ON MAY 7, 2004, in Krakow, skinheads from a far right parliamentary party, the League of Polish Families, attacked a peaceful demonstration of gays, lesbians, and their supporters with slurs and stones and caustic acid. On November 20, in Poznan, skinheads of the League fired teargas at the feminist and anti-homophobic March of Equality. Assaults on women and minorities have risen since Poland joined the European Union on May 1, 2004. Poland’s joining the EU was seen by the League of Polish Families as a national humiliation, and support for the League has been growing in the intervening year.
Poland transitioned from Communism to Christian fundamentalism: the culture is anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-secular, and pro-Bush. Even the Pope opposed the U.S. Iraqi invasion, but the Polish president and prime minister—without consulting parliament—sent a substantial contingent to help fight Bush’s war. So Polish troops go to Iraq, women to their kitchens, gay people to hell, while the media broadcast patriotic and religious kitsch and join politicians in rallying around Bush. Poland is a “red state,” a Trojan horse of Bush’s America within the EU. “Jesusland” extends to Poland. We invade Iraq together, murkily privatize social welfare, militarize our universities and the media. To the EU, Poland is the closest European ally of the U.S.
This is Poland’s version of the current counter-Enlightenment that’s afoot in the U.S.