Suddenly things became clearer. I was on holiday in Silesia, using the time to read the book “The forging of a rebel” by Arturo Barea, an excellent book which deals with a biographical story of the writer’s life in Spain in the period leading up to the Spanish Civil War, as well as during it. While walking alongside the Vistula river I saw something that showed me the link between the fascist dictatorship which was in Spain during Francesco Franco’s rule and the aims of certain people here in Poland. What I saw was some graffiti, with the Falanga symbol also used by the NOP (as seen on the left of the banner in this photo)
together with the words (translated) “NOP. God. Honour. Fatherland”. Suddenly, I saw that there are people in Poland who want to happen here what happened in Spain after 1936.
Barea describes very well what had happened in Spain at that time, where the unholy communion between fascists, conservatives and some members of the Roman Catholic church (but not all, many RC priests in the Basque area were themselves murdered by nationalists) formed a violent takeover of the democratic state and the installation of Francesco Franco as dictator, whereby opponents of the regime were executed (up to 400,000) and hundreds of thousands were put into concentration camps. The 1930s version of Falanga took their inspiration from Spanish fascism.
So, a group of racist violent people who have problems doing up their own ties want to do similar things in Poland. You may recall chants of hanging communists last year at the anniversary of martial law. (The desire to kill ones enemies is a clear sign of fascism.)
But what about the other members of the unholy communion?
Well, from the conservative side we have Maciej Giertrych, someone who was member of the League of Polish families, who said that “Thanks to the Spanish army and Franco the communist attack on Catholic Spain was thwarted. The presence of such people in European politics as Franco guaranteed the maintenance of traditional values in Europe and we lack such statesmen today. Christian Europe is losing against atheistic socialists today and this has to change.” Giertrych was not however adverse to being anti-Solidarność (they were “serv(ing) the interests of non-Polish people”, quote from this article).
He is a minor figure, however. Another minor figure is Zbigniew P. Majzner (“Roman Catholic, traditionalist, national conservative, anti-democratic, anti-egalitarian, ordoliberal”) from the Real Politics Union. He is someone else who is a fan of Franco as well as Front National and the NOP, as well as being active with free-market liberal group KoLiber.
Now, the national site of KoLiber has no problem with having a picture with the image of the NOP on their Facebook site (they also “like” Roman Dmowski and the NOP). The Wrocław branch have no problems with “liking” the “march of independence” (Marsz Niepodległości) as well as the “freedom movement” (Ruch Wolności):
Now, there is a certain culture on Facebook. People “like” groups or pages they like. But sometimes they “like” groups or pages they don’t like. By “liking” something one can get notifications about updates from that group. For that reason people who are anti-various groups, say, a political party they don’t like may “like” that party in order to keep abreast about what they are doing, to gain intelligence. Additionally, some pages only allow for posts to be made by people who “like” that page.
So “liking” doesn’t always mean liking. What one can see though, is trends. If someone “likes” pages like “social democracy”, “anti-racism”, “Karl Marx”, “Against police brutality” “, “I bet I can find 1,000,000 people who love trade unions” and “Food not bombs”, they may also “like” pages like “Europe is Christian” or “Margaret Thatcher”, once can guess that, seeing as most of their likes show a left-wing trend, one can assume that the person doesn’t really “like” the last two groups. Of course, people are complicated beings who can like all manner of contradictory things, but nevertheless biases can be apparent.
Now, I believe that fascists are generally distrusted by people and only a small minority will support them. It is when economic problems happen however that one sees a fascists doing well in Greece and France. If such economic problems came to Poland, I shall presume that there will be many conservatives in Poland who would be happy to be on coalition with them, in order to stave off the “red threat”. Of course, conservatives may not share Falanga’s words of always oppos(ing” the “democratic and liberal paradigm” while “Poland cannot be reduced to the role of Israel of Europe” (words from Falanga member on their website. “This is Poland, not Israel!” cry his followers) but that hasn’t stopped KoLiber from supporting the “March of independence” (an event openly financed and organised by the Falanga-related ONR and the Jewish people-boycotting threatening-gays-with-death All-Polish Youth) and “The freedom movement”, organisations that have pictures on their Facebook sites that quite openly condone people showing support for a fascist leader, modern and old versions of the ONR as well as having many “likes” from the connection between the ONR and the “March of independence”.*
That some conservatives in Poland are openly showing their connections to fascists, or are not ashamed to be connected to them explains why more people marched with them last year in Warsaw and Wrocław than in previous years. Meanwhile, here in Wrocław, where racism is something faced by people with coloured skin daily, only anarchists were prepared to stand up for democracy and tolerance last November.
What we need is a holy communion between concerned liberals, Christians, people from the left-wing, anarchists and, indeed, concerned conservatives against the kind of crimes that Franco did, crimes that some in Poland want, crimes that to some degree happen.
EDIT: A few days after this article was published this news story happened: http://wiadomosci.gazeta.pl/wiadomosci/1,114883,11707452,Kosciol_odmawia_ONR_owi__Nie_bedzie_mszy_w_intencji.html?lokale=katowice
“We have nothing to do with the march organised by the ONR to defend the traditional family. We don’t want to be associated with this organisation”, said Father Dariusz Gącik, a spokesman for the Bishop of Kielce. Now, the Roman Catholic church in Poland should be criticised for their promotion of a narrow version of what family means, and it could said that their narrow versions of various social questions gives support to neo-nazis, but this is very welcome. This is a much needed sing from one part of the Roman Catholic church in Poland in speaking out against fascism.
Now, I know that somewhere in the north a Mass took place for Roman Dmowski. Despite the common view to the contrary the Roman Catholic church does give power to the individual priest to make decisions. Some priests can be actively working against prejudice, while some do things like offer Masses for Poland after the publication of a book about anti-semitism in Poland. I hope that Roman Catholic clergy and laity will follow Kielce’s example in speaking out against fascists. It would be nice if they were joined by organisations like KoLiber.
* Incidentally, I asked KoLiber Wrocław why they “liked” pages that were openly tolerating or praising racist organisations. My question was not answered and appears to have been deleted. A previous question about the support of an NOP-sympathiser of their campaign to suppress debate (democracy, eh?) of a feminist pornography event was answered with the statement that “anyone can support any event on Facebook” (a fair point) and that my question had someone disappeared due to “spam” and that any “worthy questions will be answered”.