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Home » News » Lemkin debate “Rising popularity of the extreme right” – examples of Poland and Hungary. Participants: Andrea Petõ, Łukasz Jurczyszyn, Rafał Pankowski

Lemkin debate “Rising popularity of the extreme right” – examples of Poland and Hungary. Participants: Andrea Petõ, Łukasz Jurczyszyn, Rafał Pankowski

The Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw hosted the 2nd   Lemkin debate in the new cycle “Rising Popularity of the Extreme Right in Europe”. The meeting was accompanied by a show of Tomas Rafa’s documentary films.

Video recording in multimedia library

We must not discuss the problem of the extreme right by restricting ourselves to the context  of the respective  nationalisms.  It is essential to take into account  the global crisis of democracy. The extreme right no longer consists  of isolated groups of drunken fans, screaming vulgarities. It is a structural problem, stemming from the fact that nationalist views have become - for many Europeans - an attractive political alternative, said Andrea Petö during the debate at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. 

The meeting participants:

Andrea Petö – historian and sociologist, professor at the Central European University in Budapest, where she is director of gender studies. Her areas of interest include social history and policy of remembrance in Central Europe, political extremism, Holocaust studies and feminism. She is the editor of the recently published book Jewish Intellectual Women in Central Europe 1860-2000 (2012).

Łukasz Jurczyszyn – sociologist, assistant  professor  at the Aleksander Gieysztor Academy of Humanities, member of the Centre for the Study of Solidarity  and Social Movements  of the Warsaw University  Institute of Sociology, collaborates with the Collegium Civitas. Jurczyszyn studies social conflicts and movements, nationalism, racism, and violence – particularly in sports in Poland, France and Russia.

Rafał Pankowski – sociologist and political scientist, doctor of humanities, professor at the Collegium Civitas, deputy chief editor of the magazine “Nigdy Więcej”. Author of books: Gdzie kończy się patriotyzm... Z dziejów polskich grup faszyzujących 1922-1992 (Bydgoszcz 1993), Neofaszyzm w Europie Zachodniej: zarys ideologii (Warsaw 1998), Rasizm a kultura popularna (Warsaw 2006) and The Populist Radical Right in Poland: the Patriots (London 2010).

The debate was preceded by a showing  of Tomas Rafa’s two documentary films (available under the following links):

Independence March 2013 Warsaw

Film about segregation walls in Slovakia

Meeting moderator Rafał Pankowski noted that the results of the election to the European Parliament  had stimulated debate on the growth of extreme-right sentiments across Europe. However, the phenomenon in question is much broader and  reinforces an atmosphere  of threat, violence and fear. The most alarming aspect is the popularity of such attitudes among young people, including those with voting rights and those in the 13-to-19 age group. 

Andrea Petö underlined that the only way to address the situation was to restore serious treatment of European values , prominently including revival of the principle of equality. Its social failure is the most painful  expression of the defeat of the European project, which induces questions about the sense of the community,  but also prompts a fundamental reevaluation. The traditional category of subculture no longer suffices  when analyzing contemporary socio-political transformations. Supporters of extreme groupings  are skilled at establishing contacts, they read books, speak foreign languages,  use mass communication tools and most importantly – they are not undecided. On the contrary: they know exactly what to do and are seeking a forum. These young people are negotiating for an alternative form of Europe, Petö stated.

The next speaker, Łukasz Jurczyszyn , suggested the need for a deeper interdisciplinary approach to the core problem, possibly by developing a counter-discourse  addressed to political parties and informal communities. Perhaps  extremist attitudes among young people indicate a channeling of social dissatisfaction against the establishment. Furthermore, sociological studies  show that the political success of extreme groupings, with certain exceptions (e.g. Greece), tends to  defuse uncontrolled social aggression. However, it is necessary to closely watch  the so-called soft extremism, the threat of which consists in its dilution  of the boundaries of social acceptance  and permanent undermining of the democratic order. The paradoxical “internationalization of nationalism” induces a departure from the national context towards a global analysis and search for new formulas of ideological narration, addressing head-on the issues of dissimilarity, foreignness, difference.









Projekt New Nationalism Tomasa Rafy

Strona Stowarzyszenia Nigdy Więcej

Wywiad z Łukaszem Jurczyszynem O nowej ultraprawicy, radykalizmie i przemocy

Wywiad z Andreą Peto o kobietach w skrajnej prawicy