NIGDY WIECEJ - NEVER AGAIN, issue 16, winter/spring 2008


* The opening article by Marcin Kornak is a commentary on the challenges to anti-nationalist and antiracist activities following the 2007 Polish parliamentary elections that swept the far right and right-populist parties (League of Polish Families – LPR as well as Self-Defence – Samoobrona) and brought down the government of Jarosław Kaczyński who promoted a number of extreme right politicians on the front line of state politics. The author points out that while overtly political threat of chauvinism seems to be lower now, there is still an ongoing struggle against xenophobia and antisemitism, and furious criticisms of “Fear”, the recent book by Jan Tomasz Gross, which presents facts on Poles’ anti-Jewish attitudes during the immediate post-WWII period, are just another challenge both from the far right and from parts of the mainstream.

* ‘Ministerstwo Kultury finansuje neofaszyzm’ (‘The Ministry of Culture funds neofascists’, page 1) by the editors’ team, discusses a shocking fact of the financial aid that has gone from Poland’s Ministry of Culture to the “Templum Novum” magazine that is a project released by the Arte publishing house – a cover up name for the National Rock Scene recording company promoting neo-nazi rock bands. The “Templum Novum” contains articles by people like Leon Degrelle (his 1981 text glorifying Hitler’s atisemitism), articles presenting racist doctrines of Julus Evola or far right neopaganism of Alain De Benoist. The magazine, which uses symbols of the 1930’s Polish right-wing nationalist movement received 10,000 PLN (approx. 2,800 Euro) of taxpayers’ money within a scheme of the ministerial program called “Promotion of Readership” in January 2007.
* The letters section (pages 2-3) contains letters from Polish and foreign readers as well as a popular punk rock band KSU. The letters express readers’ support for the ‘Never Again’ magazine as well as provide shared experiences in antiracist awareness-raising.

* The documents section (page 3) contains three statements: one by Association of Roma in Poland (concerning racist attacks on Roma family in the town of Żywiec), another by the ‘Stop the War’ Initiative (critical of antisemitic contents in a pre-electoral TV advert of the League of Polish Families, which exploited associations with the Iraqi war by showing president Kaczynski wearing a traditional Jewish head gear during his visit to Israel and voicing anti-war statements over this image), and the third one by the ‘Workers’ Initiative’ Labour Union (against distribution of an antisemitic magazine by the major state-owned postal company).

* ‘From the press’ (‘Z prasy’) section (pages 4-7) quotes almost two dozens of articles and/or interviews that appeared in mainstream daily or weekly newspapers and magazines between June 2006 and December 2007. The articles quoted concerned issues of neo-Nazi organisations, far-right influences on Polish mainstream politics, as well as particular antifascist and antiracist activities by the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association.

* ‘Antifascists awarded’ (‘Antyfaszyści nagrodzeni’) is a section on page 8, which informs about medals and distinctions awarded to the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association’s activists. One is the Medal of 15th Anniversary given in March 2007 to the Association by the Wielka Orkestra Swiatecznej Pomocy (the Great Orchestra of the Holiday Aid, a very popular charity initiative, bringing millions of Poles together every year and raising large funds to provide medical equipment for hospitals treating small children). The main area of co-operation between the Wielka Orkiestra Swiatecznej Pomocy and the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is the latter’s annual participation in a broad antiracist campaign during the Woodstock Station Festival. Another award is the Medal of Honour presented to Rafał Pankowski of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association by the Association of the Jewish Veterans and Victims of World War II. The section also presents an initiative by the Third Wave of Polish Street Art Group that honoured the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ magazine’s editor-in-chief, Marcin Kornak, with painting his portraits accompanied with a quote from one of Kornak’s poems, which have been placed as “windows” in 13 public places throughout Poland.

* The section titled ‘Negacjonizm’ (‘Holocaust denial’) contains three articles dispersed throughout the issue no. 16 of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ magazine:

‘David Irving ma powody...’ (‘David Irving has his reasons...’, pages 9-10) by Rafał Pankowski and Katarzyna Nowak, discusses links of Polish organisations’ and publishers’ with a well-known British denier of the Holocaus, David Irving. The authors also highlight protests of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association against Irving’s visits to Poland, including his failure to present his books during a scheduled meeting at the International Book Fair in Warsaw in May 2007 due to the association’s successful intervention with the media and the Book Fair organisers;

‘Roger Garaudy – negacjonista przed sądem’ (‘Roger Garaudy – a Holocaust denier on trial’, pages 65-66) by Zbigniew Marcin Kowalewski, presents a critical view of theoretical conceptions and political alliances of a French ex-communist and a propagator of Holocaust denial and antisemitism, Roger Garaudy;

‘Francuska szkoła negacji Holokaustu’ (‘The French School of Holocaust Denial’, pages 66-67) by Aurelie Cardin-Daeninckx, provides readers with an outline of French circles of Holocaust deniers, with a special focus of deniers’ ideas penetrating certain political discourses of the radical left in post-WWII France.

* ‘Szkoci nie chcą Bubla’ (‘Bubel unwanted in Scotland’, page 10) describes attempts of one of the more active Polish nationalist and antisemitic activists, Leszek Bubel of the Polish National Party, to align himself with the Scottish National Party. After the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ editors’ intervention with the British antifascist magazine ‘Searchlight’, Liz Lloyd from the media office of the SNP declared that the party ‘has nothing in common with the Polish National Party’.

* ‘Farfalenie (page 11) by Marcin Kornak, highlights the profile of Piotr Farfał who was appointed Vice-President of Polish Television (TVP: state-owned, public broadcaster) as a member of the far right All Polish Youth (Młodzież Wszechpolska). An article titled ‘A neo-Nazi in TVP’ published by ‘Gazeta Wyborcza’ in June 2006 revealed Farfał’s neo-Nazi activity in the past and raised protests among journalists and other media workers in the TVP and beyond.

* ‘Lepper profesorem antysemitów (‘Lepper – anti-Semites’ professor’ page 12) by the editorial team, comments on protests by various organisations, including the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association, against deputy prime minister Andrzej Lepper’s acceptance of the honorary doctorate at the Interregional Academy of Personnel Management in Kiev, Ukraine, in January 2007. Lepper was a prominent politician of the Samoobrona party that was then a part of the ruling coalition in Poland. The Academy is the largest private university in Ukraine, and became known as having links and respecting politicians and ideologues, both from the West and from the Muslim world, who hold overtly anti-Semitic views.

* ‘Gazeta Polska czy Szczerbiec? (‘Gazeta Polska or Szczerbiec?, page 12) by Rafał Pankowski, discusses a highly controversial article in the right wing newspaper ‘Gazeta Polska’ written by Marek A. Wojciechowski (under a penname Kordian Krawietz), a representative of the neo-fascist Narodowe Odrodzenie Polski (National Rebirth of Poland) and a contributor of the far right magazine ‘Szczerbiec’ (known, for instance, by its Holocaust denial position, antisemitism etc.). The article presented an odd vision of ‘anti-Polish conspiracy’ of... Polish Football Union, Africans, refugees, fans of Che Guevara, people suffering from AIDS, communists and the ‘Never Again’ Association. Wojciechowski’s article defended the right of neo-fascist groups to present racist symbols on the stadiums.

* ‘Czas nagonek (pisane przed wyborami)’ (‘The time of witch-hunt (written before elections)’, page 13), by Krzysztof Skiba, is a featured article by a popular rock artist and publicist, sharing some thoughts on the witch-hunt type of popularity-gaining mechanism in Polish politics during the Kaczynski’s right wing government. The article was completed before the latest electoral change in October 2007.

* ‘Narodowcy o narodowcach’ (‘Nationalists about nationalists’, page 14) presents four passages coming from nationalist and far right magazines, which show ruptures, contradictions and clashes of interests inside the far right nationalist movement in Poland.

* ‘Trup w szafie Romana Giertycha’ (‘Dead body in Roman Giertych’s closet’, page 14) by Rafał Pankowski, discusses an old article by now ex-Minister of Education Roman Giertych in the nationalist magazine ‘Wszechpolak’ (the article contained an antisemitic phrase).

* ‘Tutaj działa sam język’ (‘It’s the language itself that works here’, pages 15-17) is Rafał Pankowski’s interview with professor Michał Głowiński, a well-known literature scholar, a Holocaust survivor, and a specialist in analysis of ‘newspeak’ language of the communist period as well as of antisemitic hate speech. In the interview, prof. Głowiński shows how to understand critically and deconstruct some of the common anti-Jewish stereotypes in Polish language and culture.

* On pages 18-21 there are two articles presenting a critical view of scholarship of Feliks Koneczny (1862-1949) who was a historian associated with pre-WWII Polish nationalist right and has recently become a prominent ‘intellectual’ point of reference for younger generations of nationalist activists. The following articles are presented:

‘W pułapce kołobłędu, czyli antysemityzm uczonego’ (‘In the trap of the vicious circle, or antisemitism of a scholar’) by Katarzyna Stańczak-Wiślicz, discusses anti-Jewish theoretical constructs in one of the more prominent books by Konieczny, ‘The Jewish Civilisation’ (pages 18-20);

‘Od “obrony cywilizacji” do “ostatecznego rozwiązania”’ (‘From “defence of civilisation” to the “final solution”’) by Stefan Zgliczyński, analyses inspirations of Koneczny’s racist concept of civilisations among contemporary far right in Poland (page 21).

* ‘Protokoły Mędrców Syjonu – anatomia fałszerstwa’ (‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion – anatomy of a forgery’, pages 22-23) by Kamil Majchrzak, discusses origins and recurrent reception of one the most prominent anti-Jewish texts of the 20th century.

* ‘Z historii pewnej kolaboracji...’ (‘From the story of a collaboration...’, pages 24-25) by Piotr Jamczyński, highlights the history of collaboration of the nationalist right with the Tsarist Russia’s regime against Polish revolutionary and patriotic left in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

* ‘Bastion legionu wszechpolskiego’ (‘Bastion of the All-Polish Legion’, pages25-27) by Tomasz Lutyński, is an in-depth content analysis of racist, neo-fascist and antisemitic contents in the ‘Bastion’ magazine, published since early 1990’s and associated with the All Polish Youth (Młodzież Wszechpolska), as well as other publications and music productions promoted by this organisation.

* ‘Słupscy wszechpolacy’ (‘All-Polish activists from Słupsk’, pages 28-29) highlights links of the local All-Polish Youth (Młodzież Wszechpolska) chapter in the northern town of Słupsk with nazi-skinheads, and discusses their activities, including public and private racist, homophobic and misogynic incidents.

* ‘Dlaczego nie możemy pozostać obojętni na ataki na sztukę’ (‘Why can’t we remain indifferent to attacks against art’, pages 29-32) by Iza Kowalczyk, is an extensive analysis of far-right and conservative reactions and mobilisations against contemporary art in Poland in recent years. The author shows how nationalist organisations and various local groups attack contemporary works of art as well as artists, especially those who attempt to introduce critical perspectives on majority-minority relations, prejudice etc, in the name of ‘Christian and national values’. Kowalczyk argues that one of the challenges in democratic society is to defend diversity as a way to prevent exclusions and their uttermost consequences, such as the Holocaust.

* ‘Stare sztuczki w nowych dekoracjach’ (‘Old tricks in new settings’, pages 33-35) by Marcin Starnawski, analyses patterns of contemporary homophobia in Poland and show its parallel to pre-WWarII antisemitism of the far-right (Endecja). The author argues that since there’s been more public pressure against antisemitism lately, the old mechanisms of ‘scapegoating’, exclusion and dividing the working classes now recur in the form of anti-gay/lesbian prejudice as anti-modernisation/anti-EU resentment and false notion of liberation of the underprivileged.

* ‘Kędzierzyn-Koźle to miasto wieloetniczne’ (‘Kędzierzyn-Koźle is a multiethnic town’, pages 36-37) by Tomasz Kamusella, is an essay polemical with an article from ‘Nowa Trybuna Opolska’ that warned against inward migrations of Roma people to the city of Kędzierzyn-Koźle in Upper Silesia. Kamusella, a well-known scholar of ethnicity and Silesian regional studies, argues for a multiethnic approach to the contemporary social and cultural processes and claims the integral place of Roma communities in the Polish society, suggesting some far-reaching integrative steps towards more recognition and upgrading social standing of the Roma (such as multicultural and multilingual education of Roma and non-Roma children, affirmative action for Roma candidates in public institution jobs etc.).

* The ‘Populism’ section (pages 38-39) contains two articles:

‘Nowy populizm w Europie’ (‘New populism in Europe’) by Michał Syska: a political analysis of right-wing populist strategy, explanation of its popularity, and a discussion on right-wing populism as a threat to liberal democracy. The article also presents a systematic list of right-populist parties in the European Parliament divided by parliamentary groups (pages38-39);

‘Skrajna prawica epoki globalizacji’ (‘Extreme right of the globalisation era’) by Konrad Markowski is a brief analysis of the interrelationship between the expansion of the neoliberal economic model and nationalist reactions to it. The author also shows that the spread of far-right’s nationalism and ultraconservatism in many countries, parallel to the spread of neoliberalism, easily hits the mainstream political circles and governments (e.g. in a form of anti-immigrant policies and anti-Arab/anti-Muslim discourses as a ‘socially accepted racism’), hence the more difficult challenge for contemporary antifascist and antiracist movements (page 39).

* ‘Fundamentalizm jest w nas’ (‘Fundamentalism is inside ourselves’, pages 40-41) by Max Cegielski, is an essay by a popular publicist and reporter reflecting on Western colonialism and centuries-long European domination. The author confronts contemporary forms of prejudice and discrimination, such as islamophobia and anti-immigrant sentiments and policies.

* ‘...Bramkarz i łącznik – kilka uwag dotyczących wykopywania rasizmu’ (‘A goalkeeper and a field player – a few remarks on kicking out racism’, page 42) by Jerzy Kluger, is a memoir letter to the editors of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ magazine, by a Jewish friend of Karol Wojtyła (later the pope John Paul II) during their boyhood years in pre-WWII Poland. Kluger is now a representative of a Rome-based ‘Pave the Way’ Foundation that works on strengthening relations between monotheistic religions.

* ‘Każde prawe sumienie musi potępić rasizm’ (‘Each honest conscience must condemn racism’, pages 42-44) is Jacek Zinkiewicz’s selection of quotes by the pope John Paul II concerning issues of racism, nationalism, antisemitism, Holocaust, intolerance, as well as promoting interfaith and intercultural dialogue.

* ‘Watykan w jarzmie komunizmu’ (‘Vatican in the yoke of communism’, page 44) shows some views of a far-right publicist, Krzysztof Kawęcki of the conservative-monarchist magazine ‘Pro Fide, Rege et Lege’. The citations presented highlight Kawęcki’s odd understanding of the Catholic Church as ‘pro-Communist’.

* Pages 45-55 contain the ‘Let’s Kick Racism Out of Stadiums’ (‘Wykopmy rasizm ze stadionów’) section. The heading refers to the several years long campaign being organised by the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association under the same slogan. In the section there are:

‘Droga do EURO 2012 bez rasizmu’ (‘A Path to EURO 2012 without racism, or Let’s Kick Racism Out of Stadiums campaign in the press, 2007-2006’): a series of short extracts from various mainstream newspapers referring to this antiracist campaign of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association (page 45);

‘Michel Platini wspiera ‘Nigdy Więcej’ (‘Michel Platini gives support to ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association): a letter from a famous French football player, Michel Platini (page 46);
Jacek Purski’s report from the conference Football Against Racism In Europe that took place in Paris on 19-20 May, 2007 (page 46);

‘Reprezentacja Polski wykopuje rasizm ze stadionów’ (‘Polish national team kicks racism out of stadiums’): editors’ information on the Polish national football team joining the campaign with the poster photo of the football players wearing T-shirts with the campaign logo (page 47);

Jacek Purski’s report of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association’s participation in antiracist campaigns during the 2006 World Cup in Germany (pages 47-48);

‘Przystanek Woodstock wykopuje rasizm’ (‘Racism kicked out of the Woodstock Station Festival’): editors’ note on the 3-day international antiracist campaign at the popular rock festival in August 2007, gathering people from Algeria, England, Austria, France, Kosovo, Moldavia, Germany and Poland (page 48);

‘Globalna Łódź – miastem tysiąca kultur’ (‘Global Lodz – a city of thousand cultures’) by Mariusz Gołębiowski and Arkadiusz Pielechowicz, is a presentation of grassroots antiracist activities of the students’ organisation ‘Globalni’ (‘The Globals’) from the city of Lodz (page 49);

‘Kolory świata, czyli warsztaty antyrasistowskie w toruńskiej świetlicy’ (‘Colours of the world, or antiracist workshop in a social centre in Toruń’) by Klaudiusz Urbański, is a presentation of a local antiracist activity with 50 schoolchildren in the town of Toruń (page 50);<

‘Antyrasista w ringu’ (‘Antiracist in a boxing ring’): Marcin ‘Bubell’ Filipowski’s interview with Paweł Wolak, a professional boxer from Poland living in the United States (page 51);
‘Opadająca fala rasizmu?’ (‘Falling wave of racism?) by Marcin Kornak: extracts from a monitoring report on racist and chauvinist incidents on stadiums in Poland (pages 51-55).

* Pages 56-59 contain the ‘Music Against Racism’ (‘Muzyka przeciwko rasizmowi’) section. The section presents a list of recent music and music-video releases that carry the ‘Music Against Racism’ logo, as well as three articles:

‘Ojciec Chrzestny hip-hopu wspiera Muzykę Przeciwko Rasizmowi’ (‘The Godfather of hip-hop gives his support to Music Against Racism campaign’, page 56) by Maja Ostrowska and Maria Pożarowska, presents a profile of Afrika Bambaata Aasim, a world-wide-known DJ and one of the leading hip-hop artists, and his antiracist activity in the Universal Zulu Nation – an organisation promoting tolerance, social justice and peace among peoples. The artist gave his support to the ‘Music Against Racism’ campaign.

‘Objawienie wg Świętego Lee Perrego, czyli Ewangelia wg Skracza’ (‘Revelation according to Saint Lee Perry, or Scratch’s Gospel’, page 57) by Maguwah, presents a profile of a reggae artist, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. The article contains extensive quotes by the artist concerning world politics, intolerance as well as anti-colonial message of reggae music.

‘Faszyści niech spadają stąd...’ (‘Let the fascists get out of here...’, pages 58-59) by Arkadiusz Zacheja, is a review of several recent music releases in Poland and abroad, including Bruce Springsteen’s recording of Pete Seeger’s protest-songs (‘We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions’), Steven Blush’s and Paul Rachman’s documentary on ‘hardcore punk’ music in the U.S. (‘American Hardcore – the History of American Punk Rock, 1980-1986’), and albums by Polish bands such as Buldog and T. Love. In particular, the author highlights antiracist and antifascist topics in these music projects.

* ‘Black Metal’ section (pages 60-64), contains an article by Zbigniew Michalczyk (‘Black metal między satanizmem, pogaństwem i neonaziemem’ – ‘Black metal between Satanism, paganism and neo-Nazism), which is an extensive review essay of Christian Dornbusch’s and Hans-Peter Killguss’s book ‘Unheilige Allianzen. Black metal zwischen Satanismus, Heidentium und Neonazismus’, as well as a translated excerpt from the book (‘... my też jesteśmy aryjczykami’ – ‘...we are Aryans, too’, pages 63-64).

* ‘Akcja solidarności z rosyjskimi antyfaszystami’ (‘Solidarity with Russian antifascists’, page 64) is a call for solidarity issued by an international network, Antifa-Net, in face of murders, brutal attacks and harassment on anti-fascist activists in Russia.

* ‘Rasizm a kultura popularna’ (‘Racism and popular culture’, pages 68-74, is a section devoted to the book under the same title written by one of the editors of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ magazine, Rafał Pankowski, and published by the Trio publishing house in 2006. The book is a sociological analysis of the contemporary notions of ‘race’ and racism as well as a study of racism in the area of popular and youth culture in Poland and world-wide. The section contains the following texts:

‘Racism without races’ (‘Rasizm bez ras’), a review by Marcin Kornak (pages 68-69);
‘Rasizm a kultura popularna – an up-to-date book’, a review by Michał Syska (page 69);
‘Our daily racism’ (‘Rasizm nasz powszedni’), Waldermar Kuligowski’s interview with Rafał Pankowski (pages 70-71);

‘On dangers of racism’ (‘O niebezpieczeństwach rasizmu’), an extensive review by Joanna Krajewska (pages 73-74);

excerpts from the book’s reviews in other media: ‘Gazeta Wyborcza’, ‘Dziennik’ and ‘Le Monde Diplomatique – Polish edition’ (page 74).

* The ‘Anti-fascist’s library’ section (‘Recenzje’, pages 75-81) presents reviews of 11 books (including 6 comic books) and 4 movies, among them Daniel Goldhagen’s famous analysis of the Catholic Church’s role during the Holocaust, Timothy White’s biography of Bob Marley, George Clooney’s and Grant Heslov’s film ‘Good Night and Good Luck’ (on TV journalists denouncing the witch-hunt campaign of senator McCarthy), ‘Persepolis’ by Marjane Satrapi and others.

* ‘Katalog Wypadkow – Brunatna Ksiega’ (‘List of Incidents – the Brown Book’, pages 82-98) by Marcin Kornak, is a detailed record of violent acts and other incidents committed by members and sympathisers of racist and neo-fascist groups in Poland in the recent period. The ‘Brown Book’ also keeps record of intensifying acts of homophobia, verbal acts of racism and anti-Semitism among politicians, acts of demolition of property belonging to religious or national minority groups as well as attacks against young people belonging to anti-fascist groups. The issue 16 of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ magazine covers the period between November 2005 and November 2007.

Summary by M.Starnawski