League of Polish Families

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League of Polish Families
Leader Witold Bałażak
Founded 30 May 2001
Headquarters ul. Hoża 9, 00-528 Warsaw
Ideology National Democracy[1]
Polish nationalism[2]
Social conservatism[3]
National clericalism[4]
Euroscepticism[1]
Political position Far-right[5][6][7][8]
Religion Catholicism
Colours Blue
Sejm
0 / 460
Senate
0 / 100
European Parliament
0 / 51
Website
www.lpr.pl
Politics of Poland
Political parties
Elections
Herb Polski.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Poland

The League of Polish Families (Polish: Liga Polskich Rodzin, LPR) is a nationalist conservative political party in Poland, part of the Catholic-National Movement and with many elements of far-right ideology.[9][10][11][12][13][14] The party's original ideology was that of the national democracy movement which was headed by Roman Dmowski, however in 2006 its leader Roman Giertych distanced himself from that heritage.[15]

It was represented in the Polish parliament, forming part of the cabinet of Jarosław Kaczyński,[16] until the latter dissolved in September 2007.[17] In the 2007 Parliamentary election it failed to gain the 5% of votes required to enter the Sejm and lost all the seats it previously held, in addition to failing meeting the 3% of votes requirement for eligibility to receive government funding. Since then the party has become a minor political force but continues to exist.

The All-Polish Youth used to be affiliated with the party as its youth wing.

History[edit]

The LPR was created just before the elections in 2001 and gained 8% of the vote, giving it 38 out of 460 seats in the Sejm and 2 seats in the Senate. Its former leader, Roman Giertych, studied Law and History at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. During his career his political alliances have included such Polish National Democrats as Jan Łopuszański, Antoni Macierewicz,[18] Gabriel Janowski.[19]

Roman Giertych reactivated the "All-Polish Youth" (Młodzież Wszechpolska) organization in 1989, becoming its chairman; he remains honorary chairman. For several years he was a member of the National-Democratic Party (Stronnictwo Narodowo-Demokratyczne) and the National Party (Stronnictwo Narodowe), which merged with several other organizations to form the League of Polish Families (Liga Polskich Rodzin, LPR) in 2001.

Roman Giertych's father, Maciej Giertych, also a member of LPR, is a former member of the European Parliament. His grandfather was a member of parliament of the Second Polish Republic prior to World War II from the National Democracy Party. Some sources claim that the LPR owes much of its success to Radio Maryja, a Catholic radio station with a nationalist, ultra-conservative agenda.

The performance of League of Polish Families in the September 2001 elections, has been partly attributed to its well publicized and uncompromising attitude towards Jedwabne pogrom [20] During the election campaign Ryszard Bender, one of the LPR founders and leaders, participated in LPR television broadcasts denying the facts of the Jedwabne pogrom of 1941 and accusing President Aleksander Kwaśniewski, who participated in commemoration ceremony, that took place in the village of Jedwabne in July 2001, of bowing to Jewish interest groups.[21]

Soon after the election in 2001 a group of deputies separated from LPR, creating a new party known now as Polish Agreement led by Jan Łopuszański and Catholic-National Movement (Ruch Katolicko-Narodowy) led by Antoni Macierewicz.[citation needed]

In the 2004 elections to the European Parliament LPR received 15,2% votes, which gave it 10 out of 54 seats reserved for Poland in the European Parliament. This made the LPR the second largest party in Poland in that election, second only to the liberal conservative Civic Platform (PO), and well ahead of the then ruling post-communist Democratic Left Alliance, the populist Samoobrona and the conservative Law and Justice (PiS). However, overall turnout of that election was less than 20% of eligible voters. Thus, the long-term significance of the LPR's strong performance in that election is unclear. In the 2005 elections LPR again received 8% of votes, but saw its seats reduced from 38 to 34. However, it gained five seats in the Senate, taking it up to 7.

In the 2007 Parliamentary election it failed to gain the 5% of votes required to enter the Sejm and lost all its seats, in addition to failing meeting the 3% of votes requirement for eligibility to receive government funding. The leader of the party, Roman Giertych, has stepped down from his post as the party's leader, but remains a member.

Some present or former members of LPR (including Janusz Dobrosz) and five of its MEPs moved to Forward Poland in 2008/9.

Ideology[edit]

The party has been described as belonging to the populist current in European politics, that juxtaposes the 'simple man' and the 'corrupt elite'.[22]

The Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics described the party as clerical-nationalist,[23] the party's agenda combining conservative social values, Christian solidarism and nationalism. Adam Michnik has characterized the groups that formed the party as the heirs of the chauvinist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic organizations of the pre-war Poland.[24]

Some of the policies the LPR opposes include: the selling of land to foreign (especially German expellees), abolishing the draft, legalization of "soft drugs", legalization of abortion, euthanasia, and gay marriage. It supports capital punishment, maintaining universal health care and public education, and supports the withdrawal of Polish troops from Iraq. The LPR also supports the publication of the complete archives of the Polish communist secret police—in other words, full "de-Communization".[citation needed]

The party particularly appealed to voters sympathetic towards traditional social values, the Catholic faith, and the concept of Polish national sovereignty. Its policies also attract some who feel lost in the post-1989 political transformation of the country, although the populist Andrzej Lepper's Samoobrona ("Self Defense"), also speaking out for the 'simple man', menaced by the post 1989 changes[22] thus appeal more directly to so-called marginalized voters. The press close to the party has published anti-semitic articles; some of the Polish politicians like Adam Michnik have been characterized as pink hyenas representing non-Polish interests, assisted by Mossad and “godless, satanical masons propagating nihilism and demoralisation.” Those “dark forces” are said to be fiercely opposed to a Catholic state of the Polish nation.[25]

The party is considered staunchly homophobic,[26] and its opposition to same-sex marriage and several other demands of Polish gays and lesbians has led to condemnation of the party by the European Commission.[27] The party has been labelled as antisemitic by some authors.[28][29]

Stance towards the European Union[edit]

The party is anti-EU. The Economist reported in 2002 that the LPR spreads the word that the EU is a communist conspiracy.[30] Although it was the only significant political force in Poland that unconditionally opposed Polish membership in the European Union (believing that a union controlled by social liberals could never be reformed), after Polish accession to the EU the party participated in European Parliament elections, in order to have actual influence over decisions made regarding Poland. During the 2004 controversy surrounding Rocco Buttiglione (the conservative Italian nominee as European Commissioner for "Justice, Freedom, and Security"), the LPR deputies demanded the dissolution of the parliament, feeling that it was too much under the influence of a homosexual lobby.[citation needed].

Independence and Democracy[edit]

In 2004, 31 MEPs from the UK, Poland, Denmark and Sweden formed the new Independence/Democracy, formerly the group for Europe of Democracies and Diversities. The main goals of this group were the rejection of any European Constitution and opposition to any plans for a federal Europe.

Literature[edit]

  • The League of Polish Families between East and West, past and present by Sarah L. de Langea and Simona Guerrab. In: Communist and Post-Communist Studies. Volume 42, Issue 4, December 2009, pp. 527–549

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b De Wilde, Pieter; Trenz, Hans-Jörg; Michailidou, Asimina. Contesting Europe: Exploring Euroscepticism in Online Media Coverage. ECPR Press. p. 160. ISBN 1907301518. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  2. ^ Belavusau, Uladzislau. Freedom of Speech: Importing European and US Constitutional Models in Transitional Democracies. Routledge. p. 158. ISBN 1135071985. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  3. ^ Freedom in the World 2011: The Annual Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 540. ISBN 9781442209961. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  4. ^ Bakke, Elisabeth (2010), Central and East European party systems since 1989, Central and Southeast European Politics Since 1989 (Cambridge University Press): 80, retrieved 17 November 2011 
  5. ^ Auer, Stefan, Liberal Nationalism in Central Europe, Routledge, p. 94, retrieved 10 December 2011 
  6. ^ Neumayer, Laure (2009), Euroscepticism as a Political Label in Central Europe: What has Changed with the Accession?, Euroscepticism and European integration (CPI/PSRC): 186, retrieved 10 December 2011 
  7. ^ Pankowski, Rafal; Kornak, Marcin (2005), Poland, Racist extremism in Central and Eastern Europe (Routledge): 157, retrieved 10 December 2011 
  8. ^ Porter, Brian (2006), Rydzyk, Tadeusz, Encyclopedia of Modern Christian Politics (Greenwood Publishing Group): 479, retrieved 10 December 2011 
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ [2]
  11. ^ [3]
  12. ^ [4] (“extreme right”)
  13. ^ [5]
  14. ^ [6]
  15. ^ http://serwisy.gazeta.pl/wyborcza/1,34591,3484547.html%7Ctytuł=Dmowskiego do Ligi bym nie przyjął|opublikowany=gazeta.pl
  16. ^ "Polish President Appoints His Twin Brother as Premier (Update2)". Bloomberg. 10 July 2006. 
  17. ^ Centre-Right Parties Almost Tied in Poland: Angus Reid Global Monitor
  18. ^ The neighbors respond: the controversy over the Jedwabne Massacre in Poland, Antony Polonsky, Joanna B. Michlic, p. 70
  19. ^ Not Quite a Revolution, Published: Friday 15 November 2002
  20. ^ Stefan Auer (2004). Liberal Nationalism in Central Europe. Routledge. p. 67. ISBN 0-415-31479-8. 
  21. ^ Cas Mudde (2005). Racist Extremism in Central and Eastern Europe. London: Routledge. p. 159. ISBN 0-415-35593-1. OCLC 55228719. 
  22. ^ a b http://books.google.com/books?id=olpKYhgrS48C&pg=PA364&dq=Liga+Polskich+Rodzin&lr=&as_drrb_is=q&as_minm_is=0&as_miny_is=1970&as_maxm_is=0&as_maxy_is=1978&as_brr=3
  23. ^ 'Social Poland'Defeats 'Liberal Poland'? The September–October 2005 Polish Parliamentary and Presidential Elections by Aleks Szczerbiak. In: Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics, Volume 23, Issue 2 June 2007 , pages 203 - 232
  24. ^ The Polish Witch-Hunt By Adam Michnik. Available at http://www.hacusa.org/NoticedInThePress/2007/NYRB_062807__Michnik_Adam__Poland.doc., accessed 23 August 2010.
  25. ^ Totalitarian and authoritarian regimes in Europe, legacies and lessons from the twentieth century. By Jerzy W. Borejsza, Klaus Ziemer, Magdalena Hułas, Instytut Historii (Polska Akademia Nauk). p. 365.
  26. ^ http://books.google.ee/books?id=XQXqxfMGpKYC&pg=PA95&dq=League+of+Polish+Families+homophobic&hl=et&sa=X&ei=8YgBUJSFBoqH0AWAkqSABw&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=League%20of%20Polish%20Families%20homophobic&f=false
  27. ^ Poland: School Censorship Proposal Threatens Basic Rights (Human Rights Watch, 19-3-2007)
  28. ^ Mudde, Cas (2005). Racist Extremism in Central and Eastern Europe. Routledge. p. 159. ISBN 978-0-415-35593-3. 
  29. ^ Michlic, Joanna B. (2006). Poland's Threatening Other: The Image of the Jew from 1880 to the Present. University of Nebraska Press. p. 363. ISBN 978-0-8032-3240-2. 
  30. ^ Poland's right-wingers On the rise. The Economist, Dec 12th 2002

External links[edit]