly gaining ground on the right end of the Polish political spectrum: it staged a spectacular, if farcical, reconciliation with representatives of the endek tradition on the Poniatowski bridge in Warsaw, the scene of the symbolic beginning of Piłsudski’s 1926 coup against the endekdominated government. Subsequently, the KPN was joined by a small ultranationalist National Right group (Prawica Narodowa, PN).66 Through the PN, it established links with Jean Marie Le Pen’s Front National in France and Istvan Csurka’s Hungarian Truth and Life Party (MIEP). This move amounted to a dramatic change in the long-established ideology of the party and even met with some internal opposition. Soon later the KPN joined the AWS and subsequently disappeared from the political landscape amid internal strife. Its demise spelt the end of the political continuity of the Pilsudskite movement.67 Former members of the KPN have dispersed across the political spectrum: from the League of Polish Families, to Law and Justice and the Civic Platform, to the far-left Polish Labour Party (Polska Partia Pracy, PPP). In 2003 Leszek Moczulski briefly returned to the political limelight, campaigning for a ‘yes’ vote in the EU membership referendum, touring Poland in a tandem with none other than Aleksander Kwas´ niewski. The gesture was in line with earlier federalist convictions of the KPN founder, but it symbolized a far-reaching reappraisal of the KPN’s previous radical anti-communism. It took place under much changed political circumstances when a new nationalist populist wave was already in the wings. It was time for ‘real’ national populists and a ‘real’ extreme right. Let us, then, turn our attention to the ‘real’ populist radical right now. Rather than a time for revival,68 1989 brought the emerging nationalist groups an additional breathing space and they mushroomed quickly. The laissezfaire attitude of both the state and public opinion gave everybody a chance to express their views and organize at the time of a social turmoil. The groups that appeared in the late 1980s and early 1990s are too many to list in an exhaustive enumeration. A list of some of the most notable examples is presented in appendix A. The nationalist groups in particular were prone to splits and internal conflicts.69 Most of the groups (in appendix A) were ephemeral, and they

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disappeared without a trace. Many others continued and they regularly staged ‘unity’ congresses, which instead of unification eventually led to ever more conflicts and splits. Nevertheless, all the fragmented nationalist groups combined involved a relatively large number of hyperactive members. They also published a wide array of mostly low-circulation publications. They served to express their ideology, educate members and, typically, to vent venom on rival groups on the far right. For example, the editors of a magazine published by the National Party, Royal Sword (Stronnictwo Narodowe ‘Szczerbiec’, SN’S’) constantly emphasized that ‘their party was more right-wing, Catholic, and anti-system than the rival [nationalist] parties’.70 Thus, ‘The SN “Fatherland” was considered as a group composed of crypto-communists, the PWN-PSN as a group of neopagans, and the PFN as a group of atheists’.71 This early culture of the Polish populist radical right in the 1990s displayed some striking similarities to the German Völkisch movement of the 1920s, with its discussion clubs, publishing houses, and an array of numerous political organizations. They hardly had a unified leadership and they spent much of their energy on internal conflicts. They shared a general, and admittedly quite vague, vision of a national revival leading to a society purged of alien, and especially Jewish, influence. They also shared a hostility to both communist doctrine and liberal capitalism, which in their eyes had been equally inspired by Jews and secret societies such as the Freemasonry. Finally, they had in common a specific ‘system of values, in which the nation constitutes a central political category, is an eternal and unchanging unit of being and the optimal environment for human life, which causes the individual to have particular obligations to the national community’.72 Importantly, they were also united by a violent rejection of the democratic order and democratic values. As we noted, the year 1989 was not exactly the beginning of the contemporary populist radical right in Poland and certainly did not bring its desired success either. The populist radical right became marginalized politically, although not culturally. The initial strength of the Polish democratic consensus and the fragmentation of the populist radical right movement resulted in repeated electoral failures. None of the above mentioned parties achieved any parliamentary representation even despite favourable provisions of the proportional representation system, which until 1993 offered unequalled generous opportunities for small parties.73 In the official Polish response to a 1999 report by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, the Polish government stated: ‘Since the first free elections in 1989 no political party invoking xenophobic and anti-Semitic rhetoric ever gained public support in excess of 0.1%’.74 The claim was factually incorrect in terms of figures, but it was right to stress the minimal electoral impact of the extreme nationalist parties. For example, the notorious PWN-PSN received just 0.05 per cent of the national vote in the 1991 parliamentary elections, and 0.11 per cent in 1993.

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In 1997 its vote fell again to 0.07 per cent (and to 0.02 per cent in 2001. The National Party (Stronnictwo Narodowe, SN) led by Professor Maciej Giertych, polled 0.9 per cent in 1991 and it had to fight off a legal investigation for its use of antisemitism in its campaign on TV. The SN’s subsequent participation in various electoral blocs in 1993 and 1997 did not improve its standing until it joined the newly formed League of Polish Families (LPR). Although its leader Jan Zamoyski won a seat in the Senate, the NationalDemocratic Party (Stronnictwo Narodowo-Demokratyczne, SND) managed to register slates in two electoral districts only and got a mere 0.02 per cent in the 1991 election for the parliament’s lower chamber. It never tried to participate in elections on its own again. Finally, Bogusław Rybicki’s National Party ‘Fatherland’ (Stronnictwo Narodowe ‘Ojczyzna’, SN’O’) received a similarly disappointing 0.12 per cent of the vote in 1993. Nationalist candidates did not fare better in presidential elections. Most of the time, they did not manage to collect the 100,000 signatures necessary to register a candidate. That was repeatedly the fate of Bolesław Tejkowski, Maciej Giertych and Bogusław Rybicki. Leszek Bubel, a political maverick, tried to mobilize the antisemitic vote in 1995 and won a miserable 0.04 per cent of the vote. Several endek candidates obtained registration in 2000, but the fragmentation of their vote again brought poor results. For example, Jan Łopuszan´ ski, an MP formerly associated with the ZChN and the AWS, leader of the Polish Alliance (Porozumienie Polskie, PP), received 0.79 per cent, while General Tadeusz Wilecki, a former chief of the General Staff, promoted by the SN, got a mere 0.16 per cent of the national vote. Apart from the 1990 successes of Stanisław Tymin´ ski (23.10 per cent and 25.75 per cent in the first and second round of the presidential election, respectively), the non-endek populists did not enjoy electoral successes in the 1990s either. The agrarian Self-Defence, led by Andrzej Lepper, registered candidates in one district in 1991 and got just 0.03 of the national vote. In 1993 it did better with 2.74 per cent, but still short of 5 per cent needed for winning seats under the new legislation. In 1997, the Self-Defence vote fell to 0.08 per cent nationally. As a presidential candidate, Andrzej Lepper received 1.32 per cent in 1995. In 2000 his result was better, 3.05 per cent, but still confined Self-Defence to a politically marginal role. Self-Defence was not part of the endek movement, although it cooperated with it frequently. To be sure, throughout the 1990s there were other, more mainstream parties that galvanized the nationalist and populist protest vote, not least the already discussed ZChN and KPN or former Prime Minister Jan Olszewski’s Movement for the Reconstruction of Poland (Ruch Odbudowy Polski, ROP). There is no doubt, however, that the Polish populist radical right remained quite weak as an independent political movement until 2001. The episode of the National-Democratic Party (Stronnictwo-Narodowo Demokratyczne, SND) can be interesting as an illustration of the limited chances for a post-endek party trying to revive the movement through a revision of the endek doctrine in the 1990s. The SND, founded in Warsaw in 1992,

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was strongly inspired by the National Party (Stronnictwo Narodowe, SN) in exile. The SN, with its headquarters in London, was the direct heir to the pre-war National Democratic movement. However, after several decades of functioning in a Western European democratic environment, it had transformed itself into a conservative party, a far cry from the quasi-fascist ideology of the 1930s endeks. In their opposition to the communist dictatorship in Poland, the émigré endeks embraced the liberal doctrine of human rights and tried to distance themselves from the overtly anti-democratic elements of their tradition. Je˛ drzej Giertych, a hardline representative of the antisemitic extreme-right, was expelled from the SN in 1961. The SND, led by the elderly aristocrat Jan Zamoyski, sought to become a moderate right-wing party, too. Among others, it condemned ‘negative anti-Western elements’ and vowed not to ‘dwell on the Jewish and the Freemasonic issue’, in contrast to the other, unreformed endek groups.75 Significantly, the SND listed names of historical National Democratic organizations as its predecessors but it omitted the 1926–1933 Greater Poland Camp (Obóz Wielkiej Polski, OWP), which had been tainted with the fascist influence.76 The SN in exile eventually dissolved itself and transferred its considerable assets to the SND, most importantly the weekly Mys´ l Polska, together with its publishing fund. It seems, however, the reformed endek emigrants could not find exactly like-minded partners back in the home country. Mys´ l Polska and the SND as such came to be dominated by recent ‘Pax’ members (communist collaborators) such as Bogusław Kowalski and Jan Engelgard, rather than principled conservatives, who proved difficult to come by. Positive references to the nationalist and authoritarian aspects of the communist period in the style of Je˛ drzej Giertych, became the hallmark of the paper. Over the years, the SND gravitated towards the other endek groups and away from the post-endek revisionism. By the late 1990s, Mys´ l Polska regularly promoted racist skinhead music and in the 2000s it republished whole pages of the 1930s National-Radical weekly Prosto z Mostu. In 1999 the SND united with the orthodox extreme right National Party led by Maciej Giertych, and Mys´ l Polska continued as an important publication of the antisemitic far right. The attempt to construct a liberal national democratic movement failed. In an ironic way, the material possibility to publish Mys´ l Polska as a weekly may have contributed to the failure. Being obliged to publish a weekly paper, the editors found it difficult to fill the pages with innovative contents. Instead, they increasingly fell back on the old clichés and prejudices embedded in the received endek culture. The effort to construct a modernized version of the National Democrat movement was doomed.

The main players on the populist radical right in the 1990s Numerous statements of the populist radical right in the 1990s noted the serious socio-economic problems such as growing unemployment. The illdefined and vague economic measures they proposed did not differ radically

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from the demands put forward but many other political groups at the time and they usually amounted to little more than moderate state interventionism in a Keynesian style. What they stressed, however, was an obsession with much desired economic autarchy. Sometimes, the autarchic thinking entered the realm of pure fantasy. Thus, the PWN-PSN claimed: Poland is the richest Country [sic] in Europe after Russia, has one of the world’s largest reserves of oil, gas, coal, iron, timber, silver, uranium, sulphur, construction materials. Our agriculture can feed 100 million people. Our industry is diverse, large and in some fields leading in the world, including the armament industry, together with the diligence, bravery and invention capabilities of the Poles they guarantee our security and our rapid, great development. If we are increasingly worse off despite such richness, it means the authorities are purposefully destroying Poland and selling her to aliens.77 It was clearly not the economic policy that defined the political identity of the nationalist groups: Maciej Giertych’s SN could, for example, denounce liberal capitalism calling for ‘a middle way between socialism and capitalism and for the introduction of principles of a national economics, where labour has a higher position than capital’78 and soon after enter into an electoral coalition with the radically pro-market Union of Real Politics (Unia Polityki Realnej, UPR) in 1993. A similar manoeuvre was to be repeated in 2007: within one month the Giertychs’ LPR easily switched from an electoral bloc with the avowedly interventionist Self-Defence to the same marketlibertarian UPR. The endek nationalists hardly advocated structural reforms, but tended to focus on the nationality, or in fact: ethnicity, of members of the capitalist class. They were often at pains to emphasize that they did not question the capitalist relations of economic exchange but demanded to replace the foreign and minority owners with ethnic Polish home-grown capitalists. For instance, the 1995 presidential platform of Bogusław Rybicki (SN’O’) demanded that ‘reprivatization [must apply] exclusively to persons of Polish ethnic background’.79 The demand was clearly en element of a broader agenda of cultural purification and rejuvenation. Poland’s economic problems would allegedly be solved simply by a replacement of the ruling elites by the endek nationalists. A 1994 statement by Jan Trochimiuk’s OWP was characteristic of this kind of reasoning: The power at all levels in Poland must incorporate Poles-patriotsnationalists, and thus we will eliminate unemployment, regain national and state sovereignty, put the economy on its feet, we will create a stable State, truly democratic (without censorship), a State where the Pole will not be persecuted for his pro-Polish patriotism-nationalism, a State without the anti-Polish racism – the State of the Polish Nation, which then will be surely helped by God.80

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The Populist Radical Right in Poland

The consolidation of the democratic system in Poland meant the populist radical right was often expected to remain a permanently marginal political force. This optimistic assumption was disputed by a handful of observers, who pointed to the creeping penetration of extreme right ideas and activists in the political mainstream and to the unchallenged growth of extreme right organizations, especially among the youth. Indeed, by 2001 the picture changed radically and the populist radical right emerged as a leading political force on the parliamentary level. Let us look at some of the key players on the populist radical right and extreme right in the 1990s and the steadily gathered resources of cultural mobilization, which eventually catapulted the organized populist radical right from the margin to the electoral mainstream. It was the PWN-PSN that was at the forefront of the movement in the early 1990s. Led by Bolesław Tejkowski, the party attracted media attention far larger than all the other groups combined and Tejkowski became a household name as Poland’s most extreme and most obsessive antisemite. Ironically, Tejkowski had started his political career as a radical Marxist, and one of the leaders of the 1956 reform movement. As a member of the executive committee of the communist party (PZPR) in Krakow, he ran for parliament in 1957, without success. Later, he moved to Warsaw where he became an assistant to the renowned leftist sociologist Professor Zygmunt Bauman. At the time he was associated with the Marxist dissident group of Jacek Kuron´ and Karol Modzelewski. By the late 1960s, however, he became a supporter of the national-communist ‘partisans’ and reinvented himself as a nationalist leader. In 1968 he was a witness for the prosecution in political trials of his former friends. In the 1970s Tejkowski immersed himself in a semi-underground pagan cult while working for a government-sponsored atheist organization, the Association for the Promotion of Secular Culture (Towarzystwo Krzewienia Kultury S´ wieckiej, TKKS´ ). In the late 1980s and early 1990s he tactically played down the Zadruga inspiration and presented himself as an orthodox endek. In numerous statements he threw around wild accusations of a Jewish conspiracy against Poland, involving communists, Solidarity leaders, and – most curiously – Catholic Church leaders, including John Paul II. Michael Shafir recalls that ‘For Tejkowski, every single Polish premier, cabinet minister, scientist and artist were Jewish and serving Jewish interests’.81 The venomous antisemitism of the PWN-PSN attracted some following, especially among the skinhead youth. Numerous violent demonstrations staged by the PWN-PSN made sure the party was a focus of media attention. The most publicized example was the riotous march on the Polish–German border in Zgorzelec on 15 February 1992, when about 400 PWN-PSN skinheads burned Israeli and German flags and physically attacked German tourists, to be finally reined in by the riot police and antiterrorist units. On 4 July 1991 Poland’s largest newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza, gave Tejkowski an unprecedented platform to spread his views in a two-page interview.82 This move by the liberal newspaper was probably well intended as a way to

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highlight the existence of antisemitism in Poland, but it largely backfired and resulted mostly in raising Tejkowski’s personal profile on the extreme right.83 It is not easy to determine why Bolesław Tejkowski attracted so much media attention – was the cause his charisma, or was it more a case of mainstream media agenda setting? It seems that his unrivalled cartoonish antisemitic extremism made good copy. Secondly, his name, and his strange political path, was simply known to liberal media representatives due to his past as an oppositionist. Other extreme right leaders in the early 1990s did not have that advantage. Nevertheless, as Tejkowski let down his guard more than once and his anti-Christian antics became increasingly well known, his star slowly faded. His anti-Pope utterances and alleged participation in neo-pagan rituals did not serve to strengthen his political credibility on the Polish far right. Ultimately, Tejkowski’s maverick image led to his party being abandoned by numerous supporters. In addition, on 25 October 1994, after a lengthy procedure, Tejkowski was finally convicted for incitement. He was given a one-year prison sentence suspended for two years. His profile was undermined perhaps less by the court conviction itself than by the highly publicized issue of the obligatory psychiatric examination ordered by the court. The weakened party tried to revive its fortunes by staging a provocative march with antisemitic slogans through the site of the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz on 6 April 1996; an action which, predictably, met with considerable national and international outrage, both for the cheek of the organizers and for the apparent benevolence of the regional Social Democratic authorities.84 It was revealed that the PWN-PSN, after being initially refused permission, threatened to confront participants of the March of the Living taking place later that month, an annual commemorative event in which young Israelis and visitors from all over the world visit Auschwitz. In the end permission was granted, to the dismay of international public opinion. The controversy did little to restore Tejkowski’s standing on the right. In subsequent years he continued to lead the much-reduced PWN-PSN, moving the bulk of his attention to the international level. He has been a leader of the international quasi-fascist pan-Slavonic movement, and a deputy chairman of the international Slavonic Council (Sobór Słowian´ ski, SS), dominated by Russian extremist groups. The party, with few supporters left at its home base, was believed to receive material support from its foreign allies. In the early 2000s the PWN-PSN became involved in coalition building among several politically insignificant radical ‘groupuscules’85 calling themselves ‘national left’. Together with them, it has created a Patriotic Socialist-Popular Front (Patriotyczny Front Socjalistyczno-Ludowy, PFLS). In 2003 it formed another mini-umbrella organization under the name Polish National Committee (Polski Komitet Narodowy, PKN) with the participation of, among others, film director Bohdan Pore˛ ba, but again with minimum political impact.

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At first it was mainly the Polish National Front (Polski Front Narodowy, PFN) where numerous young disgruntled former Tejkowski street fighters found a new home. The PFN was formed by Janusz Bryczkowski, a businessman previously expelled from the Polish Green Party, who also had a spell as firebrand deputy leader of the populist party Self-Defence (Samoobrona). The Front clearly positioned itself as a neo-fascist party, complete with uniforms and aggressive skinhead youth squads. In 1994 Bryczkowski famously claimed that ‘it is necessary to shoot one million people to restore legal order in Poland’86 and ‘I am a national socialist and will launch an unprecedented struggle against this Jewish system’.87 Shortly after attending a PFN training camp held at Bryczkowski’s own rural estate, several of its members engaged in a deadly campaign of attacks against homeless people in the town of Legionowo near Warsaw. As a result two victims died and about 30 were seriously beaten up. The culprits were sentenced to 15 and 25 years in prison but the party leaders were never brought to justice.88 Bryczkowski revelled in public controversy and invited the Russian populist leader Vladmir Zhirinovsky for a visit to Warsaw in the autumn of 1993. This event assured publicity but, given the roundly negative image of Zhirinovsky in the Polish media, seriously undermined Bryczkowski’s credibility as a Polish patriot. By 1995 the PFN too gave way to other nationalist groups in their struggle for domination of the political extreme right. The party leader was busy with several court cases resulting from his illegal business activities. In the late 1990s Bryczkowski tried to relaunch his political career by forming a new political group called Falanga (e.g. he took part in a campaign to install crosses in Auschwitz), but, again, other actors had already occupied the stage. The most notable of them was the National Rebirth of Poland (Narodowe Odrodzenie Polski, NOP). In the middle and late 1990s it was arguably the most dynamic extreme right organization active at street level and among the youth.89 As Ost put it, ‘while Tejkowski was making headlines, the PNR [NOP – R.P.] was making contacts’.90 The NOP claims to have originated in the early 1980s, but in reality it started as an organized political group in the late 1980s and became registered as a party only in 1992. Its early base was the Academy of Catholic Theology (Akademia Teologii Katolickiej, ATK), where the NOP leader Adam Gmurczyk became the head of student selfgovernment in 1989, and of the parish church at Zagórna Street in Warsaw.91 For a few months in 1989–1990 the NOP joined the newly formed respectable ZChN, but left it to continue its activity as an independent radical group. In 1994 the party was officially reorganized along authoritarian lines, granting supreme power to Adam Gmurczyk as its chairman. NOP leaders took over a nationalist journal, Szczerbiec, and transformed it into a radical party organ. Initially a rather typical endek group, in the course of the early 1990s the NOP underwent a process of rapid radicalization earning it a reputation of one of the most extreme (although acting legally) neo-fascist groups in Europe. At that time it began to infiltrate skinhead groups, encouraging them

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to attack political enemies. The attack of an NOP skinhead squad on the Warsaw office of a Polish Socialist Party faction in 1989 was considered the first instance of political terror in post-communist Poland.92 The NOP recruited several hundred activists nationally; in 1999 Szymon Rudnicki quoted estimates of 1,000–1,500 members,93 mostly coming from the nazi skinhead scene. One of the skinheads remembered the initial contacts made in 1989: I had numerous conversations with Bogdan Byrzykowski [one of the leaders of the NOP – R.P], I told him that I am from the circle of skinheads who want to do something for Poland, to become involved on the side of a national organization and to support it even through street action. Bogdan said it was a very good idea and we could create a national group, a very radical militant squad.94 The majority of the members were in their twenties; they included both young working class males and university students. The organization often recruited its members at football stadiums. The NOP drew its strength from the antisemitic culture that dominated many sports stadiums in Poland in the 1990s, with rival gangs routinely calling each other’s clubs ‘Jewish’ as a term of abuse. The NOP claimed to be an incarnation of the pre-war ONR and it adopted its swastika-style symbol, ‘the hand with the sword’, also known as the ‘Phalange’. The main programmatic goal of the NOP was stated as ‘national revolution’ implying a violent seizure of power. According to one of the programmatic statements, the National Radical takeover ‘will be violent – you should also expect blood’.95 The group promised the prohibition of those political organizations it deemed ‘anti-national’, including those who supported Polish membership of the EU and NATO. The party publication Szczerbiec suggested that guerilla methods could be used against NATO troops in Poland. It also called for Polish volunteers to fight against NATO intervention on the side of the Serbian military.96 Another feature of the NOP’s ideology was its self-confessed virulent antisemitism, openly declared by its leader Adam Gmurczyk: ‘Europe was great; it was Christian – because it was antisemitic. (. . .) antisemitism is a virtue that we must cultivate with great care’.97 The party members were not known for any particular religious zeal but the NOP officially subscribed to the ideology of Catholic fundamentalism in the style of Marcel Lefebvre, and, some years later, even to the so-called sedevacantism. On several occasions it criticized Pope John Paul II for his alleged betrayal of the ‘true faith’ but for obvious tactical reasons it usually did not put those attacks at the forefront of its propaganda; in 1997 it did stage a demonstration during the Pope’s visit to Wrocław to promote its own vision of Catholicism.98 At the same time, it used the neo-pagan art of Stanisław Szukalski, for example on the cover of its magazine Szczerbiec. Also in this case, the extreme

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ethnonationalism and racism feature more significantly as core elements of collective identity than the declared religious devotion, which may be disposed of with surprising easiness – depending on political expediencies.99 In the late 1990s the NOP became known for its particular focus on Holocaust denial. It published and distributed several books espousing socalled ‘historical revisionism’. Bartłomiej Zborski became the party’s main specialist in Holocaust denial as the Polish translator and promoter of David Irving’s books and articles. He also contributed his own diatribes against ‘neo-Semitic [sic!] circles’.100 Interestingly, Zborski remained employed as a senior editor at Bellona, the state-owned publishing house of the Ministry of Defence at the time of Poland’s accession to NATO. Zborski planned to issue one of Irving’s books through Bellona, but the idea was dropped after it was exposed in the media.101 Zborski has also managed to control copyrights to Polish translations of George Orwell’s books in Poland, and, through this, to secure considerable income allowing him to engage in adventurous political activities. A large part of NOP activities took place at street level. For instance, on 11 November 2001 (Independence Day, a national holiday) it held a demonstration in the centre of Warsaw without notifying the local authorities, as required by the law on public meetings. A local police spokesman had warned that permission for the street march would not be granted because in the past similar NOP-organized gatherings had turned into violent brawls. Nevertheless, the vast majority of NOP marches for many years took place without any hindrance from the police and usually with its protection. They frequently resulted in violence and physical attacks on alleged enemies of the movement.102 Without renouncing its revolutionary creed, the NOP tried to enter parliamentary politics for the first time in 2001. For this purpose a new front organization was created under the name of the New Forces Alliance (Sojusz Nowych Sił, SNS), which became a part of a broader nationalist political bloc, the Alternative Social Movement (Ruch Społeczny Alternatywa, RSA). The group of NOP candidates on the RSA lists included individuals such as Marcin Radzewicz, the former singer of the nazi-skinhead band Fatherland (Oiczyzna) and leader of the openly neo-nazi National Socialist Front (Front Narodowo-Socjalistyczny, FNS). In the end, however, the ultra-radical NOP became an embarrassment for the RSA whose result was below 0.5 per cent of the vote. The bulk of the growing national-populist vote went to the League of Polish Families and Self-Defence in that election. Subsequently, the NOP’s alliance with the RSA was dissolved. In one of the most curious transformations in contemporary Polish political history, leaders of the RSA soon founded the Polish Labour Party (Polska Partia Pracy, PPP), a self-styled progressive radical-left group with notable Trotskyist influences. The NOP is officially registered as a political party and it enjoyed all the benefits of state assistance envisaged by the law on political parties, despite repeated calls for it to be banned from civil society and the media. It also

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operates through a number of front organizations, such as the NationalRadical Institute (Instytut Narodowo-Radykalny, INR), which became its publishing arm, and HOS Records (named after a Croat paramilitary fascist organization), which was responsible for distributing nazi-skinhead music. The Polish Regiments (Hufce Polskie, HP) was a paramilitary youth organization linked to the NOP. Its main headquarters was in the small town of Radzyn´ Podlaski, led by local school history teacher Dariusz Magier (a future Law and Justice candidate for the local council in 2006). By the late 1990s, the party also had, as one of the first in Poland, a well developed Internet operation with discussion lists, chat rooms, and an elaborate and regularly updated website with links to hundreds of similar groups in Poland and, especially, abroad. The NOP had sympathizers in other countries, most importantly among the Polish community in the United States. Organizations which gave support to the NOP included the New York-based Polish Patriots’ Association (Stowarzyszenie Patriotów Polskcih, SPP) and the Chicago-based revisionist Polish Historical Institute (Polski Instytut Historyczny, PIH). Importantly, the NOP became the Polish branch of the International Third Position (ITP, later renamed European National Front, ENF), an international alliance of European neo-fascist organizations created and managed by a group of Italian ex-terrorists indirectly associated with the 1980 Bologna bombing (which claimed 85 lives), led by Roberto Fiore (the founder of its Italian wing, called New Force, Forza Nuova, FN, and a future MEP). The NOP organized international ideological and paramilitary training for member groups of the ITP/ENF, including the German National Democratic Party (Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands, NPD). An NPD representative expressed his satisfaction at the fact that ‘for the first time since 1936 German and Polish nationalists are sitting at one table’. He added that during the Second World War ‘both sides made mistakes’, relativizing the war guilt of the nazi Reich.103 After the cooperation was publicized by the anti-fascist Nigdy Wie˛ cej magazine, the NOP’s nationalist credibility was strongly tarnished. Subsequently, it fell out with the NPD on issues such as Polish control over former East German territories and as a result even provoked a split in the ENF, while still seeking Fiore’s continued patronage.104 Fiore and several other foreign extremists, including David Irving, were listed as members of the editorial team on the pages of Szczerbiec, the NOP publication distributed nationally by the state company Ruch. The NOP collaborated with the US-based National Alliance of the late William Pierce. Among others, it promoted the Polish translation of Pierce’s (aka Andrew Macdonald’s) cult novels The Turner Diaries and The Hunter (both translated by Zborski), which contain an apocalyptical blueprint for racial genocide initiated by a group of neo-facist terrorists. Characteristically, a 2002 edition of Szczerbiec eulogized Osama bin Laden.105 The NOP has been a self-declared antisemitic and racist revolutionary group aiming at a violent overthrow of democracy and not shying away from

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political violence in its daily activity. Despite that, it did have links to the political mainstream. For example, it cultivated close contact and cooperation with several MPs elected on the AWS ticket such as Jan Łopuszan´ ski and Gabriel Janowski (both of them later became founding fathers of the LPR). The former happily accepted the NOP’s support for his presidential bid in 2001, while the latter even became an official parliamentary representative for the NOP in 2002. Adam Wielomski, an ultra-conservative publicist who wrote, among others, for Szczerbiec, became a speech-writer for the AWS Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek. There were many more such contacts at the local level. For example, the NOP was a part of a local right-wing coalition that successfully supported Jerzy Kropiwnicki’s campaign to become the city mayor of Łódz´ .106 In student politics, too, the NOP frequently entered into cooperation with other right-wing groups; for example, it formed a faction within the mainstream centre-right Independent Students’ Association (Niezalez· ne Zrzeszenie Studentów, NZS) in Torun´ . The example of the NOP could be read as an early sign of the fact that even the most radical expression of revolutionary nationalism was not an anathema for the Polish right. The NOP has not faded away like the PWN-PSN or the PFN, and it continues its militant activities today. Its relative importance, however, became much reduced in comparison with the late 1990s, because other groups have emerged as big players in nationalist politics in the meantime. The NOP’s emphasis on building a modernized culture of Polish radical nationalism bore some fruit, however. The NOP’s significance, as the PWN-PSN’s before it and to a lesser degree the PFN’s, should be seen in educating a generation of activists who sometimes went on to influence mainstream politics as members of other organizations. A similar role is sometimes played by neo-fascist ‘groupuscoules’ in Western Europe.107 For example, Michał Kamin´ ski, a NOP member in 1989–1990, later became a ZChN activist known for his unabashed use of the slogan ‘Poland for the Polish’ campaigning in the ethnically diverse Białystok region and for travelling to London to pay tribute to Augusto Pinochet when the latter was held in custody. Kamin´ ski later became a Law and Justice MP and MEP, an official spokesman for President Lech Kaczyn´ ski and, finally, the leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group in the European Parliament. Piotr Farfał, another NOP activist and publisher of the crudely racist skinhead fanzine Front, became a leading member of the League of Polish Families and deputy chairman of the board of Polish state TV in 2006. His nomination caused uproar, but he held on to the post and even became the state TV chairman in December 2008 (until September 2009). It was yet another extreme right group that made the most headway in entering the political mainstream in the late 1990s. It was the National Right (PN), established first as an association, and a little later also as a political party in the mid-1990s. It was led by Krzysztof Kawe˛ cki, previously considered to be a leader of the ultra-right-wing in Maciej Giertych’s National Party (SN). The PWN-PSN, the PFN and the NOP were at different stages

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relatively popular, or at least widely known, organizations. The PN, in contrast, kept a low profile. It was a small ‘elitist’ group, which was hardly known even to keen observers of Polish politics. Through its strategy of entering various broader coalitions on the right-wing, a kind of extreme right entryism (a tactic perfected by Western Trotskyist groups), it quietly obtained some influence in mainstream politics and even in government structures during the AWS’s term in office between 1997 and 2001. This fact was characteristic of the growing acceptance of nationalist extremism on the Polish right.108 The PN was far from politically moderate, however. After the election of the former communist Aleksander Kwas´ niewski to the presidency in December 1995, it held a demonstration in the city of Lublin. Supporters were encouraged to join the rally by means of a poster bearing the slogan ‘Stolzman out’ and displaying Kwas´ niewski with a revolver pointed at his head (according to far right antisemites, Stolzman was Kwas´ niewski’s ‘real’, i.e. Jewish family name). To dispel all doubts, the demonstration was dedicated to the memory of Eligiusz Niewiadomski, the endek assassin of President Gabriel Narutowicz in 1922. Konrad Re˛ kas, the PN’s local organizer responsible for the demonstration, a typical far right party hopper, later became a member of several other nationalist-populist groups, including Self-Defence (and the chairman of the regional parliament on its behalf, thanks to the surprising support of the Social Democrats, in 2003).109 The PN’s ambition was to transcend the standard orthodox ideology of National Democracy and to find common ground with extreme right and neo-fascist movements in Western European countries. Its journal Prawica Narodowa published antisemitic and Holocaust denying articles of the Belgian wartime collaborator Leon Degrelle. Even more importantly, the PN established close links with the French National Front (Front National, FN) of Jean-Marie Le Pen. It may be appropriate to note here, that while the PWN-PSN and the PFN, which dominated the scene in the early 1990s, sought allies in the East, those groups that made their special mark in the middle to late 1990s, i.e. both the NOP and the PN, were oriented to Western European influences. This tendency may have simply reflected broader cultural changes in Polish society in that period, and it was a paradoxical result of the pro-Western orientation that was predominant in Poland. The vector of international cooperation of the Polish extreme right was to change again in the mid2000s. The PN did not have its own popular constituency but it managed to enter the Patriotic Camp (Obóz Patriotyczny, OP), a coalition of several centreright parties seeking to dislodge the post-communists who had returned to power in 1993. As we noted, the PN joined forces, surprisingly, with the postPilsudskite KPN. All those groups finally melted into the broad alliance built by Marian Krzaklewski, the chairman of Solidarity Trade Union, under the name Electoral Action Solidarity (Akcja Wyborcza Solidarnos´ c´). The AWS

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as a whole was a centre right rather than an extreme right bloc. Nevertheless, several politicians associated with the extreme nationalist circles, especially the PN, were nominated to senior government posts during the AWS tenure. The leader of the PN, Krzysztof Kawe˛ cki, served as Deputy Minister of Education and a PN-sponsored MP, Marek Biernacki, became Minister of the Interior. Another AWS politician, associated with both the PN and the ZChN, Marcin Libicki, became the head of the Polish delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Thus, the presence of the PN in mainstream politics in the late 1990s did not result from its public support, but from the frailty and superficiality of Polish democratic culture at that time. With the exception of the Nigdy Wie˛ cej magazine, voices protesting these nominations were few and muted. One of the few articles about Kawe˛ cki published in Gazeta Wyborcza, the most powerful voice of the 1990s zeitgeist, under the title ‘A radical subdued for the good of education’, even implied that it was a success for democracy to incorporate the extreme right politician in running the country’s educational system.110 The PN’s case was characteristic of the ease with which small extreme right groups could enter into alliances with mainstream political parties. The Real Politics Party (Stronnictwo Polityki Realnej, SPR) was a small splinter group of another radical right party, the Union of Real Politics (UPR). The SPR was noted for its cooperation with the fascist NOP at street level and for basing its peculiar ideology on the German ‘conservative revolutionary’ thought of the 1920s and 1930s, i.e. authors such as Ernst Jünger and Carl Schmitt. Despite a clearly extreme edge, the SPR became a part of the mainstream AWS, too. In 2001, the UPR joined forces in an electoral coalition with the newly formed liberal Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska, PO). In short, the notion of a ‘cordon sanitaire’ against the far right hardly found any adherents in Polish right-wing politics. The mainstream media tended to turn a blind eye on such alliances, too.111 In a variety of ways, by the late 1990s the still small extreme right occupied a uniquely double-pronged niche in Polish politics. It positioned itself discursively as being both inside and outside of the system. Its representatives could gradually build the institutional and cultural infrastructure of the movement using their establishment credentials and patronage, while – at the same time – the movement as a whole considered itself to be in radical opposition to the pro-European liberal democracy. Nevertheless, the movement remained deeply divided internally and it did not have its own means of mass communication and political education. The media outlets at its disposal were allowed to operate and to circulate their output freely, but their wider outreach was seriously limited by the fact that each medium was tightly controlled by one of the divided movement’s factions.112 In this way, the spectrum remained fragmented and the prospects for any kind of unity remained slim. Szymon Rudnicki concluded:

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The [extreme-right] parties (. . .) are currently not a real threat to democracy in Poland. Divided into many currents they are unable to unite. Nevertheless, numerous small publications of the nationalist provenience, each of them published in rather small quantities, altogether spread a significant dose of xenophobia and hostility to democracy.113 This situation persisted until two additional cultural factors of social movement communication emerged and eventually overshadowed the movement’s organizational divisions, one for the elderly constituency and the other one for the young nationalists, namely Radio Maryja and the explosion of nationalist youth culture, also through the Internet.

The growth of extreme right cultural resources Radio Maryja’s very name symbolizes the intertwining of Polish national and religious identities. ‘Maryja’ is an archaic Polish form of Maria, the name of Jesus’s mother, as in the first lines of the medieval song ‘Bogurodzica’ (‘God’s Mother’). According to Polish patriotic accounts (and cinema), the song was sung by the Polish knights before the victorious battle of Grunwald in 1410. The song had been considered as an early national anthem and a variation on its tune became Radio Maryja’s trademark jingle. Virgin Mary, and especially her famous icons in Cze˛ stochowa and Wilno, have long had a special symbolic place in Polish Roman Catholicism. Mary is often referred to as the Queen of Poland. Arguably the juxtaposition of the words: the archaic version of the name ‘Maryja’ and the modern-sounding ‘Radio’, symbolizes the symbiosis of a supposedly ancient national–religious tradition with a thoroughly modern technical form, so characteristic of many aspects of Radio Maryja’s successful media operation. The mass-audience Catholic-nationalist radio station was created by Father Tadeusz Rydzyk, who belongs to the Redemptorist order. Rydzyk has frequently been compared to Father Coughlin, the rabidly antisemitic American priest who hosted a radio show during the 1930s. Radio Maryja was established in Torun´ in 1991 and in the mid-1990s it was granted a nation-wide licence, which enabled it to reach a multi-million audience, making it one of the largest national media outlets. By the early 2000s, about 4 per cent of Polish society were regular listeners of Tadeusz Rydzyk’s radio, according to market research published each month by the specialist magazine Press. Most of them were elderly pensioners, many of them living in the countryside. The ownership and control structure of Radio Maryja and its allied institutions are rather complicated. Formally speaking, the radio station is owned by the Redemptorist Order. Radio Maryja also falls under the supervision of the Bishop of Torun´ . However, over the years it has become clear that the station is effectively run by Rydzyk himself, with little or no interference from outside. Polish Catholic Church leaders, as well as the Vatican,

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have gently attempted to rein in Radio Maryja on several occasions, but to no avail. The Family of Radio Maryja (Rodzina Radia Maryja, RRM) became a mass social movement, with several hundred thousand active members, the majority of them being elderly women. Father Rydzyk himself managed the Higher School for Social and Media Culture (Wyz· sza Szkoła Kultury Społecznej i Medialnej, WSKSiM) in Torun´ , which was designed to educate a new generation of nationalist cadres. In addition to Radio Maryja, Rydzyk also controlled the daily newspaper Nasz Dziennik (Our Daily) and the television station TV Trwam. He also commanded the national lecturing network called the National Educational Institute (Instytut Edukcji Narodowej, IEN) made up of right-wing intellectuals hailing from centres such as the Catholic Universiy of Lublin (Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski, KUL). Their role in spreading the nationalist gospel may be functionally compared to the travelling lecturers of the 19th-century US Populist movement, as described by Lawrence Goodwyn.114 Radio Maryja’s vast operation confirms its solid financial base. Despite a number of attempted legal probes, the details of its finances remained undisclosed. Father Rydzyk himself actively solicited funds from listeners. In the late 1990s, Radio Maryja collected several million dollars in donations aimed to save the Gdan´ sk Shipyard, the birthplace of Solidarity trade union, from bankruptcy. Apparently, the collection was never used for the shipyard and the money did not return to the numerous donors either.115 In addition, Radio Maryja’s activities were largely funded by sponsors from Polish communities abroad and especially from the USA. Edward Moskal, the notoriously antisemitic chairman of the American Polish Congress (Kongres Polonii Amerykan´ skiej, KPA), was a highly regarded figure in Polish far right circles and he was repeatedly praised on the airwaves as a valuable ally. Another important source of funding was Jan Kobylan´ ski, a Polish émigré millionaire residing in Uruguay. Kobylan´ ski is a notorious antisemite who was repeatedly accused in the serious media of betraying Polish Jews to the Gestapo during World War II.116 Since its inception, Radio Maryja has promoted a narrative based on nationalist extremism, antisemitism and conspiracy theories, both coded and open. According to one assessment, ‘Anti-Semitic content broadcast on Radio Maryja includes ugly stereotyping, conspiracy theories, claims that Jews were responsible for communist-era repression and accusations that Jews are using the Holocaust to leverage compensation payments from Poland’.117 In addition to being a platform for religious messages, Radio Maryja established itself as an important political force with a clear xenophobic and antisemitic agenda. It frequently featured political antisemitic broadcasts. Typically, the myth that Jews working at the World Trade Center in New York received advance warning of the Al Qaeda attacks on 11 September 2001, and therefore stayed away, also received an airing.118 Radio Maryja is ostensibly a religious radio station and, undoubtedly,

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many of its listeners prioritize the religious content. However, it has been frequently noted that its theological content is far from sophisticated and there are several other Catholic radio stations where the religious elements are at least equally pronounced. Nonetheless, they have never come close to Radio Maryja in terms of their popularity. Radio Maryja exceeds in utilizing so-called popular Catholicism, simplified to its crudest ritualized elements for mass consumption. However, Radio Maryja’s strength is also down to its social and political appeal. It is a uniquely interactive radio giving voice to the many socially excluded and especially elderly ‘losers’ of the Polish transition. They are free to call and share their problems and concerns on the air, as long as their input is contained within limits of the nationalist Catholic worldview. The problems raised are immediately commented upon by studio guests and framed in nationalist political terms. The political commentary has focused primarily on constructing the collective identity of the ‘real Poles’. From the mid-1990s, Radio Maryja provided a platform to numerous activists of various extreme right organizations, enabling them to interact with each other and with a mass audience in live call-ins. People like Zygmunt Wrzodak and leaders of different, then marginal, endek organizations, e.g. Marian Baran´ ski, Roman Giertych, and many other lesser known figures, as well as mainstream politicians such as Marian Krzaklewski, took part in the programmes from the beginning of the Radio’s existence as a national broadcaster. Radio Maryja has directly supported a variety of extreme right groups, especially in their particular campaigns (on abortion, gay rights, or the European Union), and such direct support has culminated in calls to vote for the League of Polish Families in 2001 and, since 2005, for Law and Justice. On another level, its role has been equally important in terms of agenda setting, i.e. legitimizing and widely circulating the populist radical right discourse on various issues. Radio Maryja empowered the Polish populist radical right. It provided an invaluable circuit for the movement’s self-expression as well as a forum for internal and external communication, a space for the mobilization of cultural resources; all in all, a watershed moment in creating the broader movement culture. Eventually, Radio Maryja became a genuine social movement in its own right, led by the charismatic Father Rydzyk, with powerful political weight. Initially, it threw its support behind the nationalistically minded members of the AWS, but by 2001 it was ripe for sponsoring its own separate nationalist electoral bloc under the name of the League of Polish Families, which further contributed to changing the face of Polish politics. We shall analyse the League’s fortunes in the next chapters. The rise of Radio Maryja to prominence within the Church has been characteristic, too. From a relatively marginal position, it has become a leading voice in the Polish Catholic Church. This fact can be connected to more general issues such as changing attitudes within the Church, which has been confronted with modernity, both in Poland and globally – before and,

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especially, after the death of John Paul II. The general reforming tendency of Vatican II has been in retreat and illiberal ideas have regained some of their earlier prominence. The appearance of Radio Maryja in Poland undoubtedly coincided with that. Nevertheless, as we have noted, it owed its identity to politics rather than religion per se. Radio Maryja did have its own youth outreach and even a special prayer network for children. Nevertheless, it was clear that the main focus is on the elderly and mostly rural audience. It stands little chance of winning over the younger generation. In a parallel separate development, however, radical nationalism successfully carved its space in Polish youth culture. It was the youth subculture connected with a specific current in rock music that socialized younger converts into the movement in the 1990s. Many of them were to become the movement’s leading lights, the up-and-coming young educated cadre for whom Radio Maryja-mobilized masses could cast their vote in the next decade. Incredibly, the nucleus of the Polish nationalist youth subculture could be found in the neo-nazi skinhead movement. It provided some key communication structures and cultural reference points for the emerging young populist radical right. The first skinheads had appeared in Poland in the late 1980s.119 The majority of them were former punk rock fans who felt punk had become ‘too safe’. They sought a more brutal, tough and sharp image and they found it in skinhead subculture. Several sensational articles in the communist-controlled press helped spread the skinhead fashion. The import of the skinhead style was a regional phenomenon: ‘In the countries of Eastern Europe, young nationalist youth have incorporated the skinhead culture, mimicking an image they perceive as tough and racist’.120 Swastikas and open Hitler-worshipping as well as violence quickly became very much part and parcel of the cult.121 The British nazi band Skrewdriver had the most influence on the Polish skin scene almost from the very beginning, both musically and ideologically. Skinhead music at the time was rare. It was difficult to obtain Western records, and Polish bands who identified with a skinhead following were few. These early bands did not advocate Nazism but many of their songs had lyrics that were clearly xenophobic and racist and praised the anti-social hooligan way of life. The only skinhead fanzine at that time was Fajna Gazeta published by another former punk rocker, Jarosław Tomasiewicz, who later became a leading intellectual ‘third positionist’ in the 1990s. Fajna Gazeta was largely devoted to articles about violence. There were few skinhead music gigs in those early years. The skins concentrated on disrupting other concerts instead. The most publicized cases of skinheads attacking rock events were the Róbrege festivals in Warsaw in 1987, 1988 and 1990 and the Metalmania festival in Katowice in 1990 when one skinhead was killed during the fight.122 In the beginning the movement lacked organization and was generally chaotic. Violence was its main raison d’être and there was no ‘serious’ political content. The first orchestrated attempt to use skinheads for political aims

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came in the late 1980s. Several new extreme right organizations influenced the skinheads.123 As we noted, the NOP was the first group that had some success in recruiting skinheads. The rock band Legion played a part in the venture, promoting the NOP. The band’s leader Tomasz Kostyła soon became a leading activist in the National Party ‘Fatherland’ and some years later he was also active with the All-Polish Youth (Młodziez· Wszechpolska, MW) and the Polish National Party (Polska Partia Narodowa, PPN). The NOP and other radical nationalist groups made an important intervention in the skinhead movement’s symbolism: they discouraged the skins from using symbols from the nazi era in favour of Polish nationalist emblems. It was the beginning of an often problematic distinction between the openly nazi and the ‘national-Catholic’ (National Democratic or National Radical) elements within the skinhead subculture in Poland. New fanzines such as Czas Młodych (‘Time of the Young’) and Skinhead Sarmata (‘The Sarmatian Skinhead’) supported this ‘patriotic’ trend. In reality, the nazi and the nationalist elements were to coexist as supposedly rival but in fact usually symbiotic elements of an ideological hotchpotch.124 In the early 1990s, immediately after the collapse of communism, when all cultural enterprises became logistically easier, the Polish skinhead music scene developed, with ideologically committed bands such as Konkwista 88 (Conquest 88), Honor, Zadruga, Cyklon B, Szczerbiec, Sztorm 68, Biała Armia (White Army) and many others. Festivals such as ‘Oi! for the Fatherland’ (‘Oi! Dla Ojczyzny’) were organized and home-made demo tapes were distributed without difficulty. Many of the gigs were organized in stateowned cultural centres. The then 60-year old Bolesław Tejkowski of the PWN-PSN was seen attending some of the concerts. Numerous Xerox-copied fanzines appeared at the time, including Falanga, Odłam Skiny (‘The Skin Faction’), Victory Oi, Skinhead Polski, Zwycie˛ z· ymy (‘We Will Win’) and many others. Each of them produced a few hundred copies at best but taken together they constituted an early channel of internal communication for the burgeoning nationalist skinhead movement. The city of Wrocław could initially boast the strongest skin scene in the country. It produced Konkwista 88, the most notorious of Polish nazi rock bands and arguably the most popular East European nazi-skinhead band.125 Its popularity was seemingly not handicapped by the use of ‘88’, an international neo-nazi code for ‘Heil Hitler’, in its name. Konkwista 88 developed extensive international links and it appeared on numerous international nazi compilation records and festivals throughout the 1990s. Konkwista 88, Honor and some other openly national socialist bands formed the Aryan Survival Front (Aryjski Front Przetrwania, AFP). The AFP was modelled on the British organization Blood and Honour. It was set up as an alternative to political parties and it was meant to be a purely skinhead organization. Among others, it was responsible for the attack on a demonstration of African students and their friends who celebrated Nelson Mandela’s release from jail in 1990. It also organized the infamous Hitler

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Festival in 1992. The AFP was also responsible for a gig of the British nazi band No Remorse. A concert featuring Skrewdriver was planned, too, but did not happen because of the death of Ian Stuart Donaldson, Skrewdriver’s lead singer. On several occasions AFP members travelled to attend nazi gigs abroad. In the autumn of 1992 they were arrested by the Dutch police for causing trouble and wearing nazi insignia. The AFP was certainly the most politically extreme of all skinhead organizations in Poland in the 1990s. Ironically, it disintegrated in 1994 when ‘Robson’, its founder and leader (who was also the manager of Konkwista 88 and editor of the AFP publication Szturmowiec. ‘The Stormtrooper’), became disillusioned with fascist ideas.126 He was repeatedly threatened by his former friends who tried to punish ‘the traitor of the white race’. However, he was not intimidated and made a brave decision to go public by giving a long and candid interview to Nigdy Wie˛ cej, the freshly established anti-fascist magazine, in which he revealed many details about the nazi movement.127 After the disintegration of the main group in Wrocław, some local groups continued to use the name AFP for some time, while the organization’s rump in Wrocław called itself White Thunder (Biały Grom). Nevertheless, this temporary setback did not destroy the nazi-skinhead movement as such. Konkwista 88 was also the first Polish skinhead band that released its own CDs. The records were produced in the Czech Republic and imported to Poland. Many of them were later sold to Western distributors or exchanged for Western nazi records. The first vinyl records were released in 1993, too. They were singles from Konkwista 88, BTM, and Zadruga. Soon afterwards the nazi skinhead music scene received a major boost thanks to Fan Records, the first fully professional record label with good distribution channels. Both national socialist bands such as Konkwista 88 and nationalist Catholic bands such as Legion appeared on Fan Records. A tape by Legion was said to have sold 30,000 copies, a massive amount by all accounts. The Fan Records products were sold openly in mainstream record shops all over the country without any apparent obstacles from the authorities. It was only because of the pressure from the emerging anti-fascist movement that nazi distributors found it occasionally difficult to distribute their output. For example, in April 1996, after an anti-racist demonstration a petition was addressed to the city authorities of Szczecin, which called for a halt on nazi music being distributed in the city. The police subsequently raided one of the music shops and confiscated some of the nazi records. The charges against the shop owner were later dropped, however. For some time access to nazi rock music remained more difficult in Szczecin, but it continued in the rest of the country. In June 1998 the local prosecutor in Wrocław launched an investigation against the producers of a tape by Konkwista 88, but again it brought no results in terms of court charges. Generally, the attitude of authorities towards racist music was lax despite the provisions of the penal code stating that it was forbidden to praise fascism, or to incite racial, ethnic, or religious hatred; the penalty being six

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months to eight years in jail. It was a specific offence to distribute papers, recordings or films with such content (article 273 of the penal code). A new code came into force in 1998. It made the penalties for hate crimes slightly less severe and introduced fines as an alternative to imprisonment. The general pattern of official toleration for the circulation of nazi messages did not change noticeably, however. After a period of growth the nazi-skinhead scene suffered another temporary setback with the demise of Fan Records. The business was probably not lucrative enough for the skinheads-turned-entrepreneurs who ran it. Also, the media took an interest in the activities of Fan Records and matters were made more difficult when public pressure caused the Office for the Protection of the State to issue an informal warning to the company for distributing racist material. The short-lived Polish section of Blood and Honour, led by Paweł Bednarski in Olsztyn, became temporarily inactive as well, after its headquarters were raided by the Office for the Protection of the State in October 1996. However, Polish Blood and Honour was not a significant element of the scene by that time. It re-emerged as a much stronger group in the early 2000s. The failure of a big event with an expected audience of 1,500 was another setback for the movement in that period. The gig was supposed to take place in Dzierz· oniów on 14 December 1997 and bands from Poland and from abroad were expected to perform. However, after a last-minute tip-off by the local Anti-Nazi Group, the owner of the venue cancelled the event.128 The growth of anti-racist and non-political currents within skinhead subculture also added to the confusion among the nationalist skinheads in the mid-1990s. National Rock Scene (Narodowa Scena Rockowa, NSR) was a new organization, which sought to revive the nationalist right-wing music scene after the series of misfortunes. Established by Mariusz and Michał Bechta, it had links with editors of Reakcja (formerly Auditorium), a conservative student broadsheet at Warsaw University with a circulation of about 20,000. As a result, Reakcja in particular was noted for promoting extreme right music on its pages. Bechta’s idea was for racist music to move out of the ghetto of the nazi-skin circle and to promote it using more mainstream channels, such as the large-circulation right-wing newspapers. In the late 1990s the NSR had its own page in the weekly ‘Mys´ l Polska’, and for some time also a column in the right-wing daily ‘Głos’ (in the latter case until it was kicked out amid controversy after publishing an openly racist interview with the American nazi band Bound for Glory). The NSR also produced its own fanzine and started to release tapes and, later, CDs on its own. It strove to bring the fascist music scene closer to the nationalist right and, for a time, to promote the Catholic-nationalist rather than the nazi-pagan bands. There were also attempts to widen the range of music genres used to promote extreme right politics. Initially, most skinhead bands in Poland played a primitive version of so-called Oi! music, simple punk rock with crude racist lyrics. Some bands who had been active for a longer time, such as Konkwista

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88, moved musically towards hard rock with a number of kitsch ballads in their sets. The acoustic bard Leszek Czajkowski, who was popular on the conservative right, played numerous songs with antisemitic lyrics. He was featured on the cover of the NSR fanzine and released material on the NSR label. On the other hand, fascism and antisemitism raised their head in the Black Metal scene, too. The Wrocław one-man band Graveland was the principal Polish exponent of a mixture of Nazism, Satanism, and paganism, copied from Norwegian Black Metal Nazis.129 Graveland’s leader Rob Darken (real name Robert Fudali) formed his own nazi organization called The Temple of the Fullmoon. Polish Black Metal fans who refused to accept the nazi creed were beaten up and intimidated. Nazi metal music was promoted on the pages of Rojalista, a far-right magazine edited by Adrian Nikiel, the hyperactive self-styled leader of the Organization of Polish Monarchists (Organizacja Monarchistów Polskich, OMP). Some Black Metal fans entered politics through the neo-pagan ‘Niklot’ Association and, later, Self-Defence.130 During the 1990s, in some localities or social milieus the nationalist skinhead style established itself as the most common fashion to express youth rebellion. In this sense, the extreme right won a measure of cultural hegemony in some quarters of the youth culture. It is apparent in recollections of former members of the movement. For example, Paweł Bolek, who was a leading NOP activist in the late 1990s, thus remembered his recruitment to the extreme right movement through exposure to radical nationalist ideas in his provincial home-town of Duszniki-Zdrój: P.B.: – You are 15 year old, you live in a shithole, a total province. It was 1996, 97. (. . .) You are a rebel, you want to do something . . . I came across a copy of Szczerbiec [the NOP’s publication – R.P.]. R.P. – How did you get it? P.B. – In a Ruch kiosk, interestingly, through official distribution. (. . .) Such a publication shows you an alternative view of the world, shows you that things should be different, that the world is unjust. It was the time of high unemployment, no perspectives, you didn’t know if you should continue studies or not. It was the beginning of high school for me. And at that moment you hear about National Revolution. It attracts. (. . .) Some people were moved by that and they had no access to something else. (. . .) At that time nationalism was practically the only kind of propaganda which reached some corners. (. . .) There were two other skins in Duszniki, I met them. This atmosphere came into being. It was all buzzing, the first NOP demonstrations, trips to Warsaw, Wrocław or Kraków, cool atmosphere, generally – a sense of power. Cool people, older mates, alcohol, chants, rock music.131 In the early 1990s, Roman Giertych, then one of the minor leaders of the marginal extreme right, had admitted the weakness of the movement and

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vowed to initiate a cultural revolution: ‘We must conduct a large-scale intellectual revolution on the lines of a cultural revolution in order to bring them over to our side’.132 One has to admit that this vision proved prophetic at least with regards to some part of Polish youth in the 1990s. A strategy of an annexation of the cultural space could be observed. It aimed to change the constellation of forces on the cultural field in search of cultural–political power (hegemony).133 This international tendency of extreme-right cultural centres has sometimes been dubbed ‘right-wing Gramscianism’. It was theorized by, among others, Alain De Benoist and his Nouvelle Droite in France. Roger Griffin refers to him as ‘but the figurehead of a specialized branch of cultural industry’.134 The construction of identity through extreme right youth culture has been a key factor in the subsequent rise of racist political organizations. As Stuart Hall wrote, ‘Racism, of course, operates by constructing impassable symbolic boundaries between racially constituted categories, and its typically binary system of representation constantly marks and attempts to fix and naturalize the difference between belongingness and otherness.’135 The image of the enemy, thus constructed, resulted in violent attacks. As we noted, political violence was a conspicuous feature of the extreme right youth culture throughout the 1990s and well into the 2000s. In this sense, it was also a part of the political socialization of a generation, including both those on the receiving end (also when they had to organize to fight back) and those who applied violence against their enemies. It is difficult to provide a precise account of the extreme right physical attacks that took place in that period. There were no official statistics on hate crimes in Poland. The police did not keep records on ideologically motivated crimes and thus the issue of racist violence was generally kept off the agenda and away from the eyes of the public. It was routinely dismissed as mere hooliganism and youthful unruliness. By 1999, ‘problems of hate crimes and hate speech were still marginalized and largely unacknowledged in Poland’.136 One reason for this situation was the determination of the authorities to maintain Poland’s self-image as a tolerant democratic country soon to be accepted into the European Union. For example, the Polish government vigorously rejected findings on racist violence presented in a 1999 report by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), a Council of Europe body.) Its official response included the following argument: Since the fundamental democratic changes in 1989 no serious acts of human rights violations have been reported with respect to Poland.(. . .) Police statistical sources confirm incidental occurrences of crimes against people of Asian and African origin as well as representatives of Polish Roma. It is difficult to determine, however, whether the offences were racially motivated. Investigations generally indicate the hooligan nature of such offences.137

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It is important to add that in Poland the majority of the victims of extremist violence do not belong to ‘racial’ or ethnic minorities. They have included political opponents, homosexuals, members of minority religious groups, and so on. The official denial, minimization and implicit toleration of the problem of growing racism and xenophobia by the authorities played an important role in preparing the ground for future waves of right-wing extremism. They contributed to a favourable environment for the extreme right movement, which was sheltered and grew under the roof of official indifference.138 Jacek Kuron´ and Cezary Miz· ejewski’s parliamentary interpellation calling for a ban of the PWN-PSN, PFN and NOP in 1996 was a rare exception to the pattern, which persisted well into the 21st century. For example, in 2008 the Polish authorities informed the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination that the National Prosecutor’s Office had come to the conclusion that there are ‘no organizations based on antisemitic or racist ideology operating in Poland’.139 In contrast, every issue of the anti-racist magazine Nigdy Wie˛ cej included a ‘Brown Book’, a list of violent incidents with a racist or extreme right background, edited by Marcin Kornak. The list was compiled on the basis of correspondents’ reports and it differed strongly from the official picture. It consisted of several hundred violent attacks and a few dozen murders committed by extreme right groups, starting in 1989.140 Legal reaction from the state apparatus to activities of the extremist groups was very rare indeed and occurred mostly when the mainstream media highlighted a case or, more usually, when the Polish institutions were requested to act by a foreign police force; as was the case with the already mentioned Polish Blood and Honour section in 1996. Thus, the fairly strict laws on hate speech and hate crime remained largely paper tigers throughout the 1990s, and their incidental implementation hardly matched the growing scope of the extreme right scene. As we saw, by the late 1990s the extreme right freely developed a significant cultural base with different circuits appealing to old and young constituencies. It also managed to involve several thousand activists, although their efforts appeared politically futile, mostly due to their organizational fragmentation.

Symbolic mobilizations and antisemitism Certain symbolic mobilizations around publicized identity-related issues allowed the populist radical right to consolidate and extend its appeal. We mention in particular two such mobilizations at the end of the decade: the Auschwitz cross affair of 1998 and the Jedwabne controversy of 2000–2001. Both debates polarized Polish society along the lines of its relationship to the past and, especially, to the issue of antisemitism. For this reason the Auschwitz crosses and Jedwabne ‘became a permanent rhetoric figure of the chauvinistic discourse’.141

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Until then, antisemitism was usually considered to be firmly confined to a political fringe and according to mainstream opinion it should be ignored rather than confronted. The Jedwabne discussion especially broke a taboo on free debate on the issue, at least in historical terms, but it also provoked a backlash. As a by-product, it led to antisemitic views being expressed more loudly than before and with more mainstream legitimacy, especially in the broadly conceived right-wing conservative spectrum. For the first time the populist radical right had a chance to frame a truly national debate and to define one of two poles of popular discourse in a nationwide controversy. The previously marginal movement significantly benefited from this discursive opportunity. The conflict at Auschwitz concerned the presence of an eight-metre high · wirowisko, part of the site of the former Christian cross at the so-called Z Nazi camp. When Jewish groups demanded the cross to be removed, Polish nationalists mobilized to plant hundreds of other large crosses around the main cross. For some months the extreme right occupied the territory, · wirowisko a hotbed of antisemitic propaganda during ‘an ongoing making Z patriotic/religious ceremony’.142 A national campaign in the right-wing media supported the action. The conflict was frequently framed as a conflict between ‘the Jews’ and ‘the Catholics’ (or ‘the Poles’). This widespread essentialist terminology, present in the mainstream media, testified to the ability the far right had in framing the symbolic terms of conflict. In fact, the radical nationalist activists who claimed to speak on behalf of all the Polish Catholics were a rather small group of dedicated extremists with little or no religious motivation. For them the symbolic religious issue was rather a pretext to mount what was in fact an anti-Jewish political campaign. The campaign had been pre-planned at a meeting of various extreme right groups, most notably the National Party ‘Fatherland’.143 Among those who planted the crosses were also Janusz Bryczkowski, the former leader of the PFN, Bohdan Pore˛ ba, formerly of the national-communist Grunwald Association, Jan Bartula, a local councillor and member of the neo-pagan PWN-PSN, and many other extreme right and neo-fascist activists who were hardly pious Catholics.144 Leszek Bubel, a former presidential candidate and a publisher of numerous pornographic newspapers, became involved too, and made his particular mark on the campaign. Several of his newly launched mass-circulation antisemitic papers became the mouthpiece of the ‘defenders of the cross’, and he was a frequent visitor to the site, which attracted numerous other radical activists, including members of the NOP, nazi-skinheads and members of the small Lefebvrist fundamentalist group who had split from the mainstream church in the 1980s. In the end, the protesters were forcefully removed from the site together with all the newly planted crosses. Their leader, Kazimierz S´ witon´ , was subsequently convicted for distributing antisemitic propaganda at the site of the former camp.145 On another level, however, the ‘defenders of the cross’ were successful. The centre-right government guaranteed that the main cross, which had been at

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the root of the contention, was there to stay. While Tejkowski’s provocative march through Auschwitz in 1996 had been widely condemned, the equally provocative planting of crosses in 1998 did not result in a similarly broad condemnation. In fact public opinion was split, with a large section of the conservative spectrum actually supporting the extreme right protesters. In this sense, the mobilization around the Auschwitz crosses provided the extreme right with the first taste of symbolic success. A few years later, in 2002, Janusz Marszałek was elected as the mayor of Os´ wie˛ cim (Auschwitz) as an independent right-wing candidate on a platform that stressed resistance to alleged Jewish interference in local affairs.146 Another intense debate was sparked by the publication of Neighbours, by the Polish-born New York University professor Jan T. Gross, and the film of the same name by Agnieszka Arnold. The book described the slaughter in the town of Jedwabne in 1941, which claimed the lives of up to 1,600 Jews by local Poles, and it challenged the long-held and nearly universal perception of Poles as victims and not as perpetrators. Gross’s research and the public discussions it inspired have been an important part of Poland’s reckoning with the antisemitic elements of its past, which until recently remained relatively unknown to the wider public. Konstanty Gebert notes the unprecedented ‘scope and depth of the Jedwabne debate, not to mention its frankness and courage’.147 The book and the revelations that similar massacres took place in some other Polish villages became the subject of numerous articles and heated discussions in the Polish press, including the pages of the leading dailies.148 Some of the articles were apologetic and even antisemitic and hinted that alleged Jewish collaboration with Soviet troops before 1941, during the September 1939–June 1941 occupation, could serve as an explanation and even as a justification for the pogrom. Many Polish publications strove to ‘prove’ that the Germans were to blame for the killings, not local Poles who were coerced into violence. It was also claimed that the Jews got their just deserts because of their role in imposing Stalinist rule in Poland. To some extent this view was propagated by the Roman Catholic Primate Cardinal Glemp (who also compared Jedwabne to ‘bloodshed among neighbours in Palestine’) and the Jedwabne parish priest Edward Orłowski. On the other hand, on 27 May 2001 the Polish Episcopate publicly apologized to God for the sins perpetrated against the Jews in Jedwabne and elsewhere. That apology was tempered by Cardinal Glemp’s suggestion that Jews apologize to Poles for their role in imposing communism on Poland and for the atrocities committed by Jewish members of the hated secret police in the Stalinist years. Father Henryk Jankowski, the Gdan´ sk priest and ally of Lech Wałe˛ sa, who had a long record of vituperative remarks against Jews, displayed in his church a model of the Jedwabne barn in which Jews were burned and suggested that the crime never happened. Ryszard Bugaj, a respected intellectual of the Polish left, provided evidence of deeply embedded patterns of prejudice in an article published in the liberal

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Gazeta Wyborcza in January 2001, in which he warned that Gross’s book strengthened an unjust stereotype of an antisemitic Poland and served powerful interests of Jews who have material claims against Poland in the context of the proposed law on reprivatization.149 Bugaj ignored the fact that the bill excluded from compensation former owners who were not considered Polish citizens in 1999 (in practice mainly Polish Jews – Holocaust survivors who emigrated from 1939 on). The Polish Foreign Ministry had asked the parliament not to exclude non-citizens from compensation, but the AWS faction enforced an amendment to that effect proposed by Marcin Libicki of the PN-ZChN-AWS. The bill was eventually vetoed by President Kwas´ niewski. Similarly, the widespread reaction of the right-wing press to revelations on Jedwabne was to link them with material claims of ‘the international Jewish lobby’. To support this thesis, Norman Finkelstein’s book The Holocaust Industry was commonly quoted.150 Finkelstein himself gave interviews to a number of Polish antisemitic magazines (for example, the weekly Nasza Polska)151 repeating his claim of a conspiracy of international Jewish organizations that was aimed at humiliating and exploiting European nations, among which Poland was one of the most vulnerable, and warned Poland to be vigilant against an impending Jewish assault. Several other widely distributed full-length books were published by the Polish extreme right on the occasion of the Jedwabne controversy.152 As in the case of the Auschwitz crosses, the conflict on Jedwabne concerned the issue of collective memory. This time the scale of emotional mobilization was even larger than during the preceding Auschwitz crisis. The publication of Jan Gross’s book resulted in a massive national debate about the legacy of Polish antisemitism. However, it also brought out a large amount of previously dormant stereotypes and nationalist attitudes, including in the media mainstream. Some arguments, for example about ‘Jewish communism’, had been largely confined to the fringe, but since the Jedwabne controversy they have been aired with much more confidence and by mainstream right-wing media. Here too, extreme right activists, such as Leszek Bubel and Bohdan Pore˛ ba, and their groups were happily involved, both on the ground in Jedwabne and at the national level. Again, they could claim a partial victory through the political climate they influenced: for example, although President Kwas´ niewski took part in the important and controversial commemoration in July 2001, the bishops and the government did not. The participation of President Kwas´ niewski in the ceremony was an important step in Polish acknowledgment of responsibility for the event, despite the Church hierarchy’s refusal to take part and its holding of a separate ceremony for the victims in a Warsaw church. Kwas´ niewski’s speech condemning antisemitism made a strong impression on observers internationally, but earned him attacks from the national right wing. Significantly, the inscription on the new Jedwabne monument, which was unveiled in July 2001, was sufficiently ambiguous to leave doubts as to who

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the perpetrators of the slaughter were. It does not clearly state that the murders were perpetrated by local Poles, as Jewish circles had hoped. Such historical debates may have been less significant in some other countries. In Poland each of them topped news headlines for several months. In the late 1990s and early 2000s issues of memory and identity seemed to occupy an ever-growing space in the country’s politics, radically polarizing the spectrum. In the process, the populist radical right made important discursive gains. As we already mentioned, a previously quite unthinkable phenomenon, Holocaust denial, appeared on the extremist scene by the late 1990s, too.153 In December 1999 the local court in Opole declared that Dr Dariusz Ratajczak, a researcher at the University of Opole, had infringed the law against Holocaust denial in his book Tematy niebezpeieczne (‘Dangerous Topics’), but that his crime was ‘socially harmless’. Characteristically, columnists of two major mainstream newspapers, Gazeta Wyborcza and Rzeczpospolita, wrote that Ratajczak should not be prosecuted, in the name of freedom of speech. Ratajczak was accompanied in court by the notorious antisemitic activist Kazimierz Switon´ , (in)famous for having planted crosses at Auschwitz, and by the publisher Leszek Bubel. The latter was quick to profit from the publicity surrounding the case and issued a pocket edition of the book, which was distributed widely by the state company Ruch. Several days after the verdict Ratajczak was the guest at a political meeting organized by the National Party, of which he was a longtime member. After several months of deliberating, the University of Opole finally dismissed Ratajczak from his academic post. Ryszard Bender, professor of history at the Catholic University of Lublin and a nationalist political activist, defended Ratajczak in a regular column published in Głos, a radical right-wing weekly published by Antoni Macierewicz, a former minister of home affairs and a member of parliament. Disciplinary proceedings were begun against Bender by his university after he, together with Ratajczak and a historian of the Polish Church, Peter Raina, participated in a Radio Maryja broadcast in January 2000, and repeated the claim that ‘Auschwitz was not a death camp’, but no legal action was taken against him. Holocaust denial found further support in the rightwing weeklies Mys´ l Polska and Najwyz· szy Czas. The former published an open letter from a group of right-wing academics signed, among others, by Andrzej L. Szczes´ niak, author of numerous history textbooks, some of which were tainted with antisemitism. The sudden prominence of Holocaust denial and of David Irving’s work in particular, was remarkable in the late 1990s. Previously thought of as beyond the pale, Holocaust revisionism became a right-wing intellectual fashion, occasionally transcending the extreme right milieu and entering into more mainstream discourse. For some on the right antisemitism proved stronger than Poland’s own history. In the country where most of the Holocaust took place, a number of far-right authors began to doubt the Nazi genocide. When

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Irving’s books appeared in Polish in the late 1990s, they received praise not just from marginal extremist publications but from the mainstream right-wing press, too. They were also given enthusiastic reviews on Polish state TV.154 At some moment the respected Polish historian Piotr Madajczyk lamented the fact that Holocaust revisionist literature ‘dominated the bookshops’.155 At the beginning of the 21st century expressions of explicit support for Holocaust revisionism became more rare. It was arguably due to the publicized court case Irving lost to Deborah Lipstadt in London, as well as to the awareness of the newly introduced law that officially penalized Holocaust denial. The law concerned the functioning of the Institute of National Memory (Instytut Pamie˛ ci Narodowej, IPN) and the question of communist secret service files and the problem of denying of crimes against humanity was dealt with in passing, in one paragraph only. Professor Witold Kulesza, who had initiated the provision, admitted he did not expect it would ever be used against a Polish author; Holocaust denial had been perceived as a Western, and especially German, phenomenon. Nevertheless, the appearance, however brief, of Holocaust revisionism in the mainstream discourse demonstrated the potential of thinly veiled antisemitic conspiracy theories to win supporters. This intensification of debates on issues concerning the Jews in general, and especially Polish–Jewish wartime history, has highlighted residual patterns of prejudice present in Polish society. Ireneusz Krzemin´ ski proposes an interpretation of contemporary Polish antisemitism without Jews156 as a result of the competition of two national narratives, both claiming supreme martyrdom, or, in other words, the competition of suffering.157 Since communal emotional bonds so often relate to memory issues, the number of Jews actually living in today’s Poland ceases to matter as a mitigating factor. According to Krzemin´ ski, the undermining of the Polish heroic narrative conflicts strongly with the quasi-Messianic elements of the national tradition, or ‘an interpretation of the model of Polishness, a model of “being Polish” whose main thrust are the Romantic-Messianic convictions’.158 In the words of Konstanty Gebert, too, ‘The debate on the Jedwabne massacre (. . .) struck at the very heart of the fundamental Polish stereotype of the nation as innocent sufferer’.159 This self-stereotype is nothing less but ‘the nation’s founding myth’.160 During the peak of the liberal democratic consensus in the mid-1990s, antisemitism in Poland was often treated as a remnant of the past, associated mostly with the disappearing pre-war generation. Adam Michnik optimistically proclaimed in a 1995 debate with Józef Tischner: ‘Who cares about the things which Tejkowski is saying? Nobody’; implying a permanent marginalization of the antisemitic fringe.161 As a matter of general progress in democracy building, antisemitism and other hatreds were expected to wane as a more rational social order was taking shape. These predictions were proved false: antisemitism had been transmitted to the younger generations. Comparing results of empirical research on antisemitism in 1992 and 2002,

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Krzemin´ ski stated firmly: ‘In the case of Poland there is no doubt that national – patriotic or nationalistic – convictions have been significantly strengthened’.162 He notes that such results were ‘surprising’ and they would not have been expected by his team ten years earlier.163 The expected decrease in antisemitic attitudes did not happen, quite the contrary, various coefficients of antisemitic attitudes and stereotypes slightly rose. One possible explanation, according to Krzemin´ ski, is that ‘since 1992 social centres have appeared which can strengthen and conserve such attitudes, for example Radio Maryja, known for the public promotion of decidedly antisemitic views and opinions’.164 The above interpretation seems well founded. As we have noted, Radio Maryja was not the only such ‘social centre’ spreading radical xenophobic ethno-nationalism. By the late 1990s the scene was complete with Leszek Bubel’s crude antisemitic papers sold in large quantities by mainstream distribution channels. A racist youth culture developed, stretching all the way from the skinhead music scene to the hooligan-dominated football stadiums and to radical right university fraternities and the Internet, which appeared in Poland in the late 1990s. David Ost was arguably right to state that ‘In Poland, the radical right’s hatred of choice has been the hatred of Jews’.165 The general weakening of the foundations of Polish democracy, paradoxically parallel to its institutional consolidation, meant that antisemitism too came to resonate with larger sections of the population. Rather than an isolated phenomenon, it can be seen as an ‘attack on the universal (that is, democracy) through an attack on a particular (an ethnic group)’.166 The lack of actual Jews did not seem to be a particular obstacle here. In the words of Konstanty Gebert, ‘Anti-Semitism without Jews must not necessarily fade away. It may also become fixed and permanent – and this is what happened in Poland’.167 As we saw, the slow progress of the populist radical right during the 1990s bore fruit first of all in the cultural field rather than direct political organizing or electoral results. It involved the considerable efforts of numerous actors on various levels as well as some ideological and tactical innovation. Ironically, the main political group that came to harvest the political electoral fruit of those efforts in the 2000s was the ideologically rigid endeks led by Maciej Giertych. The Giertych tradition had been decidedly hostile to innovation and was known for its general political inflexibility. It kept a rather low profile during the 1990s, overshadowed by the other players. The other populist movement that left a mark on Polish politics in the 2000s was Andrzej Lepper’s super-flexible agrarian Self-Defence (Samoobrona). We are going to turn our attention to these two particular movements in the next chapter.

5

The League of Polish Families and its integral nationalism

History The LPR was created just a few months prior to the 2001 parliamentary election as an alliance of far right groups supported by Radio Maryja. The endorsement by Father Tadeusz Rydzyk was the single most important factor in securing parliamentary seats for the newly established group. Technically speaking, the LPR came into existence through changing the name of the SND, by then a defunct ‘empty shell’ party; SND leaders had joined the SN.1 In this way, the new grouping was officially registered just in time for the electoral campaign and it could enter the parliament without passing the 8 per cent threshold required for coalitions (only 5 per cent was needed for a single party contesting the election). Castle and Taras describe the LPR in its early period as a specimen of ‘unofficial election alliances taking the legal form of parties to avoid the higher threshold required of coalitions’.2 This electoral legal trick had become standard in Polish politics since the spectacular failure of an overconfident ZChN-led coalition to reach 8 per cent in 1993.3 In any case, the very fact that the newly created LPR passed the 5 per cent mark already seemed a huge success. Some legal irregularities at the launching of the party came back to haunt the LPR later. A disgruntled activist revealed that the SND congress that formally gave birth to the LPR had never taken place, and some of the signatures on the protocol provided to the registration court by the lawyer Roman Giertych were simply forged.4 Despite the revelations, the LPR did not lose its registration, and none of the culprits of the falsification was held accountable. The public prosecutor decided not to proceed with charges because of time passage. The fact that Roman Giertych was a deputy prime minister by then, and the LPR one of three ruling parties, puts the prosecutor’s decision in perspective. The SN provided many of the LPR’s cadres and eventually dominated the new party. In reality, however, the LPR was far from a homogeneous party at its outset. The SN activists led by Giertych formed the bulk of the membership, but the SN was just one of several building blocs put together by Father Rydzyk. Other players included various groups led by well-known

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right-wing politicians who, at different times, parted ways with the mainstream right and took a more radical position. Among the important figures were Antoni Macierewicz, a former Minister of the Interior and leader of the Catholic-National Movement (Ruch Katolicko-Narodowy, RKN), Gabriel Janowski, a former Minister of Agriculture and leader of the Alliance for Poland (Przymierze dla Polski, PdP), Jan Łopuszan´ ski, a former ZChN leader and AWS MP, leading his own Polish Alliance (Porozumienie Polskie, PP). In addition, Jan Olszewski, a former Prime Minister and leader of the Movement for the Reconstruction of Poland (Ruch Odbudowy Polski, ROP) was elected to Parliament on the LPR ticket. The nominal head of the LPR, Marek Kotlinowski, presided over what was in fact a coalition of groups and their leaders. Nevertheless, all the above mentioned historical leaders gradually left the LPR finding themselves in conflict with the leader of the parliamentary faction, the young and dynamic former SN leader Roman Giertych. In a remarkable process, he gradually overshadowed the old guard in the public eye and by the end of the parliamentary term established himself as the unquestioned leader of the party. The older, non-SN aligned leaders were unable to form a common front against Giertych. They were isolated and gradually pushed out of the LPR, whose parliamentary faction eventually shrank from 38 to just 19 MPs. As a result, it became a much more homogeneous, unified and disciplined force, in terms of both organization and, especially, ideology.5 Arguably, charismatic leadership is a frequent attribute of various fascist and populist movements, but it is not an indispensable feature of a populist radical right party. It is not an element of the National Democrat tradition either. Even Roman Dmowski chose to remain an ideologue/adviser to the movement rather than its leader in the 1920s and 1930s. The leader principle was not necessarily a part of the National Radical tradition either. The ONR-Falanga had an unquestioned leader in the person of Bolesław Piasecki, but the ONR-ABC faction was run by a more collective form of leadership. Nevertheless, the LPR gradually did evolve into a party dominated by its strong leader (interestingly, Self-Defence and PiS developed similar features). Roman Giertych’s charisma worked strongest among the dedicated cadre of young MW members who came to dominate the wider party organization. One may speak of a ‘coterie-charisma’, to use Roger Eatwell’s term, of a leader who ‘attracted a hard core of supporters (. . .) who (. . .) have accorded their leader great loyalty and have been willing to make special efforts on behalf of the cause’.6 There have been rumours of a secret internal organization inside the LPR, complete with ritual oaths of personal loyalty to the leader. Several former members of the LPR testified to its existence.7 Such a mode of double organizing structure, one formal and one secretive, would actually correspond with the pre-war endek tradition, but it is not necessarily very important for us to know if a secret organization really existed within the LPR in the 2000s. What

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is more relevant is the fact that such information circulated and could be taken seriously simply due to the appearance of the LPR as a leaderdominated party. By 2005, the LPR indeed functioned as if it were run by a secretive clique personally obedient to the supreme leader. The LPR was far from politically isolated, and it was seemingly treated as a fully legitimate player by all the other parties, including the SLD. Significantly, it was routinely invited by President Kwas´ niewski for consultations, together with other party leaders, even when he refused to extend a similar invitation to the agrarian populists of Self-Defence, which he deemed an anti-democratic party.8 The party tasted power for the first time at the regional level. While the notion of a ‘cordon sanitair’ against the populist radical right was virtually non-existent, the LPR was free to enter coalitions with various partners and thus further obtained positions of influence. Wojciech Wierzejski, for example, became deputy chairman of the regional council (sejmik) of Mazowsze (Central Poland) in 2002. An important local coalition brought together the LPR and the PiS in the Warsaw city council in 2004. The conservative mayor Lech Kaczynski accepted the demand of the LPR to build a monument to Roman Dmowski in the city centre (the monument was unveiled after two years, in 2006). In February 2004, Jan Maria Jackowski, an LPR leader and nationalist author, was elected chairman of the city council with PiS support. In the summer of 2004 Roman Giertych became a member of the select committee of the Polish parliament set up to investigate alleged wide-scale irregularities in state supervision of the oil industry and trade. This appointment guaranteed him almost daily exposure on prime time national TV for a whole year. Being an eloquent lawyer and a good public speaker (in contrast to the rather dull Maciej Giertych who was dispatched to the European Parliament), Roman Giertych exploited the chance to the maximum, raising his personal profile as the leader of the Polish far right. As a member of the committee he specialized in exposing alleged foreign conspiracies against Polish interests and the collusion of former communist secret service agents with members of the country’s new business elite. It allowed him to jump on the bandwagon of a growing anti-corruption sentiment, which was to express itself politically with an ever-stronger force in the 2005 election. At the time, the LPR seemed a well-oiled political machine, with a double strategy vaguely reminiscent of historical fascist movements: on the one hand, it used the parliament as a platform to denounce the system; on the other hand, the MW strong-arm squads intimidated opponents and sought to physically dominate public spaces. Well-known MPs defecting from other, hitherto more mainstream, parties, e.g. from the PSL (Janusz Dobrosz, Bogdan Pe˛ k) and PiS (Adrzej Man´ ka), joined the ranks of the LPR. While the LPR leaders were making speeches in parliament and local councils, the MW was increasingly active at the street level. It intimidated and attacked opponents with growing frequency, most notably gay and feminist

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groups. It staged a large number of street demonstrations against Polish membership of the European Union, including flag-burning (e.g. in May 2001 in Rzeszów and in May 2002 in Kraków), and the disruption of proEuropean meetings (e.g. in May 2001 and in May 2002 in Warsaw). MW activists physically attacked gay rights supporters (e.g. on 9 February 2001 in Poznan´ and on 8 May 2004 in Kraków), left-wingers (e.g. on 1 May 2001 and 2002 in Warsaw), and religious minorities (e.g. members of the Hare Krishna religious group in Tomaszów Mazowiecki in May 2001). In May 2003, MW members in different cities disrupted several meetings with President Kwas´ niewski that were campaigning in favour of EU accession. On that occasion, the police briefly detained one of the aggressive nationalists, Piotr Farfał, the already mentioned MW militant who went on to become a leading LPR member in the years to come.9 On 13 March 2005 a group of 30 MW members shouted down and prevented former President Wałe˛ sa from making a speech at the 25th anniversary of the Solidarity union in Olsztyn. The LPR’s strength led the former SLD Prime Minister Józef Oleksy to warn as early as November 2003: ‘The mainstream right-wing poses no serious alternative [to the incumbent government – R.P] but the radical nationalist option is likely’. Oleksy urged the unpopular government to get its act together and regain public support if such a scenario was to be avoided. The SLD’s failure was largely associated with increased economic hardship resulting from the dire post-2001 recession, and most specifically the evergrowing unemployment rate, which peaked at well over 20 per cent of the workforce. Allegations of pervasive corruption added to a widespread sense of an economic and moral crisis.

Ideology and cultural references The choice of name was hardly accidental. The ‘league’ had been a label long used in the National Democratic tradition, going back to the Polish League (Liga Polska) and the National League (Liga Narodowa) – the 19th-century precursors to the endek movement. More importantly, the usage of ‘family’ in the party name appealed to the centrality of family ties in Polish society and to the already customary rhetoric preoccupation of politicians of all shades with the good of the Polish family, entrenched in the country’s Constitution. Family as a biological and cultural reproductive unit acquired a central place in the ethnonationalist ideology, too. Later, the mention of ‘family’ in the party name took on an additional ironic context when the LPR was taken over by a father and son team of Maciej and Roman Giertych. Roman Giertych, whose first name symbolized the family’s devotion to Roman Dmowski, represented a specific political family tradition going back to the 1930s, established by his grandfather Je˛ drzej Giertych (who died in 1991). As discussed earlier, the Giertych tradition was notable for its strong emphasis on endek ideological orthodoxy, as developed by the outbreak of World War II. The Giertych tendency rejected all attempts at modernization

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of endek thought undertaken in the latter half of the 20th century by the likes of Wiesław Chrzanowski. Its outlook was unreconstructed and stable in its focus on an alleged Jewish and Masonic conspiracy at the centre of global, and Polish, affairs. The old ideological battles of the 1920s and 1930s were central to the creed, too. Je˛ drzej Giertych often demonstrated a much more intense hostility to Józef Piłsudski10 than to the communist regime in Poland, which he refused to condemn completely. When he did criticize the Stalinist period, it was for supporting ‘Judeopolonia’ (‘Jew–Poland’): ‘The country was ruled by the Marxist doctrine even more [sic!] than during Piłsudski’s time’.11 He appreciated the communists’ subsequent effective abandonment of the internationalist doctrine. Moreover, he declared support for the communist regime in its clampdown on the ‘Jewish–Trotskyite’ opposition (first, KOR and, later, Solidarity) and welcomed the imposition of martial law in 1981.12 Giertych claimed KOR had an outlook that was ‘thoroughly communist and even more Jewish [than the communist regime in the 1970s – R.P.] and more strongly connected with the Jewish camp in world politics’.13 Je˛ drzej’s son Maciej was the chosen inheritor of his father’s political mission. Educated as a biologist in Oxford and Toronto, he returned to Poland at Je˛ drzej Giertych’s instigation in the 1960s and worked at the Polish Academy of Sciences. As we noted, he was instrumental in uncovering the written heritage of Feliks Koneczny, whose works, published by Je˛ drzej Giertych in London, became a key element in the orthodox endek ideology. In the late 1980s, Maciej Giertych was simultaneously an official adviser to Catholic Primate Józef Glemp and Communist strongman Wojciech Jaruzelski. Nevertheless, his own endek political circle was rather small and composed of just several individuals. In 1989 the SN was revived by a group of elderly endeks, led by Professor Stefan Jarze˛ bski, who had been a communist Minister of the Environment in the 1980s, and supported, among others, by Jan Dobraczyn´ ski, a well-known writer and chairman of the pro-communist PRON organization during the 1980s. After a few months, the group was joined by Maciej Giertych with his entourage. Maciej Giertych was recognized as the SN’s chief ideologue, while his son Roman was put in charge of the party’s youth organization. In the 1990s the Giertychs’ SN remained marginal and was conspicuous for its obscurity, even in relation to some other, more popular, rival endek groups, which were discussed in earlier chapters. It seemed to focus on fortifying the historical-ideological purity of its political sect rather than on becoming a broader political force acceptable to the mainstream. Armed in the power of ideological detail, it was battling rival grouplets who were claiming the endek tradition and the historical National Party label. The public prosecutor’s probe into its antisemitic campaign in 1991 came to nil, but the fact that such a probe was undertaken contributed to the fact the SN was located firmly on the extremist fringe of Polish politics. Maciej Giertych’s group owed the occasional name-check mostly to its

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leader’s outstanding background as an Oxford-educated academic, which was surely an untypical feature in this part of the political spectrum.14 The notoriousness of the family name of Je˛ drzej Giertych – developed through many decades of publishing in exile – played a role, too. The youth organization headed by Roman Giertych became the core of the renewed LPR. The All-Polish Youth (Młodziez· Wszechpolska, MW) had been launched in December 1989 and soon came to serve as a youth group for the SN. From the beginning it was known as a radical nationalist group, which continued the tradition of the violent, antisemitic youth organization of the same name that was active in the 1920s and 1930s. It is appropriate to remember that the MW had been responsible for numerous attacks on Jewish students in the years before World War II. As we noted, antisemitism remained at the heart of the Giertychite creed, and it flourished in the ranks of the MW. Its websites and publications proudly featured historic antisemitic declarations of its pre-war predecessors. Grzegorz Sielatycki, a leading member of the MW in Gdan´ sk, wrote on the pages of an organizational bulletin Walka (‘The Struggle’) in 1998: The pollution of our own culture by alien elements is dangerous. Why do they include Jewish authors such as Julian Tuwim, Bruno Schulz, Bolesław Les´ mian, Tadeusz Peiper, Roman Brandstaetter, Andrzej Szczypiorski or many others under the label of Polish culture in Polish textbooks? Why do they consider Jewish literature in Polish language as ours? The language cannot be a decisive argument that determines the national character of a literature and the aspirations of Jewish writers do not determine it either. Their psyche determines it, and it reveals the Jewish character of the literature they produce. The Jewish psyche is crippled, sick, degenerate and abnormal.15 All the writers listed above were widely acclaimed representatives of Polish 20th-century literature; incidentally, Szczypiorski was not of Jewish descent, while Les´ mian and Brandstaetter were both devout converted Catholics. The author of the above passage rose to the post of regional MW and LPR leader in Gdan´ sk and became an LPR representative on the regional council (voivodship sejmik). The antisemitic culture was clearly discernable in MW ranks well in the 2000s. For example, antisemitic books, such as Henry Ford’s The International Jew, were used by the MW to educate its members.16 Je˛ drzej Giertych’s books remained a core part of the members’ core curriculum as well. In 2003, the MW staged numerous events to commemorate Je˛ drzej Giertych’s centenary, once again demonstrating its commitment to the most rigid and orthodox version of the endek doctrine, complete with antisemitism and the standard conspiracy theories. Characteristically, Jan Maria Jackowski, the LPRnominated chairman of Warsaw city council, had warned in one of his books against Poland becoming a ‘land reserve’ for ‘one of the sides in the Middle

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East conflict’, alluding to a conspiracy for potential Jewish settlement in Poland, a claim that circulated widely on the Polish extreme right.17 This notwithstanding, the media could not attribute documented antisemitic statements to Roman Giertych himself, until a few weeks before the 2006 election, when Marcin Kornak, the chairman of the anti-fascist Never Again Association, found and publicized an article that Giertych himself had penned in the 1990s for an internal publication, Wszechpolak, in which he applied the antisemitic term ‘parchy’ to describe his political opponents.18 The word used to mean a nasty kind of skin disease, but at least since the beginning of the 20th century has been used by antisemites as a derogatory term for Jews.19 This last example illustrates the pervasiveness of antisemitism in the ranks of the MW and LPR, including the top leadership. A political fiction novel allegedly written by Roman Giertych, under an assumed name (a method also used by Roman Dmowski), was entitled Beyond the Blue Curtain – Polish Intelligence Chasing Freemasons, and reflected the twin obsession of the endek conspiracy theory-prone mindset.20 In Poland, Freemasonry is perceived as a left-liberal network and is routinely associated with Jewish influence by endek antisemites. The book’s plot ends with the patriotic police obtaining a list of unpatriotic traitors (Freemasons) and arresting them by their thousands early one morning. The MW set out to implement the ‘cultural revolution’ among the young generation as envisaged by Roman Giertych in 1990. It even circulated an internal document outlining its method of targeting schools (including primary schools) under false pretexts and labels to recruit unsuspecting pupils. The plan was penned by Wojciech Wierzejski, Roman Giertych’s right-hand man and an MW activist who within a few years became one of the country’s top parliamentarians.21 Unlike its predecessor, the reconstituted MW was not a university student organization, but recruited young people from outside the higher educational institutions too. The latter day MW was composed largely of skinheads and also tended to use violence against political opponents. While Maciej Giertych was known to show reserve and reluctance towards the recruitment of skinheads, the MW, under the leadership of his son, was happy to welcome them in their ranks. Their occasional calls not to wear skinhead cloths on public occasions tended to be ignored by the rank and file. According to one former MW member, ‘Roman reached out to those who wanted to come round. And they were mostly people from the skin circles, who were attracted by the radical language and by Giertych’s historic surname. (. . .) He drew his cadres from there throughout the 90s’.22 MW also organized ‘white power’ music concerts, such as that of the antisemitic skinhead band Twierdza (‘The Fortress’) in Leszno on 4 August 2002. Twierdza was the MW’s rock band of choice: its lyrics eulogized, among others, the Spanish dictator General Francisco Franco. The band’s singer was a brother of Piotr S´ lusarczyk, a leading MW activist and future LPRnominated minister. Twierdza’s nationalist songs provided the soundtrack to

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the LPR’s electoral campaign TV spots as late as 2006.23 Wierzejski’s happy photo with skinheads at a Twierdza gig became a mainstream media event in 2006.24 The depth of the MW’s immersion in the racist skinhead culture could be observed on the pages of ‘Bastion’, a Białystok based publication and flagship MW magazine for several years.25 It contained articles promoting extreme nationalist skinhead bands and approvingly quoted some of the most radical racist lyrics. Some of the articles were written by Tomasz Kostyła, the leader of the well-known skinhead band Legion. Bastion did not even shy away from occasionally publishing pieces with particularly pronounced neo-fascist contents, including articles eulogizing Leon Degrelle, Waffen-SS General and founder of the fascist Belgian Rex movement, or a statement by Gary Lauck, the notorious neo-nazi leader of the American NSDAP/AO. Kornak notes that the latter publication occurred as late as 2002, when the MW could already boast representation in the national parliament and its members were entering positions of influence at the level of regional government.26 MW members and chapters were strongly indoctrinated in the spirit of the Giertych-style National Democratic tradition, but they were frequently equally enthusiastic for the kin National Radical legacy. The ‘hand with a sword’ emblem of Bolesław Piasecki’s ONR Falanga was commonly used by local MW groups. Skinhead ONR members were courted by the LPR and even stood as its candidates in local elections in the South of Poland. The day before the 2005 parliamentary election, numerous MW and LPR activists took part in the funeral of Zygmunt Przetakiewicz, the leader of the 1930s ONR-Falanga terror squads, and Bolesław Piasecki’s closest collaborator in post-war years. A book eulogizing the murderous campaign of National Radical violence in the 1930s was promoted on the official MW website, and meetings were organized with its author (a notorious racist football hooligan active at Polonia Warszawa football club), who became a parliamentary candidate for the LPR in Warsaw in 2005.27 The book, published by the NOP’s publishing outfit, the National-Radical Institute (Instytut NarodowoRadykalny), was entitled Blood and Honour: this former SS motto is used as the name for the well-known musical-political organization launched by Ian Stewart Donaldson, the founding father of neo-nazi skinhead rock.28 Nazi-skin codes permeated the MW. For example, in early 2005, the official website of the MW Podlasie region included characteristic keywords in its own internet site description (which is meant to help the web browser): ‘skins, skinheads, skinheads nr, ns, hooligans, skinheads polska, swastyka, celtyk [a Polish slang term for the Celtic cross, used as a racist skinhead symbol – R.P.], Celtic cross, oi, sieg heil, 88, 14, 14/88, national socialism, falanga’.29 88 is an international neo-nazi code meaning ‘Heil Hitler’ (8 stands for the eighth letter of the alphabet), and the figure 14, another easily recognized international racist code, stands for ‘14 words’, a motto conceived by David Lane, a member of the US nazi-terrorist group The Order: ‘We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children’.30

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One is led to suspect that for some MW members the organization was little more than a Polish equivalent of fascism to which they felt a strong attraction, and this occasionally surfaced. For instance, in January 2005, LPR and MW members were observed singing antisemitic songs, shouting ‘Heil Hitler’ and neo-pagan Zadruga-style slogans on a train while on their way to the LPR national congress.31 The MW also attracted some activists of neofascist groups such as the NOP. Among them was the nazi-skinhead fanzine Front editor, Piotr Farfał, whose later claim to fame included becoming chairman of Polish state TV, through Roman Giertych’s political patronage. There was some movement in the other direction, too; for example, the radical Łódz´ branch of the MW, which published the virulently antisemitic publication ‘Łódzki Szaniec’ (‘Łódz´ Bulwark’), defected to the NOP in the late 1990s. In contrast, the Białystok branch, with a few other activists, defected to the more moderate ZChN/AWS in 1998, and was rewarded by several posts in the newly reformed health service management.32 Nevertheless, by the early 2000s, the MW clearly dominated the youth spectrum of right-wing extremist organizations. Here, again, the sympathy of Radio Maryja played a role. MW activists were invited to conduct broadcasts targeting a younger audience and for some time were even allowed to play their favourite skinhead music on air. Importantly, Radio Maryja provided MW activists with training on media and organizing techniques. Although the LPR leadership far from endorsed the openly neo-nazi symbols or statements, and had to condemn them occasionally, it did not seriously seek to soften the general extremist edge of the party’s profile, even after it entered the parliament for the first time during the 2001–2005 term (it felt compelled to do so, in a visibly half-hearted fashion, by the 2007 election, which we describe in another chapter). On the contrary, the young MW extremists replaced older, more moderate leaders at the steering wheel of the LPR, even as it provoked adverse reactions in the media. One reason for that may have been the dedication of the party faithful and its leaders to the orthodox extremist message of Je˛ drzej Giertych, which provided the group with its identity in the 1990s. Secondly, the sense of competition with the LPR defectors may have pushed the leaders into maintaining the hardline profile in order to keep the appearance of a distinct and uncompromising force in the eyes of the supporters. Finally, the worsening situation of the country, and the widespread disillusionment with the Social Democratic government, favoured the more extreme rhetoric of radical opposition groups and discouraged moderation. It reinforced a shift in the public mood, which had already been discernible and instrumental in the 2001 populist entry onto the parliamentary scene. Under such circumstances, extreme views displayed by LPR activists were frequently rewarded rather than muted by the party. Joanna Kurczewska and Monika Trojanowska-Strze˛ boszewska present an alternative perspective, noting what they term a ‘deradicalisation of LPR discourse’ in that period. They add, however, that it ‘was accompanied by the

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maintaining of radical and xenophobic discourse e.g. on nation and the attitude to “others” in the All-Polish Youth’. They supplemented it with another important reservation, arguing that ‘it is worth distinguishing the official party rhetoric and the statement or interviews of party leaders from unofficial documents and practices of local party members’. They went on to contrast strongly anti-German utterances of a regional LPR leader in Opole, a region with a sizeable German minority, with a more moderate answer provided to the same question (if a German descendant could ever be allowed to join the LPR) by Roman Giertych. The regional leader reportedly answered: ‘we are an anti-German party . . . and such origins cannot be accepted’.33 Castle and Taras characterized the LPR as a party ‘composed of devoutly Catholic Eurosceptics’.34 Such a description might have been appropriate in the LPR’s early period, when it could appear as little more than a coalition of ultra-conservative right-wing groups gathered around Radio Maryja. With the passing of time, and the complete takeover of the LPR by the Giertychs, the SN and the MW, it became clear, however, that the core identity of the party was not just its anti-EU stance (which was more Euroreject than Eurosceptic anyway),35 nor even its Catholicism, but – first and foremost – its radical ethnonationalism and the rejection of liberal and democratic values. Other sources have occasionally referred to the LPR simply as ‘conservative’ or ‘right-wing’.36 Such labels, while, of course, not completely unfounded, do not really reflect the essence of the party’s specific ideological orientation. Even the Polish mainstream media, which had been traditionally reluctant to apply the charge of extremism to any parliamentary actor, increasingly referred to the LPR as an extreme right rather than a conservative or a Catholic party. This change in terminology took place as public awareness of the LPR’s sharpened ideological creed increased. In this vein, we may agree with Olga Wysocka who terms the LPR as ‘extreme-right populist’.37 The orthodox Giertychite ethnonationalist ideology of the LPR may or may not fulfil the textbook definition of populism, but fits well into Paul Taggart’s description of a frequent feature of populism as ‘qualified nationalism’. Not everybody is accepted as a legitimate participant of the idealized ‘heartland’ of the national community: While populism excludes those outside the nation, it does not include all those in the nation. The heartland, in so far as it refers to a nation, is a very qualified nationalism, explicitly excluding a series of social groups. It is based around the idea of an organic community that has some natural solidarity and therefore is more circumscribed than the sort of community contained within national boundaries.38 The LPR clearly excluded from its vision of the national community even those ethnic Poles who were deemed to represent ‘alien’ interests and ideologies. According to Roman Giertych, ‘As long as the forces of the Nation do

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not express themselves in a single strong organization, foreign agents and homegrown traitors will be having a free hand and play on our noses.’39 Polishness according to the LPR was the Polishness of the ‘real Poles’ only. It is certainly true that the LPR leaders did not stress their disdain for democracy at every occasion, especially as they took on the role of a parliamentary party and aimed to broaden their electoral base in the future. The party had to adopt certain basic conventions of parliamentary politics. There is a question, however, as to which standard the researcher accepts as fulfilling the label of ‘radicalism’ or ‘extremism’. For many Polish observers the gold standard of nationalist extremism was still to be found in the maverick extra-parliamentary Bolesław Tejkowski of the early 1990s, and he was indeed hard to beat in outrageous extreme rhetoric. We would argue, however, that the sheer number of extremist, xenophobic and chauvinistic statements expressed by LPR leaders in 2001–2005 amounts to a discursive critical mass, allowing us to treat the LPR as an extremist party whose ideology and practice were way outside the norms accepted by mainstream parties in contemporary democracies. There is no point in trying to list all the extreme statements made by LPR activists or all the violent attacks conducted by the MW; some chosen representative examples should suffice to make the case here. LPR leaders did not shy away from aggressive language and, especially, antisemitic statements. One of the founders and leaders of the LPR was Professor Ryszard Bender, a historian and a former MP in the communist parliament of the 1980s. During the 2001 election campaign Bender participated in LPR television spots denying the facts of the Jedwabne massacre. Despite this and his record of Holocaust denial (see above), the Sejm (parliament) appointed him as judge to represent the LPR on the State Court of Justice (Trybunał Stanu), an important constitutional body. The LPR continued to deny the facts of the Jedwabne pogrom. Uproar broke out on 28 February 2002 when, during a parliamentary debate, members of the LPR accused the then chairman of the Institute of National Memory (Instytut Pamie˛ ci Narodowej, IPN), Professor Leon Kieres, of being anti-Polish and serving Jewish interests. The attacks on Kieres were connected to his role in investigating the Jedwabne pogrom. The use of antisemitism in the parliamentary debate provoked a wave of condemnation, especially from intellectuals, but it did little to prevent similar occurrences in the future.40 Zygmunt Wrzodak, a former Solidarity leader linked with the SN, was elected to Parliament on the LPR list. On 15 April 2002, he declared in a Radio Maryja broadcast: ‘It is known that the European Union is controlled by Freemasonry (. . .) and the interest is the following: to empower both these nations, a global Jewish nation and a European German nation’.41 Antoni Macierewicz, who at the time was still a prominent leader of the LPR, and editor of the radical right newspaper Głos, said in a Radio Maryja broadcast on 19 July 2002 (in response to a listener’s question about the notorious

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Tsarist forgery, ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’): ‘I read it, it is very interesting, some say it is authentic, some say it’s not, I am not a specialist. Experience shows that there are such groups in Jewish circles’.42 In March 2003 a local LPR councillor (soon to be elected MEP), Bernard Wojciechowski, led a campaign against naming a primary school in Warsaw after a character in a children’s book written by Janusz Korczak, the Polish–Jewish educationalist who perished with the children in his care in Treblinka. Wojciechowski authored a lengthy open letter in which he referred to Korczak by his original Jewish name, Goldschmitt, and quoted pre-war antisemites Je˛ drzej Giertych and Lucjan Zarzecki, who accused Korczak of not representing national and Christian values. Wojciechowski claimed that ‘Korczak did not belong to Polish cultural heritage’.43 His opposition to the proposal was shared by other rightist members of the council. In another publicized case, an LPR councillor, Katarzyna Dec, persuaded right-wing members of the Białystok city council to remove a reference to the values of democracy, toleration and freedom from the proposed statute of a local high school; she also did not question the values of ‘solidarity’ and ‘justice’ that were listed as educational goals.44 The case – together with many other instances of ideologically motivated pressure on local educational and cultural institutions – illustrates the fact that even the local cadres of the LPR were strongly committed to the radically anti-liberal, reactionary ideology espoused by the party. It also shows how the hardline ideology of the LPR could be forced upon the other parties of the right, which lacked a similarly coherent ideological outlook and political self-confidence. Interestingly, while the MW and LPR declared themselves as strongly Catholic organizations, they loathed ecumenically-minded ‘modernist’ Catholic groups, yet collaborated with the neo-pagan nationalists of the Zadruga type gathered in the ‘Niklot’ Association.45 Moreover, Tomasz Szczepan´ ski, the national leader of Niklot, was even the LPR’s parliamentary candidate in Warsaw in 2007. These seemingly incompatible religious views were deprioritized in favour of a common radical nationalist identity. In the words of Tomasz Wrzosek, who analysed the religious elements in MW ideology, ‘the [MW] members manage to combine Catholicism (by definition a universal religion) with particularistic nationalism, owing to their selective emphasis on isolated fragments of theology (. . .). This means [MW] members treat religion as an instrument to promote their political and social views.’46 The LPR managed to position itself as the main force opposing Polish membership in the EU and the principal drive in the ‘No’ campaign prior to the June 2003 referendum on the issue. The party championed the anti-EU cause at a time when the general political consensus on Polish EU membership began to weaken. Aided by Radio Maryja, it especially capitalized on the identity-related fears of the conservative-traditionalist sections of society in the face of European integration, even despite John Paul II’s effective endorsement of the ‘yes’ vote. The LPR used wild claims pertaining to an alleged threat to Polish and

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Christian culture and identity posed by the EU, as illustrated by the above Wrzodak quote, which was a rather typical sample of LPR anti-EU rhetoric. Significantly, the LPR’s anti-EU campaign spent little time on structural and economic aspects of the integration, where genuine problems could have been identified. Instead, it focused on identity and culture, using well-established cultural clichés, especially the antisemitic and Germanophobic conspiracy theories legitimized by the quasi-religious authority of Radio Maryja.47 The political conflict was thus framed as a non-negotiable clash of fundamental identities and existential choices. Another key element of the LPR propaganda became the politicization of the ‘gay issue’. Virtually absent from Polish populist radical right discourse in the 1990s, aggressive homophobia rose to the top of the agenda in the 2000s. For example, on 9 February 2001 the SN and MW demonstrated in front of the Dutch consulate in Poznan´ under the slogan ‘Euthanasia for queers’. Wojciech Wierzejski, a leading LPR politician, placed a notorious note on the door to his MEP office forbidding entry to homosexuals. At a rally in 2005, Wierzejski called for ‘discrimination of homosexual activists in all spheres of life’ and vowed to ban all gay organizations ‘when the LPR comes to power’.48 In response to a planned gay rights demonstration in 2006, he declared: ‘They should be beaten with batons. Once they feel the pain they won’t come again because gays are by definition cowards’.49 According to Krzysztof Jasiewicz, the structure of homophobic discourse employed clichés strikingly resembling those used historically against perceived enemy ethnic groups such as Jews and Germans: ‘The drafters of the LPR programmatic documents, cautious as they were in matters of race and nationality, did manage to find a group they dared to cast openly in the role of Other: homosexuals’.50 In LPR discourse, the topic of gay rights was firmly linked to the EU: the latter was routinely accused of promoting homosexual lifestyles and imposing them on Poland. The LPR’s coalition partners usually came from the right, but cooperation with the LPR took place across the spectrum. A typical example of the growing respectability of the LPR and the strength of its cultural resources at the local level was the fact that Tomasz Malepszy, the Social Democratic mayor of the town of Leszno, gladly accepted an offer to become an honorary patron (together with Maciej Giertych and LPR MP Zbigniew JacynaOnyszkiewicz) of a contest promoting knowledge of Roman Dmowski’s heritage, organized by the MW in December 2004. He said in an interview ‘I am familiar with the thought of Roman Dmowski, I respect it and I will express it publicly. The MW in Leszno does not conduct extreme activities, they are pragmatic cultural and sport events’.51 The leftist daily Trybuna, which criticized Malepszy’s position, pointed out that the Leszno branch of the MW had been notorious for organizing racist skinhead music gigs.52 LPR leaders chose not to elaborate economic policies. There are reasons to think they in fact tacitly subscribed to neo-liberal economic theories: after all, they produced joint electoral slates with the radically pro-market Union of

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Real Politics (UPR) twice, in 1993 and 2007; Roman Giertych was on record as expressing his fascination with Margaret Thatcher’s hard economic policy.53 This stood in sharp contrast with the LPR electorate’s overwhelming belief in the state’s responsibility for social welfare.54 Wojciech Wierzejski, the LPR’s second in command, provided a characteristically ambiguous answer when asked about economic liberalism: he ‘argues that liberalism in the economy is the League’s aim, nevertheless to reach this aim the party has to offer a fairly concrete doctrinal alternative to liberalism, which can be labelled as national solidarity’.55 Arguably, the LPR leadership purposefully cultivated such ambiguity on economic matters, staying true to populist custom. Roman Giertych correctly identified the broad cultural resources available to the endek movement in the form of widely spread social attitudes, writing in 2000: I am deeply convinced that the thought worked out by the National Movement persists in the deepest consciousness of the Nation. Many people think and live political life in accordance to national principles, sometimes without even realizing the roots of their thinking is [sic] to be found in ideas of the National Movement.56 Economic problems and a sense of crisis may have triggered the populist backlash, but the precise form of the reaction was determined by cultural factors.

Popular support On the surface the results of the Polish parliamentary election on 23 September 2001 were clear enough: the Social Democratic left secured a long expected victory with over 40 per cent of the vote, while the divided right, including radical nationalists, lost heavily. Upon closer inspection, however, the election results demonstrated that the populist radical right discourse had made deep inroads into the mainstream of Polish politics. The entrance of the League of Polish Families (Liga Polskich Rodzin, LPR) to the parliament was the single most important fact in this context. After years in the wilderness, it became the first party of the antisemitic extreme right in post-war Polish history to gain parliamentary seats of its own. With almost 7.9 per cent of the vote, and 38 members of parliament (plus two members of the Senate), the LPR became one of several key players in national politics in 2001. The speed of its electorally measurable growth as a newcomer was indeed impressive. Just one year earlier, in the presidential election, none of the nationalist candidates had come remotely close to achieving a similar result. General Tadeusz Wilecki, the formerly influential Chief of the Polish Army General Staff, was supported by the SN (and by the LPR’s early local

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version under the name Warsaw Family – Rodzina Warszawska) in his 2000 bid for presidency. Without Radio Maryja’s support, he won only 0.16 per cent of the vote. The comparison of those two results: Wilecki’s disastrous bid for presidency in 2000 and the LPR’s respectable parliamentary score in 2001 can be sufficient to illustrate the all-important role that Radio Maryja played in setting off the LPR as a genuinely national political force and catapulting the Giertych group into parliamentary politics in 2001. Some time after the election, however, its relationship with Radio Maryja became increasingly strained. The support of Radio Maryja grew weaker as the older leaders were leaving the party as a result of the internal power struggle. Roman Giertych emerged as an independent leader who publicly showed respect to Radio Maryja’s founder but behind the scenes refused to follow him in day-to-day running of the party. Father Rydzyk finally distanced himself from the LPR before the next parliamentary election in 2005, when he switched allegiance again, this time to Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski’s PiS. It affected the LPR’s result but it did not kill it: by that time, it had developed a certain profile and a constituency of its own sufficient to repeat the good electoral result, this time with 8 per cent of the vote. The accession referendum on 7 and 8 June 2003 brought a victory to the pro-EU campaign: 77 per cent of the Polish voters said ‘yes’ to EU membership while the turnout was 59 per cent. The campaign, nevertheless, established the LPR as a serious actor in this important public debate, a legitimate part of political discourse. It brought it further success a year later, in the first election of Polish deputies to the European Parliament, in June 2004. The LPR doubled its share of the vote to 15 per cent. It won ten seats in the European Parliament, including one for Maciej Giertych himself. This made the LPR the second party on the Polish political scene: the centre-right Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska, PO), obtained 24 per cent and 15 seats, the PiS 13 per cent and seven seats, and Self Defence 11 per cent and six seats. The ruling Social Democratic SLD was by that time in deep crisis, winning a mere 9 per cent of the national vote with six seats. The low turnout (21 per cent) marred the achievement, but the LPR result was impressive by any standards, especially in the face of the deteriorating relations with Radio Maryja (whose initial support had accounted for its very appearance on the political scene) and the fact that several of its former leaders, most notably Antoni Macierewicz, campaigned for a boycott of the EP election. The 2004 European Parliament election result confirmed the LPR’s position as an important political party of national standing. Two years earlier, it did well in the local government elections, too. On the level of regional selfgovernment (sejmiki) it came fourth and won 14 per cent of the total vote, which gave it 92 seats on regional councils nationally. According to Roman Giertych, the LPR had 1,400 councillors at various levels of local government, their average age being just 27.57 The fact that the LPR framed its key issues in identity terms in itself does

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not necessarily mean that economic factors were not important in its electoral support. Among people who self-evaluated their own economic situation as ‘bad’, the LPR had 14 per cent of support in 2002. The correlation of LPR support with regular participation in religious practices was more marked, however, with 15 per cent of support among the self-declared strongly religious voters. Krzysztof Jasiewicz asserts in his empirical study of voting patterns for Polish populist parties that non-economic factors may have been decisive in determining actual political choices: . . . the relationship between cultural identity and voting patterns, recorded during the 1990s when religiosity was the best predictor of voting behaviour, did not disappear in the 2005 and 2007 elections. On the contrary, it revealed itself, stronger than ever, in the form of regional differences.58 The geography of LPR support showed its strongest bases to be in areas of South and Eastern Poland (the areas that had belonged to Russia and Austria during 19th-century partitions of Poland, while the remaining part belonged to Germany), i.e. the conservative regions with the strongest traditional identity and communal bonds. Unlike in Western Poland, the inhabitants of those areas tend to be settled in stable communities for generations, rather than be descendants of internal migrants. Although the east of Poland is generally poorer than the west, the LPR did not do very well in the large pockets of structural poverty in the northwest (where Self-Defence was much stronger). In 2001, out of Poland’s 16 administative regions (voivodships), the LPR achieved its best result in the largely rural South Eastern Subcarpathian region (14.7 per cent) and the North Eastern Podlasie region (11.79 per cent), Its poorest result was in the industrial Silesia region (4.82 per cent) and in the western region of West Pomerania, next to the Polish–German border (5.27 per cent). In 2005, it had its highest results in the south eastern Krosno and Rzeszów districts (respectively, 13.63 and 13.09 per cent). The weakest support was to be found in the north western Koszalin district (4.61 per cent). Ironically, the Poznan´ district was another relatively weak spot, with just 5.4 per cent of the vote for the LPR: the very city that had been near-completely dominated by the National Democratic movement prior to 1939. After 1989, it has had a decidedly more left-liberal political outlook. The LPR’s voting pattern cannot be reduced to economic hardship or a sense of social anomie in the style of mass society theory explanations of totalitarian movements. As Roger Eatwell reminds us, they became deficient ‘in the face of evidence that fascism was strongest where community remained strong, such as rural areas and small towns, with community leaders like clerics or doctors often leading others into (or against) fascist movements’.59 According to 2002 data, the LPR enjoyed its highest support in villages (16 per cent of village dwellers) and small towns up to 20,000 inhabitants

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(15 per cent), while it had only 6 per cent of support in cities inhabited by more than 500,000 people. A group with an exceptionally high percentage of support for the LPR were private entrepreneurs (21 per cent, compared with 12 per cent of blue-collar workers and 16 per cent of the unemployed). Although the entrepreneurs were undoubtedly among those affected by economic problems, they could hardly be classified as dispossessed or economically marginalized. There is a clear reductionist danger in attributing the LPR’s electoral successes to the early 2000s’ economic crisis. As Roger Eatwell rightly notes, . . . there is no simple answer to the question what exactly is the connection between crisis and the rise of extremism? Indeed, what is a ‘crisis’? (. . .) There is a crucial structure-agency point here. Crisis is normally portrayed as an objective reality, which unfolds according to structural determinants. But charismatic leaders can heighten, even create a sense of crisis by framing ‘objective’ reality – crisis can be talked up or down. Structural causes are often less important than the specific unfolding of a crisis, which is in many ways a function of chance or political decisions.60 Undoubtedly, the LPR actively manufactured the sense of crisis and framed it in identity terms, without venturing into an uncharted territory of a critique of capitalist economic relations. A low level of education was another marker of LPR voter base. According to the 2002 data, it had 21 per cent of support among those with mere primary education, and just 4 per cent among those with higher education. As regards age groups, the party noted higher than average levels of support among those aged between 25 and 34 (17 per cent), as well as those aged 55–64 (16 per cent) and above 65 (14 per cent). The relationship between the views expressed by LPR leaders and those held by the mass of voters is difficult to analyse in precise terms. How far was the LPR position driven by opportunistic electoral considerations? How much of the highly specific ideology was actually shared by the voters? It seems that LPR leaders were prepared to alter their programmatic policies rather easily on some issues (e.g. economy), while they remained staunchly faithful to the exclusivist notion of national identity: on the latter point they could be described as genuine conviction politicians. Their time in the political margins during the 1990s, perceived by party members as a ‘mythical period of hard struggle’,61 showed their spectacular inflexibility and resistance towards any innovations in this field, which they came to perceive as a special strength. Many of the voters will have known little about the fine points of Feliks Koneczny’s philosophy or Je˛ drzej Giertych’s vision of history, but they accepted some key features of a general anti-democratic, ethnonationalist, and, especially, antisemitic profile of the party. According to surveys, LPR voters displayed the strongest features of modern (political) antisemitism, compared to voters of all the other political

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parties. Only 27 per cent of them were classified as free from antisemitism, while a record 50 per cent could be classified as ‘strongly antisemitic’.62 In Krzemin´ ski’s interpretation, ‘it can be very transparently explained by the ideology espoused by the LPR, in a most clear way drawing on the ideological tradition of National Democracy – the main creator of the Polish version of antisemitic ideology’.63 According to another empirical survey, LPR voters tended ‘to place themselves on the far right, with a very low dispersion’.64 They were also among those most hostile to democracy as such (see the survey results below). The bulk of the LPR voter base was not directly motivated by economic concerns, but by nationalist ideas. Various elements of nationalist ideology had become widely accepted thanks to the cultural work, which preceded and ran simultaneously with political organizing. Arguably, the parallel rise of the populist Self-Defence owed much more, and in less uncertain terms, to socio-economic problems (see below). If Self-Defence voters tended to prioritize economic hardship, the LPR developed a base of voters motivated by nationalist values. The empirical comparison of Self-Defence and LPR voters by Krzysztof Jasiewicz seems to confirm the above analysis: In terms of their demographic and social composition, supporters of both Self-Defence and LPR tended to be less educated and older than the average Pole; one-third of LPR’s constituency was composed of people over age sixty, with a significant overrepresentation of women. Both parties tended to draw their following from rural rather than urban areas, with LPR having its base mostly in the traditional communities of eastern and southern Poland (the former Russian and Austrian partitions) and Self-Defence [was] supported more or less equally across all regions (although its electoral support was the strongest in the northwest). LPR supporters were, by far, the most religious group of all party constituencies, while supporters of Self-Defence reported the lowest income.65 According to surveys preceding the 2002 local elections, the LPR could count on 8 per cent of men’s votes, while its share of support among women voters was double, at 16 per cent. Among housewives, the support amounted to 37 per cent! This overrepresentation of women as supporters of the LPR, which was also notable for the highest proportion of women MPs, was paradoxical for a party that was the most vehemently opposed to the notion of women’s emancipation. It may be attributed to the proverbial predominance of elderly women among Radio Maryja listeners, the initial main pool of LPR support. It would also confirm Cas Mudde’s argument about populist radical right parties having sometimes ‘remarkably high levels of female representation’.66 LPR and Self-Defence voters slightly more often than others tended to reject the notion that ‘Democracy has its problems but it is better than other

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systems’. On a 1–4 scale (1-agree, 4-disagree) they scored, respectively, 2.07 and 2.10. The most pro-democratic constituency (of the PO) expressed a 1.67 approval for the democratic system, with all the other parties’ voters in between (medium score: 1.92). Significantly, hostility to democracy among both populist parties’ voters turned out higher than among the non-voters (1.99).67 Surveys also demonstrated that ‘The constituency of LPR is, by far, the most ethnocentric of all the parties; Self-Defence follows as a distant second’.68 In short, ‘Ideologically, Self-Defence supporters were an amorphous group, while the LPR constituency appeared to be a typical case of nationalist populism’.69 The LPR’s electoral rise was not all easy, however. Apart from the loss of Radio Maryja’s support and the departure of some important fellow travellers such as Macierewicz, it had to confront the media, which published numerous damaging stories exposing the neo-nazi background and connections of some leading LPR and MW members. A legitimate question may be asked: why Holocaust denial and skinhead activity did not give the populist radical right more of a ‘spoiled identity’, especially since such activity did not decline notably after 2001, and why the LPR did not distance itself clearly from such activities. We are inclined to think that the nazi connections, when they started to come to light, together with some other factors contributed to undermining the level of the LPR’s public support, which peaked at 15 per cent of the vote in 2004 and dropped again to 8 per cent in 2005 (and even more so, to its eventual failure in the 2007 election). At the same time, the fact of the LPR’s rise demonstrated a moral malaise identifiable in Polish society by the early 2000s. Many people were simply not bothered by the skinheads and other such unpleasant details, and – more importantly – they shared the LPR’s fundamental ideology of ethnic exclusivism. In any case, many LPR voters would not have been affected by the negative media coverage: they mainly listened to Radio Maryja and did not read liberal newspapers.

International connections The LPR MEPs joined the UK Independence Party (UKIP), among others, in the Independence/Democracy Group in the European Parliament. Its partners in the parliamentary faction were strongly opposed to the EU, but not racist or antisemitic. The alliance with the extreme right LPR was later a source of embarrassment to the UKIP in particular, which tried to avoid accusations of extremism.70 It may seem surprising that the LPR did not establish closer links with Western European parties ideologically more similar to itself, most notably the French Front National. This may have been due to the long-time neglect of international links by Polish nationalists of the Giertych faction, and the monopolization of international contacts by other Polish groups.71 For historical reasons, to liaise openly with the German-speaking right-wing

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extremists of Haider’s FPÖ was even less likely for the LPR as a Polish nationalist party. When the Polish media revealed a video-tape showing Maciej Giertych’s assistant, an MW member, at a friend’s party performing a nazi salute under a swastika, she was duly fired.72 Nevertheless, leading LPR members clearly considered it a part of a wider European populist radical right party family. For example, a programmatic article written by Rafał Wiechecki, an MW member and one of two LPR ministers (besides Roman Giertych himself) in the Kaczyn´ ski government, discussed just three parties as reference points for the LPR’s political direction post-2007: the Austrian FPÖ, the French FN, and the Italian MSI/AN.73 The LPR’s extreme nationalism had often hampered it from joining the wider international (non-racist) anti-EU movement. In March 2002 the LPR, together with Radio Maryja’s Institute of National Education, invited Sigbjørn Gjeslvik, head of the Norwegian organization ‘Nei til EU’ (No to the EU) to speak at a much publicized conference on ‘The Family and Nation in the European Union’. The event was scheduled to take place in the Parliament building in Warsaw and was designed to highlight the LPR’s newly found respectability. When he discovered the ideological background of the LPR, Gjelsvik cancelled his participation, causing embarrassment to the organizers.74 Relations within the European parliamentary group were strained after members of the Dutch Christian Union became aware of the antisemitism displayed by LPR deputies.75 Subsequently, Giertych left the EP faction: it retained several MEPs who were elected on the LPR ticket, but left the party. LPR members in general, and Maciej Giertych in particular, continuously shocked fellow MEPs with radical statements throughout their term, well into the period when the party entered the Polish government. For example, on 4 July 2006 Giertych spoke in the European Parliament on the anniversary of the Spanish Civil War, saying Thanks to the Spanish right, the Spanish army, its leaders and thanks to General Francisco Franco in particular, the communist attack on Catholic Spain was thwarted. By the same token, attempts to spread the communist plague to other countries were also halted. (. . .). The presence of figures such as Franco, Salazar or De Valera in European politics ensured that Europe maintained its traditional values. We lack such statesmen today. (. . .) Christian Europe is losing the battle against a socialist and atheist Europe. This has to change!76 In October 2006, Giertych conducted a creationist seminar for members of the European Parliament in Brussels. His presentation was entitled ‘Teaching evolutionary theory in Europe: Is your child being indoctrinated in the classroom?’ The seminar was mockingly reported in, among others, the renowned science journal Nature.77 The eccentric choice of subject matter by the Polish politician raised many eyebrows, but Giertych simply promoted an

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anti-evolutionist doctrine he had long been championing despite holding a Toronto University PhD in biology.78 Interestingly, Giertych claimed his antiDarwinian view was a result of his scientific enquiry and had not been religiously inspired.79 In the first weeks of 2007 Giertych provoked another scandal by publishing an English-language version of a booklet promoting Feliks Koneczny’s ‘theory of civilizations’, which contained typical antisemitic assertions that Jews were unethical, obsessed with separateness, and a ‘tragic community’ because they had not accepted Jesus as the Messiah. He also approvingly repeated Koneczny’s insistence on the fact that Europe must be based on one ‘civilization’ only (‘Latin’, to which Poland belongs) and dispose of other civilizations, most notably the Jewish one. Once a furore started in the international press, Giertych reportedly explained to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency: ‘I am promoting the teachings [of Koneczny – R.P.]. They are very good ideas, and they should be followed’.80 Since the booklet bore the Parliament’s logo, its President, Hans-Gert Pöttering, reprimanded Maciej Giertych for the content of his pamphlet in accordance with the EP’s Rules of Procedure. He said that the publication was ‘a serious breach of the fundamental rights and, in particular, the dignity of human beings to which our institution so strongly adheres’.81 Giertych rejected the charge and retained the full contents of his publication on his website, in several languages. Giertych’s conflicts in the European Parliament resulted from a clash of cultural sensitivities. What had become an accepted element of political discourse in Poland was not acceptable to the European democratic mainstream. Giertych himself simply repeated the same views he had been promoting to his Polish audience for a long time, and which in fact had elevated him to the position of an MEP. His actions in the European Parliament were in line with a long-held doctrine, an opportunity for the LPR to reveal its political identity.

6

Self-Defence Radical populism

History Andrzej Lepper’s Self-Defence party (Samoobrona) began its existence in the early 1990s as a local single-issue protest movement of farmers who found themselves in a debt trap with fast-growing interest rates. Once the movement reached out beyond its original local base in the northwest region of Poland, as a result of the publicized violent protests it staged in Warsaw, it became a player beyond regional politics. While new regional branches came into existence, Self-Defence was also involved in attempts to construct a viable national protest movement. Its main allies in these ultimately futile efforts were extreme-nationalist endek groups such as the National Party ‘Fatherland’ (SNO). For example, their joint demonstration in Warsaw, on 2 April 1993, turned violent and led to clashes with the police.1 Self-Defence’s genesis as an organized political group was somewhat marred by alleged active participation of former members of the communist security services, who acted as advisers or activists, especially in the early period. In this context the involvement of Soviet and Russian intelligence was claimed, too. It led to calls for a parliamentary enquiry into the party’s origins and, possibly, into its hidden agenda.2 Undoubtedly, one of Self-Defence’s conspicuous features was its clear nostalgia for the former regime, identified with social stability and welfare. In the early 1990s, Self-Defence tried to set up a National Guard, as a paramilitary unit, with the specific task to physically stop debt collectors from seizing the party members’ property. It led to a report by the Office of the Protection of the State, which suggested a legal action against the party on the grounds of unconstitutional activity – such action never materialized.3 One of the main leaders of Self-Defence, and Lepper’s early deputy, was none other than Janusz Bryczkowski, for whom the movement proved but a transitory stage between the Polish Green Party and his own Polish National Front (see p. 88). Bohdan Pore˛ ba, the former leader of Grunwald, was another well-known figure in Lepper’s entourage in the formative years of Self-Defence as a political movement, and he later directed some electoral

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television spots for the party. Many more Grunwald activists were drawn to the party, attracted equally by its old-regime nostalgia and by its radical nationalist pronouncements: one of them, Bolesław Borysiuk, later became a leading Self-Defence MP. Another notorious extreme nationalist leader, Bolesław Tejkowski himself was reportedly among the formal founding fathers of the Self-Defence party.4 The party continued to seek allies in the nationalist movement while carving out an eclectic identity of its own. In January 2000 it became part of what seemed the most promising alliance to date, the Popular-National Bloc (Blok Ludowo-Narodowy, BLN), its main partners being the populist August 1980 trade union, and general Tadeusz Wilecki, who was then promoted as a promising ‘Polish Pinochet’ by the SN.5 The small fascistoid Polish Front (Front Polski, FP), led by retired navy admiral Marek Toczek and sciencefiction author and translator Lech Je˛ czmyk, was among the lesser allies in the venture. The support of Marian Jurczyk, the historic leader of the ‘real Poles’, later elected as the mayor of Szczecin, was sought by Lepper, too, who at that time stressed his openness towards ‘other groups and parties on the right’.6 The BLN published a new joint paper, ‘Self-Defence of the Nation’ (Samoobrona Narodu), but turned out to be short-lived as a bloc, due to competing presidential aspirations of its leaders. Equally short-lived was the preceding 1998 electoral coalition for local government, which Lepper’s party had entered with the PSL and the leftist Union of Labour (Unia Pracy, UP). Both PSL and UP members were known to express indignation at that choice of ally, approved by the UP’s then leader Ryszard Bugaj.7 As we can see, in just one year Self-Defence changed its official allies from the extreme right to the left and again to the extreme right of the spectrum, with typical ease. By the late 1990s, Self-Defence could still claim little electoral success, although its results were usually better than those of the other marginal populist and nationalist groups. However, in contrast to those other groups it had developed a well-known brand and party leader. Lepper had become a household name, most notably due to publicity-drawing spectacular actions such as the road blockades in 1998 and 1999. Drawing on elements of the repertoire of contention developed by Solidarity in the 1980s (e.g. the farmers’ protests of 1980), ‘Self-Defence channelled discontent into large-scale disruptive collective action’.8 Self-Defence leaders were constantly in trouble with the police and courts for their unruly protests. A wish/joke became popular among Polish youth: ‘I wish you the amount of happiness equal to the number of Lepper’s court convictions’ (i.e. – a lot!). At the same time they were also invited for negotiations by the country’s leading politicians. Self-Defence played on its formal double status as a party and a trade union, allowing it to take on the hat that was appropriate at any given moment. In the late 1990s Lepper reportedly enjoyed a particularly close relationship with Artur Balazs, a minister of agriculture, representing the liberal-conservative Popular-Conservative Party

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(Stronictwo Konserwatywno-Ludowe, SKL), which was a part of the ruling AWS. Over the years, Balazs and Lepper together built an extensive network of patronage in state agricultural agencies. Balazs served as a bridge between Lepper and the conservative right again in 2005.9 On the other end of the spectrum, Lepper’s opposition to the centre-right government, and his growing reputation as a voice of popular rebellion won him some measure of sympathy of the post-communist left. Subsequently, he was invited, in a symbolic gesture, by the then leader of the Social Democrats, Leszek Miller, to march in the first row of the annual Labour Day demonstration on 1 May 1999. The electoral breakthrough of Self-Defence in late 2001, when it won 10.2 per cent of the national vote (53 seats in the Sejm and two in the Senate) was met with alarm among large sectors of the media. The liberal Gazeta Wyborcza, in particular, expressed concern at the presence of the populists in parliament, noting the numerous criminal convictions and ongoing court cases against Lepper and his colleagues (mostly resulting from unpaid debts and from property damage during violent protest actions). Self-Defence’s open disregard for the parliamentary democratic system was a serious fault in the eyes of the commentators.10 For example, Professor Marcin Król, a leading liberal intellectual, called Lepper ‘a shrill primitive’, ‘a thuggish guttersnipe’, representing ‘a hideous post-modern form of irrational politics’, and a ‘jackal’ who wants to ‘feed on the corpse’ of democracy.11 Interestingly, the simultaneous entrance into parliament of the radical nationalist and antisemitic LPR did not lead to a similar wave of shock. This may have been caused by the fact that by that time the liberal commentators had become accustomed to the circulation of antisemitism in public life, and the indignation at the electoral result of the uneducated and ‘uncivilized’ activists Self-Defence had more than a little pinch of class arrogance to it. Right-wing commentators frequently described Self-Defence as an alleged tool invented and controlled by the post-communists. It is doubtful that such accusations can be substantiated, but it was the newly triumphant SLD that gave Self-Defence its first share of political office on the highest level. It promoted Lepper to the post of Deputy Speaker of Parliament in 2001, a move that was strongly criticized by the liberal media. This first attempt at co-opting radical populists by the political mainstream failed. As a result of his permanently disruptive tactics, Lepper was removed from the post within a few months, but – as centre-right critics were keen to stress – continued to support the SLD discreetly in some key votes when the Miller government’s parliamentary majority began to shrink. In any case, the brief holding of a high post by Lepper, as well as the subsequent removal, helped him politically: firstly, it presented him as a serious participant of the political game; secondly, it reconfirmed his anti-establishment credentials. In 2002 Self-Defence polled 16 per cent of the vote in the local elections. Subsequently, it entered many governing coalitions at the local level, usually with the SLD.12 The opportunistic cooption of anti-systemic forces by

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political elites was in full swing. Apparently, the SLD was convinced it could appease Self-Defence by sharing local power with it, while maintaining the neo-liberal economic policy at national level and the pro-US foreign orientation (including the Polish government’s support for the unpopular Iraq war). In an ironic U-turn it was Self-Defence’s leader who later decided to drop the local coalitions with the SLD, perceiving it as an electoral sinking ship, but not before the SLD had provided it with an important dose of mainstream legitimacy. The centre-right Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska, PO) was the only party that consistently rejected cooperation with Lepper and called for his political isolation; while no such treatment of the LPR was even seriously advocated. Sergiusz Kowalski dryly noted, writing in the autumn of 2002: ‘In the case of Self-Defence (and also the League of Polish Families) the old rule saying that extremism does not pay off, seems not to apply’.13 In the early 2000s, Self-Defence’s position in the political landscape was already firmly entrenched. The accession of Ryszard Czarnecki, who had been the chairman of the Christian-National Union (ZChN) and the minister of European integration in the AWS government in the 1990s, could be read as another seal of political respectability. It was initially met with broad disbelief.14 Czarnecki went on to become a leading member of Self-Defence and its representative in the European Parliament. He was also a key broker in building bridges between Self-Defence and the conservative right, which eventually bore fruit in the form of a government coalition in 2006.15 In 2005, Self-Defence further improved its score in the parliamentary election (11.4 per cent) and, especially, in the presidential contest, with Lepper receiving 15.1 per cent of the vote. Just as important was the fact that Lepper’s support for Lech Kaczyn´ ski against Donald Tusk in the second round was widely perceived as a key factor in securing a victory for the conservative candidate. Self-Defence was not just one of several political forces in the country but it was the one tipping the scales in what was Poland’s single most important political contest. It was no longer a pariah – on the contrary, its support was actively sought.

Ideology and cultural references Self-Defence is the most ideologically ambiguous of all the populist groups mentioned in this book. The task of pinning down and describing its precise political outlook has proved puzzling to researchers and journalists alike. Thus, the party has been labelled as ‘left-wing’,16 ‘ultra-leftist’,17 ‘Leftnationalist, populist’,18 ‘agrarian’ – combining ‘socialism, [and] agrarian populism’,19 ‘radical peasant’,20 ‘leftist-populist’,21 ‘populist, left-wing’,22 ‘right wing populist’,23 ‘nationalist’,24 ‘populist-nationalist’,25 ‘rural, rightist’26, ‘ultra-nationalist’,27 ‘radical right-wing’.28 Anna Krok-Paszkowska observed that ‘Self-Defence party programmes, conference speeches and statements by its leaders do feature a number of

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themes associated with right-wing extremism’.29 Another researcher, Olga Wysocka, referrering to Cas Mudde’s typology of populist movements, tends to classify Self-Defence as ‘social populists (. . .) [who] combine socialism and populism, and represent a form of left-wing populism’.30 Such semantic chaos was not confined to external perceptions of the party. In fact, Self-Defence itself demonstrated a chameleon-like ability to employ ever-changing labels in its self-description. Its leaders referred to their movement as a ‘broad patriotic social movement based on Catholic social teaching’, ‘left-patriotic’, ‘patriotic’, ‘progressive’, ‘nationalist’, ‘genuinely centrist’, and even, perhaps most curiously, ‘social-liberal’. Lepper explained: ‘We are neither the left, nor the right, nor the centre, we represent healthy Polish patriotism’.31 On another occasion, he claimed something quite different: ‘I have always been and will always be a man of the left.’32 A liberal-left politician, Marek Borowski, commented aptly on such ideological transformations: ‘Andrzej Lepper from time to time profiles himself as a representative of one or another political current. Some time ago Self-Defence was a right-wing party, now it is nationalist, then it is socialist’.33 Anna Krok-Paszkowska concluded that ‘Lepper is a political chameleon’.34 The ever-changing labels had little to do with ideological sophistry or any fine intellectual enterprise. They rather attest to the light-hearted way in which the party treated any serious programmatic discussion. The labels meant very little and therefore could be changed very easily, according to circumstances. In fact, Self-Defence was seriously committed to having no lasting ideological commitment at all, bridging on political nihilism. Its hotchpotch of demagogic slogans fully fulfilled the definitional requirement of ‘populism as an ideology lacking core values’.35 Self-Defence lacked the intellectual capacity to develop a fully-fledged party programme, but it did produce a few texts presenting various aspects of its ideology. Above all, they stressed the patriotic credentials of the party. For example, ‘A Politician’s Decalogue’ proclaimed by Andrzej Lepper in 2003, vowed to: . . . Recognize the Fatherland, the Nation, family and Polish soil as the highest value, demanding respect and protection from every Pole. Recognize the Fatherland and the Nation as the highest value, more cherished than personal interest. (. . .) Be faithful to more than one thousand years of Christian national traditions. (. . .) Defend the interest of Poland and Her good name on the international arena.36 In its literature, Self-Defence was careful to distance itself from both right and left labels, championing the vision of a ‘Third Way’. The idea itself was

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rarely elaborated upon, the bulk of party literature concentrated on denouncing the poverty and social exclusion that accompanied the Polish transition, and attacking corrupt elites that were held responsible for enriching themselves at the cost of the ordinary people. It combined the social demands with nationalist rhetoric and denounced ‘the reality of contemporary capitalism’, to which it attributed ‘a struggle against the national character of culture, economy and state; a universalization of customs and lifestyles, neglecting national traditions, a negation of patriotism; removal of the Polish language in certain spheres of life; and a wide variety of forms of struggle against religion’. In contrast Self-Defence’s Third Way was to guarantee that ‘The Polish historical, cultural and religious tradition is treated as the source of social, cultural and moral patterns shaping the civic attitude of the current and the future generations’.37 A different tone was adopted in the sole programmatic text published in English (written by Mateusz Piskorski and placed on Self-Defence’s website). The super-patriotic slogans are dropped, and other elements are brought in, such as ecological values and Keynesian economics, even name-checking mainstream opponents of neo-liberalism such as John Kenneth Galbraith and Joseph Stiglitz. It also stresses that ‘Self Defense has actually never been opposed to the idea of Poland’s membership in the European Union’.38 Due to its rural origins, Self-Defence is often perceived in relation to the tradition of the agrarian movement, which has played a big role in Polish political history, especially in the first half of the 20th century. The Polish agrarian or ‘folk’/‘popular’ (ludowy) movement, had always been ridden by internal tension between its left and right-leaning tendencies. Like other Central and East European agrarians, they shared a vision of a national renewal through the power of an unpolluted peasant culture and values. The main historic leader of the agrarians, Wincenty Witos, held the prime minister’s post in the 1920s and is sometimes considered one of the key figures in Polish modern history, alongside Piłsudski and Dmowski. In the years immediately following World War II, the agrarian party (PSL), led by Stanisław Mikołajczyk, was the main force of opposition to the communist regime. The main successor to that tradition, and Self-Defence’s key rival in rural politics, was the re-formed contemporary Polish Popular Party (Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe, PSL), which occupies the pragmatic centre ground in Polish politics. In the course of the 1990s, Self-Defence developed a certain love–hate relationship with the PSL, in turns entering into coalitions, especially at the local level, and competing furiously for the peasant base. By the mid-2000s, Self-Defence took over most of the PSL’s former electorate and almost eliminated it from the political scene; but the trend was reversed in the 2007 election. Nevertheless, Self-Defence does not seriously seek to claim the 100-year tradition of the peasant movement. It rarely invokes the great historic leaders of the agrarians. Instead, it presents itself as a newcomer to the political field, standing for the frustrated sections of society who do not identify with any

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political tradition. According to Dariusz Gawin, ‘Self-Defence is a populist, people’s party, without any clear identity or rootedness in history’.39 In another, less directly political way, Self-Defence and especially its leader Andrzej Lepper did occupy the symbolic space reserved for the peasant populist movement in Polish culture. The archetypical figure of a threatening and unruly peasant rebel has long been part and parcel of Polish imagery, as reflected in numerous literary works for some two centuries. It has aroused both fascination and fear. Witos, an uneducated peasant with simple manners who rose to the top political post, was in some ways an embodiment of that literary fantasy.40 The career, and the accompanying legend, of Lech Wałe˛ sa, with his humble background, hard language and occasional anti-intellectual diatribes, is a more contemporary example of the same populist ready-made cultural pattern, which Lepper came to exploit so successfully. His foul language and open contempt for the law and legal rules of the game made him a bête noire for the liberal media.41 For example, after one of numerous violent confrontations between Self-Defence supporters and the police, Lepper publicly expressed his regret that ‘not enough policemen were hurt’.42 In 1999 he condemned the government as ‘anti-Polish and antihuman’ and deputy Prime Minister Janusz Tomaszewski as a ‘thug’.43 Andrzej Lepper’s portrayal in the mainstream media was roundly negative. He was depicted as a primitive and brutal peasant demagogue. At the same time, thanks to that very negative image, Lepper also appeared as an all-too familiar character, another incarnation of Jakub Szela, the leader of a bloody mid-19th-century peasant rebellion, immortalized in Polish consciousness. In this sense, Self-Defence could place itself in a kind of political tradition, a subconscious template: it could command the cultural resources of fear and fascination associated with the proverbial Szela. Kazimierz Kutz, one of Poland’s leading intellectuals and a liberal member of the Senate, provided a vivid characteristic of Lepper, contrasting his approach to that of the LPR leaders: Lepper came from his pig house, not from the intellectual family of the Giertychs. He did not have national-Catholic ideology in his blood, just his own peasant dream of becoming the president of Poland. His patron was Wincenty Witos, one of the great figures of the Second Republic, who had come to lead the PSL and became a prime minister. In contrast with Dmowski, Witos was a shining figure. Lepper wanted to follow his thread, but to get higher. By his own political talent and energy he created the populist Self-Defence and led it into parliament to become the third political force in the country. (. . .) He is today’s Jakub Szela.44 Certain features of Self-Defence would classify it as a typical populist reaction to a dire economic situation, much like that of the US farmers in the post-Civil War period, described by Lawrence Goodwyn in his ‘The Populist Moment’. Unlike the American populists, however, Self-Defence did not

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engage in working out creative economic and political solutions to the problems. Fairly quickly it fell hostage to the received culture of ethnonationalist exclusivist (‘sectional’, in Goodwyn’s term) language as the only socially accepted expression of protest – and conspiracy theories as the explanation of socio-economic crises. Krok-Paszkowska notes: ‘Conspiracy theories (. . .) dominate Samoobrona thinking’.45 Again, a parallel with the US farmers’ movement can be drawn. As Daniel Levitas wrote of the antisemitic group Posse Comitatus once active in the US farm belt, ‘Enter the Posse, whose most damaging effect – beyond the bigotry it preached – was the way it misled farmers into substituting deadend conspiracy theories for the concrete reality of political action’.46 Symbolically, the debt collector who was publicly beaten and humiliated by angry Self-Defence protesters in 1994 had a Star of David cut out on his head by the crowd: the oppressors were symbolically marked as Jews.47 The movement’s raison d’être was an economic rebellion framed, again, in national terms. A Self-Defence supporter provided a typical answer on the source of Polish problems in an interview for national television news: ‘We are ruled by Jews and they cannot rule’.48 Lepper himself is on record claiming that ‘Jews are the most dangerous nation for Poland’,49 on some later occasions he decided to substitute Jews for Germans.50 He is also known to cite Joseph Goebbels and Jean-Marie Le Pen as his role models.51 Another Self-Defence leader, Tadeusz De˛ bicki, declared during a session of the Poznan´ city council that ‘a good Jew is a dead Jew’.52 Arguably, such forays into ethnonationalistic rhetoric were largely cynical. The authorized biography of Lepper, re-published on the SelfDefence website, describes his early recruitment strategy as follows: The leader of Self-Defence did not reject anybody. He decided to cultivate the whole exotic margin of the political scene. (. . .) It was a cynical move, but at that time Self-Defence could not yet count on mass support in the countryside or on better candidates for the electoral races.53 Incidentally, the same publication claimed that Hitler, Goebbels, Eichman and Rosenberg were all Jews and quoted the right-wing writer Waldemar Łysiak as saying that ‘antisemitism means perceiving the Jews as they are and not as they want to be perceived’.54 As already noted, another conspicuous feature of Self-Defence was the broad range of its changing allies on the political scene. They, too, ranged from the extreme right endek groups to middle-of-the-road mainstream agrarians, post-communist Social Democrats, anti-communist radicals, Catholic fundamentalists, and liberal conservatives. In each case, SelfDefence donned slightly different political colours, while claiming an image of a principled and uncompromising political outsider. The coexistence of the rabidly antisemitic ultra-right nationalist Zygmunt Wrzodak (a former

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LPR hawk), the radical left firebrand Piotr Ikonowicz (leader of the New Left party) and Leszek Miller, the disgraced former Social-Democratic-cumneoliberal Prime Minister, on the electoral slate of Self-Defence in 2007 is a perfect illustration of the catch-all emptiness of Self-Defence’s ideological creed. Sociologist Paweł S´ piewak described the impact of Self-Defence actions on the brutalization of public discourse in these terms: In my opinion the biggest threat of the growth of violence in Poland stems not from the extreme right, but first of all from the activity of the peasant movement of Lepper, the self-proclaimed, but widely recognized, leader of peasant trade unions. The language of his statements testifies to his antisemitism and nationalism, and at the same time he is incredibly efficient in his actions. For this reason he is courted by various other political parties, among others by the Polish People’s Party, the Polish Socialist Party, and partly by the Democratic Left Alliance. He is treated as an instrument, but simultaneously in this way he gains some political legitimacy. Because of Lepper, violence becomes a way of talking politics.55 At the same time, Lepper continuously increased his profile and antiestablishment credentials, while displaying an unusual talent for boundless ideological flexibility. He made successful overtures to Radio Maryja and took part in several programmes, which seriously helped his rating on the far right. Self-Defence benefited from the generosity of Radio Maryja’s main sponsor, the far-right millionaire Janusz Kobylan´ ski, whom Lepper repeatedly visited in Uruguay.56 However, in some interviews given around the same time, Lepper did not rule out the possibility of legalizing marijuana and same-sex partnerships, an anathema to Catholic fundamentalists.57 In a short timespan of less than half a year the Self-Defence leader appeared publicly with various other politicians on various days, predicting common electoral slates as ‘a worker–peasant alliance’ with Piotr Ikonowicz’s left-radical Polish Socialist Party (Polska Partia Socjalistyczna, PPS) and the Pensioners’ Party (Krajowa Partia Emerytów i Rencistów, KPEiR)58 or as a ‘patriotic people’s coalition’ with the radical-right leaders such as MP Dariusz Grabowski, the leader of several right-wing nationalist groups and a future MEP for the LPR.59 Interestingly, Lepper’s support grew rather than dwindled as a result of such zigzag manoeuvring. Self-Defence tapped into the growing widespread cynicism about Polish politics and politicians and its supporters could forgive inconsistency. Arguably, the cynical political culture was Self-Defence’s best ally. Although he was a vocal critic of the EU, he did not rule out Polish membership completely, shunning the ultra-nationalist identity rhetoric and adopting a more pragmatic position. In an interview Lepper explained the

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contrast between his party and the LPR on the European issue prior to the accession referendum: I have never said we are against the integration because of any threats to Catholic faith or to national identity. We are not like the LPR who incite fear of such things among people. My point is that the conditions for membership as negotiated by the government are unfavourable. That is why we are going to adopt a negative position on the accession at the congress. However, we do not call anybody to vote “No”. Our slogan is “The choice is yours”.60 The rhetoric expressing the protest was often nationalistic, although the party was not ideologically committed to any particular set of beliefs about national identity, and it did not dwell on such intellectual discussions. In contrast to the LPR, antisemitism in the ranks of Self-Defence could be interpreted as an expression of popular prejudice rather than a core element of an ideological racist worldview. Interestingly, the first non-white politician in Poland, Hubert Costa, a medical doctor of Bengalian origin, was elected on the Self-Defence ticket, first to the regional council in 2002 and later to Parliament in 2005.61 He was rather inconspicuous as an MP: on one occasion he took the floor to state he was living proof that there was no racism in Poland.62 The confusion surrounding Self-Defence’s political orientation abounded. For example, when Michał Wis´ niewski, the pop star who was hired by the party to sing at its electoral rallies, was challenged about his endorsement of the party, he answered that he valued Self-Defence for not being nationalistic. There is no reason to doubt his sincere belief that Self-Defence was about giving a voice to poor people rather than about nationalism. Wis´ niewski as an artist was a symbol of aesthetic kitsch and he went down well with the movement’s low class base (to be sure, he was generously paid for the favour).63 Stanisław Filipowicz referred to ‘extremism as a political banality’. However, rather than ‘banality’, kitsch as a politico-aesthetic category comes closer to describing the specificity of the cultural resources Self-Defence tapped into. Self-Defence also used the folk-tainted simple musical style known as disco-polo, spread in the Polish provinces and loathed by the mainstream media and music critics.64 Disco-polo had similar equivalents across the post-communist world. Unlike the racist skinhead music popular in the ranks of the young LPR cadres, disco-polo typically had no political content at all. Interestingly, Self-Defence used a disco-polo style version of ‘Rota’, a serious patriotic anthem from the period of the partitions of Poland.65 One may suspect most of the other nationalist groups would not dare to commit such an aesthetic sacrilege. Interestingly, in its ventures into popular culture, Self-Defence proved especially successful with sportsmen. Several wellknown sport stars contested elections on the party’s lists, including Rafał Kubacki, twice world champion in judo.

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Arguably, it was the rough and brutal political style of Self-Defence, rather than any ideological content or actual policies it advocated, that appealed to its support base – and alienated the intellectual mainstream. Ewa Nalewajko mentions ‘the plebeian character’ as a defining feature of Self-Defence.66 One might employ the notion of ‘habitus’, a set of social class-related, culturally determined dispositions, personality and behaviour features as introduced by Pierre Bourdieu,67 to describe the characteristic low-culture style of · akowski wrote in this vein: Self-Defence’s cadres. Jacek Z The people of Self-Defence who entered the parliament have been different in terms of their culture and manners from the majority of the MPs of the PO, the PiS and even the PSL, but also from the majority of newspaper readers and journalists. As Kuba Sienkiewicz [Polish singersongwriter – R.P.] sang – ‘you see it, you hear it, you smell it’. This otherness is perceived as ourness by a section of the electorate, and Self-Defence owes its popularity among some voters to it.68 From the beginning, however, there was a constant thread in Self-Defence’s appeal: it was first of all a voice of social protest against liberalism, appealing to those who were economically worse off as a result of the capitalist transition. Wysocka offers a characteristic account of an encounter with members of the populist party: ‘in 2006 at the V National Congress of Self-Defence, I asked members of the party to indicate who the party represented. Most of them pointed to “the people”. When prompted to be more specific, they added “disadvantaged people” ’.69 Unlike the striking workers of the Lenin Shipyard in 1980, the 1991 peasant protesters could not count on the cream of the Warsaw intellectual elite to come to their aid and to provide an intellectual expression to their struggle. In any case, they would probably have rejected such support. Indeed, Self-Defence hardly offered a positive vision beyond a forceful denunciation of the liberal system. It pledged itself to a ‘Revolution, which will be conducted in Poland by Self-Defence and will be a pro-social, pro-development patriotic revolution, a peaceful revolution expected by millions of Poles suffering from hopelessness’.70 Self-Defence is undoubtedly a single leader’s movement. For some electoral contests it even registered as ‘Lepper’s Self-Defence’, so that the voters had no problem identifying the party with the founder. The party gave the leader almost absolute power. In 2002, a Self-Defence party congress adopted a new statute, but the Warsaw court in charge of the political parties register refused to accept it, because of its disregard for democratic norms. The party chairman would be elected by the congress in an open (as opposed to a secret) vote. The system of choosing delegates for the congress and their number would be decided by the Presidium of the Self-Defence Council, which itself is nominated by the chairman. The chairman would decide whether to convene the congress. Therefore any leadership challenge to

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Lepper was effectively impossible. Moreover, the chairman would be the only party body to be elected. All the other organs would be nominated by the chairman. He would also decide on issues such as admitting, suspending or removing party members and establishing criteria for party membership.71 As a result of the court’s decision, Self-Defence had to amend some of these formal regulations, but there is little doubt that the actual practice of the party adhered to ‘the leadership principle’. In this vein, a characteristic interview was given by Lepper himself: – Are you a dictator? – I like discipline. I do not force anybody to be a Self-Defence member. (. . .) – So you do not reject dictatorship? – The term dictator can have positive and negative meanings. If there is a dictator who maintains discipline, who would introduce law and order and economic development for the country, than I’m all for it.72 The following statement was made by Grzegorz Ciupin´ ski, a Self-Defence activist, and former member of the SLD national party council: At least five thousand people must be removed from Poland to Siberia or to Kazakhstan: thieves, corrupt mayors, village officials, businessmen, all those private enterprise cheats. Only Lepper acts like Janosik [the Polish equivalent of Robin Hood – R.P.], when we seize power, we will take away from the rich and give to the poor. Anyway, our chairman has a bit too soft character for Poland. We would need someone stronger – like Hitler or Stalin.73 Ciupin´ ski was subsequently ejected from the party – apparently for the criticism of Lepper implied in the statement rather than for its anti-democratic content. Lepper’s rough talk and appearance appealed to the lower strata of society, but from around 2001 on he tried to polish his image. For that purpose he employed the famous (and expensive) political consultant Piotr Tymochowicz, itself an indicator of his resolve to win public acceptability. On several occasions he distanced himself from antisemitism, calling it a ‘stupidity’ and attributing it to the LPR.74 At the same time he attacked Adam Michnik, the editor of the liberal Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper, in clearly antisemitic terms. At a founding congress of the party’s youth organization in 2002, he exclaimed: ‘We are not going to look into anybody’s birth certificates, absolutely not. But he must not think that we as Poles can be fooled’.75 Another sign of respectability afforded to the party in the early 2000s, was the unlikely award by the New York-based Animal Welfare Institute of the Albert Schweitzer Medal to Lepper (this time posing as an environmentalist!) for his anti-corporate activism. The award was presented by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who according to an official account, ‘praised Lepper’s heroism and courage’.76 The unlikely cooperation between American progressives and

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Polish nationalist populists drew the attention of Sidney Tarrow, a leading social movement researcher, who referred to it as the ‘Polish pig coalition’.77 Lepper said animals must be ‘treated with respect, dignity and sympathy’ and condemned modern methods of meat production as ‘concentration camps for animals’.78 However, his commitment to animal welfare was rather shaky, to say the least, as illustrated by the complaints of Polish animal rights organizations against the mistreatment of farm animals regularly used in Self-Defence’s street protests.79 The use of animals in demonstrations and occupations was indeed a regular element of the movement’s repertoire of contention. In one instance a Self-Defence leader announced he would starve several thousand of his pigs in protest at the then government’s policy.80 At the same time, Self-Defence remained deeply immersed in a movement culture of nationalism. The party became a source of patronage and a magnet for activists of previously fringe extreme right groups. For example, Konrad Re˛ kas, an ex-activist of the National Right (Prawica Narodowa, PN), became the regional organizer in Lublin. As a result of a local coalition with the SLD, he was even elected to the high post of Speaker of the Regional Council (Marszałek Sejmiku). Other examples of extreme nationalists drawn to Self-Defence in that period included Sławomir Dawidowski, who was previously active in the National-Radical Front (FNR) and in the National Rebirth of Poland (NOP) in Suwałki, as well as Tadeusz Mazanek, the leader of the antisemitic association ‘No to EU’ and an organizer of racist demonstrations in Katowice.81 Importantly, in 2002 Lepper struck a deal with Leszek Bubel, the publisher of rabidly antisemitic publications who had been involved in the Auschwitz and Jedwabne mobilizations, to be responsible for the party press, the main means of internal movement communication. The cooperation between these two dated back to the 1990s when Henryk Dzido, the lawyer of Leszek Bubel and other antisemitic activists implicated in the Auschwitz crosses scandal, started to provide free legal services to Lepper and rose to a high position in the party (a member of the Senate and a candidate for the mayor of Warsaw).82 The layout and much of the content of the mass-circulation Self-Defence party newspaper published by Bubel, entitled Samoobrona Gazeta Ogólnopolska (’Self-Defence All-Polish Newspaper’), was identical to the extreme racist publications produced by Bubel under various other titles. Andrzej Lepper eagerly promoted the publication as an alternative to other media, ‘which are controlled by foreign hands’, using the free broadcasts on national television before the 2002 local elections.83 After two years of publishing the paper, the collaboration collapsed due to a financial row, and Bubel founded his own Polish National Party (Polska Partia Narodowa, PPN). However, the alliance with Bubel shows that the extreme nationalist leanings of Lepper’s movement were strong even after it had entered parliamentary politics. As a growing populist movement with no core values, Self-Defence became

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an easy target for various aspiring political sects trying to infiltrate it and inject their ideology or just seeking patronage and material support. Unlike the LPR, it did not demand every member to subscribe to a particular version of the extreme right tradition, but it allowed a measure of autonomy on that matter. In particular, it did not declare itself devoutly Catholic. Curiously, it was the neo-pagan Zadruga-style nationalists, hailing from the youth Black Metal scene, who had the biggest success in infiltrating Self-Defence. Born out of an explosive merger of Satanism and neo-nazism, the Polish National-Socialist Black Metal (NSBM) scene followed its Western counterparts in discovering neo-paganism and in the process Zadruga became an ideological weapon of choice for many of the Polish black metal adherents. The 1990s witnessed a plethora of new organizations that engaged in both quasi-religious and political activities in the spirit of Zadruga. Examples include the Social-National Union (Unia Społeczno-Narodowa, USN), the Native Faith Association (Zrzeszenie Rodzimej Wiary, ZRW) and the ‘Niklot’ Association for Tradition and Culture. None of them could build a mass following. Their potential for growth was obviously limited by the strong connection between Catholicism and Polish national identity. This connection is especially pronounced on the right, which did not fare well for anti-Catholic nationalists. A former publisher of hardline neo-nazi publications and ‘Niklot’ member, Mateusz Piskorski became the main protagonist of the neo-Zadruga ideology within Self-Defence. A recent graduate in political science at Szczecin University, he joined Self-Defence in 2002 and rapidly rose to the position of party ideologist, MP and official party spokesman, especially on foreign policy.84 To be sure, Piskorski’s was not an isolated case: he brought with him a whole cohort of young nazi-skinhead and black metal activists who occupied various party posts. Despite several media exposes of his nazi links, Piskorski remained a leading light in Self-Defence’s parliamentary faction and his internal party influence grew. Significantly, his basically unchanged political outlook could be determined by the contents of one of his first parliamentary interventions: a formal question to the Minister of Internal Affairs, calling for the repression of ‘so-called anti-fascist groups’ who allegedly confronted Niklot members at a Jan Stachniuk commemoration ceremony.85 The presence of violently anti-Christian neopagans in Self-Defence was all the more surprising in the light of Lepper’s routine invoking of Pope John Paul II’s mottos on the need for social justice. This combination, again, illustrated the shallow ideological hotchpotch so typical of Self-Defence, resulting from a combination of cynicism and ignorance of the leaders. Lepper himself, when challenged about the activity of nationalist pagans in his party, answered: ‘They are fine, hard lads; they are educated, they graduated in political science, good, clear-minded youths who cultivate our traditions’.86

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Indeed, one is led to suspect any group of university graduates prepared to accept Lepper’s leadership and demonstrate their loyalty could have occupied important positions in the ideologically confused movement. The intellectual level of the party cadres was notoriously low and, especially after entering the parliament, the party needed educated members desperately. In any case, the infiltration of Self-Defence by neo-pagans, despite its usage of social Catholic teaching, was yet another example of religion being secondary to other political priorities on the Polish nationalist right. Could Self-Defence be classified as ‘right-wing’, a label it rejected? If the classic socio-economic criteria are applied, surely it would not qualify as such, given its constant emphasis on the welfare state, the social minimum and the state intervention in the economy. On the other hand, it arguably did fulfil Mudde’s criteria of a radical right populist party, combining populism with nativism and authoritarianism, even if social populism was the most strongly accentuated of the three elements. Although Self-Defence promised an ill-defined ‘Third Way’ between socialism and capitalism,87 what they wanted was an autarkic ‘Polish capitalism’, with Polish-owned business occupying a central position, rather than anything else.

Popular support The growth of Self-Defence proved that the organization responded to some actual, and pressing, grievances of underprivileged sectors of society, the so-called transformation losers. No matter how much effort agents of the ancien regime put into it, without this key factor of a potential social base, Self-Defence could not have taken off as a sizeable political movement. As we saw earlier, according to survey results, Self-Defence voters tended to be less ideologically driven, and notably less antisemitic than those of the LPR. They did not necessarily consider themselves right-wing, but many of them did: in 2002, 18 per cent of voters with right-wing allegiance declared their support for Self-Defence (while 7 per cent of those with left-wing views declared their support). Self-Defence voters were, however, even more hostile to democracy as a system than LPR voters, a sign of their typically non-ideological radicalization. On the basis of sociological surveys, Self-Defence supporters were characterized as ‘strongly anti-elitist, anti-institutionalist, anti-procedural and in consequence, anti-democratic’.88 The sociological profile of Self-Defence voters pointed to small town inhabitants, people with low education, with overrepresentation of males (in contrast to the women-dominated voter base of the LPR). SelfDefence’s main support came from rural areas: 17 per cent of village inhabitants in 2002, compared to just 4 per cent in cities larger than 500,000 inhabitants. In 2002, 14 per cent of men declared their support for Self-Defence, while only 8 per cent of women declared similar allegiance to the party.89 Somewhat

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similarly to the LPR, but in a much more marked pattern, Lepper’s party had its strongest support among the youngest and the oldest voters, namely 21 per cent among the 18–24, and 15 per cent among the 65+ age group. In another pattern reminiscent of the LPR voter base, but in a more marked fashion, a low level of education was statistically a strong feature of Self-Defence supporters. A low education level of Self-Defence’s social base was a characteristic, even by the standards of the socially and culturally impoverished Polish countryside. For example, people with primary and basic vocational education constituted 89 per cent of Lepper’s rural supporters before the 2000 presidential election, while respondents with such educational background constituted 70 per cent of the rural population. In 2002, 21 per cent of those with primary education declared their vote for Self-Defence as the biggest group, followed by 16 per cent of those with vocational education. At the same time, the percentage of those with higher education who supported Self-Defence was lower than 1 per cent! In a 2003 poll, 44 per cent of Self-Defence supporters agreed with the proposal ‘to abolish democracy and introduce the rule of the strong man’. It was the highest result among all the parties, the average being 26 per cent. Despite its rural roots, the level of religiosity among its support base in the case of Self-Defence was lower than that of the LPR. It had the support of 12 per cent of those who declared themselves to be strongly religious. Sixteen per cent of those who considered their own economic situation as ‘bad’ declared support for Self-Defence (the largest group according to that variable). Self-Defence ate into the former electoral base of the left in Western Poland. In 2001, it achieved its best result in the North Western region of Western Pomerania (14.97 per cent) and the eastern region of Lublin (14.43 per cent). Its worst result that year was 7.16 per cent in the industrial region of Silesia. Overall, the electoral support for Self-Defence was spread relatively evenly across Poland, the exception being big cities where support remained below average. In the early days the support for Self-Defence was limited to its rural nest in the north west. Results of the 2005 presidential election demonstrated, however, that it had become a national movement, stretching far beyond its original base, with the leader’s personal appeal playing a significant role. Lepper received a record 26.38 per cent of the vote in the central region of S´ wie˛ tokrzyskie and 26.08 per cent in the eastern region of Lublin. The West Pomerarian region, Self-Defence’s cradle, trailed with just 15.73 per cent, barely above the national average (15.11 per cent). In the same year’s parliamentary election, however, Self-Defence had its best result in the north western Koszalin district, where the movement had originated in the early 1990s: it got 22.78 per cent of the vote there. The worst result was noted in the industrial district of Sosnowiec, with just 3.59 per cent. Over the years, Self-Defence gradually became the dominant political force

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in the countryside: According to opinion surveys, support for Self-Defence among farmers amounted to almost 50 per cent just before the parliamentary elections in 2005.90 However, with time passing it transformed itself into a movement representing both the countryside and the city poor who disapproved of the capitalist transition. It also took over numerous disgruntled SLD cadres.91 According to 2005 opinion polls, 53 per cent of Self-Defence supporters thought negatively about privatization, the national average being 30 per cent (the level of anti-privatization attitudes among supporters of the League of Polish Families was slightly lower than in the case of Self-Defence): unsurprisingly, ‘opposition to privatisation was the distinctive feature of Self-Defence’s rhetoric’.92 At the same time, a conspicuous feature of the party’s parliamentary faction was the overrepresentation of well-to-do entrepreneurs, including a fair number of millionaires. One reason for it was the infamous practice of selling slots on electoral slates to businessmen in exchange for financial support for the party.93 In the 2004 European Parliament election, about 40 per cent of Self-Defence candidates represented business. Another, more general reason was the fact that Self-Defence was not an anti-capitalist party, but a party of those who were disappointed by the lack of fulfilment of the capitalist promise. That included numerous owners of small- and medium-size companies, who were increasingly frustrated at the glass ceiling on their business development that they encountered in the face of crushing global corporate competition. According to Kucharczyk and Wysocka, ‘Many Self-Defence activists are medium to large scale farmers, who attempted to profit from the transition, but failed and defaulted on loans’.94 Upon closer inspection of its activist base, Self-Defence could be described as a ‘middle class party’.95 Ewa Nalewajko characterizes it as ‘a party of (. . .) small producers and wealthy owners’.96 In the case of Self-Defence, just 28 per cent of its 2005 party supporters voted for it again in 2007. In addition to the vote which it lost to the PiS (26 per cent), 18.2 per cent of its former supporters voted for the PSL and smaller numbers voted for the PO and for the left (8.5 per cent each).97

International connections For all its ideological indeterminacy, eclecticism and ever-changing colours, Self-Defence could be seen as a typical East European populist movement of the transition period, with numerous equivalents in other post-communist countries. The shallowness of its ideology, the demagogic slogans, the quasi-socialist emphasis on social welfare frequently accompanied by xenophobic rhetoric, were indeed common features of the appeal of leaders such as Zhirinovsky in Russia, Milosevic in Serbia, Meciar in Slovakia, or Lukashenko in Belarus.98 Adam Michnik referred to this eclectic strand of post-communist politics as:

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. . . a new populist ideology, which still does not have a name. In it there would be something from fascism and something from communism; some egalitarianism and some clericalism. Those slogans would be accompanied by a radical critique of the spirit of the Enlightenment and by the hardline language of moral absolutism. At the same time, it would be accompanied by nostalgia (. . .) for the “good old times of communism, when you did not have to work too much, and one could have a drink and a bite for little money.”99 Similarities to Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s LDPR are indeed striking in the case of Self-Defence. Although it did not establish any direct alliance with its Russian counterpart, it can be included in the same political family. Janusz Bryczkowski, one of Lepper’s former collaborators, hosted Zhirinovsky’s Polish visit in 1995. The party was also consistently pro-Russian, in contrast to what seemed the dominant vector in the public mood, and it often lamented the loss of the export markets in the East, especially in terms of its negative impact on Poland’s agricultural producers. In 2004 Self-Defence won 10.8 per cent of the vote and six seats in the European Parliament. Unlike the LPR contingent, Self-Defence’s MEPs did not participate actively in European Parliament politics. It is characteristic that not all of its members joined the same parliamentary group in the EP. Some of the MEPs became members of the right-wing Union for Europe of the Nations, but one, Bogdan Golik, chose (and was welcomed by) the Party of European Socialists, with Lepper’s blessing. The division did not result from a split in the party, it just reflected different ideological currents happily coexisting as elements of Self-Defence’s loosely-defined identity. In 2005 Self-Defence joined the Eurosceptic EUDemocrats international umbrella group, but later dropped out. As regards Self-Defence’s other international links, the media often mentioned its cooperation with Lyndon LaRouche’s Schiller Institute in the 1990s.100 At that time the LaRouche movement, ‘an anti-Semitic political cult with international neofascist connections’,101 was actively infiltrating various right-wing and populist groups in Poland. Indeed, some of the slogans employed by Self-Defence bore similarity to the LaRouche version of conspiracy-obsessed anti-globalism, but there is no evidence of any further direct cooperation in the 2000s. As already noted, it was Mateusz Piskorski who became the member of the Self-Defence leadership responsible for international contacts in the latter years. In this capacity he organized Lepper’s controversial trips to China at the invitation of the Chinese Communist Party. It was Piskorski, too, who arranged for Lepper to receive a doctorate honoris causa at the Interregional Academy of Personnel Management (MAUP), the Ukrainian private university notorious for being a hotbed of antisemitic propaganda, in 2004, and its honorary professorship in 2007.102 At the same time Piskorski cultivated his own connections with neo-fascist extremists internationally, most

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significantly with the Belgian National-European Communitarian Party (Parti Communautaire National-Européen, PCN) and Alexander Dugin’s Eurasian Movement in Russia.103 Following his election to parliament in 2005, Piskorski participated in a Brussels conference of Reseau Voltaire, an international conspiracy-obsessed group claiming the 11 September 2001 attacks on New York were the work of Mossad and the CIA. He also visited and supported Transnistria, a lawless breakaway republic on the territory of Moldova, which is a magnet for the Russian fascists and extremists with whom Piskorski was linked via Alexander Dugin’s ‘Eurasian’ network. The consistently pro-Russian position of the Polish Slavophile neo-pagans, who were finding much common ground with the Russian extreme right, turned out to be in line with Self-Defence’s general instinctive pro-Russian orientation. It was not in line with the strategic orientation of Polish foreign policy, however. Piskorski’s Transnistrian trip led the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to introduce tougher restrictions on the use of diplomatic passports by MPs. Embarrassed, Lepper, who by then was chasing increased political respectability – with his eyes set firmly on the deputy prime minister’s job – even threatened Piskorski’s expulsion from the party and forced him to admit his ‘mistake’.

7

The anti-liberalism of Law and Justice

History Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwos´ c´, PiS) is commonly referred to as the party of the Kaczyn´ ski brothers. Indeed, Jarosław and Lech Kaczyn´ ski created it and provided the PiS with a political direction from the very outset. Both of them had been second-tier members of the democratic opposition (KOR) in the 1970s and Solidarity in the 1980s. By 1989, they became advisers to Solidarity’s leader Lech Wałe˛ sa, who elevated them to the political mainstream, a move that he repeatedly called a mistake in later years. In 1990–1991 Lech was deputy chairman of the Solidarity Trade Union. In 1990, Jarosław created the Centre Alliance (PC) as a post-Solidarity political party supporting Wałe˛ sa’s presidential bid. By 1991, however, both brothers found themselves in bitter conflict with Wałe˛ sa whom they accused of allying too closely with representatives of the former communist regime. In 1991, the PC received 8.7 per cent of the vote and with its parliamentary representation of 44 MPs, participated in the short-lived Jan Olszewski government. In 1993 it did not win any seats, failing to pass the 5 per cent electoral threshold (it won just 4.4 per cent of the vote). In 1995 the support for Lech Kaczyn´ ski as a presidential candidate was so negligible that he withdrew from the race before the first round of voting. In the mid-1990s the Kaczyn´ ski brothers were outside of parliamentary politics. Lech was the chairman of the Supreme Chamber of Control (Najwyz· sza Izba Kontoli, NIK), while Jarosław was looking for ways to break out of the political wilderness. In Mudde’s terminology, they were ‘outsider-elites’, i.e. ‘connected to the elites, but not part of them’.1 In 1997, the PC became a part of the AWS, but the party was considered deeply marginalized. By 2000, the PC hardly existed as a viable political force and few observers would have expected that the political fortunes of the Kaczyn´ ski brothers would ever be reversed. Both brothers were at that time deeply unpopular among the wider public. A new discursive element began to be employed in their political rhetoric, namely a strict law-and-order position in general, and a call for the reinstatement of death penalty in particular. The demand for the death penalty stood in clear disregard to not only Poland’s

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international obligations set out by the Council of Europe but, even more profoundly, the official teaching of the contemporary Catholic Church, and the Polish-born Pope John Paul II in particular. Although it initially brought little political result, it heralded a new, more populist language and future political direction adopted by the Kaczyn´ ski camp. In 2000, Lech Kaczyn´ ski was, rather unexpectedly, nominated to the post of Minister of Justice in the centre-right AWS government of Jerzy Buzek. He was dismissed after one year, but managed to build a reputation as an uncompromising campaigner against crime. According to Klaus Bachmann, Kaczyn´ ski ‘made (. . .) use of the populist mood: While he was still the minister of justice under Buzek, Lech Kaczyn´ ski had begun a campaign against crime and corruption, two classic themes of western European populist parties. He presented himself as the strong outsider, attacking a system of corruption and sleaze’.2 His newly found public sympathy was used to build a new party, and in 2002 he won the important race for mayor of Warsaw. In 2005, the PiS won both the parliamentary and the presidential elections. In July 2006 President Lech Kaczyn´ ski nominated his twin brother, Jarosław, as the country’s Prime Minister.

Ideology and cultural references While the LPR and Self-Defence were commonly considered as populist and/or radical nationalist, a similar classification of the PiS party was not so easy and the party definitely aspired to a more mainstream status. The PiS started as a more or less mainstream centre-right party in the early 2000s. By the mid-2000s, however, it accepted radical right populist elements, which came to dominate its message. In earlier sections we noted the strong influence of the skinhead culture on the LPR and the disco-polo aesthetics accompanying Self-Defence. There has been no such cultural code discernable in the ranks of the Kaczyn´ skis’ party. It seems to be rooted in mainstream culture. Interestingly, its leaders have included a fair number of former hippies. Unlike the LPR’s skinheads, however, the PiS’s hippies seem to have left their youthful ideals long behind.3 Officially, the party has subscribed to the legacy of Józef Piłsudski rather than to endek ethnonationalist traditions. Indeed, it was criticized by its competitors on the right for its allegedly left-wing Pilsudskite roots.4 The political past of the PiS main leaders is linked with the mainstream democratic opposition movement and Solidarity. The Kaczyn´ ski brothers are often · oliborz intellectuals’: Z · oliborz is the reminded of their background as ‘Z district of Warsaw known historically as the cradle of the progressive intelligentsia.5 In the early period after the foundation of the PiS in 2001, it focused on anti-crime and anti-corruption rhetoric. However, unlike Self-Defence or the LPR, which entered the parliament at the same time, it did not challenge the basic elements of the Polish democratic system. The party positioned itself in

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the mainstream post-Solidarity tradition and distanced itself from the nationalist-populist extremists. Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski was a vocal critic of Radio Maryja and he repeatedly accused it of being supported by murky forces of the Russian secret services. At that time his party could be called ‘radical right’,6 but not ‘extreme right’. Unlike Self-Defence and the LPR, the PiS remained a generally pro-Western party, supporting Polish membership in NATO and the European Union.7 Nevertheless, there are reasons to question the permanent status of the PiS as a typical centre-right party. Since its creation in 2001, it underwent a far-reaching evolution in almost all aspects: its rhetoric, policies, ideology, political allies, sources of symbolic support, and voter base. The change in outlook was discernable by the parliamentary election of 2005 and it became even more pronounced in the following period.8 The party took on strong features of populism and nationalism with authoritarian tendencies, and positioned itself as an anti-systemic force seeking radical change rather than maintaining democratic stability. As a result, the label of a nationalistpopulist party became rather accurate. Alternatively, the party became referred to as ‘populist and national-conservative’.9 Let us look at some main tenets of that ideological evolution. A systematic analysis of the official party manifestos and literature shows that the PiS identified with a strongly traditionalist understanding of Polish identity. The identification of Polishness with Roman Catholicism was especially emphasized. In 2005 the party published a programmatic brochure under the title ‘A Catholic Poland in a Christian Europe’. In his preface, Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski wrote that ‘Christianity is a fundamental fact of our national existence. (. . .) For the vast majority of us, the politicians, activists and members of Law and Justice, the Catholic faith is simply the Truth, which directs our lives and activities. For all of us it is a value which must be respected and defended.’10 At the same time, he warned against threats to the moral order: ‘Nowadays, unfortunately, we live in times, when the civilization based on the truth of the Decalogue and of the Scripture – is more and more often questioned and attacked’.11 The publication warned against ‘an anti-Christian hostility, which we encounter in liberal Europe’.12 Law and Justice strongly opposed the Western way of life and ‘ideas, which in the name of absolutizing falsely interpreted human rights and civil freedoms, attack the inherited values, structures and institutions, promoting instead moral relativism and a lifestyle revolution directed against the foundations of our civilization. For that reason a new, very serious challenge for the political elites emerges today: the defence of religion, tradition, patriotism and family’. The party has called for this principle to be applied to all matters of state policy. The radical opposition of the PiS to the liberal-democratic order was reflected in its demand for a new Constitution to replace Poland’s 1997 Basic Law. The new constitution would be entirely based on Catholic values.

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According to Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski’s programmatic speech at the party’s ‘constitutional convention’ in 2003, There is, and there can be, no constitution that is axiologically neutral. (. . .) In today’s Poland there is just one common and widespread system of values, which is based on the Church teaching and the national tradition. (. . .) The constitution cannot condone nihilistic tendencies, it is obvious that there is no choice in the axiological sphere, any kind of compromise between the traditional value system and nihilism makes no sense, because it would mean giving in to nihilism.13 Accordingly, the official draft of a new constitution proposed by the PiS, started with the words ‘In the name of God Almighty!’ and in its first sentence it invoked ‘more than one thousand years of history linked with Christianity’, while removing references to religious and ethnic minorities that were present in the introduction to the 1997 consitution.14 The PiS’s draft proposal advocated significant strengthening of the executive branch, especially the president’s powers. A lack of respect for the Montesquieuan principle of division of powers later became one of the main charges made by critics against the PiS-dominated government. Among other things, the draft also envisaged a decriminalization of racist activity, even despite PiS’s routine support for broadening the penal code to include new crimes and for stiffening sentences for all crimes rather than liberalizing them. The party literature of the PiS introduced a term that had not been used in politics since the 1930s, namely ‘polonism’, understood as an ideology of national identity. Significantly, Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski himself referred to his party’s ideology as ‘polonism’.15 In its 2005 electoral manifesto, the PiS warned against ‘a crisis of polonism and patriotism’ as a key political problem to be tackled by the new government.16 A ‘purification and strengthening of the state’ was among the proposed solutions.17 In PiS’s vision, the national community had to be revitalized at the expense of pluralism and foreign influences. The PiS accused liberal opponents of working against the national identity. It took on an increasingly exclusionary character, with gays, former communist party members, and many other groups being symbolically excluded and/or stigmatized as members of the re-energized national community. The integrity of the national (self-) image was mentioned as a key task for Polish foreign policy in the 2007 manifesto: In some foreign media false information about Poland appeared, such as accusations of homophobia, antisemitism, participation in genocide, co-responsibility for the Holocaust or fascism. They were supported by unfortunate statements made abroad by several well-known Polish citizens. It poses a concrete challenge for the Polish diplomacy. The image of Poland must be defended against the falsifications ever more intensively.18

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Similar ideas about the centrality of national feelings were expressed in the 2009 party manifesto. An ethnic rather than civic understanding of Polish identity was implied: For our politics (. . .) the fundamental community and reference point is the Polish Nation – a society bound together not just through geographical space and material links, but also through the common historical experience, the culture and the language. (. . .) Experience shows that a complete move from one national culture to another is only possible for exceptional individuals, and even in those cases it does not happen without difficulties and limitations.19 The manifesto further confirmed a belief in a ‘realist’ order in international relations based on a strict separation and rivalry between monolithic nations: The Nation can function and develop among other nations only when it maintains at least a minimum of separatedness and cohesion. Competition between nations is a fact. Recognizing national community as a natural and positive phenomenon, it is necessary to accept the obvious fact of competition between nations, which (. . .) is a motor of material and spiritual development of each nation and of humanity as a whole.20 Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski openly criticized his former position: ‘I overestimated the threat of nationalism. If I could turn back the time, I would have emphasized national elements in the PC programme more strongly. At that time I gave anti-nationalist statements . . .’.21 Arguably, with time passing, Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski became more tolerant of antisemitism and radical ethnonationalist rhetoric used by others, and even expressed regret at his own forceful condemnation of antisemitism in the past: I remember for example our programmatic conference in Laski [in 1991] and my speech against antisemitism. From today’s perspective I think I did not fully recognize the situation, the nationalist danger in Poland was much smaller than I thought.22 The presence of politicians who represented the Dmowski, rather than the Piłsudski, tradition, and their growing influence within the PiS, could be attributed to a strategic conclusion drawn by the Kaczyn´ ski brothers about the need for a nationalist right-wing to be given political space in the party. In an interview for the weekly Polityka, shortly after his election to president, Kaczyn´ ski explained: I do not think I am a populist. I am not a nationalist. I have nothing in common with nationalism. I am a patriot. If I feel attached to any

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At the same time he stated: ‘But in today’s Poland you cannot build a patriotic party without people of national-Catholic convictions’.24 This important strategic decision, even if cynical, brought the PiS political success. Significantly, Lech Kaczyn´ ski thanked Radio Maryja’s Father Tadeusz Rydzyk in his immediate post-election speech as an important ally who deserved special gratitude. Accordingly, the daily paper Nasz Dziennik, published by the Radio Maryja group, was among the first newspapers granted an interview by the newly elected president. Indeed, the mobilization of Radio Maryja supporters was widely considered a major factor in the double electoral victory of the PiS. As discussed earlier, by 2005 the LPR leaders fell out of grace with Father Rydzyk, and their place on the airwaves was gladly occupied by members of the PiS. Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski was first invited to take part in a Radio Maryja broadcast in 2005. In the words of Michał Karnowski and Piotr Zaremba, ‘Radio Maryja does not invite its opponents. To participate in their broadcasts means to accept their endorsement’.25 Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski duly apologized for his previously hostile attitude to Radio Maryja and was rewarded with unprecedented support from the Catholic-nationalist media outlet. He later explained his reorientation in terms of pragmatic electoral politics: · oliborz remains my world, but you have to look for a The world of Z broader formula. You have to shoot with the guns that are available. (. . .) First, I have to win elections. For this reason I move to the right as much as I can, not as far as Orban in Hungary, he took over an extreme nationalist electorate, but still. You cannot win elections without Radio Maryja. Once I wanted to do it in another way. The Centre Alliance was an attempt to base oneself on the centrist voters. It ended up as a failure.26 On the other hand, there is also some evidence suggesting Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski’s endorsement of Radio Maryja may not have been a purely cynical move. Some authors suggested that he came to value the very ideological content and cultural ambience of the radio (and its associated social movement) he used to despise. He himself declared: ‘After all, though I do not always agree with Radio Maryja, I simply came to like it’.27 Shortly later, after becoming prime minister, Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski declared: There is one element that sets me apart from the majority of the Warsaw intelligentsia. As a result of my evolution and reflections, I have reached the conviction that Father Rydzyk is a positive figure, even though I do not identify with many views promoted on the airwaves of Radio Maryja. (. . .) [Father Rydzyk] strengthened the right wing in Poland and

The anti-liberalism of Law and Justice 157 the right wants to restore normality and reject postcommunism. And he has sought to revive and sustain the communal values, national values, which are incredibly important for the construction of the state.28 By the 2005 election, the PiS had absorbed an ever larger number of politicians connected with Radio Maryja, most notably Antoni Macierewicz’s Patriotic Movement (Ruch Patriotyczny, RP), composed mostly of LPR defectors. Macierewicz had been a Minister of the Interior in the early 1990s, but had since lost most of his mainstream credibility: among other things, he was the publisher of a radically anti-communist and antisemitic newspaper, Głos (‘The Voice’). The RP also included Krzysztof Kawe˛ cki, the former leader of the National Right (PN), who stood as a candidate for the PiS in local elections. The tendency of absorbing former LPR cadres and other right-wing extremist activists by the PiS continued and even intensified after the 2005 election. Sociologist Ireneusz Krzemin´ ski recalled his 2004 conversation with Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski who, in the context of the subject of antisemitism, shocked his interlocutor by saying: . . . although he had been educated in the anti-endek, anti-nationalist tradition of the intelligentsia, recently he was more and more inclined to recognize that National Democratic thought had not been so bad after all, contrary to what is usually maintained and contrary to what we had been taught. And the people who belong to the endek tradition constitute an important part of the right-wing electorate.29 The positive re-evaluation of the endek tradition found its reflection, among others, in the party’s growing hostility to Germany. As an example of the newly adopted anti-German stance, combined with time-honoured conspiracy theories, Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski declared in a 2004 parliamentary debate: In Poland, there was and (. . .) still is a genuine front for the defence of German interests. One must also say to oneself clearly that this front (. . .) consists of informants of the German secret services, including those who have been handed down from the Stasi. This is a very big group of people who live from German money and act as if they were independent scholars and journalists.30 As we saw, the Kaczyn´ ski brothers were not nationalists in the sense of the specific political tradition of National Democracy. Arguably, their venture into nationalist political territory had more to do with invoking and exploiting the emotions of radicalized nationalist voters than with a wholesale acceptance of the nationalist ideology. According to LPR activist Krzysztof Bosak, lamenting the loss of votes to the PiS, ‘Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski represents

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this electorate not so much on the level of ideas as on the level of certain emotions (. . .) he worked hard to devise a rhetoric which could be credible in the eyes of such voters’.31 The radicalizing rhetoric, we may add, also had an internal dimension: in the words of Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski, ‘we are a young party and the hard language was surely a tool in its consolidation’.32 The Kaczyn´ ski brothers were notorious for their lack of knowledge of, and interest in, other countries. The image of the West they started to utilize in the mid-2000s reflected dystopian fantasies rather than actual observations. According to Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski ‘In Western Europe they want to ban the Christmas tree and they have criminalized people who criticize homosexuality. In a moment they will go after the churches. (. . .) It is a question of facts, not opinions’.33 Needless to say, such an assertion was accompanied by a call for a national resistance: ‘We have to tell them: we are us, we have our own rules’.34 The Kaczyn´ skis’ spectacular retreat to the idea of a strong nation-state symbolized an archaic political vision. Sociologist Jadwiga Staniszkis, once supportive of the Kaczyn´ skis, complained of their lack of understanding of changing realities of political power in a globalized era.35 In this vein, Andrzej Rychard identified the PiS’s weakness as ‘Too much faith in traditional personalized politics, and not enough institutional ideas’.36 By the mid-2000s the Kaczyn´ skis became convinced that a preference for ‘national interests’ must inform all policy. While such a belief in itself may not necessarily result in discrimination or intolerance, the 2005 electoral campaign did play on national and even ethnic stereotypes, directed primarily against Germans and Russians. Der Spiegel noted the usage of a ‘language during campaign season against both Moscow and Berlin that harks back to World War II’.37 The increasingly exclusionary character of the PiS brand of nationalism found its reflection in the negative presidential campaign of 2005 and especially its ‘Wehrmacht grandfather’ strand. According to Wysocka, it was during that campaign that PiS ‘moved firmly towards populism’.38 In the words of Peter Vermeersch: Law and Justice, which had been a moderately successful and fairly typical new right-wing party at the parliamentary elections four years earlier, had successfully transformed itself into an offensive and radically nationalist party in the months right before the elections of 25 September 2005.39 Jacek Kurski, who was largely responsible for the PiS campaign and introduced the above mentioned key campaign thread, started his colourful political career as a PC member in the early 1990s. He deserted the Kaczyn´ ski party and moved further to the right, becoming a well-known member of the ZChN and, later, the LPR. He was responsible for the highly successful xenophobic 2004 European election campaign of Giertych’s party. As a former

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journalist, he provided training to members of the MW. By 2005, however, he was back in the Kaczyn´ ski camp, which, as we saw, had moved rightwards in the preceding years, too. In a crucial turn of the presidential campaign, shortly before the second round, Kurski accused Tusk, Lech Kaczyn´ ski’s liberal rival who topped the polls, of an ‘impure’ family background: his grandfather had allegedly served as a German army soldier during World War II. When the accusation proved true, despite Tusk’s denial, it arguably had a decisive impact on the election result. The PiS strategy, implemented by Kurski, was to undermine Tusk’s patriotic credibility by emphasizing his Kashuba (read: German) minority ethnic background. The Kashuba are a small ethnic minority in the Gdan´ sk region, historically squeezed between Polish and German cultural influences. During World War II, the Kashuba were forcefully conscribed into the German Wehrmacht, which was also the fate of Franciszek Tusk, a former inmate of the Stutthoff concentration camp. It was enough, however, to attack Donald Tusk in the electoral campaign. Through emphasizing the family history and ethnic minority background, his bonds of belonging and loyalty to the Polish national community were questioned and an ethnicized understanding of the Polish national identity was implied. Following the revelations, Kurski’s party membership was briefly suspended but he was allowed to return to the party fold in full glory and to become one of its most widely recognized spokesmen. The Kurski incident notwithstanding, until late 2005 the PiS was still generally considered a fully mainstream political party by the main media, a far cry from the more extremist outlook of populists such as Self-Defence. The PiS had cooperated closely with another centre-right post-Solidarity party, the Civic Platform, and it was broadly assumed they would form a governing coalition after the 2005 election. Other scenarios, such as a coalition between the PiS and Andrzej Lepper’s Self-Defence, seemed quite unthinkable. In a last- ditch effort in that year’s presidential campaign Tusk challenged his rival (and expected coalition partner) Lech Kaczyn´ ski during a televised debate to distance himself from the support of Andrzej Lepper’s party and to rule out a coalition with Self-Defence, and he was visibly bemused when such a demand was rejected. The right-wing drift of the PiS continued after the 2005 election. Moreover, ‘it can be argued that PiS in Poland evolved into “hard” populism throughout its term in the government’.40 According to Radosław Markowski, the party ‘moved from a conservative position to a populist-nationalist stance’.41 Indeed, the PiS ideology became virtually identical to that of the now redundant Movement for a Reconstruction of Poland (Ruch Odbudowy Polski, ROP), led by the ex-PC premier Jan Olszewski. Olszewski, who was elected to parliament on the LPR list in 2001, gave his full support to the PiS and became Lech Kaczyn´ ski’s official adviser.42 To be sure, neither Lech nor Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski could be found guilty of any directly racist or xenophobic statements in the same way as LPR and

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Self-Defence leaders could. The closest Jarosław came to such rhetoric was when he accused editors of Gazeta Wyborcza of being representatives of the ‘KPP tradition’. The original Communist Party of Poland (Komunistyczna Partia Polski, KPP) had been a clandestine party, dissolved at the order of Stalin in 1937, and the majority of its leaders were murdered during Soviet purges. Many KPP activists were Jewish. Some of their children and grandchildren were later active oppositionists, KOR and Solidarity supporters, and a handful became journalists of Gazeta Wyborcza. Therefore, Kaczyn´ ski’s attack was in this case more an attack on the group family background of his opponents than on their political views. Roger Boyes wrote: Despite their poor image abroad, Poland’s Kaczynski twins (. . .) are not anti-Semitic. They do, however, share the view of many in the Catholic Church in Poland that communism was put in place by Jews acting against Polish interests – it slips into their conversation occasionally.43 As noted, the PiS nominally presented itself as a party in the Pilsudskite tradition, and both Kaczyn´ ski twins have been compared to Piłsudski by supporters; although no direct political continuity with the original Piłsudski camp could be demonstrated and the party leaders used to define themselves as Christian Democrats, not Pilsudskites, in the 1990s.44 It seems that, for many PiS activists and supporters, Piłsudski is just a symbol of patriotism (and of a ‘strong hand’ authoritarianism) devoid of any particular ideological content and detached from the actual political cleavages that were relevant in the 1920s and 1930s. Cezary Michalski, a right-wing publicist, noted a parallel between the rightward evolution of the Kaczyn´ ski group and the gradual endorsement of the Dmowski ideology by some leading Pilsudskites in the late 1930s.45 The Pilsudskite strand in PiS ideology expressed itself in a variety of other ways, however. First, the repeated calls for a moral revolution echoed Piłsudski’s slogan of a moral sanitation (sanacja). Second, the authoritarian style of the PiS leadership had some clear marks of the non-democratic practice of the post-1926 Piłsudski period. Finally, PiS thinking about foreign policy is dominated by an anti-Russian position, amplified by anticommunist (anti-Soviet) sentiments. Some observers noted a problem with that historical claim to continuity, too.46 Although a deeply ingrained anti-Russian instinct had been present in Piłsudski’s mindset, he was intimately familiar with Russian culture, in stark contrast to most PiS leaders. He was also able to strike deals with Russians whenever some mutual interest could be identified, as in the case of the 1932 pact between Poland and the Soviet Union. There was no sign of similar pragmatism in policies advocated by PiS leaders, who seemed to contend themselves with an outright condemnation of all things Russian. If anticommunism was the lens of looking at the recent history, Russophobia was the PiS’s favoured frame for looking at international relations. Arguably, this

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approach had strong features of ethnic essentialism and was not simply a statement of geo-political goals. The growing radical rightist impulse was demonstrated especially by the party’s full-scale endorsement of a Christian fundamentalist homophobic agenda, a long way from the PC’s moderate position on moral issues. Both in 2004 and 2005 Lech Kaczyn´ ski banned the annual gay rights march in Warsaw on the grounds of public morality, a move that both brought him international disrepute and increased his support among the most strongly conservative sections of Polish society. Homophobic statements and actions became an element of political competition with both the PiS and the LPR fighting for the same homophobic target group. Unlike the LPR’s youth wing, however, PiS activists did not attack gay rights supporters physically. The matter was further complicated by persistent semi-public rumours of Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski’s homosexual orientation.47 According to Smolar, in the mid-2000s one could observe ‘especially in the language they used, a similarity to anachronistic, reactionary Catholic utopias of the 1930s, to Salazar, Franco, Dollfuss, Pétain – of course I think not of the dimension of dictatorship or collaboration with the nazis, but of the rebellion against modernity, against the legacy of the Enlightenment and the French revolution’.48 Moral absolutism, described by Michnik as an important element of post-communist nationalist populism, became a significant feature of PiS rhetoric. Moral dichotomies occupied a central place in PiS rhetoric. According to the party’s platform, its ‘aim is to create a social order in Poland, in which good is good and bad is bad.’49 Despite its sometimes tense relationship with the Catholic hierarchy, the PiS arguably benefited the most from the massive wave of communal mourning following the death of Pope John Paul II in 2004. At that time the media proclaimed the emergence of the ‘JP2 generation’, a mass of people socialized in the spirit of Catholic and national values and mobilized through moral panic techniques – many of them voted for the PiS in 2005. By 2005, the party called for the abandonment of the liberal democratic system and for a construction of ‘a new state’ (a term similar to the one used by the Salazar dictatorship in Portugal, ‘Estado Novo’, and used as a title of the PC/PiS magazine, Nowe Pan´ stwo, since the mid-1990s) – the Fourth Republic – through ‘a moral revolution’. The idea of a moral revolution was mostly linked to the anti-corruption campaign, but it came to signify a broader vision of a reconstruction of society in line with a specific ideology. In this vein Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski himself referred to his party as ‘radical’ and ‘anti-systemic’.50 The intellectual tendency behind the political campaigns of the PiS could be described as ‘conservative communitarian republicanism’. The PiS stressed the need for a renewal of national community. For example, Zdzisław Krasnode˛ bski, a political philosopher close to the party and a member of its support councils, stated: ‘indeed, Poland’s problem is not too strong but too weak national consciousness’.51 It called for the state

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to participate more actively in constructing a desired shape of national identity, in particular through the ‘history policy’, e.g. through affirming the patriotic narrative and giving it a central place in political discourse as well as devoting significant resources to the promotion of national values. Lech Kaczyn´ ski first implemented the proposed history policy on a local level, through building the Museum of the Warsaw Uprising. The opening of the museum is often cited as the single main achievement of the capital city’s mayor during his time in office. The Uprising ‘became a founding myth of the Kaczyn´ ski party’.52 The museum was criticized for presenting Polish history one-sidedly, as a domain of pure national heroism, but it contributed to Lech Kaczyn´ ski’s electoral success in 2005. He stressed the role of the museum in his post-election speech, and significantly, many of the museum workers became PiS MPs, ministers and president’s officials. A preoccupation with the past rather than an orientation towards the future became the hallmark of PiS politics. According to Smolar, ‘The right, especially the PiS, made the past a principal field of political struggle. (. . .) And the history policy – a struggle for the interpretation of history – started to substitute real policy, both internal and international’.53 Most importantly, the PiS leaders spent much attention on exposing an alleged conspiracy of the former communists with Lech Wałe˛ sa and the left-liberal wing of Solidarity during the negotiated transition. Such conspiracy theories, long promoted by Andrzej Gwiazda and Anna Walentynowicz but confined to a political fringe, found a broad channel of expression through the PiS agenda. Ironically, the Kaczyn´ ski brothers had been at the centre of the 1989 round table negotiations with the communist authorities, a fact conveniently glossed over by PiS activists. Communist secret services had a special role in the conspiracy narrative. They allegedly continued to dominate Polish political and economic life, working through their old undercover agents. The PiS pledged to identify and destroy ‘the network’, which allegedly controlled Polish politics and its economy. Several intellectuals, such as the sociology professor Andrzej Zybertowicz (who also held various posts in Kaczyn´ ski’s administration) specialized in providing academic backup to such claims. The secretive machinations were considered the main driving force of social life, and the hidden hand of the conspiracy had a more decisive impact on Poland than visible political and economic processes. The outing of those secret agents would amount to an act of moral purification of the nation. The official marketing summary of a book written by Bronisław Wildstein, a leading intellectual connected with the Kaczyn´ ski camp (the chairman of state TV nominated by the PiS), can be used as an illustration of the picture of the post-transition liberal democracy painted by the moral revolution advocates: It is the most important book written about today’s Poland – a valley of nothingness, a site of evil, the country of innumerable acts of treason,

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forgotten heroes, lies, cowardice, crowd thinking and manipulation. A country of networks going back to the communist times, dominating in business, media, courts, politics, Church . . .54 The PiS brilliantly engineered, and benefited from, a growing perception of widespread corruption. Several publicized scandals involving top Social Democratic politicians undoubtedly fed the increasing impatience and anger of public opinion. Although some studies attempted to show that corruption in post-communist Poland was not as pervasive as it was perceived to be, the media and competing political forces contributed to a strong anticorruption sentiment.55 PiS politicians such as Zbigniew Ziobro benefited in particular from their active participation in televised parliamentary investigations, most notably on the so-called ‘Rywingate’, which highlighted corrupt practices at the highest levels in the field of media legislation. Ziobro became the favourite PiS politician to be invited to Radio Maryja broadcasts. The common framing of social reality by opposing corrupt liberal elites and ordinary people provided a perfect discursive opportunity structure for the PiS to exploit. The party manifesto stated: ‘There will be law and order (. . .) because it is in the interest of ordinary Polish citizens. And Law and Justice is the party of the ordinary Polish citizens’.56 According to Karol Modzelewski, a leading Polish intellectual, ‘the PiS is not a class-based party (. . .), but it is a populist party, which exploits in its rhetoric and political strategy the popular hostility to all kinds of elites’.57 Thus, the ideology of the PiS could be characterized as a typical specimen of populist illiberal democracy. These features became ever more pronounced during its term in office after 2005. Although the PiS had a good number of experienced professional politicians in its ranks, its socio-economic programmatic policies were often as enigmatic as those of the LPR and Self-Defence. On the one hand, it strongly advocated a more left-leaning approach to the economy, seeking state intervention for a more equitable distribution of national product. It revived some elements of the original Solidarity Trade Union demand for social justice, and it positioned itself symbolically in a stream of quasi-populist nostalgia for the imagined lost innocence of the early Solidarity movement as an expression of egalitarian, national and moral values. It famously juxtaposed its call for a ‘solidary Poland’ with the vision of a ‘liberal Poland’, which was attributed to the rival PO. According to Jarosław Gowin, a Catholic intellectual and a PO member: It is untrue that the PiS benefits only from a resentment against elites, a conspiracy vision of history and anti-Western complexes. The Kaczyn´ skis reach to some deep moral and existential needs of the Poles. A need for security, justice and national pride.58

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The solidary Poland was presented as a holistic social project, a thorough alternative to liberalism in cultural, social and economic fields. On the other hand, once it entered the government, the PiS happily bestowed economic policy in the hands of neoliberal enthusiasts such as Prime Minister Kazimerz Marcinkiewicz and Deputy PM and Finance Minister Zyta Gilowska. At the same time, it displayed increasing signs of authoritarianism under the strong-hand leadership of Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski. All actual or potential internal opposition was wiped out, including the more liberal-minded party leaders such as Paweł Zaleski or Antoni Me˛ z· ydło (and eventually Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, too). While his brother occupied the president’s office, Jarosław became the unquestioned leader of the PiS. He was frequently referred to as a political genius by party members, without a hint of irony.59 Former PiS member Marian Piłka wrote: . . . it was vividly demonstrated that the PiS is not just a leader’s party, because nobody ever questioned the leadership of Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski, but that it is a private party in the literal meaning of the word, where in fact there is no place for any plurality of views and differences in presenting opinions are allowed only to the extent which serves electoral and marketing aims of the Kaczyn´ ski brothers. This fact was vividly illustrated after the [2007] elections, when chairman Kaczyn´ ski simply threw out his deputy chairmen in one sweep. In this situation any talk of internal currents, and of them being autonomous subjects vis-à-vis Kaczyn´ ski is just a joke and shows contempt for public opinion.60 Such concentration of power in the hands of the Kaczyn´ ski brothers as the party leaders also means that whatever nationalist or antisemitic statements other PiS representatives and associates may have made, they could be treated as largely irrelevant to the ‘real’ core party ideology as espoused by the leadership (this distinction is also relevant to Self-Defence, but probably irrelevant to the LPR). It shows, however, that the Kaczyn´ skis had a very cynical recruitment policy and they tolerated such rhetoric when it suited their strategic objectives. Owing to such tight control of the party by the leader, it is also possible to ascertain that any statements or actions contrary to the accepted party line would not have been allowed. The leadership made sure no serious dissent was tolerated. For this reason it is often difficult to draw a line between the ‘real’ character of the party, to be found in official programmes and policies of the party and its true leaders (i.e. the Kaczyn´ skis) and the actual ‘behaviour’ of the party, e.g. the toleration of highly questionable people in its ranks. In this chapter we concentrate on examples of the PiS’s connections with or statements by extreme right figures. It does not mean the party as a whole could be classified as extreme right, but it shows that such elements were present in the party outlook. One of the party co-founders, Ludwik Dorn, remembered the formative

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days of the party organization: ‘We all accepted there had to be a bit of a dictatorship in the beginning’.61 Thus, the party chairman was given broad powers, such as suspending any other party member at any moment or co-opting members of the party executive bodies. According to Waldemar Kuczyn´ ski: It gets worse when a party organized along totalitarian lines wins power and its leader becomes prime minister. Then the methods of managing the party are used to manage the state. We saw it and experienced it during two years of the PiS in power.62 The recognition of the authoritarian method, which replaced any semblance of collective leadership within the PiS, should be qualified, however. Indeed, as Mudde argues, ‘the current success of populist actors cannot be separated from the general trend towards strong party leaders and more direct communication between party leadership and party supporters, which has developed over the past decades’.63 Therefore, ‘Charismatic leadership and direct communication between the leader and the people’, previously reserved for the anti-establishment populists,64 has become the norm rather than an exception across the political spectrum. Under the existing institutional arrangements and political circumstances this mode of leadership seems to have been the most functional. Importantly, it proved itself to be socially and culturally acceptable in the mid-2000s Poland. In the 1990s and 2000s, about two-fifths of survey participants perceived a non-democratic system as acceptable under some circumstances, and the figure surged to more than 50 per cent following the 2005 elections. In November 2005, almost 40 per cent of respondents agreed that strong leadership was generally better than the democratic system (the highest number since the beginning of the transition).65 An authoritarian public mood found its political expression.

Popular support Sociological data confirm the evolving characteristics of PiS support alongside the party’s ideological transformations. As we noted, the party received 9 per cent of the vote in the 2001 parliamentary election, 27 per cent in 2005, and 32 per cent in 2007. The social electoral base of the PiS underwent some significant changes between the 2001 and 2005 elections, and the tendency continued through 2007.66 Initially the bulk of their support came from moderate urban voters, often with a higher education, working in the public sector (schools, health service, etc.). They tended to be strongly pro-democratic in the Solidarity ethos. According to a 2003 poll, PiS supporters were among the most committed to the idea of democracy, with a relatively small percentage (19 per cent) favouring a non-democratic system of rule.

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In the 2001 election, the PiS had its best result (15.01 per cent) in the Mazowsze voivodship of Central Poland, which includes the capital city, Warsaw, and the Małopolska region, which includes Krakow, another big city (12.63 per cent). It scored relatively poorly in the western region of Lubuskie (5.66 per cent) and the Opole voivodship (5.33 per cent). It is worth noting its initial modest, below-average results in the eastern provinces of Lublin (7.58 per cent) and Subcarpathian (8.57 per cent), which later came to be its stronghold. With the party’s move to the right, support grew mostly in provincial and rural areas, especially in the conservative strongholds in the south and east of Poland, and markedly more traditionalist, less educated and older voters, often Radio Maryja listeners, formed the core of PiS support there. An analysis of the 2005 elections revealed that in comparison with the PO, the PiS attracted more people with a low level of education, older and living in rural areas. Furthermore the research results showed that the PiS voters were religious, poor and held less prestigious positions on the labour market.67 The Subcarpathian region became a PiS territory: it gave Lech Kaczyn´ ski 47.37 per cent of support in the first round of the 2005 presidential election and 72.66 per cent in the second round. In comparison, Kaczyn´ ski received, respectively, just 23.28 per cent and 41.47 per cent in Western Pomerania, and 14.89 per cent and 41.87 per cent in the western Opole region, which has a sizeable German minority population. In the parliamentary election the same year, the PiS had its best result in the south eastern district of Rzeszów (38.2 per cent), and the lowest score in the western Konin district, with 19.69 per cent. In 2001, the PiS received only 8 per cent of the votes cast by the army of Radio Maryja listeners (the LPR, predictably, got the highest share, with 40 per cent). In 2005, the Kaczyn´ ski party replaced the LPR as the leader among this group of voters with 40 per cent of support (while the LPR received just 12 per cent of the votes among the group).68 In the years 2005–2007, the profile of the electorate of the PiS changed still more. The voters tended to be even older and less educated than in 2005. Among Poles in the 18–24 age group, only 16 per cent declared their vote for the PiS in 2007, whereas in 2005 this figure was 27 per cent. In 2007 the group of citizens over 60 years of age who declared voting for the PiS was 36 per cent, whereas in 2005 it was 29 per cent.69 The geographical tendency in PiS support was well entrenched in 2007. It received its highest result (52 per cent) in the south east Nowy Sa˛cz region (part of the pre-1918 Austrian partition), and the lowest (21 per cent) in the western region of Poznan´ (in the former German partition). This time 62 per cent of Radio Maryja listeners voted for the PiS (and only 3 per cent for the LPR).70 Interestingly, the large Polish diaspora in the United States overwhelmingly supported the PiS, too. For example, it received 67 per cent of the votes cast in the USA in 2007. In the Chicago area alone, the party got 80 per cent of

The anti-liberalism of Law and Justice 167 the votes.71 The Poles in the USA (in contrast to the much younger and more liberal Polish community in Great Britain) tend to be older and more traditionalist, often with a rural background from the south and east of Poland. They are often influenced by Radio Maryja, which caters for that audience with specially targeted broadcasts and fund-raising events. In 2005, 38 per cent of the former LPR voters of 2001 were casting their votes for the PiS.72 By 2007, the party took over many more former LPR and Self-Defence voters, while it lost much of its former moderate urban support base to the rival PO. Only 45 per cent of those who voted for the PiS in 2005 supported it in 2007. Although it lost the election, it actually increased its total national vote from 27 to 32 per cent. Importantly, it attracted 26 per cent of the 2005 Self-Defence voters and a further 44 per cent of the 2005 LPR voters.73 It amounted to an effective takeover of the political space previously occupied by Roman Giertych’s party. As a result of its rightward evolution, however, Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski’s party became increasingly isolated and shunned by mainstream voters. Thus, for example, only 9 per cent of the polled voters mentioned the PiS as their possible second choice in 2009, and it topped the list of parties voters vowed never to vote for.74

International connections Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski admitted that his motivation for labelling his first party ‘Christian Democratic’ had not been entirely based on a discovery of Christian democratic political philosophy: ‘I do not deny that I counted on the support of Western Christian democracy. Unfortunately, the very harmful law on political parties prohibited financing parties from abroad’.75 In this context Kaczyn´ ski mentioned early contacts with Western Christian Democrats:76 an interesting fact in the light of his future marked hostility to (German) Christian Democrats in the years to come. While repeating his general anti-German position, Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski repeatedly referred to the markedly more conservative (and Catholic!) Christian Social Union (CSU) rule in Bavaria as his model. The PiS detested the European People’s Party and it shunned cooperation with the populist radical right in the European Parliament, too.77 It joined the Alliance for Europe of the Nations, which reflected its Eurosceptic (but not Euroreject) stance, but still contained some dubious allies. It was led by an Italian ‘post-fascist’ MEP, Cristiana Muscardini. Among the PiS’s fellow group members there were the Italians of the Alleanza Nazionale and the Lega Nord as well as the anti-immigrant Danish People’s Party and the, more acceptable, Catholic Irish nationalists of Fianna Fail as well as several rightwing parties from smaller countries. The group included some Self-Defence and ex-LPR members, too. The political orientation of the PiS was, at best, unclear to its European partners. In the words of Bachmann, ‘ “National-conservative, nationalist,

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anti-liberal, social-national, and national-populist”, murmured the European press after the [European Parliament] elections. No one really knew how to pigeonhole Law and Justice’,78 although Lech Kaczyn´ ski described himself at the time as ‘a moderate conservative’.79 The British Conservatives sought to leave the EPP and create a more Eurosceptic grouping of their own. It presented an opportunity for the PiS to break out of its relative isolation in the European Parliament. Former Tory leader William Hague visited Poland in 2006 to discuss a possible alliance with the PiS on behalf of his party and the Polish politicians were quick to announce the agreement triumphantly. That alliance did not materialize, however, because the well-publicized antics of the PiS-led government did not quite fit the moderate image cultivated by the new Conservative leader David Cameron. Two years after the collapse of the Kaczyn´ ski government, the Tories and the PiS were again discussing the idea of a joint EP group, together with the Czech right-wing party ODS. It resulted in some serious criticism against Cameron in the British media, which – in addition to the PiS’s controversial policies – took aim at an allied Latvian party’s historical revisionist views on World War II. For example, Timothy Garton Ash wryly commented on the fact that Cameron ‘prepares to lead his newly elected members of the European parliament out of the large, mainstream, powerful centre-right grouping called the European People’s Party (EPP) – a winner in these European elections – and into a marginal miscellany of nationalists and populists’.80

8

Nationalist populism in power The 2005–2007 experiment and beyond

The events of 2005 were a crowning of a longer social-cultural process. In the words of Aleksander Smolar, ‘the phenomenon that we have observed in Poland, had been growing for years, and the 2005 election results were just an example of a dramatic acceleration, an escalation of a rebellion against modernity’.1 In contrast, Zdzisław Krasnode˛ bski argued that the right-wing surge amounted to Poland entering ‘a specific modernity’ stage, because ‘the modernity of each nation is specific and there are many ways of modernization’.2 Similarly, Cezary Michalski advocated ‘another, specific modernity, whose sources are rooted in our tradition’.3 By the mid-2000s one more cultural change took place and it arguably influenced political outcomes. Owing to increasing competition on the media market, a qualitatively new mass communication format appeared in Poland in the form of the tabloid press. The appearance of the Fakt daily, owned by the Axel Springer corporation and modelled on its German counterpart Bild, altered the media landscape.4 It rapidly became Poland’s largest selling paper, dethroning the high-brow liberal Gazeta Wyborcza. Interestingly, the German-owned Fakt did not shy away from inciting nationalist, and especially anti-German, emotions. The home-grown tabloid Super Express as well as other papers were clearly influenced by the new style introduced by Fakt, and had to compete on its strongly populist terms. Almost simultaneously, commercial news TV, ever hungry for sensation and soundbites, appeared on the market as well. It profoundly impacted the way political messages came to be formulated, and the way political reality was framed, which became increasingly a matter of ‘us vs. them’ dichotomies and resulted in a radical polarization. A simplified and aggressive style of delivering the message was subsequently referred to as ‘tabloidization’ of Polish politics. It fed into a phenomenon that was described by political scientist Rafał Matyja as a ‘semantic revolution’.5 Cas Mudde points out that changing media landscapes have had an impact on the rise of populism across the Western world, not least due to the increasing commercialization, ‘which has led to a struggle for readers and viewers and, consequently, a focus on the more extreme and scandalous aspects of politics’.6 Political actors who adapted to the new media reality had a much better

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chance of turning it to their advantage. A simplified and brutalized rhetoric sold better. Those who were slow learners, like the once powerful liberal centrist Freedom Union (Unia Wolnos´ ci, UW), succeeded by the even less successful Democratic Party (Partia Demokratyczna, PD), found themselves on the brink of political extinction. Arguably, the tabloidization of politics was an important factor in the electoral success of the LPR, Self-Defence and PiS in 2005. Their anachronistic political vision, paradoxically, fitted well in the quintessentially modern (or post-modern) reality of media society. It was a fact of ultimate irony that the same dynamic contributed later to the subsequent fall from grace of both Self-Defence and the LPR, embroiled, respectively, in sex scandals and spectacular swastika waiving incidents, which made them fair game for the same tabloid-style media who had, indirectly, elevated them to their previous power. The government coalition of PiS, Self-Defence and LPR followed the 2005 elections, but it did not come into being in one sweep. On the contrary, the semi-public process took many months, and went through several stages, before a fully-fledged coalition was announced on 5 May 2006. Therefore, the entry of the populist radical right into government was more gradual than sudden. The step-by-step approach engineered by Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski helped to limit negative reactions, both in Poland and internationally, and this factor partly explains why there was no outcry comparable to the Freedom Party of Austria (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, FPÖ)’s participation in the Austrian government in 2000. Even the fact that the coalition was proclaimed during a ‘long weekend’, when people were relaxing in the countryside rather than following political news, could be attributed to a wish for limiting any potential shock effect. In the autumn of 2005, after initial negotiations between the PiS and the liberal centre-right PO collapsed, a PiS minority government was formed under Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, a former ZChN and PP member and a skilful public relations operator. Due to his liberal economic views and business connections, the nomination of Marcinkiewicz was initially interpreted as a friendly gesture by the PiS towards the PO. However, it did not result in an alliance of those two formerly friendly post-Solidarity parties, which were rapidly becoming opposing poles. Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski did not become Prime Minister at that time, citing the fact that his identical twin brother Lech had just been elected President and that such a family constellation in two top political posts would seem odd.7 However, after just a few months Marcinkiewicz fell from grace and in July 2006 Jarosław replaced him in the post, disregarding his earlier assurances to the contrary. Marcinkiewicz became increasingly disgruntled at his mistreatment and just before the 2007 election gave his public support to the PO opposition. Initially, the LPR and Self-Defence supported the PiS-led government without obtaining portfolios. However, in October 2005, Roman Giertych became chairman of the key parliamentary committee supervising secret

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services, with the support of other parties. On 2 February 2006 the three parties entered a so-called ‘stabilization pact’ to support the government’s bills in parliament, which, in contrast to its name, proved quite unstable and short-lived. In the end, after prolonged negotiations, the PiS agreed to accept both parties as full coalition partners. Lepper and Giertych became deputy prime minister and minister of agriculture and education, respectively. In addition, Self-Defence members got the housing and social policy portfolios and the LPR received the newly created Ministry of Maritime Economy. The latter post was given to 28-year-old Rafał Wiechecki, an MW activist with a football hooligan past. It was Giertych’s nomination as Minister of Education, however, which provoked the strongest protests. Ad hoc demonstrations were called and open letters protesting against the Giertych nomination collected hundreds of thousands of signatures, including those of many members of the country’s intellectual elite. Predicting a revolt against Giertych in universities, just before the new minister’s nomination, the government took higher education out of his field of competence and transferred it to the Ministry of Science. Similarly, the responsibility for educational youth exchanges with Israel was transferred to the Prime Minister’s Chancellery in order to avoid unwanted contact between the Israelis and Giertych. Such moves limited the direct political damage resulting from the nomination of Giertych to the ministerial post, but they were not sufficient to prevent some other negative consequences. Maritime economy or agriculture did not carry the same symbolic weight as education. According to Abraham Foxman, the Anti-Defamation League director, writing in the immediate wake of the nomination, ‘if Mr. Giertych really must be in the cabinet, then it should not be in the post of Education Minister’. He also added, expressing a widely held disbelief: ‘Is this really happening in Poland? Can the government of a modern, democratic member state of the European Union, in the year 2006, contain two cabinet ministers who are renowned for their bigoted views, and little else?’8 For all its radical rhetoric, the PiS had not been considered an antidemocratic party, while both Self-Defence and the LPR had a reputation as extremist groups. Their entry into government broke a taboo on extremists having a share in power at the highest level. Smolar called it a ‘Mephisto’s bet’ on the part of Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski.9 In the autumn of 2005, the PiS leader spoke in parliament: We must not ignore and we must respect also the radical political projects, the projects of stronger, sometimes brutally expressed demands relating to our reality. (. . .) They (. . .) describe our reality, they describe really existing social problems. And you can have two solutions here: one is proposed by the Civic Platform and it goes down to relegating those forces outside the political system, or you can accept a solution which would lead to this type of dynamic to serve Poland, serve changes, serve everything that we must do in Poland.10

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In an interview following the official entry of extremist parties into the coalition, Prime Minister Marcinkiewicz himself, talking to a Corriere della Sera journalist, gave an example of Austria’s cooption of the Freedom Party in the government, claiming it helped ‘civilize’ the extremist party: It is not the first time that parties of a populist inspiration enter the government of a European country. Austria comes to my mind. Our situation is identical. (. . .) There is a Polish proverb that ideally fits this situation: if you don’t have what you like then you ought to like what you have.11 Barely two years later, Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz wrote self-critically on his personal blog: ‘Even the most noble aim does not legitimize wicked means. We crossed the first boundary when we decided we could do it together with Self-Defence’.12 While Giertych was known as a nationalist, Lepper for many symbolized a general hostility to democratic norms. Radek Sikorski, the then Minister of Defence, remembered how the new coalition resulted in some visible unrest among army officers: ‘When Lepper entered the government, I was visiting the Drawsko military test site, (. . .) and the commander of the manoeuvres tells me: “Minister Sikorski, Lepper in the government, it’s the end of the world, it must not happen! If you wish us to do something, tell us” ’.13 Nevertheless, Sikorski in 2006 was no Piłsudski in 1926 and business as usual continued. Sikorski himself hung on to his post in the government alongside the latter day endeks until he was forced to resign by Kaczyn´ ski in February 2007 amid conflict with his deputy Antoni Macierewicz (this regular Radio Maryja guest who did not rule out the authenticity of ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ was charged with reforming Polish military intelligence). Although Sikorski was a PiS member, he was clearly distrusted by the nationalist right due to his international connections, a British passport and an American–Jewish wife. Like Marcinkiewicz, before the 2007 election he switched sides to become the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the PO government and a candidate for the post of NATO’s Secretary General in 2009.14 By 2006 the PiS–LPR–Self-Defence coalition could be seen as a natural reflection of a convergence of ideologies. It was, arguably, no longer an issue of two extremist parties entering a coalition with a mainstream democratic party, but rather of three parties of different shades of nationalist populism joining forces for a shared vision of a radical anti-liberal transformation. According to Karol Modzelewski, it was ‘a natural alliance’:15 The differences between Self-Defence and the PiS are not of the kind that would exclude a coalition. There is a lot which unites them politically. The same goes for the LPR. Any competition between them results from the fact they all appeal to similar social groups.16 There could be no doubt that ‘the extreme became the mainstream of

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political life’.17 The perception of extremists entering the political mainstream was widespread. In the words of Jerzy Jedlicki: If we (. . .) look at the organizations that currently step out of the social margin thanks to their legitimization by the Kaczyn´ ski brothers’ party and occupy a place in the mainstream of political life in Poland, then I think we have the right to speak of a serious danger.18 The PiS–LPR–Self-Defence coalition lasted for just a little longer than a year, until the summer of 2007. During this short period, it did not fundamentally change the country’s basic outlook: for example, it did not command enough votes in parliament to change the constitution. Much of its time in office was spent on internal tensions and conflicts (for example, Self-Defence left the coalition on 22 September 2006 and returned on 16 October the same year), which eventually led to its downfall. Nevertheless, the Kaczyn´ ski government did leave its mark on Poland. Its immediate effect can be observed in the rhetoric climate it created, rather than in actual policies or institutional changes it managed to introduce. That said, discursive acts are also an important part of the construction of political reality, especially on the part of the nation’s elected leaders. Political statements (‘representations of reality’) are elements of the public realm as ‘real’ as policies themselves. In the words of Jon Fiske, ‘To the extent that representations are real in their effects, they produce what passes for real in any particular conditions. Social reality and representation are mutually constitutive, and the relations between them are necessarily political’.19 On some occasions Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski attempted to moderate his government’s image, for example by saying: ‘There is a certain liberal-democratic minimum which we do not question: we are for parliamentary democracy, for the free market, civic liberties.’20 The commitment to civic liberties was immediately qualified by the following assertion: In my opinion some curtailment of those freedoms is acceptable and does not undermine the liberal-democratic minimum. After all, the democratic system accepted the death penalty, the moral limitations, even drastic, such as punishing homosexuals, and nobody questioned it was a democratic system.21 Overall, however, the language of the coalition partners often seemed to harden rather than moderate after their entrance into government. Analysing the dominant rhetoric of the ‘Fourth Republic’, Smolar said: Today’s Polish politics is populist. (. . .) New fronts are opened and they are first of all the fronts of a language war. (. . .) The dynamic of the situation is increasingly pushing them [government politicians – R.P.]

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The Populist Radical Right in Poland towards extremes and perhaps it is too late already to bring back the moderate language.22

Radio Maryja provided the main symbolic framework for the coalition and Father Tadeusz Rydzyk was instrumental in bringing the partners together. Significantly, the signing of the above mentioned stabilization pact was staged exclusively for the cameras of Radio Maryja’s own television station (TV Trwam); only later were journalists of all the other media allowed to enter the room. Prime Minister Marcinkiewicz and his successor Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski, as well as their top cabinet ministers, regularly travelled to Radio Maryja’s headquarters in Torun´ , to take part in marathon live broadcasts lasting many hours, and to express support for the controversial radio station. They often used the occasion to announce future policy initiatives. For example, Kaczyn´ ski said in a Radio Maryja broadcast in January 2006: ‘Saving civilization will require an introduction of a kind of censorship’.23 The government promised to build a new motorway from Warsaw to Torun´ for the convenience of the radio station’s bosses24 and the state lottery announced it would co-finance Radio Maryja’s private university.25 Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski, in his capacity as prime minister and PiS leader, made it clear he identified with the version of Polish identity promoted by Radio Maryja. In December 2006, he joined the 15th anniversary celebrations of Radio Maryja and praised it as a source of ‘comfort and hope’. He said, among other things: ‘I’m standing here with the feeling that I’m taking part in something important. (. . .) I’m taking part in the 15th anniversary of an institution (. . .) that has played a great role in Poland’s history’ and asserted that positive changes taking place in Poland under his rule ‘would not be possible without the Radio Maryja family’26. On another occasion, Kaczyn´ ski warned that ‘an attack on Radio Maryja is an attack against freedom’.27 On yet another occasion, together with Lepper, Giertych and numerous other ministers and officials, he attended a 150,000-strong pilgrimage of Radio Maryja supporters to the Polish national shrine at Cze˛ stochowa. In his speech, the prime minister exclaimed that ‘Today Poland is here!’ and explained that ‘Thanks to people like you, Poland exists and will exist’.28 This kind of intimacy between the country’s leadership and Radio Maryja’s social movement was without precedent. It was taking place while Radio Maryja maintained its radical nationalist and, especially, antisemitic ideology. For example, on 27 March 2006, Radio Maryja’s regular commentator Stanisław Michalkiewicz, who had been an LPR parliamentary candidate, read out a vehemently antisemitic speech on air, stating, among other things: . . . we had Jews making scenes in the Auschwitz concentration camp, the exaggeration about the incident in Jedwabne and now the preparations for the propaganda event in Kielce to commemorate the anniversary

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of the so-called ‘pogrom’. (. . .) The US press [is] controlled by the Holocaust industry (. . .). ‘Tolerance’ in fact means accepting the Jewish point of view, while ‘dialogue’ equals indulging every whim of the Holocaust industry. Gazeta Wyborcza plays a crucial role in this process of taming, being a unique example of the Jewish fifth column in Poland. (. . .) the Holocaust industry managers are trying to extort dollars from the Polish state.29 After initiating an investigation under pressure from Polish and international public opinion, the Polish state prosecutor dropped the charges against Michalkiewicz for these statements in August 2006.30 In the meantime, he was promoted to an elite group of Polish government-controlled state radio staff commentators. The government’s alliance with Radio Maryja was not dissolved even after the media published an unofficial transcript of Father Rydzyk’s lecture at his private university, in which he referred to Lech Kaczyn´ ski as a ‘cheat’ and to his wife as a ‘witch’, and those slurs were accompanied by antisemitic language.31 For both Radio Maryja and the Kaczyn´ ski camp the strategic relationship proved too important to be destroyed by such ‘details’. In return for Radio Maryja’s continuous support, the government introduced legislation providing tax exemptions for ‘social broadcasters’, Radio Maryja being the sole benefactor of this formal status, although it continued to air adverts, which was against the law.32 One of the earliest decisions of the PiS in power was to abolish the government’s Commissioner for the Equal Status of Women and Men, an office which had been in charge of state anti-discrimination policies in various fields, including ethnicity, race and sexual orientation. The move was in clear disagreement with obligations resulting from the European Union Race Equality Directive.33 The general anti-minority outlook of the new government expressed itself in the prohibition and subsequent violent dispersal of an anti-discrimination march in Poznan´ in November 2005, accompanied by cheers of assembled neo-nazis and MW members. Seventy-five people were held for taking part in an unlawful demonstration and government politicians accused the march organizers of promoting unacceptable ideas of gay rights. The following week a wave of protests and solidarity demonstrations swept through numerous Polish cities, with a broad coalition of antifascists, human rights supporters, intellectuals, artists and various political groups voicing their resistance to the increasingly authoritarian drift of state policy. In some cities, such as Elbla˛g and Rzeszów, the demonstrators were violently confronted by skinheads and football hooligans.34 The events in Poznan´ were not just a measure of the new government’s attitude to minorities, but also of the way the incumbent officials came to share elements of the newly hegemonic ideology, or opportunistically tried to adapt to the new political mould. Two key officials who implemented the ban on the demonstration were connected with opposition parties. The mayor of

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the city had been a PO member and the voivod (regional governor) had been an SLD nominee. Law and order being the PiS’s political battlefield of choice, the government’s policy in judicial matters became a source of alarming news. After several months of PiS rule, the constitutional lawyer Wiktor Osiatyn´ ski warned: The current government is the first, since the democratic breakthrough of 1989, which openly and quite cynically mocks, doubts or undermines human rights. Before that, we used to have in Poland what I call a liberaldemocratic consensus. All the biggest political forces, with the exception of some parties of the extreme right, recognized the basic principles of the state: representative and constitutional democracy, rule of law, and those human rights and liberties which are codified in the international conventions which we had ratified.35 Osiatyn´ ski classified the PiS government’s policy as espousing ‘illiberal democracy’, described by Fareed Zakaria, as a system where ‘the authority results from elections, but it does not respect and does not conform to limitations, does not respect civic rights and minority rights’.36 Mudde reformulated Zakaria’s notion of illiberal democracy as democratic extremism, i.e. . . . [an] extremist interpretation of majoritarian democracy, [which] (. . .) rejects all limitations on the expression of the general will, most notably the constitutional protection of minorities and the independence (from politics, and therefore from democratic control) of key state institutions (e.g. the judiciary, the central bank).37 Paradoxically, it is fully compatible with anti-democratic sentiments. Mudde argues convincingly that contemporary populists, especially of the radical right variety, ‘want more leadership and less participation’, and that ‘In contrast to popular misperceptions, the populist voters do not strongly favour any form of participatory democracy, be it deliberative or plebiscitary’.38 According to Smolar, commenting on the Polish situation, ‘there is a democracy and a market, but (. . .) society turned its back on democratic norms’.39 In this vein, Karol Modzelewski warned of ‘a trend pushing Poland towards an authoritarian culture’.40 Fulfilling a demand from LPR MP Wojciech Wierzejski, the national prosecutor’s office launched a wide-ranging and ultimately fruitless investigation against alleged ‘links’ between gay rights groups and ‘paedophile and drug dealer circles’. According to Wierzejski’s scandalous claim, the criminal gangs were behind protests against Giertych’s nomination to the Ministry of Education.41 The whole exercise was clearly designed to intimidate the government’s opponents. Reportedly, the tapping of phones and other forms of invigilation of

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citizens assumed an unprecedented scale, often breaching formal procedures; in some cases such action was taken against the government’s political opponents.42 Several spectacular arrests for corruption were made and televised, to the government members’ triumphant comments, even if they subsequently appeared groundless. When another such arrest was attempted against Barbara Blida, a respected former minister in an SLD government, she committed suicide before her humiliating arrest could be filmed. It was later revealed that the decision to arrest her, although hardly warranted by any serious evidence, had been taken at the highest political level with the involvement of both Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro and Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski.43 In clear disregard for the constitutional division of powers, pressure was reportedly applied on both prosecutors and judges to deliver verdicts that were politically profitable to the PiS. In this vein, the prime minister and the president harshly criticized and publicly pressurized the Constitutional Court, which on several occasions struck down government-introduced legislation as unconstitutional.44 The government established a new special service under the name of the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau (Centralne Biuro Antykorupcyjne, CBA). It was placed outside of parliamentary control and reported directly to the prime minister. Led by Mariusz Kamin´ ski, a former leader of the radical right Republican League (LR), the CBA was referred to by the government’s opponents as ‘the PiS political police’.45 The CBA indeed could be seen as an institution working primarily against the ruling party’s political opponents, as illustrated by the case of Beata Sawicka, an opposition PO MP, exposed for corruption shortly before the 2007 election. The CBA chief publicly announced that her case should be instructive for the public in their voting decisions.46 Janusz Kaczmarek, one of the most trusted allies of the Kaczyn´ ski brothers and a Minister of Interior in the Kaczyn´ ski government, revealed many of the compromising secrets of the PiS’s manipulation of the police and the judicial system after he deserted the PiS camp in the summer of 2007. In a publicized confession he referred to practices of the PiS-led government as ‘totalitarian’.47 Kaczmarek said in a parliamentary hearing: ‘I accuse the PiS of using the state apparatus to destroy the individual, of unlawful invigilation, of using secret services, of breaking the law, of unfounded detention and of inspiring the media to destroy individuals’.48 Arguably, the widely reported opinions of Kaczmarek may have been somewhat exaggerated, and the term ‘totalitarian’ should not be stretched. Nevertheless, they cannot be dismissed entirely. Some of Kaczmarek’s revelations were later confirmed by none other than former PiS Prime Minister Marcinkiewicz, who complained of being tapped against his will by secret services loyal to the Kaczyn´ skis both during and after his time as head of government. Marcinkiewicz called Poland under PiS rule ‘an Orwellian state’.49 Although the government had a powerful ally in Radio Maryja’s media

178 The Populist Radical Right in Poland conglomerate, it set about bringing state-owned media under tight control. The law on public broadcasting was hastily changed to give the governing coalition complete control over the State Radio and Television Council. Bronisław Wildstein, a leading ‘moral revolution’ protagonist, was nominated as head of state TV, later to be replaced by Andrzej Urban´ ski, a recent chief of Lech Kaczyn´ ski’s presidential chancellery. It was the nomination of Piotr Farfał, a 28-year-old MW and LPR member, as a deputy chairman of the state TV board that raised the biggest storm. As we noted, Farfał had been a nazi-skinhead and NOP activist and his main journalistic experience had been editing the nazi-skinhead fanzine Front. There were other similar cases: skinhead fanzine editors and contributors became board members of stateowned media (radio and television) at both the national and regional level. National and local state-owned radio stations fell prey to government patronage, too. Government critics were often purged; e.g. award winning journalist Max Cegielski lost his job at the Radio Bis youth station after he attempted to devote a programme to extreme right violence and the LPR’s connections to skinhead gangs. Polish Radio’s specialist broadcasts on Esperanto, attracting a global audience, were cancelled after the newly installed director Jerzy Targalski suggested they should be produced in Israel (Ludwig Zamenhof, the creator of Esperanto in the late 19th century, was a Polish Jew living in the town of Białystok).50 The daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita (‘The Republic’), where the government had a 50 per cent share, was placed under editorial control of Paweł Lisiecki, a former contributor to the farright periodical Fronda, and quickly took on ultra-conservative colours, attacking the government’s enemies. Prime Minister Kaczyn´ ski thundered against media outlets that he deemed to serve ‘foreign interests’, especially those with foreign owners. After the Polish edition of Newsweek compared him to Russian president Putin, he pointed to the fact that the magazine was owned by a German company and protested against foreign investment in the Polish media by using characteristically nationalist language: I would prefer Poland to have its own strong press. (. . .) I hope the day will come when the media will be in the hands of Polish capital. Nations must have separate collective minds.51 The fact that the government-owned company Ruch continued to distribute racist extremist material could not be blamed on Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski: the situation had persisted under all previous governments. It was during the PiS-led government, however, that some fascistic publications actually received government funding through the Ministry of Culture.52 For example, Templum Novum was an ‘intellectual’ magazine, published in the provincial town of Biała Podlaska, by leaders of the so-called Narodowa Scena Rockowa (National Rock Scene, NSR), a political and business operation responsible for the production and distribution of CDs with nazi-skinhead

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music, including the notorious nazi band Konkwista 88. Templum Novum espoused a very thinly disguised version of fascist ideology including, among other things, antisemitic diatribes by the late Leon Degrelle. The magazine also carried sympathetic articles about other extreme right figures like Julius Evola, the Italian fascist ideologue, and presented the ideas of Zadruga founder Jan Stachniuk. In addition, the magazine published a lengthy interview with Alain De Benoist, the French New Right theorist. With time passing, the government exerted pressure on private media too. Among others, it proposed the establishment of a National Centre for Monitoring of the Media, whose purposes were rather ill defined, raising fears of curbing free speech. In the most famous case of political interference, the private TV station Polsat fired its main political journalist, Tomasz Lis, not long before the 2007 electoral campaign. The move was widely perceived to be made under unofficial pressure from government operators who objected to Lis’s critical position towards the PiS.53 The journalist’s last words in his last broadcast on Polsat were the exact Polish translation of ‘good-bye and good luck’, a clear allusion to the George Clooney’s Hollywood movie on the McCarthyite era. Indeed, comparisons between Kaczyn´ ski’s Poland and the US during the time of Senator McCarthy’s investigations into ‘un-American activities’ circulated widely and frequently. Another noted feature of Polish culture during the Kaczyn´ ski government period was the visible flourishing of political jokes about the power elite, sometimes told in private in ways highly reminiscent of the communist period.54 It may be seen as yet another illustration of the fact that some pre-1989 modes of exercising power set off modes of social resistance more or less unconsciously rooted in the cultural resources going back to the times of authoritarian rule. Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski did not hide his nostalgia for some elements of the authoritarian style of governing exercised by Polish communists in the 1960s, and even appreciated some aspects of the affirmation of the patriotic history narrative accompanying the 1968 events: ‘you have to say that the history teaching could develop better after March [1968], the idea of patriotic education appeared. It was imperfect, but it was something’.55 Lepper, on the other hand, openly manifested his enthusiasm for the 1970s style of leadership, and his televised participation in events such as the production of the millionth tractor in the Ursus factory directly brought back memories of that past era. The policy of lustration, ostensibly anti-communist, evoked parallels with the 1968 purge of various professions of those accused of liberal tendencies. It was perceived as alienating, stigmatizing and humiliating certain sections of the population.56 According to a PiS-introduced law, persons belonging to various broadly conceived professional categories (including teachers, academics, journalists, law practitioners and others) were obliged to certify they had not been aiding the communist authorities as secret informers. All the statements would be subsequently verified by the Institute of National Memory, drawing from the communist police secret files. The IPN was widely

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perceived as a political institution held under firm PiS control. It was largely staffed by young graduates who were often involved in radical right-wing politics (Mariusz Bechta, the publisher of Templum Novum and PiS candidate in local elections, being but one example). Those who refused to subject themselves to such a procedure were to lose their positions automatically. Before the law was overruled by the Constitutional Court, it resulted in a big wave of resistance and corporate solidarity among the above-mentioned social groups. While secret service files were used to discredit numerous members of the intellectual opposition, the lustration policy eventually backfired on the Kaczyn´ ski party and contributed to its loss of support among educated urban elites. Even Ludwik Dorn, who was the Minister of the Interior and Speaker of Parliament during the Kaczyn´ ski government, later commented on the lustration crusade as the PiS’s most serious mistake, which led to alienating the academic community: ‘We lost touch with reality’.57 Foreign policy was another field where the pro-European political consensus of the ‘Third Republic’ broke down in a spectacular way. Initially, during the early period of the Marcinkiewicz government, continuity was maintained through the nomination of Professor Stefan Meller, an acclaimed historian and diplomat politically close to the moderate liberal centre, as Foreign Minister. According to the post-1989 tradition, ministers of foreign affairs were usually chosen from among the intellectual elite and commanded broad respect (Władysław Bartoszewski, a former Auschwitz inmate and history writer, was a prime example in the 1990s). The Meller nomination was also a way to appease any potential unease of foreign partners at the PiS’s ascent to power with the parliamentary support of the radical populists. The task was accomplished and Marcinkiewicz’s government boasted of its success at getting a good share of the EU budget in early 2006. After some months it became clear that minister Meller was gradually sidelined in foreign policy matters; e.g. to his own surprise, he was initially not included in the state delegation on an important US visit by President Kaczyn´ ski. He finally resigned in protest to Lepper and Giertych becoming official cabinet members. Meller was replaced by Anna Fotyga, a PiS MEP and close collaborator of the Kaczyn´ ski brothers. Adding insult to injury, Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski announced at a party congress: ‘The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been reclaimed!’ (implying it was in ‘alien’ hands under Meller), while Michał Kamin´ ski stated that ‘patriotic forces began to control foreign policy’.58 Notoriously media-unfriendly, intellectually inflexible and subservient to the Kaczyn´ skis, Fotyga became one of the most widely ridiculed ministers. The contents of Polish policy changed, too, with anti-Russian and anti-German bombast becoming the rule of the day, accompanied by a staunch proAmerican position on questions such as the continuing war in Iraq. Significantly, Mariusz Muszyn´ ski, a notorious anti-German right-wing publicist, became the government’s official plenipotentiary for relations with Germany. It was widely reported that President Kaczyn´ ski cancelled his participation in

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a Polish–German–French summit after a satirical article in the Tageszeitung newspaper compared him to a potato.59 The Polish public prosecutor even launched a formal investigation into this crime of defaming the president.60 European leaders were confronted with the new assertiveness of Poland’s foreign policy during negotiations on the Lisbon Treaty in October 2007. President Kaczyn´ ski was eventually persuaded to sign the treaty after a night of joint persuasion efforts by the other heads of government. However, faced with Radio Maryja’s principled opposition to the treaty at home, he used the pretext of the negative Irish referendum result not to ratify the document until late 2009, to the great annoyance of his former co-negotiators, most notably France’s Nicolas Sarkozy. The government, and especially President Kaczyn´ ski, continued to support Israel, even if it stood in apparent contradiction to some aspects of internal policy such as participation in the government of politicians with antisemitic records. At the same time as such support was proclaimed, Lepper gladly travelled to Kiev to receive an honorary professorship from the Interregional Academy of Personnel Management (MAUP). Janusz Kobylan´ ski, the rabidly antisemitic sponsor of Radio Maryja based in Uruguay, was given effective control over appointments of Polish diplomatic representatives in the whole of Latin America.61 Another alarming feature of the government’s policy was the wide recruitment of members of right-wing extremist organizations into the administration, including top positions in various spheres of officialdom and state-controlled sectors of the economy. The scale of the tendency was such that it went beyond individualized anecdotal cases but took on systemic dimensions. In many cases it concerned young and highly inexperienced individuals whose main claim to fame had been leading skinhead groups or publishing extremist fanzines.62 The government’s educational policy became, predictably, another field of huge public controversy. One of Giertych’s first steps was the sacking of the director of CODN, a national teacher training centre, for publishing the Polish version of Compass, a Council of Europe human rights manual, because it contained a section on homophobia. Incidentally, the CODN had also been at the forefront of promoting Holocaust education among Polish teachers. An MW activist was installed in the post. The move, and the banning of the Council of Europe-authorized book from Polish schools, provoked an intervention by the Council’s Secretary-General Terry Davis, to no avail. In an official communiqué, Davis said: I do not understand how teaching tolerance can be grounds for dismissal (. . .) and it is regrettable that prejudiced attitudes contrary to the most basic human rights standards of the Council of Europe are apparently being endorsed and even promoted by persons in official positions.63 Giertych repeatedly vowed not to allow any kind of ‘promotion of

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homosexuality’ in schools under his control and even proposed to make it a specific criminal offence.64 Symbolically, an Internet filter was introduced to Polish schools by the Ministry of Education, which blocked all references to homosexuality, including access to the websites of organizations such as the Polish Campaign against Homophobia (Kampania Przeciwko Homofobii, KPH) or International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), but it did not block pupils’ access to racist and neo-nazi websites such as Redwatch. As we saw, politicized homophobia was not confined to the LPR, but was strongly present in the PiS’s discourse, too. Prime Minister Kaczyn´ ski said: I assure you that if a man from the PiS were a Minister of Education, he would take the same direction as Giertych. (. . .) I want to say it clearly, I am also against the promotion of homosexuality in school. (. . .) I don’t see any reason to support the fashion for promoting homosexuality.65 It could be pointed out that some aspects of Giertych’s school policy were not necessarily his own ideas. His predecessor, vice-minister Jarosław Zielin´ ski, an important member of the Kaczyn´ ski party, had sent a much publicized circular to headmasters telling them not to provide premises for meetings with members of suspicious organizations such as ecological and pacifist groups.66 As Giertych took over the education portfolio, Zielin´ ski was moved to the ministry of the interior where, as vice-minister, he presided over the reduction of state funding for ethnic minority organizations. Both policy decisions were perfectly in line with the new state ideology, which gradually crept into national institutions. Giertych announced his plan was to introduce ‘patriotic education’ as a new obligatory subject in schools.67 The Polish delegation led by Giertych was the only one that refused to sign a joint declaration of all the Council of Europe’s education ministers encouraging common efforts in history teaching. Giertych reportedly said ‘There is no agreement to [the Council of Europe’s] interference in our teaching of history and religion’.68 At a meeting of EU ministers of education in Heidelberg in March 2007, Giertych shocked his European counterparts by calling for an introduction of a Europe-wide ‘Charter of the Rights of Nations’, which would include a complete ban on abortion and ‘homosexual propaganda’. A Kaczyn´ ski government spokesman explained later that this particular proposal of Giertych had not been adopted by the Polish cabinet as an official position, but he retained the post.69 We noted Maciej Giertych’s involvement in the promotion of antiDarwinian theories while his son was the minister of education. Roman Giertych himself was not known to have publicly supported creationism, but his deputy minister, Mirosław Orzechowski, who simultaneously rose to the position of the LPR’s major voice in the media, wholeheartedly endorsed the teaching of creationism instead of Darwinism. In an interview for the nation’s largest newspaper he declared:

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. . . the theory of evolution is a lie. I am convinced it is an error, which was legalized as a common truth. For me it is pure literary fiction (. . .). Darwin’s theory (. . .) is basically a loose idea of an elderly gentleman, a non-believer, who perceived the world accordingly. Perhaps because he was vegetarian, and he lacked an internal fire. It’s sad, but it is taught in Polish schools. (. . .) We are not going to withdraw Darwin’s theory from school books. But we should start a discussion about it. We should not teach lies, just as we should not teach bad instead of good, or ugliness instead of beauty.70 It was not a one-off outburst, as Orzechowski repeated similar views in several other interviews.71 He provoked strongly worded reactions from, among others, the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Conference of Deans of University Natural Science Departments, and even from the Catholic Bishop of Lublin. He was not disciplined by the minister, however, and retained his position until the end of Giertych’s time in office. If anything, his political pull inside the LPR grew: in December 2006, in addition to ministerial duties, he became the chairman of the LPR’s parliamentary caucus, and in 2008 he became the official party leader, while Giertych continued to exert influence from behind the scenes. Roman Giertych provoked yet another huge wave of criticism after he announced his decision to change the list of obligatory reading for school pupils. Works of foreign authors such as Kafka, Goethe and Dostoyevsky as well as ‘unpatriotic’ Polish authors such as Witold Gombrowicz, Bruno Schulz, Stanisław Witkiewicz and Joseph Conrad were to be removed from the curriculum.72 Gombrowicz’s work became a particular point of contention. Widely acclaimed as possibly the greatest Polish writer of the 20th century, he had been renowned for his critical and sarcastic approach to Polish nationalism and historical traditions. Giertych claimed his writings also amounted to ‘a promotion of homosexuality’.73 The controversial list was supplanted by new obligatory texts, authored by the late John Paul II and by Jan Dobraczyn´ ski, the famous endek writer and politician. The scheme seemed to have owed much to National Radical fantasies about a purification of Polish culture, as set out by LPR activist Grzegorz Sielatycki (see p. 116). The controversy raged for several months, prompting both Minister of Culture Kazimierz Ujazdowski and Prime Minister Kaczyn´ ski to intervene in defence of Gombrowicz.74 A recurring theme of Giertych’s time in office was various schemes aiming at restoring discipline in schools, under the title ‘Zero Tolerance’. They included the introduction of obligatory uniforms for all pupils and a plan to set up a number of schools organized along the military model, with former commandos serving as personnel, that aimed to re-educate particularly rebellious teenagers.75 His nomination was reinforced by Ewa Sowin´ ska’s appointment, by the parliament, to Spokesperson for Children’s Rights, a constitutional office to safeguard human rights for children and youth set

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up in the 1990s. An LPR activist and Radio Maryja protégée, Sowin´ ska achieved international notoriety for supporting the demand to examine the popular children’s TV series Teletubbies to verify whether it promoted homosexuality.76 It is worth mentioning that the suspicion was not Sowin´ ska’s own, but a recycled claim of the evangelical fundamentalist Reverend Jerry Falwell, circulated among the American populist radical right in the late 1990s.77 Demonstrations by students and teachers, as well as other forms of protest, against Giertych’s policies were a common feature during the Kaczyn´ ski government. Among others, a coalition of civic groups, under the name ‘Giertych Must Go!’ (‘Giertych Musi Odejs´ c´’, GMO), was formed. Moreover, the media constantly published highly damaging information on nazi connections and behaviour of members of the MW and the LPR, which more than ever attracted public attention since they now concerned a ruling party’s inner circle.78 Arguably, the public’s indifference to the matter of extreme right infiltration of political life was coming to an end, or at least became much reduced. Faced with public pressure, the LPR’s leader was finally compelled to make some gestures aiming at softening the extremist image acquired by the party. For example, in order to try and shed the nazi label, the party organized an exhibition about endek leaders who perished at German hands during World War II. Giertych visited the commemoration ceremony for Jedwabne victims on 10 July 2006, although he did not openly admit Polish, rather than German Nazi, responsibility for that crime. At the same time he criticized the behaviour of the Israeli ambassador, David Peleg, who refused to shake hands with the leader of the antisemitic party, as ‘unacceptable’. In an interview with the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, he said, ‘I want to extend my hand to Israel’, and complained that ‘I like the Jewish people and I don’t understand why they don’t like me’. He admitted occurrences of antisemitism took place in his party, saying: We have a certain political tradition from before the war. I think that from a historical perspective (. . .) anti-Semitism then was (. . .) connected first and foremost with economic competition. That was the reality. I think it was a mistake (. . .). Today I oppose that part of the tradition.79 In another interview he even stated he would not admit Roman Dmowski to the LPR today, if the founder of National Democracy persisted with his openly antisemitic slogans. At the same time he asserted that Dmowski today would undoubtedly express his views differently.80 The interview hardly convinced the LPR’s critics of its leader’s newly discovered moderation, but it brought him much ridicule from his rivals on the post-endek right, who dismissed him as an opportunist.81 From then on the LPR leaders made sure nobody could rival their dedication to the Dmowski legacy. In November

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2006 numerous LPR and PiS leaders and government officials took part in the controversial unveiling of the Dmowski monument in the centre of Warsaw, conducted by the notorious antisemite Father Henryk Jankowski and accompanied by a 150-strong torch march of the neo-fascist skinhead ONR through the city.82 Laying flowers at the monument in June 2007, Giertych praised Dmowski as a man ‘who always, until the end of his life, remained a National Democrat, a person with strongly held views’.83 Nevertheless, the party announced its decision to sever all links with the MW, which had continued to be a source of embarrassment. Soon afterwards, it turned out that the cutting of links between both organizations was purely formal and radical MW activists remained heavily involved in running the LPR. Giertych’s declared love for Israel ended abruptly in the run-up to the 2007 election. In a last minute desperate move before the poll, the LPR again resorted to open antisemitism by producing paid TV spots blaming Israel for the Iraq war and showing the LPR’s former ally – and now rival on the right – President Kaczyn´ ski, wearing a Jewish skull-cap on a visit to the Jerusalem Temple Wall. Such zigzag manoeuvring between moderation and extremism did little to improve the LPR’s credibility ratings. In the 12 November 2006 local elections it did poorly, receiving 4.7 per cent of the vote. Its candidate for the mayor of Warsaw, Wojciech Wierzejski, a well-known LPR politician, received a disastrous 0.3 per cent of the vote and trailed just behind the joke Dummies and Gnomes party. The local elections, with a relatively high turn out (more than 50 per cent), spelt the beginning of the end of the LPR as a national political force. On a broader note, it showed that the end of political apathy, which had aided the populist radical right in its march to power, could topple it electorally, because low turn outs had always favoured extremists. The main opposition parties, the PO, the Social Democrats and the peasant PSL, received 27.2 per cent, 14.3 per cent and 13.2 per cent of the national vote, respectively. The PiS was pushed to second place with 25.1 per cent, while Self-Defence, riddled by sex and sleaze scandals, got just 5.6 per cent. A reading of the 2006 election results clearly showed that many previous LPR and Self-Defence voters had switched to the PiS, while it lost some of its own more moderate voters to the PO, a tendency sustained in the 2007 parliamentary election. Mass emigration, especially of educated young people, coincided with the PiS-led government. It was estimated that more than one million people left Poland for other countries, such as Great Britain and Ireland, in the period 2004–2007. According to official statistics, 2.27 million Polish citizens were living abroad by 2007.84 The main reason for this massive migration was the unemployment rate, which duly went down from some 18 per cent of the workforce in 2006 to 11 per cent in 2008.85 But other reasons were mentioned too, including dissatisfaction with the general direction of the country. For some groups, such as gay people, emigration was a way to break out of a

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climate of intolerance, which found its official expression in the homophobic policies under Kaczyn´ ski’s administration.86 The emigration was a spectacular form of protest, but it also weakened the home-grown opposition to nationalist-populist authority. It looked as if the PiS’s grip on power was well consolidated and even some of its critics predicted two full terms of Kaczyn´ ski’s rule, especially as the economic situation was seen as improving; not least thanks to the new emigrants’ remittances and EU funds pouring in. Henryk Doman´ ski, analysing sociological data available in June 2006, pointed to ‘a basic agreement between the PiS programme and the mentality of the Poles’, which meant that ‘maybe we are condemned to the rule of the PiS – or another ideologically similar formation – over a longer period of time, whose duration is difficult to predict’.87 Although the government’s parliamentary majority was sometimes shaky, and an early election was often mentioned as a possible option, on several occasions PiS leaders hinted they could hold on to power by any methods if they only chose to do so. Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski, for example, said in an interview with the pro-government Rzeczpospolita newspaper: Let’s make one thing clear. We are not in a position where we could be forced to lose power. We can take a certain decision to the effect that we would not lose power. – What decision? – I repeat: we can take such a decision so as not to lose power. Whether or not we take it, depends solely on our judgement of what will be good for Poland.88 Arguably, Kaczyn´ ski’s phrase was intentionally ambiguous and its threatening potential was not lost on Polish readers. It strongly reminded of the famous 1945 speech by Władysław Gomułka, who pledged the Polish communists would never relinquish their newly seized power. In the spring of 2006 the parliament passed a new law on emergency situations, giving the prime minister de facto dictatorial powers in all kinds of emergency, ambiguously defined as ‘a significant undermining of the social fabric’. Representatives of opposition parties and human rights advocates saw it as a further step in the gradual arbitrary curbing of civil liberties and even as a possibility for the PiS to prolong its stay in power with the use of authoritarian means.89 However, history took a very different course. The Kaczyn´ ski government collapsed much sooner than expected. The CBA failed in its provocation of Lepper, which aimed at catching him red-handed accepting a bribe in his ministry building. Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski decided the evidence was sufficient in any case to dismiss Lepper from the government and tried to convince Self-Defence MPs to depose him as party leader. Lepper managed to keep the party behind him and, importantly, received the backing of Giertych, who feared a similar coup engineered by Kaczyn´ ski could take place against him

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in the LPR. An early election was called on 21 October 2007, ending with a surprising defeat for the populist right and a resounding victory for the liberal democratic opposition. Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski’s cunning plan backfired. In the emotionally charged election, the PO received 41.5 per cent of the vote compared to just 32.1 per cent for the PiS. The once mighty LPR with its bloc of several far-right allies received a pitiful 1.3 per cent, failing to elect a single MP. Self-Defence did equally badly, with 1.5 per cent. The poor results of both the LPR and Self-Defence meant that they did not even qualify for state funding, which is reserved for parties winning at least 3 per cent of the vote, and found themselves on the edge of bankruptcy. A mass mobilization of young voters in particular was the key to the government’s defeat. For example, many young Poles in the UK travelled across Britain to the Polish consulate and queued for as long as three hours just to cast their vote against the government. Some voting stations in Poland ran out of the ballot papers so the voting hours had to be extended due to an unexpectedly high turn out. It amounted to 53.9 per cent, low for most democracies but high for Poland: it was the highest turn out in all the parliamentary elections since 1989, and in some key districts of the big cities it came close to 80 per cent. A sense of emergency was widespread and the country’s youth exploded with joy as the results came in. In the words of a British observer, Poles were ‘celebrating the demise of the two-year experiment in isolationism, nationalism, and intolerance’.90 It did not follow, however, that the populist radical right disappeared completely from the parliamentary landscape. A number of activists with known far-right views were elected on the PiS ticket, which again drew a big part of its support from the strategic alliance with Radio Maryja. Among them was Ryszard Bender, comfortably elected to the Senate as a PiS representative. President Lech Kaczynski appointed him as the honorary senior chair of the first session of the newly elected chamber on 5 November 2007, a move that provoked heavy criticism, among others from Marek Edelman, the Warsaw Ghetto hero.91 Apart from the dynamic of internal conflict, which was the immediate cause for the government’s implosion, other factors contributed to its subsequent electoral defeat. The increasingly critical independent media and the civil society mobilization were hugely important in challenging, at least partially, social respectability of the nationalist ideology. Obviously, there could be no wholesale change here: there are structural cultural foundations for illiberal nationalism in Poland, which have clear historical roots. Structural foundations do not change that easily, but their constellation is always dynamic. It is not the case of either–or. For cultural and historic reasons nationalism has remained socially respectable in Poland, but its seemingly endless expansion was halted and pushed back. It is apparent that ‘residual’ xenophobic and authoritarian attitudes are still widespread, even among those who voted for the PO. Nevertheless, they

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no longer came to the fore in determining electoral choices. The PO voters did not necessarily embrace that party’s whole liberal agenda, but they treated it as a lesser evil: concerns about the country’s international isolation and about an intolerable level of internal political conflict were all too real. Importantly, the centre-right PO convinced many left-wing voters to support it in the crucial confrontation with the PiS. What did happen was the activation of (actual or potential) opponents of the populist radical right, which in many cases took place through channels well outside of conventional political communications. Actors, musicians, and, most importantly, peers appealed to young people and encouraged them to vote in protest at the government in a way that was clearly spontaneous and not controlled by any party machine. Parallel to the rise of the populist radical right, the anti-fascist and antidiscrimination movement had been building its own cultural resources since the mid-1990s, with its own sources of legitimacy and its own bases of support in vital cultural circuits such as popular music. The successful campaign ‘Music Against Racism’ is a prime example.92 As a result, the populist radical right faced a powerful multi-faceted counter-movement to reckon with. The forces of the liberal opposition managed to break, at least to some extent, the political apathy that was hitherto predominant in Polish society. Donald Tusk, the leader of the opposition, inspired voters with his positive message of ‘the politics of love’ as a symbolic alternative to the PiS–LPR– Self-Defence politics of hate in the last days of the campaign. The phrase may sound naïve, but it did amount to a powerful emotional antidote to the perpetual tension imposed on society by the nationalist-populist right. Moreover, a widespread feeling of shame about the government’s divisive style, perceived as ugly and disgraceful, played a big role in mobilizing Polish voters. These emotional aspects of the counter-movement to the Kaczyn´ ski government should not be underestimated: ‘emotions most directly connected to moral sensibilities, such as shame, guilt, and pride, are especially pervasive as motivators of action’.93 The PiS lost the election, although it increased its share of the vote. The LPR and Self-Defence were wiped out in large measure because the nationalist populist electorate discovered in the PiS a more efficient vehicle to champion their ideas in a polarized climate. In any case, the combined vote for the three populist parties was much reduced in comparison with previous electoral contests. Many of the previous voters were disappointed by the continuous bitter conflict they were witnessing (instead of the national unity they had longed for). They took no pride in supporting a government that was seen as causing strife in society. As a result they became demobilized and abstained from taking part in the election. It is interesting to note that democratic politics in Poland triumphed over the populist radical right with relatively negligible solidarity from abroad. The reactions to the populist radical right’s participation in the government of an EU member state this time were extremely timid, particularly compared

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with the EU’s response to the entry of Jörg Haider’s Freedom Party into the Austrian government in 2000.94 One relatively minor exception was the resolution on the ‘Increase in racist and homophobic violence in Europe’, adopted by the European Parliament on 15 June 2006, which mentioned the LPR’s incitement against gays and a physical attack on Poland’s Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich, alongside many other cases of intolerance in various EU countries (and in Russia, not a EU member). Among many other paragraphs in the long text, the EP expressed the view ‘that the EU should take appropriate measures to express its concerns and notably to address the issue of the participation in the government of the League of Polish Families, whose leaders incite people to hatred and violence’.95 The EP resolution was met with an angry and disproportional rebuttal by Polish leaders and an official answer was proclaimed by the Polish parliament, which strongly rejected all charges of intolerance in Poland. It called on the European Parliament to devote its time to safeguarding ‘public morality’ and renewing ‘the moral fundaments of European civilization’. One of the most curious official documents of the PiS era, it also pointed out that the very usage of terms such as ‘homophobia’ amounted to ‘an imposition of the language of the homosexual political movement on Europe’ and was in conflict with ‘the whole of Europe’s Judeo–Christian moral heritage’.96 The Council of Europe was more outspoken in its support for human rights in Poland, as we saw when discussing the Giertych educational policy, but it carried less political weight than the EU. Arguably, European leaders were keen not to repeat their reaction to the Austrian case. In the words of Peter Vermeersch, writing in 2007: The disjuncture between the growing EU concern about the promotion of the acceptance of ethnic diversity, equal opportunities, antidiscrimination and social inclusion, and the way in which minority rights are protected in Poland points to the current limits of European involvement in domestic policy making and domestic social relations in the new member states.97

9

Conclusion

In 2009 both the LPR and Self-Defence still existed as extra-parliamentary political parties. They enjoyed occasional flashbacks of their previous might, as in the case of their unexpected take over of state radio and TV in December 2008, which was made possible by their remaining pockets of influence and patronage in some unreformed state institutions. Both parties suffered major splits, with some former Self-Defence members forming the new Party of the Regions (Partia Regionów, PR), and LPR defectors forming their own Forward Poland! party (‘Naprzód Polsko!’). A political comeback cannot be ruled out completely. The LPR, in particular, produced a sizable cadre of young nationalist activists, connected by strong links of group cohesion and loyalty, who already had experience of high-level politics and seem destined for some form of political activity in the future. LPR activists strongly benefited – also materially – from their control of state TV in 2009. Nevertheless, the bulk of these parties’ former electorate, and a big part of their former activist base, found a permanent political home in Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski’s Law and Justice. Radio Maryja continued to provide the symbolic framework for the PiS political culture and the party, once considered centrist, established itself firmly at the far right end of the spectrum, with just occasional forays into the political middle ground. This point was brought home by Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski, who stated in an interview given after one year in opposition, that the idea of ‘national integration’ must be a future strategic priority for his party: There is a rule, first formulated I think by Konrad Adenauer, that for a right-wing party which wants to be in power, there must be only a wall to its right. You cannot treat this rule as absolute because, after all, we were in power having the LPR to our right. But it would not be good, from our point of view, and for Polish politics in general, if something along the lines of the LPR emerged again. Of course there is a price for it, which we would not pay. We don’t plan to leave the European Union and we do not intend to change the generally pro-Western character of Polish foreign policy. However, we are quite ready to take into account

Conclusion

191

the views of those circles that have a very traditionalist approach to reality. We treat it as a value. I am a traditionalist too, although probably slightly different than those proverbial ladies wearing mohair hats. (. . .) We say: the nation must be more integrated, the educational system must be focused on transmitting patriotic values through teaching of history, Polish language, different elements of cultural knowledge in school curriculum. It should be done in a unitary way, in one direction, and not each school doing what they want. In no way must those circles, that include disintegration [of the nation] among their goals, be allowed to have any say in that. Of course the integration applies also to other aspects of the state, the collective undertakings, the public media, etc. etc.1 The PiS absorbed the populist radical right surge through its own appeal to illiberal democracy. Its position as the main force of the opposition to the liberal government remains unchallenged. Moreover, Lech Kaczyn´ ski’s term as the country’s president, with the embedded symbolic capital as well as some important formal powers, will last until 2010. Generally speaking, the xenophobic populist mindset represented by actors such as the PiS and Radio Maryja looks set to remain a significant factor in Polish politics in the foreseeable future. The global economic crisis may contribute to reviving its fortunes. How to cope with that challenge will be among the main issues to be resolved by the country’s liberal democratic leaders. As we saw, the previous strategy of – variously – ignoring and coopting the populist radical right by political elites amounted to playing with fire, which even put some fundamental elements of Polish democracy at risk. On a broader scale, it remains to be seen which cultural resources can be mobilized by Polish society to deal with upheavals when the next ‘populist moments’ come. The key question for the future is: which cultural frames will dominate the discourse reflecting a sense of (economic, social, cultural) crisis this time round? According to some authors, the Polish transition to democracy symbolically ended on 1 May 2004, when the country joined the European Union. In many ways, it is a legitimate point: since then, Polish politics should be judged by Western European democratic standards and not according to the patronizing paradigm of ‘transition’. On the other hand, we can sketch out Poland’s post-1989 history as a three-step process: the collapse of communism and the institutionalization and consolidation of the democratic system being the first stage, Poland’s thorough reconstruction to meet the EU requirements in economic and legal spheres being the second. The third, equally far ranging, and not less important, cultural transformation is still unfolding before our eyes. It is in full swing – and far from complete. For many Poles, the experience of travelling and living in a multicultural Europe brought out a xenophobic reaction, informed by a hegemonic quasi-endek tradition. For many others still, cultural pluralism became a

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The Populist Radical Right in Poland

normal part of life. They come to see a homogeneous Poland as an aberration and, for them, the certainties of the past no longer apply. As a new, more cosmopolitan generation comes of age, Poland is bound to abandon its rigid ethnonationalist identity, and, paradoxically, return to its true, historically multi-cultural, tolerant, civic self.

Epilogue

Poland was one of the few countries in Europe where the 7 June 2009 European Parliament election brought a resounding defeat for the nationalist populist right. Until not long ago, the League of Polish Families was one of the main political parties in the country. Little more than a rump of its previous self, it contested the election under the label of Libertas, aided by the Eurosceptic Irish millionaire Declan Ganley.1 Despite high hopes for a revival, it received a mere 1.1 per cent of the vote and won no seats. The result was poor despite the fact that Polish state TV, run by the ex-nazi skinhead Piotr Farfał, turned into a virtual Libertas propaganda headquarters for weeks before the voting and provided live transmissions of numerous press conferences of its leaders. Despite Farfał’s efforts the image of the LPR/Libertas did not improve. In fact, the party cadres did little to achieve that aim. Just three days before the election, the leaders of the Polish branch of Libertas publicly distanced themselves from Ganley’s statement promising European-wide cooperation with the Simon Wiesenthal Centre against racism and antisemitism. On the same day, local Libertas supporters posted a video on Youtube, showing one of the most hilarious moments of the campaign: the guitarist and drummer of the skinhead band RPOi, playing renditions of songs of Konkwista 88 (the main star of nazi rock music in Poland) such as ‘White Honour, White Pride’ in the street of Lublin as a part of the Libertas electoral drive. The passers-by looked bemused and the venture hardly brought any converts to the cause. Other small parties did slightly better than Libertas: Marek Jurek’s Catholic fundamentalist Right of the Republic (Prawica Rzeczpospolitej, PR) received 2 per cent, and the once powerful Self-Defence (Samoobrona) party 1.5 per cent. None of them got any seats. The election was won by the ruling centre-right liberal PO, which got 45 per cent of the vote, by all means an impressive result for a ruling party in times of an economic crisis. This result begs the question: where the previously significant populist radical right vote has gone. The main opposition party, Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski’s PiS, got 29 per cent and 15 seats. It campaigned on a strongly anti-German xenophobic platform.

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The Populist Radical Right in Poland

The PiS has maintained its strategic alliance with the Catholic-nationalist Radio Maryja. However, only one PiS candidate directly hand-picked by Radio Maryja, Mirosław Piotrowski, was elected. Piotrowski had been previously an LPR MEP, but defected to the PiS following Radio Maryja’s change of political allies. There is little doubt that much of the previous populist radical right support became integrated into the PiS, which actively sought it during the campaign. In the wake of yet another PiS electoral defeat, internal opposition within the PiS seemed to emerge slowly, gathered around the former Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro who has also enjoyed solid Radio Maryja support. The organized populist radical right fell from grace in a spectacular way. The cultural resources on which it once relied did not disappear overnight, however. It remains to be seen whether they will remain sufficiently substantial to allow for a populist resurgence in the years to come. Let us summarize some of the main arguments laid out in this book. Although few actors willingly accept the label, nationalism – conceived in a broad way – informs the Polish political tradition across the spectrum. The nationalist tradition provides a key cultural resource for the populist radical right today. The civic nationalism of the Piłsudski variety has been largely replaced as a hegemonic ideology by the ethnonationalistic mentality promoted by Dmowski’s National Democrats. Even more extreme totalitarian versions of exclusionary nationalism have had their adherents. Paradoxically, the hegemony of ethnonationalistic thinking was strengthened during the communist period, when the regime frequently resorted to nationalism in its quest for legitimacy. The anti-communist Solidarity movement opened up the way for a pluralist society in Poland, but was not free from illiberal populist and nationalist impulses. The post-communist transition came at a very serious social cost, mass unemployment in the late 1990s and early 2000s becoming a structural problem. Meanwhile, a radical nationalist subculture developed freely throughout the 1990s. Nationalist-populist groups easily tapped into the growing pockets of social protest, which was routinely expressed in xenophobic rhetoric. They entered parliament in 2001, and by 2005 they became major players in national politics. In 2006, the extreme right LPR and the populist Self-Defence became partners in the ruling coalition. The evolution of their key partner, the PiS, has to be noted. It started as a moderate conservative party in 2001, but the strategic alliance with Radio Maryja in 2005 meant a growing acceptance of the radical nationalist and Catholic fundamentalist ideology. The PiS further evolved in the direction of national populism after its double triumph in the 2005 parliamentary and presidential elections. Authoritarian tendencies could be clearly observed during the PiS-led government’s time in office. By 2007, the Kaczyn´ ski party largely absorbed the previous support of Self-Defence and, especially, the LPR. Nevertheless, although the PiS increased its total vote, it lost the early election in 2007 in the face of a large-scale mobilization of its opponents, especially among the young voters.

Epilogue

195

The defeat of the PiS and the marginalization of the populist radical right were further confirmed by the 2009 European Parliament election results in Poland. A long-term downturn in fortunes for the nationalist populist right cannot be taken for granted, however, because its cultural resources remain significant. It would be fair to say Poland’s populist radical right is (almost) politically dead today, if we base the judgement on the defeat of two of the three parties discussed in this book. This would be an overstatement, however, in the light of the somewhat unclear position of the PiS: the party started as mainstream but gradually accepted populist radical right activists, both as allies and as its own members. Importantly, it also accepted important elements of the national populist creed. Is the PiS a part of the populist radical right or ‘merely’ the facilitator of radical right currents? If the former, the populist radical right isn’t dead. Will Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski maintain his endorsement of Radio Maryja’s idiosyncratic ideology? The future of the party is an open question, but it has undoubdtedly established itself firmly at the far right end of Polish politics. A final remark concerns possible lessons for other countries in the region. Needless to say, extreme-right movements, nationalism and populism are near universal phenomena, not confined to the East Central European region. In this part of the globe, however, they have made their presence highly visible and so far they have not been sufficiently researched. First, let us problematize the notion of ‘East Central Europe’. It is usually applied to all the European countries of the former Eastern Bloc, which were not Soviet republics. Some of them are now members of the European Union. However, the common (post)communist experience may not be enough to lump different countries together. It is indeed far from clear; should Poland be classified with Albania, and not with Ukraine or Lithuania, with whom it has had much stronger cultural links? On the other hand, Poland’s economic ties are mostly with Germany, rather than with its other neighbours. Even the global economic crisis has affected different economies in the region in rather different ways. It is difficult to see clearly how the political landscapes in East Central European countries influence each other. At most, such an influence seems indirect, and sweeping statements would be inappropriate. The populist radical right has been successful in some East Central European countries (e.g. Romania, Slovakia) and totally unsuccessful in some others (Slovenia, Albania), depending on a number of factors, differences in national traditions notwithstanding. Indeed, the dynamics of migration and globalization, including the internationalization of the extreme right, indicates that Polish extreme right activists have recently made their presence felt in countries like Great Britain and the United States, rather than in East Central Europe. On the other hand, there are some obvious commonalities across the region.2 Many East–Central European societies (however we define the region) share some important historical and cultural reference points. They

196

The Populist Radical Right in Poland

have gone through large-scale socio-economic reconstructions and they have a similar semi-peripherial position in the contemporary globalization regime. All these general factors are important contextual elements in nationalist and populist movement-formation. There are discernable patterns, for example – as Mudde writes, Anti-Semitism in postcommunist Europe has a wide variety of ideological sources; some are shared with Western Europe, some are more particular to the region. (. . .) On average, Eastern European populist radical right parties are much more (openly) anti-Semitic than their brethren in the West.3 Another regional pattern is the hatred against the Roma, which in many cases takes on deadly dimensions. In comparison with Hungary or the Czech Republic, the Roma issue has been less central for the Polish populist radical right, mostly due to that minority’s smaller numerical presence in Poland (even though, as we noted, the small numbers of the Jewish community hardly make antisemitism less central for the Polish radical nationalists). Nevertheless, here too similarities can be noted.4 Unsurprisingly, the success of the Polish nationalist and populist right was met with some admiration in other Eastern European countries, and even parties with names similar to Self-Defence or Law and Justice appeared in the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Lithuania and Bulgaria. The result of the 2009 European Parliament election, and the relative success of populist radical right parties such as Jobbik in Hungary and Romania Mare in Romania, shows that the recent Polish example of nationalist populist upsurge can be repeated in other places. The Polish case shows that when adequate cultural resources meet with a deep sense of social crisis, nationalist–populist resurgence is possible. It also shows that it can be reversed if other factors, such as alternative cultural resources and a credible electoral alternative, are in place.

Appendix A

Radical nationalist groups in the 1990s (selected) Endek tradition All-Polish Youth (Młodziez· Wszechpolska, MW) Democratic-National Party (Stronnictwo Demokratyczno-Narodowe, SDN) ‘Fatherland’ National Party (Stronnictwo Narodowe ‘Ojczyzna’, SN‘O’) Greater Poland Camp (Obóz Wielkiej Polski, OWP) National Democracy Political Party (Stronnictwo Polityczne Narodowa Demokracja, SPND) National-Democratic Party (Stronnictwo Narodowo-Demokratyczne, SND) National Front of Poland (Narodowy Front Polski, NFP) National Party (Stronnictwo Narodowe, SN) ‘Piast’ National Party (Stronnictwo Narodowe ‘Piast’, SN‘P’) Polish National Congress (Polski Kongres Narodowy, PKN) Polish National Group (Polska Grupa Narodowa, PGN) Political Organization of the Nation (Organizacja Polityczna Narodu, OPN) Popular-National Alliance (Przymierze Ludowo-Narodowe, PLN) Popular-National Party (Stronnictwo Ludowo-Narodowe, SLN) ‘Royal Sword’ National Party (Stronnictwo Narodowe ‘Szczerbiec’, SN‘S’) Union of National Democrats (Unia Narodowych Demokratów, UND) National-radical tradition National Breakthrough (Przełom Narodowy, PN) National Rebirth of Poland (Narodowe Odrodzenie Polski, NOP) National-Radical Offensive (Ofensywa Narodowo-Radykalna, ONR) Polish National Front (Polski Front Narodowy, PFN) Zadruga tradition Polish National Community-Polish National Party (Polska Wspólnota Narodowa-Polskie Stronnictwo Narodowe, PWN-PSN)

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The Populist Radical Right in Poland

Social-National Union (Unia Społeczno-Narodowa, USN) National Conceptual-Study Group (Narodowy Zespół KoncepcyjnoStudyjny, NZKS) Native Faith Association (Zrzeszenie Rodzimej Wiary, ZRW) Association for Tradition and Culture ‘Niklot’ (Stowarzyszenie na rzecz Tradycji i Kultury ‘Niklot’)

Appendix B Selected electoral results of political parties (parliamentary elections) Year Party

1991 (%)

1993 (%)

1997 (%)

2001 (%)

PWNPSN SN

0.05

0.11

0.07

0.02

SND SN‘O’ Partia X PiS ROP SelfDefence

0.02

0.9

0.47 0.03

2005 (%)

2007 (%)

2009 (European Parliament election) (%)

(as LPR) (as LPR) (as LPR) (as Libertas) 8.3 7.97 1.3 1.14 0.12 2.7 2.74

5.6 0.08

9.5

26.99

32.11

27.4

10.5

11.41

1.53

1.46

Notes

1 Introductory remarks 1 Markowski, ‘The Party System’, 2007, p. 41. 2 Hall, ‘The problem of ideology: Marxism without guarantees’, 1996, p. 26. 3 Tomaszewski, ‘From internationalism to nationalism? Poland 1944–96’, 2000, p. 82. 4 Cf. Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, 1991, and the massive amount of other works it inspired in the recent decades. 5 Gellner, Nations and Nationalism, 1983, p. 1. 6 Mudde, Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe, 2007, p. 17. Mudde employs the American term ‘nativism’ to describe the resulting hybrid phenomenon. 7 Mudde, The Ideology of the Extreme Right, 2000. 8 See e.g. Griffin et al., Fascism Past and Present, 2006. 9 Bar-On, Where Have All the Fascists Gone?, 2007. 10 Eatwell, Fascism. A History, 1994, p. 11. 11 Griffin, The Nature of Fascism, 1991. 12 Pankowski, Neofaszyzm w Europie Zachodniej. Zarys ideologii, 1998. 13 Mudde, ‘The Populist Zeitgeist’, 2004, p. 543. 14 Edwards and McCarthy, ‘Resources and Social Movement Mobilization’, 2007, p. 126. 15 Ibidem, p. 125. 16 Koopmans and Statham, ‘Ethnic and Civic Conceptions of Nationhood’, 1999, pp. 225–251. 17 Lawrence Grossberg, ‘History, politics and postmodernism’, in Morley and Chen (eds.) 1996, p. 162. 18 Mudde, Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe. 19 Anne Kane, ‘Finding Emotion in Social Movement Processes: Irish Land Movement Metaphors and Narratives’, 2001, p. 251. 20 Wnuk-Lipin´ ski, 2008, p. 226. 21 Admittedly, the significance of official electoral manifestos has been notoriously weak in Poland, especially since Lech Wałe˛ sa publicly stated he had not read his own manifesto for the 1990 presidential election. 22 Tomasiewicz, 2003, p. 228. 23 pi, PAP, ‘Giertych: Polska potrzebuje z· arliwych patriotów’, 2006. 24 Ibidem. 25 Ibidem. 26 Dmowski, Kos´ ciół, naród i pan´ stwo, 1927. 27 Bogumił Grott, ‘Nacjonalizm czy nacjonalizmy?’ 2006, p. 12. 28 Ibidem, p. 9. 29 Gellner, Nations and Nationalism (note 5), p. 35.

Notes 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48

201

Billig, Banal Nationalism, 1995. Eatwell, Fascism (note 10), p. 13. Sineaeva, History Interpretation as a Cause of Conflicts in Europe, 2004. Tismaneanu, Reinventing Politics. Eastern Europe from Stalin to Havel, 1993, p. 5. Castle and Taras, Democracy in Poland, 2002, p. 187. Crawford and Lijphart ‘Old Legacies, New Institutions: Explaining Political and Economic Trajectories in Post-Communist Societies’, 1997, p. 34. Ibidem. Goodwyn, Breaking the Barrier: The Rise of Solidarity in Poland, 1991, pp. xix–xx. Castle and Taras, Democracy in Poland, p. 160. Ibidem, p. 162. Ibidem, p. 115. Kosiewski (ed.), Jaka Polska? Czyja Polska?, 2006, p. 201. Tilly and Tarrow, Contentious Politics, 2007, p. 216. Laclau, On Populist Reason, 2007, p. 121. Shafir, ‘Marginalization or mainstream? The extreme right in postcommunist Romania’, 2000, pp. 248–242. Cas Mudde, ‘Central and Eastern Europe’, 2005, p. 267. For an excellent account of the ‘early modern’ national tradition in Poland, see Snyder, The Reconstruction of Nations. Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569– 1999, 2003. See also Davies, God’s Playground: A History of Poland, 2005. For an account of the early formation of models of contemporary Polish patriotism see: Walicki, The Three Traditions in Polish Patriotism and their Contemporary Relevance, 1988. Curiously, Grott’s Faszys´ ci i narodowi socjalis´ ci w Polsce, 2007 hardly mentions the important groups OWP or the ONR on its 344 pages focusing all attention on the marginal self-declared fascist groupuscules!

2 Pre-Communist legacies 1 Piłsudski, ‘Jak stałem sie˛ socjalista˛’, 1903. 2 Irish Socialist Republican Party, Motions Passed at the IRSP Ard Fheis 2000. See also English, ‘Reflections on republican socialism in Ireland: Marxian roots and Irish historical dynamics’, 1996, pp. 555–571; W.K. Anderson, James Connolly and the Irish Left, 1994. 3 Clifford, Connolly and German Socialism; also: Clifford, Connolly: The Polish Aspect, 1985. 4 Interestingly, in 1887 Lenin’s older brother Alexander Ulyanov was arrested and sentenced to death for participation in the same revolutionary plot to kill Tsar Alexander III in which Józef Piłsudski and his older brother Bronisław were also implicated. Józef was sentenced to five years in Siberian exile and Bronisław to 15 years. 5 Castle and Taras, Democracy in Poland, p. 18. 6 Davies, White Eagle, Red Star: The Polish-Soviet War, 1919–1920, 2003. In a remarkably unprecedented move, soon after the war ended Piłsudski and the Soviet army commander Mikhail Tukhachevsky jointly published their memoirs in a single volume: Piłsudski and Tuchaczewski, Rok 1920. Pochód za Wisłe˛ , 1989. 7 Interestingly, Trotsky referred to Piłsudski as ‘a light-weight figure, somewhat like our Kerensky’: Trotsky, ‘The War with Poland. The Polish Gentry Do Not Want Peace’. 8 Castle and Taras, Democracy in Poland, p. 21. 9 ‘Bolszewików trzeba było zaatakowac´ w 1919 roku’, 2008; Andrzej Nowak, Historie politycznych tradycji. Piłsudski, Putin i inni, 2007, pp. 221–247. The full account of the complex relationship between the Piłsudskites and the communists

202

10

11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32

33 34

Notes

remains to be written. Most of the available works state the obvious, without trying to scratch the surface of both movements’ apparent opposition, e.g. Chojnowski, Piłsudczycy wobec komunizmu. Eva Plach, The Clash of Moral Nations: Cultural Politics in Pilsudski’s Poland, 1926–1935, 2006. Jez· ewski (ed.), W blasku legendy, 1988, is a 500-plus page sample of literary tributes to Piłsudski, authored mainly by the representatives of the left-liberal intelligentsia. Rudnicki, Obóz Narodowo-Radykalny. Geneza i działalnos´ c´, 1985, p. 232. Snyder, The Reconstruction of Nations, pp. 4–5. Ibidem, p. 11. Dziewanowski, Joseph Pilsudski: A European Federalist, 1918–1922. 1969; Wandycz, ‘Polish Federalism 1919–1920 and its Historical Antecedents’, 1970, pp. 25–39. Gross, Fear. Anti-Semitism in Poland after Auschwitz. An Essay in Historical Interpretation, 2006, pp. 198, 242. Miłosz, Wyprawa w Dwudziestolecie, 1999, pp. 33–35. Snyder, The Reconstruction of Nations, p. 41. In the sense employed by Laclau, On Populist Reason. According to Laclau, populism is not necessarily a bad thing. Wynot, Polish Politics in Transition: The Camp of National Unity and the Struggle for Power, 1935–1939, 1974. Rudnicki, Obóz Narodowo-Radykalny, p. 298. Aleksander Gella, Development of Class Structure in Eastern Europe: Poland and Her Southern Neighbors, 1989, pp. 23–24. Laclau, On Populist Reason, p. 180. Milka-Wieczorkiewicz, ‘De Gaulle et Pilsudski’, 1992, p. 73. Andrzej Nowak, Historie politycznych tradycji. Piłsudski, Putin i inni, 2007, p. 7. Pankowski, ‘Pilsudski, Marshal Jozef’, 2006, p. 517. Michnik, Ws´ ciekłos´ c´ i wstyd, 2005, p. 144. See also Michnik, W poszukiwaniu utraconego sensu, 2007, pp. 106–110. See Pankowski, ‘Inter-war Poland: Patriotism Vs Nationalism’, 1995, pp. 32–33. Andrzej Romanowski, ‘Poz· egnanie z Moskwa˛’, 1991. Ibidem. Pomorski, Imperialna baba, 2003, pp. 11–109. Ibidem, p. 77. Magierowski, ‘Potwór Rosja’, 2008. Adam Pomorski argues that the anti-Russian stereotypes in Poland are not deeply rooted among the ‘common people’, as the image of the Russians in Polish mass/popular culture is often quite positive. On the contrary, they are perpetrated by political elites and media. According to Pomorski, Polish Russophobia is much less directly related to historical injustices than generally assumed. It has much more to do with the feelings of insecurity of the Polish elites about their own status within contemporary Polish society in the context of transition/modernization: the inner-Polish stereotype of the threatening ‘uncivilized masses’ as seen by the Polish elite is projected on Russia as a whole: Pomorski, Imperialna baba (note 78). To be sure, far from being a Polish speciality, the phenomenon of Russophobia can be found in much of the contemporary Western world, too. ‘Western Russophobia has various roots. One shoot is the continuing influence of what the political scientist Michael Mandelbaum has called “residual elites”: groups and individuals who rose to prominence during the Cold War and have lacked the flexibility to adapt to a new reality’ (Lieven, ‘Against Russophobia’, Winter 2000/2001). Rafał Pankowski, ‘Tutaj działa sam je˛ zyk. Wywiad z prof. Michałem Głowin´ skim’, 2008. Cat-Mackiewicz, Klucz do Piłsudskiego, 1992.

Notes 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61

62 63 64

203

e.g. Maj and Maj, Narodowe ugrupowania polityczne w Polsce 1989–2001, 2007. Rudnicki, Obóz Narodowo-Radykalny, p. 6. Snyder, The Reconstruction of Nations, p. 6. Ibidem, pp. 1–2. See Tilly and Tarrow, Contentious Politics, p. 78–79. Ibidem, p. 192. Ibidem, p. 202. Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, 2004, pp. 287–340. Hall, ‘Dziedzictwo Romana Dmowskiego’, 2000, p. 146. Bon´ cza-Tomaszewski, Demokratyczna geneza nacjonalizmu. Intelektualne korzenie ruchu narodowo-demokratycznego, 2001. Micewski, Roman Dmowski, 1971. Pobóg-Malinowski, Narodowa Demokracja 1887–1918. Fakty i dokumenty, 1998, pp. 185–191. Kalicki ‘Okruszek historii’, 2008, p. 43. Tych, Rok 1905, 1990, p.68. ‘Rodziny Giertychów i Kuroniów skłócone od 1907 roku’, 2007; Jamczyn´ ski, ‘Z historii pewnej kolaboracji’, 2008. Castle and Taras, Democracy in Poland, p. 19. Pomorski, Imperialna baba, p. 47. Dmowski, Kos´ ciół, naród i pan´ stwo, 1927. Modras, The Catholic Church and Antisemitism, Poland, 1933–1939, 1994. Casanova, ‘Church, State, Nation, and Civil Society in Spain and Poland’, in Said Amir Arjomand (ed.), 1993, p. 120. Walicki, ‘Katolicyzm nie był jedyna˛ polska˛ tradycja˛’, 2006. Rudnicki, Obóz Narodowo-Radykalny, p. 333. Hall, ‘Dziedzictwo’, pp. 146–147. Castle and Taras, Democracy in Poland, p. 19. Rudnicki, Obóz Narodowo-Radykalny, p. 291. Dmowski, ‘The Jews and the War’, 1991, pp. 188–189. Allegedly, Koneczny’s theory of civilizations impressed the British historian Arnold J. Toynbee who in turn had an imprint on Samuel Huntington’s ‘clash of civilizations’. There is little evidence, however, to substantiate the claim of any decisive impact of Koneczny’s philosophy of history upon Toynbee, with the exception of a preface written by the latter for an English edition of one of Koneczny’s works, in which he wrote about the book: ‘It is one of several mutually independent studies of the structure of human affairs on the largest scale that have appeared in different parts of the Western World within the last two generations. (. . .) Koneczny has discussed the fundamental questions raised by the study of civilizations and he arrives at definite and valuable conclusions. (. . .) He approached his generalizations from the four standpoints: of student of East European and Central Asian history, a Pole, a Roman Catholic Christian and a Westerner. (. . .) It is fortunate that there would have been a number of thinkers wrestling with the same problem from different standing-grounds in time and space. It is also fortunate that one of these voices should have been a Polish voice, since Poland has a word to say to the present-day West’ (Arnold J. Toynbee, in Koneczny, On the Plurality of Civilizations, 1962, pp. vii–viii). See Pankowski, ‘Tutaj działa’; Stan´ czak-Wis´ licz, ‘W pułapce kołobłe˛ du, czyli antysemityzm uczonego’, 2008; Zgliczyn´ ski, ‘Od “brony cywilizacji” do “ostatecznego rozwia˛zania”’, 2008. e.g. Wapin´ ski, Roman Dmowski, 1988, pp. 355–366, 375. See e.g. Wievorka, The Arena of Racism, 1995; Wieviorka et al., The Lure of AntiSemitism, 2007; Miles, Racism, 1993; Pankowski, Rasizm a kultura popularna, 2006.

204

Notes

65 Dmowski, Mys´ li nowoczesnego Polaka, 1904. 66 Rudnicki, Obóz Narodowo-Radykalny, p. 307. 67 Gross, Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland, 2001; Gross, Fear; Gross, Upiorna dekada, 1939–1948. Trzy eseje o stereotypach na temat Z· ydów, Polaków, Niemców i komunistów, 1998. 68 Cała and Ostolski, ‘Dmowski, prekursor oszołomów’, 2006. 69 e.g. Kawalec, Narodowa Demokracja wobec faszyzmu 1922–1939, 1989; Kotowski, Narodowa Demokracja wobec nazizmu i Trzeciej Rzeszy, 2006. 70 Eligiusz Niewiadomski, who assassinated Narutowicz a few days later, was an endek sympathiser; sentenced to death and executed, he became a martyr for the extreme right. 71 Rudnicki, Obóz Narodowo-Radykalny (note 59), p. 336. 72 The name of the secret organization later changed several times. 73 Ibidem, p. 217. 74 Giertych, O wyjs´ cie z kryzysu, 1938, p. 31. 75 Rudnicki, Obóz Narodowo-Radykalny (note 59), p. 378. 76 Sygut, ‘Nigdy nie lubiłem Tuska’, 2008. 77 Castle and Taras, Democracy in Poland, p. 19. 78 Ibidem, p. xiv. 79 Ibidem, p. 171. 80 Hall, ‘Dziedzictwo’ (note 91), p. 153. 81 Pankowski, ‘Sejm mówi “tak” ’, 1999. 82 Rudnicki, Obóz Narodowo-Radykalny, p. 219. 83 Lipski, Katolickie Pan´ stwo Narodu Polskiego, 1994, pp. 9–10. 84 Rudnicki, Obóz Narodowo-Radykalny, pp. 282–283. 85 Lipski, ‘Antysemityzm ONR Falangi’, 1992, pp. 100–101. 86 Rudnicki, Obóz Narodowo-Radykalny, p. 91. 87 Ibidem, p. 179. 88 Ibidem, p. 224. 89 Lipski, ‘Antysemityzm ONR Falangi’, p. 89. 90 Rudnicki, Obóz Narodowo-Radykalny, p. 186. 91 Ibidem, p. 186. 92 Gross, Fear, p. 195. 93 Garlicki, ‘Bereza, polski obóz koncentracyjny’, 2008. 94 Dudek and Pytel, Bolesław Piasecki, Próba biografii politycznej, 1990, p. 57; Rudnicki, Obóz Narodowo-Radykalny, p. 279. 95 Lipski, Katolickie Pan´ stwo Narodu Polskiego, p. 13. · yndul, Zajs´ cia antyz· ydowskie w Polsce w latach 1935–1937, 1994; 96 See e.g. Z Rudnicki, Obóz Narodowo-Radykalny (note 59), pp. 285, 303–309. A neofascist eulogy of the ONR violence is Sosnowski, Krew i honor. Działalnos´ c´ bojowa ONR w Warszawie w latach 1934–1939, 2000. A memoir of the RNR violent squad leader is Zygmunt Przetakiewicz, Od ONR-u do PAX-u. Wspomnienia, 1994. Przetakiewicz defends his activity in the 1930s by saying: ‘Killing for the sake of killing was never our goal, it was about a propaganda effect and a psychological effect’ (p. 24). 97 Rudnicki, Obóz Narodowo-Radykalny, p. 306. 98 For a discussion of the nature of ‘eliminationist’ antisemitism, see Goldhagen, Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, 1996. The complex parallel between the antisemitism in Poland and Goldhagen’s ‘eliminationist’ antisemitism is brilliantly explored by Janion, ‘Spór o antysemityzm. Sprzecznos´ ci, watpliwos´ ci i pytania’, 2000. 99 Lipski, Katolickie Pan´ stwo Narodu Polskiego, p. 124. 100 Micewski, Współrzadzic´ czy nie kłamac´? PAX i Znak w Polsce 1945–1976, 1978, pp. 14–15; Rudnicki, Obóz Narodowo-Radykalny, p. 308.

Notes 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129

130

131 132 133 134

205

Rudnicki, Obóz Narodowo-Radykalny, p. 143. Lipski, Katolickie Pan´ stwo Narodu Polskiego, p. 149. Bardakjian, Hitler and the Armenian Genocide, 1985. Rather surprisingly, then, the ONR is strangely absent from several important comparative accounts, e.g. Carsten, The Rise of Fascism, 1967; Griffin (ed.), Fascism, 1995; Paxton, The Anatomy of Fascism, 2005; and so on. Eatwell, Fascism, p. 11. Griffin (ed.), Fascism, p. 4. Rudnicki, Obóz Narodowo-Radykalny, pp. 264–265. Ibidem, p. 273. Ibidem, pp. 224–225. Gebert, Living in the Land of Ashes, 2008, p. 109. e.g. Bogumił Grott, Nacjonalizm chrzes´ cijan´ ski, 1996. Rudnicki, Obóz Narodowo-Radykalny, p. 131. Ibidem, p. 331. For an example of the indignation at dealings with the National Radical ‘gangsters’ see Pobóg-Malinowski, Najnowsza historia polityczna Polski 1864–1945. Tom drugi 1919–1939, 1990, pp. 607–608. Dudek and Pytel, Bolesław Piasecki, pp. 86–91; Rudnicki, Obóz NarodowoRadykalny, pp. 316–317, 326. Gebert, Living in the Land of Ashes, p. 49. Micewski, Współrzadzic´ czy nie kłamac´? PAX i Znak w Polsce 1945–1976, 1978; Korab, ‘Strange Alliance: Piasecki and the Polish Communists’, 1957. Some ex-members of the Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwos´ c´, PiS) party, including Artur Zawisza, once a well-known PiS MP, took part in resurrecting ‘Prosto z Mostu’ as a monthly in late 2008. Beres´ and Burnetko, Marek Edelman. Z· ycie. Po prostu, 2008, p. 246. Simpson, Native Faith. Polish Neo-Paganism At the Brink of the 21st Century, 2000, p. 75. Rudnicki, Obóz Narodowo-Radykalny, p. 323. Piotrowski, Słuz· ba idei czy serwilizm? Zygmunt Felczak i Feliks Widy-Wirski w najnowszych dziejach Polski, 1994, p. 170. Rudnicki, Obóz Narodowo-Radykalny, p. 323. Janion, Niesamowita Słowian´ szczyzna. Fantazmaty literatury, 2006, p. 23. Piotrowski, Słuz· ba idei czy serwilizm?, p. 150. Simpson, Native Faith, p. 77. e.g. Skoczyn´ ski, ‘Neopoganizm Jana Stachniuka’, 2006, p. 369. Rudnicki, Obóz Narodowo-Radykalny, p. 325. After the war Szukalski lived in California, where he continued to work as a sculptor and wrote numerous volumes setting out to prove that Polish was the original language of mankind and Russians were an offspring of Yeti. Szukalski died in 1987, but inspired various international pop culture figures, including the rock bands Laibach and Tool. Accusations of collaboration with the Nazis concerned several Zadruga figures such as Damazy Tilgner: Piotrowski, Słuz· ba idei czy serwilizm?, pp. 265–266. Tilgner was later a post-war Zadruga activist, as an agricultural engineer received a doctorate honoris causa from the Gdan´ sk Polytechnic in 1992 and died in 1998. Koz´ niewski, Przekorni. Boy-Z· elen´ ski, Słonimski, Cat-Mackiewicz, Pruszyn´ ski, Stachniuk, Kisielewski, Tyrmand, Kałuz· yn´ ski, Urban, 2000, p. 201. Simpson, Native Faith, p. 76. Janion, Niesamowita Słowian´ szczyzna, p. 23. Simpson, Native Faith, p. 14.

206

Notes

3 Communist period legacy 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41

Kula, Narodowe i rewolucyjne, 1991, p. 224. Werblan, ‘Przyczynek do genezy konfliktu’, p. 66, cited in Eisler, 1991, p. 126. Gross, Fear, p. 243. Tismaneanu, Reinventing Politics, p. 44. Ibidem, p. 283. Snyder, The Reconstruction of Nations, p. 186 Brubaker, Nationalism Reframed. Nationhood and the national question in the New Europe, 1997, p. 17. Tismaneanu, Reinventing Politics, p. 184. Goodwyn, The Populist Moment. A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America, 1978, p. 153. Ibidem, p. 295. Castle and Taras, Democracy in Poland, p. 43. Tismaneanu, Reinventing Politics, p. 62. Goodwyn, Breaking the Barrier, p. xxvi. Snyder, The Reconstruction of Nations, p. 187. Ibidem, p. 5. Gross, Fear. Kula, Narodowe i rewolucyjne, p. 222. Snyder, The Reconstruction of Nations, p. 182. Gellner, Nations and Nationalism, p. 73. Ibidem, p. 35. This point is elaborated by Gross, Fear. Kula, Narodowe i rewolucyjne, p. 136 Goodwyn, Breaking the Barrier, p. 318. Kubik, The Power of Symbols against the Symbols of Power. The Rise of Solidarity and the Fall of State Socialism in Poland, 1994, p. 56. Lesiakowski, Mieczysław Moczar, 1998, p. 25. Gross, Fear, p. 243. Ose˛ ka, ‘Marzec 1968’, 2008, p. 136. Rakowski, ‘Cała władza w re˛ ce’, 2008. Eisler, Marzec 1968, p. 49. Goodwyn, Breaking the Barrier, p. 318. Eisler, Marzec 1968, p. 142. The ‘nazification’ of Jews was to become part and parcel of contemporary antisemitism internationally, often conveniently manipulating excerpts from works such as of, for example, Hannah Arendt’s ‘Eichmann in Jerusalem’ (who criticized the wartime strategy of the then Zionist leadership). As Kenneth S. Stern writes, ‘The use of the Nazi label to tar Jews (. . .) is a form of Holocaust denial, because, while such comparisons unfairly defame Jews, they also belittle the crimes of the Nazis’. See Stern, Antisemitism Today. How It Is the Same, How It Is Different, and How to Fight It, 2006, p. 94. Wróblewska, Brewin´ ska, Machnicka, Sokołowska (eds.), Rewolucje 1968, 2008. e.g. Gross, Neighbors. Eisler, Marzec 1968, p. 100. Pankowski, ‘Tutaj działa’. Stern, Antisemitism Today, p. 41. Eisler, Marzec 1968, p. 131. Ibidem, p. 395. Ibidem, p. 145. Touraine, with Dubet, Wieviorka, and Strzelecki, Solidarity. Poland 1980–81, 1990, p. 33. Eisler, Marzec 1968, p. 377.

Notes 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87

207

Quoted in Ibidem, pp. 399–400. Gebert, Living in the Land of Ashes, p. 3. Eisler, Marzec 1968, p. 431. Piotr Ose˛ ka, ‘Marzec 1968’, 2008, p. 144. Ibidem. Skórzyn´ ski, Od Solidarnos´ ci do wolnos´ ci, 2005, p. 194. Ibidem, p. 195. Rakowski, ‘Cała władza’. Gebert, Living in the Land of Ashes, p. 35. At least two nazi-skinhead rock bands have put ‘68’ into their names to show their identification with the ‘anti-Zionist’ national-communist spirit of that year in Poland (Deportacja 68, Sztorm 68). Ibidem, p. 43. Skórzyn´ ski, Od Solidarnos´ ci do wolnos´ ci, p. 196. Kubik, The Power of Symbols against the Symbols of Power, p. 34. Ibidem, pp. 64–65. Skórzyn´ ski, Od Solidarnos´ ci do wolnos´ ci, p. 197. Tilly and Tarrow define it as ‘emergence of new collective answers to the questions “Who are you?”, “Who are we?” and “Who are they?” ’; Tilly and Tarrow, Contentious Politics, p. 216. Ibidem, p. 8. Zaremba and Mazurek, ‘Rez· imowy filmowiec PRL: Niczego nie z· ałuje˛ ’, 2008. Castle and Taras, Democracy in Poland (note 34), p. 56. Kubik, ‘Who done it: Workers, intellectuals or someone else? Controversy over Solidarity’s origins and social composition’, pp. 441. Kubik, The Power of Symbols against the Symbols of Power, p. 232. Goodwyn, Breaking the Barrier, p. 41 Kula, Narodowe i rewolucyjne, p. 26. Lipski, KOR, Workers’ Defense Committee in Poland, 1976–1981, 1985. Gebert, Living in the Land of Ashes, p. 93. Snyder, The Reconstruction of Nations, p. 213. Gebert, Living in the Land of Ashes, p. 133. Touraine, Solidarity, pp. 144–145. Goodwyn, Breaking the Barrier, pp. 308–309. Jagielski, Za burta legendy. Ibidem. Kula, Narodowe i rewolucyjne, p. 14. Goodwyn, Breaking the Barrier, p. 173. Ibidem, p. 40. Tilly and Tarrow, Contentious Politics, p. 115. Goodwyn, Breaking the Barrier, p. 4. Gebert, Living in the Land of Ashes, p. 24. Kula, Narodowe i rewolucyjne, p. 179. For the same reasons the Polish Belorusians by and large remained faithful voters of the post-communist left in the 1990s and 2000s. For example, Kula provides numerous arguments undermining the false dichotomy between the alien communist ‘regime’ and the indigenous ‘society’. Ibid, pp. 93–150. Kula, Narodowe i rewolucyjne, pp. 109–110. Ibidem, p. 287. Ascherson, The Polish August. The Self-limiting Revolution, 1982, p. 77. Kula, Narodowe i rewolucyjne, p. 142. Ibidem, p. 290. Cited in Goodwyn, Breaking the Barrier, p. 35. Ibidem, p. 253.

208

Notes

88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98

Kula, Narodowe i rewolucyjne, p. 134. Goodwyn, Breaking the Barrier, p. 300. Gebert, Living in the Land of Ashes, p. 11. Kula, Narodowe i rewolucyjne, p. 302. Goodwyn, Breaking the Barrier, p. 7. Ibidem, p. 40. Laclau, On Populist Reason, p. 81. Ibidem, p. 226. Castle and Taras, Democracy in Poland, p. 56. Ost, ‘Indispensable Ambiguity: Solidarity’s Internal Authority Structure’, 1988. Cited in Krasnode˛ bski, ‘Solidarnos´ c´ i jej wpływ na Europe˛ , dawna˛ i nowa˛’, 2006, p. 243. 99 Goodwyn, Breaking the Barrier, p. 231. 100 As Elemer Hankiss wrote, in Hungary a strikingly similar charge has been made: ‘not only was there no revolution, but there was not even a genuine regime change, because the former state socialist ruling class, by converting their political power to economic power, preserved and, to a great extent, reinforced the economic and later also political power’. Hankiss, ‘Trasition or transitions? The transformation of eastern central Europe 1989–2007’, 2007. 101 Robert Walenciak, ‘Ukradziono mi “Solidarnos´ c´”. Z Andrzejem Romanowskim’, 2008. 4 After Communism 1 See e.g. Ost, Solidarity and the Politics of Anti-Politics: Reform and Opposition in Poland Since 1968, 1990. 2 Tismaneanu, Reinventing Politics, p. 155. 3 Castle and Taras, Democracy in Poland, p. 43; Michta. ‘Democratic consolidation in Poland’, in Karen Darwisha and Bruce Parrott (eds), 1997, pp. 69–70. 4 On the other hand, several authors have actually shown that an active (antidemocratic) civil society was a major factor in the downfall of the Weimar Republic, e.g. Berman, ‘Civil Society and the Collapse of the Weimar Republic’. Reprinted in O’Neill and Rogowski, Essential Readings in Comparative Politics, 2004. 5 Castle and Taras, Democracy in Poland, p. 94. 6 Parrott, ‘Perspectives on postcommunist democratization’, in Darwisha and Parrott (eds.), p. 13. 7 Castle and Taras, Democracy in Poland, p. 235. 8 Ibidem, p. 232. 9 Michta, ‘Democratic consolidation in Poland’, p. 75. 10 Grabowska and Krzemin´ ski (eds.), Bitwa o Belweder, 1991. Andrew A. Michta wrote in the mid-1990s: ‘the populist tone of that campaign romains a strong undercurrent in Polish politics’; Michta, ‘Democratic consolidation in Poland’, p. 76. 11 Gebert, ‘Anti-Semitism in the 1990 Polish Presidential Election’, in Gebert, Living in the Land of Ashes, pp. 53–83. 12 Castle and Taras, Democracy in Poland, p. 206. 13 Kolarska-Bobin´ ska, ‘Wste˛ p’, in Lena Kolarska-Bobin´ ska (ed.), Polska eurodebata, 1999, p. 7. 14 Castle and Taras, Democracy in Poland, p. 221. 15 Snyder, The Reconstruction of Nations, p. 257. 16 For a detailed list, see Rafał Pankowski and Marcin Kornak, ‘Poland’, in Mudde (ed.), Racist Extremism in Central and Eastern Europe, pp. 170–172, 286–293. 17 Snyder, The Reconstruction of Nations, p. 275.

Notes

209

18 Brubaker, Nationalism Reframed. 19 Snyder, The Reconstruction of Nations, p. 228. This broad consensus applied also to more radical anticommunist groups such as the KPN, who in fact criticized the first Solidarity governments for not providing enough support to Poland’s new neighbours. 20 Ibidem, p. 260. 21 Williams, ‘Problems of Transition and the Rise of the Radical Right’, 1999, p. 33. 22 Michta, ‘Democratic consolidation in Poland’, p. 67. 23 Future practice proved this provision purely declaratory and racist groups continued to operate unhindered. 24 Ibidem, p. 102. 25 Castle and Taras, Democracy in Poland, pp. 236–237. 26 Ibid, p. 238. 27 Parrott, ‘Perspectives on postcommunist democratization’, p. 27. 28 Elz· bieta Tarkowska, ‘The Poverty of Polish Women and Agricultural Laborers’, 2001, p. 107. 29 Hankiss, ‘Trasition or transitions?’. 30 Parrott, ‘Perspectives on postcommunist democratization’, p. 26. 31 Hankiss, ‘Trasition or transitions?’. 32 Castle and Taras, Democracy in Poland, pp. 240–241. 33 See e.g. De Sousa Santos, The Rise of the Globar Left. The World Social Forum and Beyond, 2006. 34 The controversy on both ATTAC and ‘Obywatel’ is documented by Pankowski, ‘Antyglobalis´ ci i ich krytyka globalizacji neoliberalnej – wste˛ p do dyskusji’, 2004; Rafał Pankowski, ‘Far right hijacks anti-capitalist group’, 2002; Glin´ ski, ‘Samounicestwienie ruchu społecznego – ruch antyglobalistyczny a globalne społeczen´ stwo obywatelskie’, (181), 2006, p. 107; see also Davies, ‘Basic Instinct: Trauma and Retrenchment 2000–4’, 2005, who goes as far as saying that a faction of the anti-globalization movement in Poland ‘wasn’t necessarily hijacked or infiltrated by the right; in a significant sense it was a product of the right’. 35 Williams, ‘Problems of Transition and the Rise of the Radical Right’, 1999, p. 39. 36 Hankiss, ‘Trasition or transitions?’. 37 Mudde, ‘Central and Eastern Europe’, p. 274. 38 Gawin, Blask i gorycz wolnos´ ci, 2006, p. 209. The same term was used by Jacek · akowski in 2003: Z · akowski, Nauczka, 2007, p. 78. Z 39 Czapin´ ski, and Panek (eds.), Diagnoza społeczna 2005: warunki i jakos´ c´ z· ycia Polaków, 2006. 40 Growiec, ‘The Relation Between Social Capital and Trust – a Self-fulfilling Prophecy?’ 2008. · akowski, Nauczka, p. 135. 41 Z 42 Growiec, ‘The Relation Between Social Capital and Trust’. 43 Parrott, ‘Perspectives on postcommunist democratization’, p. 21. 44 Smolar, ‘Radykałowie u władzy. Od transformacji ustrojowej do rewolucji kulturalnej’, 2006. 45 Michta, ‘Democratic consolidation in Poland’, pp. 96–97. 46 Wielgosz, ‘25 Years of Solidarity – From Workers Revolution to Capitalism’. 47 Michta, ‘Democratic consolidation in Poland’, p. 97. 48 Ost, ‘The Radical Right in Poland: Rationality of the Irrational’, 1999, p. 85. 49 Klein, ‘Dlaczego wierzycie neoliberałom?’, 2008. 50 Krastev, ‘The populist moment’, 2007. 51 Ost, ‘The Radical Right in Poland’, p. 88. 52 Eatwell, ‘Ten Theories of the Extreme Right’, 2003, p. 52. 53 Ekiert and Kubik, Rebellious Civil Society: Popular Protest and Democratic Consolidation in Poland, 1999.

210

Notes

54 Ost, The Defeat of Solidarity: Anger and Politics in Postcommunist Europe, 2006, p. 87. 55 Ibidem, p. 74. 56 Ibidem, p. 193. 57 Ibidem, p. 86. 58 Wrzodak, Wrzodak, 1997, p. 7. 59 Ibidem, p. 6. 60 Ost, ‘The Radical Right in Poland’, p. 99. 61 Hockenos, Free to Hate. The Rise of the Right in Post-Communist Eastern Europe, 1993, p. 253. 62 Ibidem. 63 Ibidem, p. 265. 64 Beres´ and Brunetko, Marek Edelman. Z· ycie. Po prostu, 2008, p. 366. 65 Makumba, Jan Stre˛ kowski’s documentary on Polish TV, 1997, available http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=_muLPvUhYxE (accessed 15 December 2008). 66 Pankowski and Kornak, ‘Poland’ pp. 158, 164–165. 67 By 2008 two rump groupings using the name KPN continued their totally marginal existence. 68 Ost, ‘The Radical Right in Poland’, p. 93. 69 Maj, Narodowe ugrupowania polityczne w Polsce, p. 9. 70 Ibidem, p. 110. 71 Ibidem, p. 111. 72 Ibidem, p. 272. 73 In 1993 a new electoral law was passed, based on the German model, which introduced a 5 per cent threshold necessary for a party to win parliamentary seats. It only partially contributed to the stabilization of the Polish party system, which remained remarkably unstable. 74 ‘Observations provided by the Polish authorities concerning ECRI’s report on Poland’, 2000. 75 Cited in Ibid, p. 160. 76 Ibidem, p. 147. 77 Tejkowski, Walka o Polske˛ , 1994, cited in Maj and Maj, Narodowe ugrupowania polityczne w Polsce, p. 31. 78 Ibidem, p. 100–101. 79 Krajowe Biuro Wyborcze Bogusława Rybickiego, ‘ABC Programu Narodowego’ (1998), in Maj, Narodowe ugrupowania polityczne w Polsce, p. 327. 80 Trochimiuk, ‘Polska 1989–1994, czyli pie˛ c´ lat antypolskiego rasizmu’, 1994, pp. 1–2, cited in Maj and Maj, Narodowe ugrupowania polityczne w Polsce, p. 199. 81 Shafir, ‘Varieties of Antisemitism in Post-Communist East Central Europe. Motivations and Political Discourse’, 2003, p. 185. · ydzi sa˛ wsze˛ dzie’, 1991. 82 Hugo-Bader, ‘Z 83 Krzysztof Wolicki, the respected dissident journalist, wrote in his letter to the paper: ‘[by publishing the Tejkowski interview] you broke the norms of decency obliging in the countries with a democratic tradition’, ‘Nieprzyzwoitos´ c´’, 1991. 84 The toleration frequently displayed by Social Democratic politicians towards the PWN-PSN’s extremist activity was illustrated by the notorious public handshake between Tejkowski and the voivod (regional governor) of Krakow, Jacek Majchrowski: Poller, ‘Wspólna Polska’, 1996. 85 Meaning a very small group as employed by Griffin in ‘GUD Reactions: the patterns of prejudice of a neo-fascist groupuscule, 1999. 86 Cited in Roszkowski, Najnowsza historia Polski 1980–2002, 2003. 87 Cited in Bogusz and Wojtkowska, ‘Wodzowie ulic’, 1999. 88 S´ lubowski, ‘Biłem tak, z· eby nie skrzywdzic´ za bardzo’, 1997; Kornak, Brunatna ksie˛ ga 1987–2009, 2009.

Notes

211

89 The subsequent description of the NOP is partly based on the relevant section in Pankowski and Kornak, ‘Poland’, pp. 161–163. 90 Ost, ‘The Radical Right in Poland’, p. 96. 91 Ibidem, p. 99. 92 Pankowski, ‘Byłem skinem. Wywiad z Ryszardem T., byłym działaczem Narodowego Odrodzenia Polski’, 2000/2001; Kornak, Brunatna ksie˛ ga. 93 Rudnicki, ‘Nationalismus und Extremismus im Polen von heute und ihre historischen Wurzeln’, 2000, p. 17. 94 Rafał Pankowski, ‘Byłem skinem’. 95 Sitnik, ‘Zasady Rewolucji Narodowej’, 1994. 96 Pankowski, ‘Mys´ lałem wtedy: Dawniej Polacy walczyli w zbrojach,dzisiaj walcza˛ w glanach – wywiad z Pawłem Bolkiem’, 2009. 97 Gmurczyk, ‘Fundament cywilizacji’, 1998. 98 Kornak, Brunatna ksie˛ ga. 99 Pankowski, ‘Mys´ lałem wtedy’. 100 Rzekanowski, ‘Seria ze swastyka˛’, 2000. 101 Kornak, ‘Brunatna Bellona’, 2000; Pankowski, ‘Irving stop’, 2000/2001. 102 Kornak, Brunatna ksie˛ ga. 103 Pankowski, ‘NOP, patrioci i folksdojcze’, 2000/2001. 104 Mies´ nik, ‘Oni juz· tu sa˛!’. 105 Marszałek, ‘NOP: Wyznawcy terroryzmu, czyli Osama bin Laden jest niewinny’, 2006. 106 Pastuszko, ‘Prezydencka debata w redakcji “Dziennika” ’, 2002. 107 Griffin, ‘The incredible shrinking ism: the survival of fascism in the post-fascist era’, 2002, p. 4. 108 Pankowski, ‘Aus welchen Organisationen und Strömungen setzt sich die polnische rechtsradikale Szene der 90er Jahre zusammen und wie weit reicht deren Arm in Politik und Gesellschaft?’, 2000. 109 Tosza, ‘Błyskotliwa kariera Konrada Re˛ kasa’, 2003. 110 WEST, ‘Radykał ujarzmiony do edukacji’, 2000. 111 Pankowski, ‘Met any Jews lately?’, 2000. 112 Maj and Maj, Narodowe ugrupowania polityczne w Polsce, p. 169. 113 Rudnicki, ‘Nationalismus und Extremismus im Polen von heute und ihre historischen Wurzeln’, 2000, p. 20. 114 Goodwyn, The Populist Moment. 115 Głuchowski and Kowalski, ‘Redemptorys´ ci potwierdzaja˛ doniesienia “GW” ’, 2006; Głuchowski and Kowalski, ‘Przyboczny Rydzyka stracił na giełdzie miliony’, 2006. 116 Pawlicki, ‘Alleluja i do Meksyku’, 2007; Lizut, ‘Don Kobylan´ ski, sponsor ojca Rydzyka’, 2004. 117 Anti-Defamation League, Poland: Democracy and the Challenge of Extremism, 2006, p. 4. 118 Maszkowski, ‘Otwarte społeczen´ stwo i jego radio’, 2004. 119 This section is partly based on Rafał Pankowski, ‘Nazi Music in Poland’, in Lowles and Silver (eds.), White Noise. Inside the international nazi skinhead scene, 1998. 120 Lowles and Silver, ‘Turning Down the Sound of Hate’ 1998, p. 85. 121 See e.g. Je˛ drzejewski, My ´smiecie. Git ludzie, skini, satanis´ ci, krysznaici, 1993, pp. 45–104. 122 Wilk, Krucjata łysogłowych, 1994. 123 The early 1990s’ infiltration of skinheads by extreme-right parties is detailed, for example, by Wilk, Ibidem. 124 A similar ambiguity was cultivated in other East–Central European countries, e.g. the leading Czech skinhead band Orlik opportunistically referred both to anti-Black racism and the tradition of Czech nationalism rather than to Hitlerite

212

125 126 127 128 129

130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152

153 154 155 156

Notes Nazism, although its fans did not care much for such subtle distinctions: Hockenos, Free to Hate, pp. 209–211, 216. Apabiz e.V., ‘Verzeichnis RechtsRock-Bands’, 2002, p. 443. Pankowski, ‘Disarray among Polish fascists’, 1994. Pankowski, ‘Former Polish nazi leader goes public’, 1997. ‘Konkwista Heil Hitler nie zagra’, 1998. See Massa, ‘Unholy Alliance: The National Socialist Black Metal Underground’, 1999; also Johansen, ‘Between Hitler and Satan: Norwegian Black Metal as a Spearhead for Racial Hatred’, 1999; Lohmann and Wanders, ‘Evolas Jünger und Odins Krieger. Extrem rechte Ideologien in der Dark-Wave – und BlackMetal-Szene’, 2002. Pankowski, ‘Poseł ze swastyka˛ w podpisie’, 2006. Pankowski, ‘Mys´ lałem wtedy’. Roman Giertych, ‘Jakie młodziez· y chowanie’, 1990. For a more detailed analysis of the dynamic of the racist popular culture in the Polish case see Pankowski, Rasizm a kultura popularna, 2006. Griffin (ed.), Fascism, p. 315. Stuart Hall, ‘New ethnicities’, in Morley and Chen (eds.), Stuart Hall, p. 445. Grell et al., Monitoring Hate Crimes and Victim Assistance in Poland and Germany, p. 21. ‘Observations provided by the Polish authorities concerning ECRI’s report on Poland’, 2000. This assessment was shared by the legal expert Podemski, ‘Was tun die staatlichen Behörden (Polizei, Justiz, Verfassungsschutz) gegen den rechtsextremismus?’, 2000. Cited in Grell et al., Monitoring Hate Crimes, p. 35. Kornak, Brunatna ksie˛ ga. Nijakowski, Domeny symboliczne.Konflikty narodowe i etniczne w wymiarze symbolicznym, 2006, p. 318. Gebert, Living in the Land of Ashes, p. 47. Pankowski, ‘Krzyz· jako pretekst’, 1998. As seen in undercover video footage in the archives of ‘Never Again’ Association. ‘Dokumenty’, Nigdy Wie˛ cej 8, 1998. Olszewski, ‘Miasto przedzielone drutami – reportaz· z Os´ wie˛ cimia’, 2004. Gebert, Living in the Land of Ashes, p. 106. See a sample of the articles in Brand (ed.), Thou shalt not kill. Poles on Jedwabne, 2001. Bugaj, ‘Prawda historyczna i interes materialny’, 2001. The Polish edition proved a bestseller: Finkelstein, Przedsie˛ biorstwo holokaust, 2001. Jan M. Fijor, ‘Uzurpatorzy’, 2001. Examples include Nowak, 100 kłamstw J.T. Grossa o z· ydowskich sasiadach i Jedwabnem, 2001; Pajak, Jedwabne geszefty, 2001; Niekrasz, Operacja JEDWABNE. Mity i fakty, 2001; Jankowski (ed.), Jedwabne. Spór historyków wokół ksiaz· ki Jana T. Grossa ‘Sasiedzi’, 2002; Kopec´, Lokalny Holocaust, Przypowies´ c´ o zabijaniu i o kłamstwie, 2001. Pankowski, ‘From the lunatic fringe to academia: Holocaust denial in Poland’, 2000. Ibidem, pp. 75–77. Madajczyk’s remark might have been read as self-critical: he had contributed to the legitimacy of the phenomenon by providing favourable forewords to Polish editions of Irving’s books. This apt term was popularized by Paul Lendvai in his Anti-Semitism Without Jews: Communist Eastern Europe, 1971.

Notes

213

157 Cf. Michael Shafir’s perspective on ‘comparative trivalization’ of the Holocaust: Shafir, Between Denial and ‘Comparative Trivialization’: Holocaust Negationism in Post-Communist East Central Europe, 2002. 158 Krzemin´ ski, ‘Wste˛ p’, 2004, p. 9. See also Krzemin´ ski, Czy Polacy sa¸ antysemitami? Wyniki badania sondaz· owego, 1996; Krzemin´ ski, ‘Polish–Jewish Relations, Anti-Semitism and National Identity’, 2002, pp. 25–51. 159 Gebert, Living in the Land of Ashes, p. 106. 160 Ibidem, p. 134. 161 Michnik et al., Mie˛ dzy Panem a Plebanem, 1995, p. 217. · ydach i antysemityzmie po 10 latach’, in Krzemin´ ski (ed.), 162 Krzemin´ ski, ‘O Z Antysemityzm w Polsce i na Ukrainie, p. 137. 163 Ibidem. 164 Ibidem, p. 33. 165 Ost, ‘The Radical Right in Poland’, p. 89. 166 Ibidem. 167 Gebert, Living in the Land of Ashes, p. 82. 5 The League of Polish Families and its integral nationalism 1 The Giertychs’ ‘orthodox’ SN was significantly strengthened after it absorbed the failed ‘revisionist’ SND in 1999. 2 Castle and Taras, Democracy in Poland, p. 103. 3 However, the much weakened AWS stubbornly refused to learn the lesson and registered as a coalition for the election again as late as 2001. With 5.6 per cent of the vote it was duly wiped out from the political scene. 4 Nies´ piał, ‘Badaja˛ mecenasa Giertycha’, 2008. 5 Jasiewicz, ‘The New Populism in Poland. The Usual Suspects?’, 2008, p. 15. 6 Eatwell, ‘Towards a New Model of Right-Wing Charismatic Leadership’, Manuscript, p. 10. 7 Pankowski, ‘Mys´ lałem wtedy’, 2009. 8 ‘Spotkanie Prezydenta RP z liderami partii politycznych’, 2003. Roman Giertych later claimed that Social-Democratic PM Leszek Miller had been discreetly asking him to attack the government for being too soft in accession negotiations with the EU. Apparently, he believed such attacks from the opposition would help him in the negotiations. If this claim is true, it would yet again illustrate the lack of scruples in trying to manipulate the extreme right by political elites at top level, which was soon to backfire on those very elites in a massive way: Waszkielewicz and Olczyk, ‘Bierzmy pienia˛dze i w nogi’, 2009. 9 These, and many other cases of the MW’s aggressive actions are documented by Kornak, Brunatna ksie˛ ga. 10 Both Je˛ drzej and Maciej Giertych each devoted entire books to a wholesale critique of Piłsudski’s heritage. Je˛ drzej Giertych, Józef Piłsudski, 1914–19, 1979; Maciej Giertych, Dmowski czy Piłsudski?, 1995. 11 Je˛ drzej Giertych, Polski Obóz Narodowy, 1990 (1977), p. 33. 12 Je˛ drzej Giertych, Co robic´? List otwarty do społeczen´ stwa polskiego w Kraju. 13 Giertych, Polski Obóz Narodowy, p. 40. 14 Laqueur, Fascism: Past, Present, Future, 1997, p. 200. 15 Ostałowska and Piotrowski, ‘Czego chce Młodziez· Wszechpolska?’, 2003. · ydzi plus raport Giertycha’, 2005. 16 Katka, ‘Szkodliwi Z 17 Jackowski, Bitwa o Polske˛ , 1993, p. 180. 18 Pankowski, ‘Trup w szafie Romana Giertycha’, 2008. 19 Professor Michał Głowinski, an acclaimed linguist, expressed no doubt the word was used in a blatantly antisemitic context; Pankowski, ‘Tutaj działa’ (note 81).

214

Notes

20 Berkowski, Za błe˛ kitna kurtyna ¸ – Polski wywiad na tropie masonów, 1996. 21 Kornak, ‘Elementarze nienawis´ ci’, 2003; Wierzejski, Naród, młodziez· , idea. Zbiór narodowej publicystyki z lat 1997–2000, 2001. 22 Karnowski, ‘Chowany na wodza, czyli historia Romana Giertycha’, 2007. 23 Ferfecki, ‘Kontrowersyjny teledysk LPR’, 2006. 24 Kornak, ‘Elementarze nienawis´ ci’, 2003; Kowalski and Kopin´ ski, ‘Jak sie˛ bawił Wojciech Wierzejski ze skinheadami’, 2006. 25 Lutyn´ ski, ‘ “Bastion” legionu wszechpolskiego’, 2008. 26 Kornak, ‘Olchowik, Lauck i Adolf Hitler story’, 2009. 27 Zacheja, ‘Bojówkarskie fascynacje wieczie z· ywe . . .’, 2006. 28 Sosnowski, Krew i honor. 29 ‘Młodziez· Wszechpolska to jednak nazis´ ci’, Internet posting, 31 January 2005, available http://www.4lomza.pl/forum/read.php?f=1&i=12503&t=12503 (accessed 4 January 2009). 30 ‘Symbols of hate’, in Burghart (ed.) Soundtracks to the White Revolution. White Supremacist Assaults on Youth Music Subcultures, 1999, p. 100. When antifascist journalists obtained and published the contents of an email address book of the regional leader of the MW and LPR in Gdan´ sk, it too turned out to be dominated by internet addresses complete with 14 and 88. See Ostałowska and Piotrowski, ‘Czego chce Młodziez· Wszechpolska?’, 2003. 31 Kornak, ‘Młodziez· Wszechpolska u władzy’, 2006. 32 Zacheja, ‘Wszechpolska kasa chorych’, 1999. 33 Kurczewska and Trojanowska-Strze˛ boszewska, ‘Project Report: Work Package 7. Institutional and Political Logics of Discrimination. Conclusions and farther interpretations of WP5 and WP6. The European Dilemma: Institutional Patterns and Politics of “Racial” Discrimination’. 34 Castle and Taras, Democracy in Poland, p. 135. 35 Kopecký and Mudde, ‘The Two Sides of Euroscepticism: Party Positions on European Integration in East Central Europe’, 2003, pp. 296–326. 36 ‘The League of Polish Families is a conservative and right-wing group,’ according to the World Travel Guide on Poland, available http://www.worldtravelguide.net/ country/226/general_information/Europe/Poland.html (accessed 9 January 2009). 37 Wysocka, ‘Populism in Poland’, 2007, p. 2. 38 Taggart, Populism, 2000, pp. 96–97. 39 Quoted in Domosławski, ‘Saga rodu Giertychów’, 2002. 40 Milewicz, ‘Kamienowanie – LPR atakuje prezesa IPN’, 2002. 41 Maszkowski, ‘Otwarte społeczen´ stwo i jego radio’. 42 Cited in Ibidem. 43 Kamin´ ski, ‘Radnemu z LPR nie podoba sie˛ Król Macius´ I’, 2003. 44 Gazeta Białostocka, 28 August 2003. ‘Za co dieta . . .’, 2003, 45 Ostałowska and Piotrowski, ‘Czego chce Młodziez· Wszechpolska?’, 2003. 46 Wrzosek, ‘Młodziez· Wszechpolska i Kos´ ciół: ureligijnienie polityki i polityzacja religijnos´ ci’, 2008, p.215. 47 Jasiewicz, ‘The New Populism in Poland’, p. 11. 48 Pankowski, ‘Homophobia and antisemitism as extremists prepare for election’, 2005. 49 Human Rights Watch, ‘Poland: Official Homophobia Threatens Basic Freedoms’ 2006. 50 Jasiewicz, ‘The New Populism in Poland’, p. 16. 51 (MR) ‘Wszechpolski lewicowiec’, 2004. 52 Roszak, ‘Nie oswajac´ faszyzmu’, 2004. 53 Subotic´, ‘Giertych: Thatcher – tak, Lepper – nie’, 2004. 54 Jasiewicz, ‘The New Populism in Poland’, p. 18. 55 Wysocka, ‘Populism in Poland’, pp. 14–15.

Notes

215

56 Roman Giertych, Lot Orła, 2000, pp. 7–8. 57 Kurski, ‘Roman Giertych: Jestem Europejczykiem’, 2003. 58 TNS OBOP, ‘Preferencje Polaków w wyborach samorza˛dowych 2002’, Warsaw, October 2002; Jasiewicz, ‘The New Populism in Poland’, p. 20. 59 Eatwell, ‘Towards a New Model of Right-Wing Charismatic Leadership’, p. 5. 60 Ibidem, p. 6. 61 Karnowski, ‘Chowany na wodza, czyli historia Romana Giertycha’, 2007. · ydach i antysemityzmie po 10 latach’, 2004, p. 49. 62 Krzemin´ ski, ‘O Z 63 Ibidem, pp. 48–49. 64 Jasiewicz, ‘The New Populism in Poland’, p. 19. 65 Ibidem, p. 20. 66 TNS OBOP, ‘Preferencje Polaków w wyborach samorza˛dowych 2002’, Warsaw, October 2002; Mudde, Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe, pp. 98–99. 67 Jasiewicz, ‘The New Populism in Poland’, p. 17. 68 Ibidem, p. 18. 69 Ibidem, p. 20. 70 Taylor, ‘UKIP forms unsavoury alliance in Brussels’, 2004. 71 Already in the 1990s the FN had established cooperation with Krzysztof Kawe˛ cki’s National Right (PN) and later transferred its support to the Alternative Social Movement (RSA) electoral bloc, which was formed around the same time as the LPR as its unsuccessful rival. The RSA united, among others, the NOP and some former AWS MPs who had been in one camp with the PN, from which they picked the Le Pen fascination and connection). 72 PAP, ‘L. Wia˛cek wyrzucona z “wszechpolaków” i z pracy u Giertycha’. 73 Wiechecki, ‘Raz na wozie, raz pod wozem’, 2008. 74 Pankowski and Bach, ‘Norwegian EU opponents reject Polish extremists’, 2002. 75 Pankowski, ‘Homophobia’. 76 ‘70 years after General Franco’s coup d’état in Spain (Statements by the President and the political groups)’, 2006. 77 Graebsch and Schiermeier, ‘Anti-evolutionists raise their profile in Europe’, 2006. 78 e.g. Maciej Giertych ‘Foreword’, in Keane, Creation Rediscovered, 1999. 79 Cf. ‘Pro-ID geneticist Maciej Giertych in his own words’, 2006. 80 Spritzer, ‘Jews are a detriment to Europe, Polish politician says’, 2007. 81 ‘Sanction imposed on Maciej Marian Giertych’, 2007. 6 Self-Defence: radical populism 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Maj and Maj, Narodowe ugrupowania polityczne w Polsce, p. 175. Rybak, ‘Jak powstała Samoobrona. Trafiła Kosa na Leppera’, 2006. Ibidem. Ibidem. Grzegorz Bogusz, ‘Marzenia o polskim Pinochecie’, 2000. (hpw), ‘Kto na prezydenta?’, 1999. Personal observations in 1998. Krok-Paszkowska, ‘Samoobrona: The Polish Self-Defence Movement’, 2003, p. 114. ‘Balazs powiózł Leppera’, 2007. For example, Sergiusz Kowalski, ‘Ja, Lepper’, 2002. Król, ‘Omar and Osama’s Kampf’, 2001. Paradowska, ‘Samoobrona Sojuszu’, 2002. Kowalski, ‘Ja, Lepper’. Wojtowicz, ‘Czarny kon´ Samoobrony’, 2003. In 2008, when Self-Defence lost its political appeal, Czarnecki duly switched his allegiance again, this time to the PiS.

216 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55

Notes

Smith , ‘Le Pen rallies European far right’, 2004. Kmiecik, ‘Czas radykałów’, 1999. Araloff, ‘Poland’s Elections: Brief Information About the Participants’, 2005. ‘Samoobrona Rzeczpospolitej Polskiej’, NationMaster Encyklopedia. ‘Early elections in Poland’, Cosmopolis, 2007. ‘Difficult to understand?’, The Warsaw Voice, 2005. Dempsey, ‘Letter from Europe: Shaping the agenda of Poland’s drift to the far right’, 2007. Znidericz, ‘Crisis of Legitimacy’, 2007. Purvis, ‘Oh, Brother: Lech and Jaroslaw Kaczynski’, 2007. Tarrow, The New Transnational Activism, 2005, p. 161. Jeremy Rosner, ‘Central Europe Moves Centrist’, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. Ireland, ‘Poland’s Anti-Gay Premier Outed’, 2006. Grün, ‘The Paradox of the Movement-Party: The Case of Samoobrona’, 2005. Krok-Paszkowska, ‘Samoobrona’, p. 117. Wysocka, ‘Populism in Poland’, pp. 7, 14. Cited in Sieciera, Niepokorny . . ., available http://www.samoobrona.org.pl/pages/ 07.Publikacje/03.Niepokorny/10/ (accessed 13 January 2009). Krzymowski, ‘Rozłam na lewicy z poparciem Leppera’, 2007. Uhlig, ‘Andrzej Lepper pisze do działaczy lewicy’, 2005. Krok-Paszkowska, ‘Samoobrona’, p. 131. Paul Taggart, Populism, p. 2. Lepper, ‘Dekalog polityka’, available http://www.samoobrona.org.pl/pages/ 01.Program/index.php?document=488.dekalog.html (accessed 12 June 2009). Lepper ‘Dlaczego “Trzecia Droga” ’, available http://www.samoobrona.org.pl/ pages/01.Program/index.php?document=490.3droga.html (accessed 12 June 2009). Piskorski, ‘Self Defense of the Republic of Poland – Who We Are and What We Stand For’, available http://www.samoobrona.org.pl/pages/20.english/index.php? document=presentation.html (accessed 12 June 2009). Gawin, ‘Obecny rza˛d i spór o model polskiej modernizacji’, 2006, p. 255. The 1933 novel ‘Mateusz Bigda’ by Juliusz Kaden-Bandrowski, and its 1990s filmed version ‘Here Comes Bigda’ directed by Andrzej Wajda, is a prime example. Wysocka, ‘Populism in Poland’, p. 13. POT, ‘Krytyk Lepper’, 2000. Grabarski, ‘W koło Andrzeju’, 2001. Kutz, ‘Walizka Leppera’, 2008. Krok-Paszkowska, ‘Samoobrona’ (note 540), p. 119. Levitas, The Terrorist Next Door. The Militia Movement and the Radical Right, 2002, p. 169. Nałe˛ cz, ‘Proces kandydata ludu’, 1995. ‘Wiadomos´ ci’, TVP1, Polish Television Channel 1, 25 June 2002. PW, ‘Stopper’, 1999. Galili, ‘I am no fascist’, available http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt. jhtml?itemNo=431596&contrassID=2&subContrassID=20&sbSubContrass ID=0&listSrc=Y (accessed 13 January 2009). Lesser, ‘Wie Goebbels’, 1999; Cies´ la and Rybak, ‘Od blokady do posady’, 2006. Kornak, Brunatna ksie˛ ga. Sieciera, Niepokorny. Ibidem. S´ piewak, ‘Zur Verbreitung rechtsradikaler Haltungen und Auffassungnen in Polen’, 2000, p. 52.

Notes

217

56 Lizut, ‘Don Kobylan´ ski, sponsor ojca Rydzyka’, 2004. 57 ‘Czat z Przewodnicza˛cym Samoobrony Andrzejem Lepperem’, 2004. 58 PAP, ‘Lepper liczy na 7 procent’, 2001; RAV ‘Samoobrona z PPS’, 2001; ‘Dossier’, 2001. 59 PAP, ‘Lepper z Grabowskim’, 2000. 60 Lizut, ‘Nie ma bata’, 2003. 61 Urbanek, ‘Czarno-biało-czerwony’, 2003. 62 Parliamentary debate transcript, 23 June 2006. 63 Rybak, ‘Nowe oblicze Leppera: Orły Samoobrony’, 2005. 64 IKS, ‘Z pies´ nia˛ na ustach’, 2000. 65 RAV ‘Samoobrona z PPS’. 66 Nalewajko, ‘Populizm w demokracji’, in Radosław Markowski (ed.), 2004, p. 69. 67 Cf. Maton, ‘Habitus’, 2008. · akowski, Nauczka, p. 227. 68 Z 69 Wysocka, ‘Populism in Poland’, p. 12. 70 ‘Stanowisko uczestników I Konwencji Wyborczej Samoobrony w sprawie roli Samoobrony RP na polskiej scenie politycznej’, 2004. 71 Trybunał Konstytucyjny, ‘Postanowienie z 16 lipca 2003 r., Pp 1/02. Zmiany w statucie partii Samoobrona RP’, available http://www.trybunal.gov.pl/omowienia/ documents/Pp_1_02_PL.pdf (accessed 16 June 2009). 72 ‘Rza˛dzic´ be˛ dzie Lepper’, available http://www.wshe.lodz.pl/_wydarzenie. php?j=pol&id=3 (accessed 16 June 2009). 73 ‘Polityka i obyczaje’, 2002. 74 Lizut, ‘I tylko Witaszka mi z· al’, 2003. 75 Majewski, ‘Ministrant trzyma z Lepperem’, 2002. 76 ‘Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Presents AWI’s Albert Schweitzer Medal to Polish Humane Hog Farm Advocate, Andrzej Lepper’, 2001. 77 Tarrow, The New Transnational Activism, 2005, p. 163. 78 We˛ glarczyk, ‘Lepper – obron´ ca ´swin´ ’, 2001. 79 ‘Polityka i obyczaje’, 2003. 80 vis, wino, ‘Rolnicy blokuja˛ drogi. Poseł Samoobrony chce głodzic´ swoje zwierze˛ ta’, 2004. 81 Kowalik, ‘Wesele u Leppera’, 2001. 82 Miecik and Pytlakowski, ‘Kartel Samoobrona. Małe i duz· e oszustwa Andrzeja Leppera i jego ludzi’, 2001. 83 e.g. Self-Defence electoral broadcast on 16 October 2002. 84 Piskorski’s extremist background is detailed in Pankowski, ‘Poseł ze swastyka˛’. 85 Piskorski, ‘Interpelacja nr 504 do ministra spraw wewne˛ trznych i administracji w sprawie nasilaja˛cych sie˛ przypadków aktów przemocy ze strony tzw. grup antyfaszystowskich’, 2006. 86 PAP ‘Fajne, twarde chłopaki’, 2002. 87 Lepper, ‘Dlaczego “Trzecia Droga”?’, 1999; ‘Trzecia Droga Samoobrony RP’, 2006. 88 Kucharczyk and Wysocka, ‘Poland’, 2008, p. 85. 89 Ibidem; TNS OBOP, ‘Preferencje Polaków w wyborach samorza˛dowych 2002’, Warsaw, October 2002; TNS OBOP, ‘Polacy o demokracji w Polsce’, Warsaw, May 2003; Instytut Spraw Publicznych, ‘Sympatie polityczne mieszkan´ ców wsi’, Warsaw, September 1999. 90 Kucharczyk and Wysocka, ‘Poland’, p. 93. By 2007, however, the rural support was mostly lost to the PSL and PiS (ibidem, p. 99). 91 ‘Nasz premier w rozterce’, 2002. 92 Ibidem, pp. 73–74. 93 Kraskowski, ‘Kasjerka Samoobrony Aneta Krawczyk’, 2008; Czaplicki, Pierwsze wybory europejskie w Polsce, 2004, p. 4.

218 94 95 96 97 98

99 100 101 102 103

Notes Kucharczyk and Wysocka, ‘Poland’, p. 85. Wysocka, ‘Populism in Poland’, p. 12; Gawin, ‘Obecny rza˛d’, pp. 255–256. Nalewajko, ‘Populizm w demokracji’, p. 60. Ibidem. Lepper expressed open admiration for the Belarusian president, personally acted as an observer to confirm the ‘democratic’ character of the Belarussian elections in 2004, and even threatened to claim political asylum in Belarus. See PAP, ‘Lepper: Musimy rozmawiac´ z Łukaszenka˛’, 2005; ‘Ludzie’, 2000. Michnik, Ws´ ciekłos´ c´ i wstyd (note 74), p. 259. Krok-Paszkowska, ‘Samoobrona’, p. 121 Levitas, The Terrorist Next Door, p. 213. Zinkiewicz and Kornak, ‘Akademia antysemityzmu’, 2006; Pfeffer, ‘Rector of Kiev’s MAUP college: “There’s no such thing as anti-Semitism” ’, 2008. Kania, ‘Podejrzane kontakty posła Piskorskiego’, 2007.

7 The anti-liberalism of Law and Justice 1 Mudde, ‘The Populist Zeitgeist’, p. 560. 2 Bachmann, ‘Reason’s cunning. Poland, populism, and involuntary modernization’, 2007. 3 Cf. Sipowicz, Hipisi w PRL-u, 2008. 4 They said, for example, ‘let us remember that the Kaczyn´ skis are Pilsudskites, i.e. pro-independence socialists, who were pushed out to the right part of the political scene from within the circle of the future [liberal-democratic – R.P.] Union of Freedom’. Wielomski, ‘Od Redakcji’, 2009, no. 1. 5 Karnowski and Zaremba, O dwóch takich . . . Alfabet braci Kaczyn´ skich, 2006, p. 36. 6 Wysocka, ‘Populism in Poland’, p. 17. 7 On the latter question, however, some differences emerged within the party with a minority favouring a more Eurosceptic position. 8 According to Krzysztof Jasiewicz, ‘When it comes to populism in Poland, the usual suspects are easy to identify’ as Self-Defence and the LPR, but ‘the application of Taggart’s criteria to other actors on the Polish political scene indicates that the populist buck does not stop here’ and includes the PiS, too: Jasiewicz, ‘The New Populism in Poland’, pp. 7–8. 9 e.g. Wysocka, ‘Populism in Poland’, p. 2. 10 Kaczyn´ ski, Polska katolicka w chrzes´ cijan´ skiej Europie. 11 Ibidem. 12 Prawo i Sprawiedliwos´ c´, Polska katolicka w chrzes´ cijan´ skiej Europie. 13 Konwencja konstytucyjna Prawa i Sprawiedliwos´ ci. Wysta ¸ pienie prezesa PiS Jarosława Kaczyn´ skiego, available http://www.pis.org.pl/dokumenty.php?s= partia&iddoc=23 (accessed 12 June 2009); Konstytucja Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej. Projekt Prawa i Sprawiedliwos´ ci, available http://www.pis.org.pl/dokumenty. php?s=partia&iddoc=7 (accessed 12 June 2009). 14 Konwencja konstytucyjna Prawa i Sprawiedliwos´ ci (note 647). 15 Załuska, ‘Intelektualis´ ci PiS obronia polonizm’, 2008. 16 IV Rzeczpospolita. Sprawiedliwos´ c´ dla wszystkich, available http://www.pis.org.pl/ dokumenty.php?s=partia&iddoc=3 (accessed 12 June 2009). 17 Ibidem. 18 Program Prawa i Sprawiedliwos´ ci – 2007, available http://www.pis.org.pl/ dokumenty.php?s=partia&iddoc=144 (accessed 12 June 2009). 19 Nowoczesna, solidarna, bezpieczna Polska. Program Prawa i Sprawiedliwos´ ci, available http://www.pis.org.pl/dokumenty.php? (accessed 12 June 2009). 20 Ibidem.

Notes 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44

45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64

219

Karnowski and Zaremba, O dwóch takich . . ., p. 221. Ibidem, p. 196. · akowski, ‘Nie jestem populista˛. Rozmowa z Lechem Kaczyn´ skim, prezydentemZ elektem’, 2005. Ibidem. Karnowski and Zaremba, O dwóch takich . . ., p. 292. Ibidem, pp. 291, 292. Ibidem. Mazurek, ‘Kaczyn´ ski: chce˛ zostawic´ po sobie silna˛ partie˛ ’, 2006. Krzemin´ ski, ‘Kampania wyborcza, rza˛d i Polska’, 2005. Cited in Bachmann, ‘Reason’s cunning’. Bosak, ‘To Radio Maryja odsune˛ ło sie˛ od LPR’, Fide, 2009. Karnowski and Zaremba, ‘Nie jestem dyktatorem – mówi Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski na tydzien´ przed kongresem PiS’, 2009. Karnowski and Zaremba, O dwóch takich . . ., p. 293. Ibidem, p. 293. Staniszkis, O władzy i bezsilnos´ ci, 2006, p. 25. Rychard, ‘Wybór instytucji, wybór polityki’, in Kosiewski (ed.), (note 41), p. 62. ‘Anti-German Nationalist Wins in Poland’, 2005. Wysocka, ‘Populism in Poland’, p. 18. Vermeersch, ‘Ethnic Minority Protection and Anti-discrimination in Central Europe Before and After EU Accession: the Case of Poland’, 2007. Smilov and Krastev, ‘The Rise of Populism in Eastern Europe. Policy Paper’, 2008, p. 9. Markowski, ‘The Party System’, p. 43. The ROP was classified as a ‘populist radical right party’ by Mudde, Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe, pp. 105–106. Boyes, ‘New Europe, old dangers’, 2006. It could also be argued, however, that a simultaneous endorsement of the ethnonationalist ideology of Radio Maryja in the mid-2000s stood in clear contradiction to the declared commitment to the Piłsudski legacy, which, after all, was a legacy of civic identity distinct from the religious exclusivism and ethnic nationalism of Roman Dmowski’s followers. Smolar, ‘Kaczyn´ scy atakuja˛ społeczen´ stwo obywatelskie’, 2006. Skwiecin´ ski, ‘Kompleks Rosji’, 2008. Ireland, ‘Poland’s Anti-Gay Premier Outed’, 2006. Smolar, ‘Kaczyn´ scy atakuja˛’. Cited in Wysocka, ‘Populism in Poland’, p. 19. Karnowski and Zaremba, O dwóch takich . . ., p. 15. Krasnode˛ bski, ‘Tradycja a nowoczesnos´ c´’, in Kosiewski (ed.), Jaka Polska?, p. 124. Walenciak, ‘Aleksander Smolar: Wojna o rza˛d dusz’, 2008. Ibidem. Christmas catalogue, Warsaw, Empik, 2008. Cf. Jarosz, Władza, przywileje, korupcja, 2004. Cited in Wysocka, ‘Populism in Poland’, p. 19. Durczok and Mucharski, Krótki kurs IV RP, Kraków: Znak, 2007, p. 55. Gowin, ‘Polski spór o modernizacje˛ ’, 2007. Cichy, ‘Medialne mity IV Rzeczypospolitej’, 2006. Piłka, ‘PiS nie jest partia˛ prawicowa˛’, 2009. Zaremba, ‘Dorn: Nie be˛ de˛ rozmawiał z Kaczyn´ skim’, 2009. Kuczyn´ ski, ‘Bolszewicy III Rzeczpopsolitej’, 2007. Mudde, ‘The Populist Zeitgeist’, p. 545. Wysocka, ‘Populism in Poland’, p. 6.

220

Notes

65 Kucharczyk and Wysocka, ‘Poland’, p. 76. 66 Miliard, ‘The 2005 parliamentary and presidential elections in Poland’, 2007, pp. 210–215; Dempsey, ‘Kaczynski aims to tap rural vote in Poland’, 2007. 67 TNS OBOP, ‘Polacy o demokracji w Polsce’, Warsaw, May 2003; Markowski, ‘The Party System’, p. 42. 68 Grabowska, ‘Słuchacze Radia Maryja. Komunikat z badan´ ’, 2008. 69 Markowski, ‘The Party System’, p. 43. 70 Grabowska, ‘Słuchacze’. 71 mar, PAP, ‘Platforma zwycie˛ z· yła w Europie, PiS – w USA’, available http://wiadomosci.gazeta.pl/Wiadomosci/1,80708,4603591.html (accessed 17 June 2009). 72 Mirosława Grabowska, ‘Polskie podziały polityczne’ in Kosiewski (ed.), Jaka Polska?, p. 173. 73 Kucharczyk and Wysocka, ‘Poland’, p. 99. 74 Centrum Badania Opinii Społecznej ‘Alternatywy wyborcze i elektoraty negatywne’, 2009. 75 Karnowski and Zaremba, O dwóch takich . . ., p. 201. 76 Ibidem, p. 196. 77 Even though some of its most right-wing MEPs did not shy away from such leanings, e.g. Konrad Szymanski sent an official greeting to an FPÖ-organized international gathering of the populist radical right in 2005; see Mudde, Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe, p. 180. 78 Bachmann, ‘Reason’s cunning’. 79 Karnowski and Zaremba, O dwóch takich . . ., p. 157. 80 Garton Ash, ‘The farce of Cameron’s Latvian legion is bad for Britain and bad for Europe’, 2009. 8 Nationalist populism in power: the 2005–2007 experiment and beyond 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Durczok and Mucharski, Krótki kurs, p. 27. Krasnode˛ bski, ‘Tradycja’, p. 127. Kosiewski (ed.), Jaka Polska?, p. 152. It is possibile to claim the process had started as early as the 1990s, but the appearance of ‘Fakt’ on the market in 2003 was a watershed event. Durczok and Mucharski, Krótki kurs, p. 210. Mudde, ‘The Populist Zeitgeist’, p. 553; Cf. Mocek, Dziennikarze po komunizmie, 2006. Kalukin, ‘Kto premierem, kto w rza˛dzie?’, 2005. Foxman, ‘Extremist Parties Have No Place in the New Poland’, 2006. Kurski, ‘PiS psuje społeczen´ stwo’, 2005. ‘Wysta˛pienie Jarosława Kaczyn´ skiego w debacie nad expose premiera Marcinkiewicza’, 2005. ‘Wywiad z premierem Kazimierzem Marcinkiewiczem w “Corriere della Sera” ’, 2006. Marcinkiewicz, ‘Cel nie us´ wie˛ ca s´ rodków’, 2008. Warzecha, Strefa zdekomunizowana. Wywiad rzeka z Radkiem Sikorskim, 2007, p. 190. ‘Nato should pick Radek Sikorski’, Daily Telegraph, 25 January 2009. Modzelewski, ‘Polska rozbita’, in Kosiewski (ed.), Jaka Polska?, p. 247. Durczok and Mucharski, Krótki kurs, p. 60. Ibidem, p. 29. Kosiewski (ed.), Jaka Polska? Czyja Polska?, Warszawa: Fundacja im. Stefana Batorego, 2006, p. 133. Fiske, ‘Opening the Hallway. Some remarks on the fertility of Stuart Hall’s contribution to critical theory’, in Morley and Chen (eds.), Stuart Hall, p. 214.

Notes 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63

221

Mazurek, ‘Kaczyn´ ski’. Ibidem. Durczok and Mucharski, Krótki kurs, p. 33. Smolen´ ski, ‘Toksyczna władza’, 2006. Hołub, ‘Rza˛d naprawi drogi do Radia Maryja’ 2005. Hołub, ‘Po co Totolotek wspiera Rydzyka?’, 2005. Gera, ‘Poland PM Praises Catholic Radio Station’, 2006. ‘Atak na Radio Maryja to atak przeciwko wolnos´ ci’, 2006. Mamon´ , ‘Tu jest Polska Kaczyn´ skiego’, 2007. Michalkiewicz, ‘Full Text of Radio Maryja March Radio Broadcast’, 2006. Anti-Defamation League, ‘Polish Prosecutor’s Dropping Case Against AntiSemitic Radio Station Is “Disgraceful” ’, 2006. Dzierz· anowski, ‘Spowiedz´ Rydzyka’, 2007. Wis´ niewska, ‘Bezprawne reklamy w Radiu Maryja jak były, tak sa˛’, 2008. Vermeersch, ‘Ethnic Minority Protection’. ‘Awantura o Marsz Równos´ ci’, a collection of Gazeta Wyborcza available http:// miasta.gazeta.pl/poznan/8,36022,3019256.html (accessed 28 January 2009); Kornak, Brunatna ksie˛ ga. Smolen´ ski, ‘Toksyczna władza’ (note 737). Ibidem, cf. Zakaria, The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad, 2003. Mudde, ‘The Populist Zeitgeist’, p. 561. Ibidem, p. 588. Durczok and Mucharski, Krótki kurs, p. 34. Ibidem, p. 61. ‘Wierzejski kazał prokuratorom szukac´ pedofilów’, 2006. Paradowska, ‘Słuz· by na słuz· bie’, 2008; ‘Sa˛d nad IV RP’, 2008. Pietraszewski, ‘Co J.Kaczyn´ ski i Ziobro wiedzieli w sprawie Blidy’, 2008. Kurski, ‘Trybunał Konstytucyjny niewygodny dla premiera’, 2007. met, jas, PAP, ‘CBA podległe premierowi to policja polityczna’, 2007. ‘CBA przedstawiła kompromituja˛ce nagrania rozmów Beaty Sawickiej’, available http://www.rmf.fm/fakty/?id=125357 (accessed 29 January 2009). Ka˛cki, ‘Kaczmarek dla GW: To Ziobro mi ujawnił operacje˛ CBA’, 2007. mz, ‘Kaczmarek oskarz· a PiS’, 2008. Borowski, ‘Former Polish PM turns away from ruling party’, available http:// www.reuters.com/article/idUSL2456900020070924 (accessed 29 January 2009). Kurkiewicz, ‘Zamenhof na Madagaskar’, 2006. ‘Jarosław Kaczyn´ ski: media nas nie lubia˛’, 2007. Redakcja, ‘Ministerstwo Kultury finansuje neofaszyzm’, 2008. Kublik, ‘Lis: – PiS przystawił Solorzowi pistolet do głowy’, 2007. It was noted by many observers, e.g. Kmiecik, ‘Humor i polityka – Dowcipy tak s´ mieszne, z· e az· strach’, 2007. Karnowski and Zaremba, O dwóch takich . . ., p. 53. · akowski, Nauczka. Z Zaremba, ‘Dorn’. Milewicz, ‘Meller do Kaczyn´ skiego: Ja, sprzedawczyk?’, 2006. Smith, ‘Poles Fear Political Twins Will Double Drift to the Right’, 2006. Agence France Press, ‘Poland: “Potato” Case Dropped’, 2007. Pawlicki, ‘Alleluja’. Kornak, ‘Młodziez· Wszechpolska u władzy’. Council of Europe Press Division, ‘Council of Europe Secretary General reacts to the dismissal of a Polish official responsible for the distribution of a Council of Europe publication’, 2006.

222

Notes

64 Amnesty International, ‘Poland: School bill would violate students’ and teachers’ rights and reinforce homophobia’, 2007. 65 Janecki et al., ‘Nie mam konta’, 2007. 66 Czeladko and Krzyz· aniak-Gumowska, ‘Minister edukacji boi sie˛ pacyfistów i ekologów’, 2006; Czeladko, ‘Liceum zakazuje wymiany pogla˛dów’, 2006. 67 Graczyk, ‘Giertych: “wychowanie patriotyczne” do szkół’, 2006. 68 ‘Historia tylko nasza’, 2007. 69 ‘Education Minister’s “scandalous” address at EU meeting’, 2007. 70 Pezda, ‘Wiceminister edukacji: Poradzimy sobie bez tolerancji’, 2006. 71 Bendyk, ‘Zawracamy do ´sredniowiecza’, 2006. 72 Pezda, ‘Na indeksie Giertycha’, 2007. 73 kt, PAP, ‘MEN uparcie nie chce Gombrowicza’, 2007. 74 Ibidem. 75 Dzierzgowska, ‘Wielkie sprza˛tanie’, 2007. 76 Dzierz· anowski and Nowicka, ‘Sowin´ ska: sprawdzimy, czy teletubisie nie promuja˛ homoseksualizmu’, 2007. 77 ‘Gay Tinky Winky bad for children’, 1999. 78 A selection of quotes can be found in ‘Z prasy’, 2008. 79 Lori, ‘A Polish minister with an anti-Semitic past’, 2006. 80 Wron´ ski, ‘Dmowskiego do Ligi bym nie przyja˛ł’, 2006. 81 Szacki, ‘Giertych naraził sie˛ LPR wywiadem w “GW” ’, 2006. 82 Urzykowski, ‘Roman Dmowski ze swastyka˛’, 2006. 83 Bała, ‘Dmowski demokrata˛?’, 2007. 84 Główny Urza˛d Statystyczny, ‘Informacja o rozmiarach i kierunkach emigracji z Polski w latach 2004–2007’, available http://www.stat.gov.pl/cps/rde/xbcr/gus/ PUBL_Informacja_o_rozmiarach_i_kierunk_emigra_z_Polski_w_latach_2004_ 2007.pdf (accessed 29 January 2009). 85 Macierewicz, ‘Polska przestała byc´ liderem bezrobocia’, 2008. 86 Graham, ‘Gay Poles head for UK to escape state crackdown’, 2007. 87 Doman´ ski, ‘Klasa rza˛dza˛ca a tradycjonalizm Polaków’, 2006, p. 239. 88 Lisiecki and Subotic´, ‘Czy PiS jest na deskach?’, 2006. 89 Em, ‘Ustawa o kryzysie’, 2007. 90 Traynor, ‘Poland rejects populism and xenophobia in favour of pro-Europe liberal conservatives’, 2007. 91 Edelman, ‘Obrzydlistwo’, n.d. 92 Rafał Pankowski, ‘Muzyka przeciwko rasizmowi’, 2003; Marcin Kornak, ‘Muzyka przeciwko rasizmowi’, 2000. 93 Goodwin et al., ‘Why Emotions Matter’, 2001, p. 10. 94 Another comparison could be with earlier EU warnings about anti-democratic tendencies in Meciar’s Slovakia. On the other hand, there were almost no reactions to earlier Italian governments including the populist radical right, which shows the absence of clear European standards in this regard. 95 ‘European Parliament resolution on the increase in racist and homophobic violence in Europe’, 2006. 96 ‘Uchwała Sejmu RP’, 2006. 97 Vermeersch, ‘Ethnic Minority Protection’. 9 Conclusion 1

Lichocka, ‘Na prawo od nas tylko s´ ciana’, Rzeczpospolita, 2008.

Notes

223

Epilogue 1

2 3 4

In contrast, Ganley generally steered away from the extreme right in the other EU countries where Libertas contested the 2009 election and his general position calling for a pan-European democracy was arguably quite different from the Euroreject LPR. Cf. Mudde (ed.) Racist Extremism in Central and Eastern Europe. Mudde, Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe, p. 81. European Roma Rights Center, The Limits of Solidarity. Roma in Poland After 1989, 2002.

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