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January 3, 2008 11:59 AM   Subscribe

Question for people familiar with the Polish language and/or political scene: What are the "Patriotyczny Ruch Polski" newsletters I recently found in my heavily Polish neighborhood (Greenpoint, Brooklyn) all about? Here's a scan of a front page.

I haven't been able to find out anything about this publication online. It seems to be mostly targeted at the Polish diaspora -- the masthead says "Nowy Jork, Chicago, Toronto, Berlin, Warszawa." The numbered list near the top (which I've outlined in red) represents the table of contents.

I get a nationalist, possibly right-wing vibe from these newsletters, but I can only make out a few words (even with the help of an online Polish/English translation program). But I find the issue linked above particularly weird, given its lead story clearly relating to Judaism (note the photo), and references to "Jewropie," "(homo)seksualna," and a reference to a site called Nacjonalista.pl.

I know there is a strong strain of rightist extremism in Poland, and I've previously seen hints of it here in Greenpoint (casual anti-Semitic remarks from Polish guys at bars, etc.). Do these newsletters represent this kind of thinking?
posted by Artifice_Eternity to Writing & Language (9 answers total)
 
(note: I don't speak Polish, but I can sorta-kinda read it, so take this with a grain of salt)
The highlighted passage is a note from the editors which recognizes that the opinions in this issue are "controversial"; it's generally the "concerned citizen" tone you find in most far-right newspapers. But it looks pretty loopy: they suggest that the end of the world is coming because of political troubles and depravity (#6), as well as the anti-semitism and homophobia you mentioned above. In the article below, it makes a point of capitalizing "The Polish People" and denigrating the Jews.

Pretty standard right-wing nationalist screed rag. These are very common in Eastern Europe.
posted by nasreddin at 12:27 PM on January 3, 2008


Oh, and their slogan is "Poland Hasn't Perished Yet!!!!"
posted by nasreddin at 12:30 PM on January 3, 2008


"Poland Hasn't Perished Yet!!!!"

That's a translation of the first line of the Polish National Anthem:

"Jeszcze Polska nie zginela,
Kiedy my zyjemy.
Co nam obca przemoc wziela,
Szabla odbierzemy."

"Poland has not yet succumbed.
As long as we remain,
What the foe by force has seized,
Sword in hand we'll gain."
posted by Doohickie at 12:51 PM on January 3, 2008


The successive verses of the anthem, by the way, tell the story of Poland's struggle to re-establish its independence between its final Partition at the hands of Russia, Prussia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1795 and the aftermath World War I in 1918 when Poland was put back on the map; the story of keeping the nation together when there was no nation.
posted by Doohickie at 1:00 PM on January 3, 2008


This sounds a lot like the "Communism is Jewish" crap that I saw in a newsletter from a nut job named Josef Mlot-Mroz. I have no idea why my college library had it in its periodicals section, but it did. It was full of poorly doctored pictures that tried to make Mlot-Mroz look like the "Polish Freedom Fighter" he considered himself to be. He was one of the vocal minority of Poles who are vehemently Fascist and anti-Semitic although he tried to portray himself as anti-Communist. Looks like they're still around, even though Communism isn't.
posted by tommasz at 1:16 PM on January 3, 2008


I'm not Polish but I've lived in Poland for a pretty long time and speak Polish fairly well. So here goes a rough translation of the whole thing.

The newsletter is called the Patriotic Polish Movement. It does seem like a pretty right-winged publication just based on the titles in the table of contents and the stories they've chosen to re-print.

They mention at the beginning that some of their material is re-printed from other sources and that they don't necessarily share the views expressed in those articles, etc, etc.

The first part of the front-page article is probably from a Polish newspaper or news agency. It says that on the 10th of December, on the 7th day of Hanuka, there was a ceremony at the SEJM (house of parliament) and the Menora was lit. The article then explains a little bit about the meaning of this tradition and then quotes the words a of MP Jaroslaw Kalinowski who says that "this globalized world will not prevail without tolerance, love and respect". Finally, the article points out that the ceremony was organized by Chabad Polska which is part of the largest educational and social Jewish association in the world.

Then there is some pretty nasty commentary that appeared on nacjonalista.pl. They call the fact that this ceremony took place in the SEJM a scandal. According to them, the Parliament reperesents the Polish people and that there are so few Jews in Poland (about 1000) that they don't understand the need for such an exalted celebration. They're also pretty upset becuase of some MPs' stance to leave religion out of parliament "where even a Catholic crucifix is frowned upon by some". Then they go on a rant about how if they celebrate Jewish holidays in Parliament they should also celebrate the holidays of all other religions which are reperesented in Poland........it's hard to say if the newletter offers any additional commentary or analysis about what was appeared on nacjonalista.pl because it continues on another page.

I'm fairly sure this is printed by someone if the Polish community in the US (I'm not saying this reperesents the view of the entire Polish community in the US). I've never seen anything like it in Poland.

I wouldn't say there isn't any anti-semitism or right-winged extremism in Poland but this is not the general attitude. It depends a lot on the part of the country you're in and on the generation. Many of the Poles living in the US today are from an older generation which is a bit more Catholic and patriotic. This became pretty obvious in the past parliamentary election where the previous ruling party (more conservative) was widely supprted by Poles in the US. On the other hand, the Poles living in the UK and Ireland (the most recent emigrees who are pretty young) overwhelmingly supported the current ruling party which is much more liberal, both economically and in terms of ideology.
posted by juva at 1:42 PM on January 3, 2008


Interesting read, juva... thanks. My ancestors are Polish but I've never been to Poland. I can see, though, where the Polish American community would be more conservative and religious. Many of us of Polish extraction are aware of our heritage but don't make that big of a deal about it. Those who still actively associate with the Polish community, I think, would be more zealous.
posted by Doohickie at 1:59 PM on January 3, 2008


To add to the Juva’s translation; in the last sentence the commentator wonders if, in turn, Israeli parliament will celebrate a Catholic holiday. But that's only an assumption because the sentence is cut off.
posted by LeavenOfMalice at 2:11 PM on January 3, 2008


Thanks, all. It's not totally surprising, but a bit depressing, to find out that this kind of stuff is being distributed in my neighborhood.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 7:01 PM on January 3, 2008


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