The year 2019 was an eventful one in Polish politics. Out of a boring and meaningless dispute between two wings of Polish liberalism, there arose a new political force determined to shake up Poland’s political culture. Eleven MPs from the new Confederation Party appeared in the Polish Parliament, the Sejm, after last October’s parliamentary elections. This development came as a shock to many in Poland, as well as abroad. The new Israeli ambassador to Poland, Alexander Ben Zvi, was quick to warn that “the views of individual members” of Confederation are a “problem.” It’s worth pointing out that the Israeli ambassador was the only member of the diplomatic corps in Poland to voice such an objection.

Why the outrage? What makes Confederation so different from the supposedly staunchly conservative and nationalist Law and Justice party (PiS), which has governed Poland with a majority in the Sejm since 2015?

What clearly distinguishes the Confederation Party from the other parties on the right that existed before its creation is a willingness and indeed eagerness to confront American political and cultural influence and the leftist cultural politics of the EU. Confederation politicians have questioned American plans to set up missiles in Poland as a deterrent against possible Russian aggression. They are disinclined to become either a pawn or a shooting gallery in a confrontation between the two superpowers. They have insisted on Poland’s autonomy as a nation and its right to deal with both the Russians and Americans from the standpoint of Polish national interest.

Confederation was founded early in 2019, primarily as a response to failed attempts by the two largest factions of the anti-PiS right, the nationalists and the conservative libertarians, to gain significant political traction. Since 2014, the Congress of the New Right Party managed to get four candidates elected to the European Parliament. From 2014 to 2019, the dissident right in Poland was mainly relegated to the Twitter and Facebook spheres and to events such as the annual Independence March, organized by mostly young nationalists. With an election year fast approaching, an alliance was formed encompassing not only the two already mentioned factions, but also smaller ones with loyal followings and populist agendas.

The original Confederation team featured the National Movement, Poland’s premier nationalist party; the KORWiN party, which includes the conservative libertarian platform of the charismatic and legendary maverick Janusz Korwin-Mikke; the Korona party, which is unabashedly pro-Catholic and traditionalist, and follows the conservative filmmaker, journalist and author, Grzegorz Braun; the pro-life movement of Kaja Godek; the Federacja RP movement led by the former beer baron and millionaire, Marek Jakubiak; and the Skuteczni movement, a pro-civic grouping founded by former rapper-turned-politician, Piotr Marzec, better known under his stage name, Liroy.

In broad strokes, the agreed-upon policy agenda gives evidence of a strong socially conservative character. It opposes, beside the bullying influence of the American media and political establishment, lax abortion laws as well as the ideological demands of LGBTQ and feminist activists. It calls for curtailing the massive flow of cheap labor into Poland, and firmly rejects the free-market positions of globalist corporations.

What made Confederation especially controversial in the run up to the May 2019 elections to the European Parliament was its sharp opposition to the Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today (JUST) Act, or Act 447, passed by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump. This law symbolized everything the Confederation Party opposed: both taking direction from an American hegemon, and allowing a leftist ideology to place blame on Polish taxpayers for the evil deeds done to both Jews and ethnic Poles during WWII, not by them, but by German and Soviet invaders. The legislation requires “reporting on acts of certain foreign countries on Holocaust era assets and related issues.” It obliges the State Department to submit to Congress a list of property lost by Jews during WWII, and then to support claims by Jewish organizations in seeking compensation from different countries, including Poland. As reported by the Warsaw Enterprise Institute:

As for Central and Eastern European countries, this stems from widespread Communist-era nationalization that affected entire societies, and not only those who survived the Holocaust. A document that shall determine the legal scope of restitution while being as a point for reference for the U.S. Secretary of State is the 2009 Terezin Declaration, a document calling for taking appropriate actions regarding the return of unlawfully seized assets, including heirless property. It may be noted that the Terezin Declaration is non-binding for Poland, being merely a declaration of countries that participate in a conference on the need to take actions concerning the return of Jewish assets.

As Confederation was quick to point out, the American law in fact legitimates the questionable claims of Jewish organizations pertaining to compensation for heirless property. Not only are Poles expected to pay compensation to people who no longer live in their land for what the Nazis and Soviets did to their relatives or other members of their ethnic group, they are also being required to pay into a fund set up by the Restitution Committee for those who died without heirs. The Confederation Party views such demands as attempted extortion.

“This is a shakedown supported by our supposed ‘greatest ally’” became the rallying cry of the Confederates. In May, days before the European elections, Confederation staged a protest rally in Warsaw, attended by thousands, including Poles from abroad, which ended at the gates of the American Embassy. The attendees demanded the government of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, which has meekly complied with American directives, unequivocally state that Poland will not satisfy outrageous demands from abroad. Until now, neither Morawiecki nor anyone from his administration have issued such a statement.

I will note that Confederation is not opposed to making restitution for or, if possible, restoring Jewish houses of worship and cemeteries that were damaged by Nazi thugs. Agreements about such matters were drawn up in 1997; and Confederation is not challenging the rightness of providing compensation to the newly established Jewish community in Poland. What they object to is the expectation that Poles deal with predominantly foreign Jewish claims before other claims submitted and—above all—that Poles must pay restitution into an organizational fund for the Jewish victims of WWII who died without descendants.

Condemned as anti-Semites, Fascists, bigots, homophobes, and stooges of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Confederates managed to garner the support of 4.5 percent of Polish voters in the European parliamentary elections. While not securing any seats in the European Parliament, Confederation began preparing for its Autumn offensive—the Polish parliamentary elections. Meanwhile, a falling out occurred between members of the original coalition, leaving only Korona, KORWiN, and the National Movement as the party’s three coalition partners.

Ridiculously, the existence of the party had been studiously ignored by Poland’s state-run television—which remains under the thumb of the establishment PiS conservatives. This is further evidence of the role played by the ruling Polish party in framing economic, foreign policy, and immigration issues.

Even so, the Confederation seems to have a future. Thanks to the deft use of social media, the new bad boys of Polish politics managed to secure over a million votes during the Polish elections (6.81 percent of the total). They were therefore able to declare their first major political victory, and sent 11 new energetic, mostly young MPs to the Sejm, where they can contend with the establishment in the lower house. As Aleks Szczerbiak has pointed out in the news portal, Notes from Poland:

Although Confederation’s influence will be limited by the fact that it only has 11 deputies (four short of the number required to form a parliamentary caucus and, therefore, table draft legislation), its presence in the new legislature means that PiS faces a challenger on its radical-right flank that will spare no opportunity to criticise the ruling party from free-market, nationalist and socially conservative perspectives.

This is exactly what the Confederates have been doing since October: calling out PiS for its indifference to the culture war and ridiculing its servile relationship with Washington, D.C., and Brussels.

As with other parties of the nationalist right, there has been no shortage of accusations linking Confederation to the Kremlin. The fact that Confederation advocates a realist outlook in foreign policy—a “multi-vector approach,” in Confederate-speak—shocks many analysts, politicians, and even ordinary Poles. They believe, as one authorized conservative journalist stated in a television program after the assassination of General Soleimani, that “American hegemony is an essential condition for maintaining Polish independence.” This viewpoint spoken by the Polish establishment sounds identical to U.S. neoconservative propaganda. Sadly, this is what passes for serious analysis in Poland these days.

The toxic atmosphere surrounding the Russian question is just as bad in Poland as it is in the United States. Anyone who dares step out of bounds is sure to be quickly labeled an agent of the Kremlin and asked how many rubles Putin has paid him. Confederation has crossed the Rubicon on this issue and stresses how PiS toadies to the American State Department on almost every major foreign policy issue. This is turning Poland into a banana republic that loudly proclaims its independence from Moscow, while faithfully serving as the American military-industrial complex’s lapdog in Eastern Europe.

As of this writing, Confederation is holding an American-style primary, the outcome of which will determine Confederation’s candidate for the highest office in the land. The current leader in terms of attracting electors is the young, technocratic, and highly articulate nationalist, Krzysztof Bosak, who is the MP and vice president of the National Movement. Bosak has been my close friend for almost 20 years. He gained national attention in 2005, when, at the age of 23, he was elected as the youngest MP in Poland’s history. Since then, he has become a leading figure of Poland’s resurgent nationalist right.

Also in the race are Braun, who has unfurled his Catholic and traditionalist credentials, Korwin-Mikke, who is an arch-enemy of socialism, and Magdalena Zietek-Wielomska, a “conservative feminist” who is highly critical of the economic destruction neoliberalism has wrought in Poland since 1989.

Confederation’s political future may best be served by choosing Bosak as its presidential candidate. Combative in debates, witty, and politically experienced, Bosak brings a youthful perspective into electoral contests as a member of the millennial generation. He also has the crucial ability to unite the libertarian, traditionalist, and nationalist wings of the party. For lack of a better term, Bosak is the most ecumenical of the candidates and, after Korwin-Mikke, certainly the most recognizable in our country.

A Polish version of the fusionist project has thus far managed to preserve its unity thanks to patience, a coherent strategy, and a prudent balancing of priorities, as well as common sense. Many predicted that with so many articulate figures within its ranks, Confederation would not last long, as faction leaders would contend for power. So far, nothing of the sort has happened, although undoubtedly Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who directs Poland’s ruling PiS party, would be delighted to see Confederation fall apart. This has been the unfortunate fate of many nationalist and conservative parties in the past.

Thanks to Confederation, it is no longer business as usual for PiS. A neoconservative, pro-cheap labor, pro-EU, Christian-in-name-only party that quakes before the LGBTQ lobby is neither “conservative” nor “patriotic.” It fully deserves to be unmasked, and Confederation has begun to do exactly that.

One can only hope that the last few months are but the opening stages of a multi-pronged political campaign, which will happily end in the unseating of the usurpers of the Polish right and bring to power an entity worthy of our nation’s traditions. Such a victory for the national right may also allow us to live and endure in a Western world that is now in moral as well as political and demographic crisis.

[Image via Grzegorz Banaszak/ZUMA Wire/Alamy Live News]