On the Polish Right

The scandals seem to keep coming. On the heels of news that an assistant to the former presidential candidate from the League of Polish Families (Liga Polskich Rodzin, LPR) party took part in a neo-Nazi festival in the summer of 2005, come reports that parliamentarians from the Self-Defense (Samoobrona, SO) party made sex a condition of employment for some women.

For the LPR, the report from two summers ago follows photos of LPR parliamentarians giving the Hitler salute, photos of an LPR minister among soccer hooligans from the skinhead scene and photos of an LPR deputy leader at a skinhead rock concert. All of these were reported by the FAZ on December 1, and the article referred to more reports in the Polish press, but my reading knowledge of Polish isn’t what it used to be.

Hating Germans is a standard part of the radical right in Poland (along with anti-Semitism, extreme clericalism and other noxious beliefs), so mixing in swastikas and Hitler salutes is bizarre, even by the standards of neo-fascism. (Poland had a home-grown radical right between the wars, too, but that’s another story.) LPR seems to draw most of its votes from older, rural women who approve of its obsequiousness to conservative clergy, and the mix of old ladies and skinheads seems unstable. With luck, the LPR will fall back below 5 percent at the next election and fade from the scene.

Deputy Prime Minister Andrzej Lepper, from SO, is under investigation for requiring sex as a quid pro quo for employment, the BBC reports. Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland’s leading daily, reported that several women had lodged similar complaints about SO deputies.

Poland’s right-of-center government came to power last year promising a “moral revolution.”

3 thoughts on “On the Polish Right

  1. Fear of Germans is a standard part of the radical right in Poland not as you proposed: “Hating Germans is a standard part of the radical right in Poland”

  2. A moral revolution . . . 360 degrees, then? Except I don’t remember anything this bad coming from whatever the left-wing party previously running the show was called . . .

  3. I’ve noticed a distinct tendency for global homogenization of the far right, usually the most regionally particularist of phenomena. In *A Day in the Life of the Soviet Union*, for example, there were photos of skinheads at a park, etc. The astonishing thing to the caption editors and to me were the use of gammadions and other Nazi symbols.

    In the past, I’ve tended to emphasize the distinction between falangism and fascism as totalitarian tendencies; fascism, more common in highly centralized polities like Europe and NE Asia, is centralizing and arrives gradually, whereas falangism is decentralizing and arrives abruptly. Both are violent, reactionary, and totalitarian, but they espouse countradictory economic agenda (how different they are in fact, is another matter).

    Fascists tend to believe, like the majoirty of ideologues, that they are reverting to a more natural state of things; they typically believe that the masses everywhere long for fascism, and fascism is thwarted only through the offices of a repellent minority. It follows that fascists are pretty unrestrained about borrowing from each other, mimicking each other, or even affecting a global zeitgeist of “world fascism.” I understand this is ironic.

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