Poland defends normality
An interview with Jan Pospieszalski, Polish musician, composer and journalist.
MACIEJ PIECZYŃSKI: Is it already appropriate to call the dispute between left- and right-wing politics a cultural war?
JAN POSPIESZALSKI: The war is taking place. I am following it, I am speaking, I have my own experiences on the front-line, so to speak. Not all wounds incurred in the battle have managed to heal. Not always has the helmet protected me against shrapnel. This war has been going on much longer than it might appear. The war did not break out when the Third Republic of Poland was created. The 1050th anniversary of the baptism of Poland is an opportunity for us to realise that. Over half a century ago, Cardinal Wyszyński used to fight communists for the values that are still held dearly by the conservative camp and which are still being disputed by left-wing groups. Shortly after the hell of Stalinism, the murder of “cursed soldiers” and the total victory of supporters of the Soviet Union in Poland, the courageous priest announced a great moral revival in the “Vows of the Polish Nation of Jasna Góra” before the Millennium celebration. He reminded of the faithfulness to the cross and the Gospel, and the inseparability of this union; he called for maintaining the Polish and Christian tradition, he called for the nation’s unity around a shared system of values. “We will die faster than we will raise our hand to hit innocent children” – wrote Cardinal Wyszyński shortly after the introduction of wider access to abortion in Poland.
During the communist era, conservatives did not have any chance. Who is fighting this war today?
I am convinced that the potential of the conservative party is huge in Poland. You easily notice this while collecting signatures under the bill about the effective protection of life. However, my intent is not to determine the victory, as the liberal and left-wing party is able to exercise a lot of pressure and furnish other people’s minds through universities, academic staff, and the media. Although we are now speaking in the building of the public television, Poland’s good change does not mean that the majority of its employees have joined the conservative party. If an appropriate survey were conducted among employees of the public media, a large part of them would certainly speak in favour of rescinding the legal protection of the conceived child or for providing homosexual couples with the right to adopt children.
Elites remain left-oriented, but this is the society that voted in the right-wing party...
This is because the society is normal.
Are the elites and authorities out of touch with reality?
Yes. People’s hearts and minds, as well as the media, are still being ruled by the post-communist and liberal elites while being supported by a new left-wing party. Once it became clear that it would not be possible to win voters by promoting pro-worker and social slogans, the neo-Marxists and neo-Bolsheviks bet on the reconstruction of the individual and the dismantling of the Latin civilization. The nation rejected their ideas in the democratic election, however, noisy, opinion-making centres keep persuading us that these utopias are the only legitimate ones. Communism entailed measures aimed at promoting atheism and relegating religion to the private sphere, but its downfall in the sphere was of no great significance, as Western elites supporting the state transformation in Poland simultaneously introduced their leftist cultural project, while concluding that we, aspiring to join the family of European democratic countries, must share their ideological paradigm without questioning it.
What does the phenomenon of Polish conservatism entail?
Poland is not the only country with ordinary people who form a major part of society, despite having being a minority in the media and academic elites. Therefore, they are called “mohairs” in Poland, while the term “redneck” has gained great popularity in the USA (a contemptuous term to call white farmers from the southern states of the USA). These are people who want to live independently, maintain strong family ties, respect the natural right, e.g. to protect human life. These are people who cannot imagine a better relationship than the relationship between a man and a woman, while objecting the state’s interference in bringing up children.
Where does the strength of Polish conservatism lie, excluding the latest victorious election?
The successes of the movement “Let’s save the Tiny Tots” (“Ratuj Maluchy”) and the fight to protect the rights of six-year olds are cases in point. It turned out that parents, irrespective of their political preferences, dared to say “No”, when the state tried to deprive them of their right to decide about the fate of their own children. The Elbanowskis owe the success of their initiative to the fact that they relied on conservative communities that are numerous in Poland and are able to act in the common interest in an organized way. It was extremely emotional for me to observe how mothers collected signatures of support during the morning Mass under the action “Let’s save the Tiny Tots”, and while passing by in the evening, I could see them standing in front of the church collecting signatures while illuminating sheets of paper with their mobile phones. Similar events could be observed in the case of the Bajkowskis. The father, who used a standard system of penalties and prizes to discipline his naughty sons, was reported by a pretentious aesthete from a therapeutic centre, upon being accused of domestic violence without any justification. The state machine was brought into play to take the children away from the family. The Bajkowkis were assisted by a young and extremely effective lawyer from Cracow, Andrzej Duda, while ordinary parents expressed their support for the family on the streets and demonstrated that that right-wing communities should play lay a central role in social discourse. The same social model of the spontaneous resistance was reflected by the action “Stop the sexualisation” (“Stop seksualizacji”) that originated from the so-called WHO standards on sexual education according to programmes formulated by LGBT communities. Parents were also protested when the Civic Platform (PO) and the Polish Peasants' Party (PSL) coalition government signed a dangerous the Council of Europe convention regarding violence against women. Another example of the self-organization includes social initiatives related to World Youth Day. Parish volunteers will accommodate millions of pilgrims, while demonstrating once again how important it is for a Polish Catholic to act in the common interest and to express his or her faith beyond the purely private sphere we are relegated to.
What a surprise! The left-wing media keep persuading us that civic society is on their side, while the conservatives do nothing but pray.
It is interesting to note that a significant part of non-governmental organizations, which are considered to constitute a manifestation of civic society, are branches of different foreign ventures – as in case of the Stefan Batory Foundation and the Robert Schuman Foundation. They are not founded upwards, but downwards, and they do not have too much in common with our needs, but rather with a specific vision of establishing democratic institutions in the post-communist field. It is amusing that the objective of these organizations is to organize social life in the country where social life already exists. While discussing the topic, it is common to ignore the Radio Maria Family that is probably the largest and the most effective, upwards –(moving) and spontaneous non-governmental organization. While referring back to history, the experience of the Solidarity movement was the most intensive social experiment of my generation. It demonstrated the unity that is unknown to the left-wing and liberal communities. I remember when intellectuals from the West, while enthusing about the Solidarity movement, were embarrassed about the fact that representatives of different social classes used to fight in the common interest while being supported by the clergy, which the leftists were not able to understand. They could not understand that the movement had been inspired by a deep attachment to Christian values and the “God, Honour, Fatherland” trinity. The Solidarity generation would have not existed without the former Millenium generation and the courage of Cardinal Wyszyński who fought to protect faith and values as a source of strength for Poles.
During the 2016 European Championships, some leftists noticed that the Polish football national team was ethnically homogenous. This is certainly a factor that strengthens the power of conservatism?
This strengthens the sense of relationship. Let us object to the forced relocation of immigrants, people of foreign cultures, and we have the right to do that; such a bias does not do any harm to us – on the contrary, it strengthens the sense of security that we need so much today. Historically, dangerous fads of nationalism passed by us, as the Polish national idea usually had a strong component of Catholicism. The Church did not allow for aggression against foreigners because apart from the love of the homeland, it used to effectively teach the Ten Commandments while ordering to love one’s neighbour. There is an element of Christian universalism in Polish nationalism.
What is a more difficult problem for Poland: homophobia or homoterror?
I do not like the term “homophobia”. The very use of the term, not only in the ongoing political fight, but also in the content of official documents, does huge cultural harm to Poles. If anybody is against the institutionalization of homosexual relationships, then he is said to be homophobic. However, if anybody uses accusations like “confessional state”, homophobia is no longer attributed to him or her. Moreover, I would like to remind that Poland was one of the first countries in the world that abandoned any punishments for homosexual relationships.
During the presidential campaign of Andrzej Duda, there was a tentative idea to establish the civil partnerships. This could probably silence Polish promoters of homosexual relationships?
Leftists do not care about concrete solutions. Issues regarding inheritance or paying visits to somebody in a hospital could be solved by means of civil-law contracts. Gay communities do not fight for facilitations, but for rebuilding the mentality. The law establishes norms, has a huge power to change social sensitivity. Those using social engineering and willing to rebuild the world according to leftist, neo-Marxist slogans treat the change of the law as a means to achieve the goal. We have to speak out loudly about that. If they get the institution of the closest person, they will come up with six other ideas to extend their ideological expansion. For example, if I look at a guy walking with a dancing step, I will be prosecuted for the speech of hatred. The situation is reminiscent of the anecdote about moving a wardrobe. A husband and a wife quarrel about where the piece of furniture should stand. The husband wins the argument, but the wife moves the wardrobe one centimetre each day during his absence in order to get it to the place she had wanted it to stand. While using the metaphor to describe the Gay offensive I have been observing for many years now, the wardrobe has already been out through the door. Everything started with “Let us demonstrate”, and the expansion has now reached the level of legislation while being gradually introduced to schools. Fortunately, taking into account the current parliamentary system of political parties, there is no chance to make any changes to the relevant law. Therefore, the gay offensive moved in to the culture sphere, in particular theatre and visual arts, where the leftist elites maintain a strong position. Their enemy is clearly defined –conservatism, Polishness, in particular the Church.
We used to be the bulwark of Christendom. While being the bulwark of conservatism today, we have got a dangerous competitor because the right-turning Russia aspires to claim this title for himself. Putin is becoming a hero for extremist right-wing parties in the West.
I do not believe at all that Putin is willing to protect Christian values. He uses slogans and the Orthodox Church as an instrument to achieve his own political goals. A man who was “brought up at the school of murder and insincerity” may not be treated as any point of reference in the discussion about conservatism. On the other hand, western nationalist movements, which are supported by Putin, are not so conservative as they may seem. In one of the interviews, Marine Le Pen could hardly utter a word about the willingness to fight for protecting human life.
That means that we are the bulwark...
Yes. Moreover, I am convinced that Polish Christians emigrating to Western countries play a very important role there. Priests follow their steps. World Youth Day is a great opportunity to show the strength of the Polish spirit to the world. This is an opportunity to establish relationships with a million active Catholics from all over the world. They will notice the normality in Poland. I believe that we will impress them with our attachment to the Church and the Christian tradition. They will leave Poland with a feeling that they have experienced something great. Such experiences from the youth always bear fruits. In the future, these people will hold important posts in business, politics, in the world of science, in the artistic and opinion-making elites in their countries. That will be very useful to us. Let’s show them that we are certain of our identity, that we are proud of our Polish tradition while being open, modern, and smiling at the same time.
Source: Do Rzeczy