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Discrimination for the Sake of the Nation

The Discourse of the League of Polish Families against «Others» 2001-2007

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Yasuko Shibata

This book examines the intertwined relationship between contemporary Polish politics and national culture by focusing on the phenomenon of discrimination. The object of the analysis is the language of the League of Polish Families, a populist party that recreated the climate of pre-war National Democracy in Poland from 2001 to 2007 by negatively labeling the nation’s Others. Through the political party’s discourse of discrimination, the book grasps a peculiar moment of Poland that faced uncertainty of identity upon its accession to the European Union. By adopting a method of critical discourse analysis, the author attests to the party’s political use of different layers of national traditions in denigrating Jews, sexual minorities and feminists while sanctifying the Polish nation.

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I remember the sense of “relief” felt by the majority of Polish society when the LPR lost the elections in the fall of 2007. It was as if the citizens had come to- gether to “overcome” the legacies of National Democracy, especially the lan- guage discriminating against “strangers,” and the country has experienced the necessary catharsis of its politics and the “troublesome” legacies of its culture. It is incredible to have observed the process of LPR’s ascent up the ladder as well as its subsequent descent between 2001 and 2007, and to presently see the lin- gering “spirit” of the LPR waiting for resurrection in 2013. I believe I can say that this book fulfilled my primary purpose, i.e. to clarify some of the dynamic aspects of Polish politics deeply embedded in Poland’s na- tional culture. The LPR’s discriminatory discourse has shown a confrontation of the pre-war National Democracy’s cultural tradition with the social and political state of contemporary Poland as it entered the structures of the European Union. While maintaining its sense of pride as the heir of the “Endecja,” the party rec- ognized the demands of today’s Polish citizens and the country’s new location in Europe; LPR politicians artfully adapted the legacy of their ideological fore- fathers to today’s politics in a “suitable” way. Upon closing this book, I wish to offer answers to my general questions, and, for my final remarks, an observation of the Polish political sphere at the current time of writing – six years after...

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