The Rise of White Nationalism in Poland
America has had many conflicts with white nationalism over this past year, but not many were aware of the recent dispute that occured in Poland on November 11, 2017. To many Europeans, November 11 is Armistice Day, but in Poland, this day is remembered and celebrated as Poland’s Independence from German, Austrian, and Russian powers in World War I.
This past independence day contained 60,000 nationalists marching in a parade through the streets of Warsaw, chanting, protesting, and throwing red-smoke bombs. Others carried banners, or flags with the portrayal of a falanga, symbolizing a Polish political party, the National Radical Camp Falanga, which dates back to the 1930’s. Tens of thousands of people gathered in order to represent their vision of a “Pure Poland, a White Poland,” while they pushed for refugees, Muslims, and Jews to leave the nation. Though many pushed for white power in Poland, the invitation extended outside of Poland as American Neo-nazis were welcomed to the parade. Some participants marched under the slogan “We Want God!”, words from an old Polish religious song. This event was recorded as one of the largest gatherings of white nationalists in Europe.
After the rally dispersed, there was a plethora of mixed responses, not a unilateral answer. “If there was one lesson that every European – and not just Jewish ones – had learned from the first half of the 20th century, it was “never again”. Never has that slogan sounded more hollow than on Saturday, when the white nationalist parade [occured], (Taylor).” Many connected the rally to the lesson of the World Wars, and were shocked by the numbers that contributed to the parade, but others also commemorated the march. “ It was a beautiful sight,’ the interior minister, Mariusz Błaszczak, said. ‘We are proud that so many Poles have decided to take part in a celebration connected to the Independence Day holiday,’(Taylor).” Błaszczak was one of many that named the rally, “a great march of patriots,” and continued to call these marchers regular citizens of Poland expressing their love towards Poland, disagreeing to the term, extremist.
Day, Matthew. “Protesters Disrupt Poland Independence Day.” CNN, Cable News Network, 16 Nov. 2017, www.cnn.com/2017/11/12/europe/poland-warsaw-nationalist-march/index.html.
Editorial. “The Guardian View on White Nationalism: a Rising Danger | Editorial.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 12 Nov. 2017, www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/12/the-guardian-view-on-white-nationalism-a-rising-danger.
Taylor, Matthew. “'White Europe': 60,000 Nationalists March on Poland's Independence Day.”The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 12 Nov. 2017, www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/12/white-europe-60000-nationalists-march-on-polands-independence-day.