Banners On The Independence March
W. Julian Korab-Karpowicz
Many foreign media sources, including The Guardian, The Washington Post, and CNN, have described the Independence March in Warsaw on November 11, in which between 60,000 to 100,000 participated, as nationalist, fascist or white supremacist, creating thus a negative image of this event. Media reports were followed by very critical political statements from the European Union and Israel.
The march was captured in many videos. As it was reported by in niezalezna.pl, Marek Rulez has analyzed the video that captured the march during the time span of more than 40 minutes from its beginning to the end and has written down all the slogans that were on the banners. These have been translated to English. Please see below.
Here are all the banner passwords recorded on the video, with times as the march was moving in the front of the camera:
2: 14- “We want God” “March of Independence” “We want God”
5: 26- “Olawski Patriots” “Warriors’15”
7: 01- “Wielkopolska [Greater Poland Region] Right”
7: 23- “Gazeta Polska [Polish Newspaper] Club in Milicz”
7: 34- “Mary Queen of Poland Take care of our Homeland. Protect your Kingdom”
8:28 – “Deus Vult National Radical Camp”
9: 21- “Solidarity 2010 Belgium”
11: 13- “Konin” [town]
11: 27- “Przysucha” [town]
11: 50- “Xportal.pl”
12: 27- “The Patriots”
12: 32- “Honor and Glory to Jesus”
13: 10- “All-Polish Youth”
13:52 – “Mary be Always on the Right”
17: 33- “National Armed Forces Kraśnik [town]”
18: 33- “Abortion is killing children”
21: 00- “The Gazeta Polska Strzegom Club”
21: 28- “National Krasnystaw” “Being Polish is Normal”
23: 09- “Freedom and Solidarity”
23: 48- “DzielnyTata.pl [Brave Father website]”
24: 20- “Honor and Glory to the Scouts of Zielonka November 11, 1939”
25: 53- “Lviv and Vilnius We Remember”
27: 09- “Silesian national movement”
28: 28- “Fighting Solidarity”
28: 36- “God restore to Poland Catholic Monarchy, restore the Kingdom of the Polish Crown”, “Catholic Poland, not Secular”
28: 59- “Those who grew up in Communism can have only an anti-Communist approach.”
29: 02- “God Honor Fatherland; Our Old Faith”
29: 05- “We demand the truth about the murder of Jerzy Popieluszko” [Popieluszko was a Polish Roman Catholic Priest associated with democratic opposition and Solidarity who was murdered by the communist regime secret service in 1980s]
30: 33- “Pure Blood Sober Mind SXE (Antyhippies)”; “Europe will be white or desolate”. Max “chopper” Marcinkiewicz [person’s name]; “Radical South”; “White Europe of brotherly nations”
31: 27- “Free Poland against Czerska Mać [Left Wing Press]”
32: 07- “No for Islam in Poland”
36: 30- “Patriotic Walbrzych Region”
37: 37- “National Democracy – We Want God”
38: 05- “Election Control Movement and Authority Control Movement”
38: 15- “United Patriots”
38: 32- “Poland Wake up WAKE UP”
41: 28- “Mr. President, we demand the disclosure of the Annex [Annex is a part of a controversial document concerning Military Information Services”
We can see clearly. There is no single banner that can be described as fascist or anti-Semitic. Out of about forty banners, only one says: No for Islam in Poland and two can be interpreted as racist: Europe will be White or Desolate and White Europe of brotherly nations. However, we may wander what is for Europe to be white and desolate. It is meant in physical or cultural sense? If this in the latter, then the statement can be interpreted to express an opinion that by the uncontrolled flow of migrants from non-European countries, Europe will lose its traditional cultural identity and thus its civilization. We may disagree with this view, but it is just an opinion. There no call to violence or hatred. Also, pure blood in the slogan Pure Blood Sober Mind is not racist because “pure blood” means here “without alcohol” and it comes from a subculture of hard punk Straight Edge, abbreviated SXE, which originated in the 1980s in the US and has apparently some followers in Poland. All other banners express clearly ideas that can be described as religious or patriotic. Therefore, those foreign reporters and politicians who would make such grave accusations of the march’s participants to describe them as “60,000 fascists” and demand their immediate prosecution should make sincere apologies in their newspapers and their Twitters.
Perhaps, as some say, we are indeed entering now a post-truth era which affects the main media. This is reflected by the fact of how irresponsibly the Independence March was covered by certain journalists. General assignment reporter of The Washington Post, Avi Selk has admitted that he was fact lying about the 11th November Independence March in Poland and that by his messages he might have substantially contributed to its bad image. In the article “Why I wrote ‘fake news’ for The Washington Post” he says that there was no “Pray for an Islamic Holocaust” banner at the march, but he wrote that there was. However, he is still not saying truth in his apology when he describes the march as far-right.
While a massive demonstration like the 11th November Independence March can attract people with many beliefs, some of them far-right, the vast majority of people who participated in it can be described as ordinary Poles. The march was not a disturbance of the Poland’s Independence Day, as some foreign media reported, but, on the contrary, it was its popular, spontaneous, and peaceful expression. The leading slogan of the 2017 march was “We Want God!” It has shown a continuous support by Polish people of two fundamental ideas that make countries strong: God and nation.
W. Julian Korab-Karpowicz is political philosophy professor at Lazarski University in Warsaw and Zayed University in Dubai. He has received a doctorate from the University of Oxford. In the early 1980’s, he was a student leader in Poland’s Solidarity movement, and in 1991 was elected Deputy Mayor of Gdansk. He has taught at many universities. He is the author of seven books, including Tractatus Politico-Philosophicus: New Directions for the Development of Humankind.