A group of masked far-right nationalists disrupted a lecture at Warsaw University. The lecture was given by the centre-left politician Magdalena Środa. The protestors shouted ‘anti-communist slogans (such as – Hammer and Sickle, Red Rabble - Raz sierpem, raz młotem czerwoną hołotę). The demonstrators were eventually removed from the building and the lecture allowed to go ahead.
Organisers claimed that they were protesting against the prevoius cancelling of a debate at the university, organised by the Independent Students Association, where three leading representatives of the far right had been invited. The meeting was cancelled after the Rector of Warsaw University expressed his discomfort at the Students Association organising a meeting that looked like a gathering of the far-right. The fact that the main representatives of students in Poland could contemplate organising such a meeting is a scandal in itself and reveals much about the state of political awareness and activity amongst students.
The far-right is now saying it will disrupt further lectures made by those from the left until they are able to hold similar meetings themselves. They claim that this is a matter of free-speach. However, there should be no basis for free-speech for those that promote the politics of hate and agression. A recent report made by the organisation ‘Never Again’ has revealled that the number of attacks by the far right has increased sharply in recent years. In 2011-2012 there were over 600 recorded xenephobic and homophobic attacks and far-right crimes committed in Poland. According to the authors of the report:
During the past two years we have seen a marked increase in aggression from extreme nationalists throughout the whole country. Neofascism is no longer restricted to the margins. This is an extremely disturbing tendency, which demands a decisive reaction. How far the fascists have gone has been shown by Tuesday’s attack on the lecture of Prof. Magdalena Środa at Warsaw University.’
There can be no platform given to the far right who target and attack those due to their race, religion or sexuality.
This blog was first published on Beyond the Transition