The fascists were given a big boost by the Polish government on Sunday. A 200,000-strong march in the capital, Warsaw, was jointly organised by Poland’s fascist organisations and the highest state officials to mark the 100th anniversary of Poland’s independence.
It was addressed by the president and preceded by columns of soldiers and military vehicles. Soldiers also walked alongside fascists.
Fascist flags and symbols were prominent. The flags of the open fascists of Italy’s Forza Nuova were flying alongside them.
How did we get here? The ruling right wing Law and Justice party did not want the main event of the anniversary celebrations to be a fascist-led march. They wanted to take it over. At the same time they did not want to crack down on the fascists because for years they have been saying that they are simply “young patriots”.
The strategy has worked so far because the fascists have not yet managed to outflank the government. Law and Justice is currently getting the racist vote with its nightly filthy propaganda against Muslims, migrants and refugees on state TV.
In negotiations about the demonstration, the fascists were treated as equals by the highest state officials. They even met ministers in the parliament building.
The end result was that many more people came on the march than in previous years because it was seen by them to be part of the state celebrations of the independence anniversary.
During the rest of the year the fascists are not able to mobilise tens of thousands or even thousands. They can only manage hundreds on their demonstrations. But the Independence Day marches show that their support could mushroom in the future unless they are opposed.
This year the fascists had to “share” their march with the government and in return they got massive prestige. The government has been legitimising fascism with its rhetoric.
On Sunday it normalised them with a military parade and the presence on the demonstration of the president, prime minister and members of the cabinet.
The acceptance of fascism has other serious consequences. Very worryingly the Solidarity trade union supported the fascist-led march even before the government had concluded its agreement with the organisers. A petition was started against this and several trade unions in other countries have protested directly to Solidarity.
In opposition to all this, on Sunday thousands of people marched in Warsaw against fascism and the normalisation of fascism. We knew we would not be anywhere near as numerous as the government-fascist organised march but we know that this was an important mobilisation in the ongoing fight against the far right.