Why is Poland becoming more right?

To the right for the PiS

The Polish parliament, elected on October 13, met for the first time on Tuesday. The national conservative PiS still has an absolute majority in the larger of the two chambers. With two new parliamentary groups, however, the balance of power has changed. In addition to the largest opposition party, the Citizens 'Platform and the Farmers' Party, a left-wing alliance and the right-wing extremist confederation have now moved into parliament. Its leader Janusz Korwin-Mikke, as a member of the European Parliament, showed the Hitler salute and spoke out against the right to vote for women.

Although the Confederation is the smallest faction in parliament, it was able to stage its issues in the run-up to the media: on Monday, right-wing extremist groups that strongly overlap with the party in terms of personnel and ideology staged another "independence march". It has been organized on the occasion of the Polish national holiday since 2009 and is the largest event on this day nationwide.

Right march on the national holiday

The authorities estimate the number of participants this year at 47,000, which is far fewer than last year: on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the proclamation of the Second Polish Republic in 1918, up to 250,000 people took part in the independence march. Unlike this year, the Polish President Andrzej Duda, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and PiS boss Jarosław Kaczyński also took part.

The motto of the march "Take the whole nation under your protection" is borrowed from a Marian prayer and sounds conciliatory. Even in the first speeches, however, it becomes clear what characteristics the Polish nation should have: white, heterosexual, strictly Catholic and by no means Jewish. Anti-Semitic slogans dominated the demonstration. Although the vast majority of participants only waved Polish flags, the participants also chanted: "This is Poland, not Israel" and spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on banners.

The largest counter-demonstration had between 10,000 and 15,000 participants. Leading politicians from the left alliance joined the demonstration. The anti-fascists hung protest banners from buildings, but there was no confrontation with the right-wing extremists.

Mobilized on the right: alliance between street and politics

While the organizers of the »Independence March« are openly expressing their fascist ideas, many of the participants are likely to have different political positions. In a study by the opinion research institute CBOS, 17 percent of those questioned said that they approve of the activities of right-wing extremist associations such as the »All-Polish Youth«. However, only seven percent would generally describe themselves as nationalists. Nevertheless, the right-wing extremists managed to mobilize more Poles on the national holiday than any other group. Organizer Robert Bąkiewicz from the National Radical Camp believes the march should only be the beginning of a "moral revolution". He and his colleagues also place their hopes in the Confederation. So far, however, no political group has agreed to cooperate.

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