Gender = Communism – Is Poland’s right-wing discourse lazy or sinisterly simple and effective?

By Frank

Going into this week’s readings, in particular the ones about Poland, I had a thought: Is there a dynamic going on where mainstream politicians and institutions are borrowing (and normalizing) anti-LGBTQ rhetoric from fringe far-right parties, similar to what happened in Hungary with Islamophobic discourse (if you recall Ivan Kalmar’s article from last week)? It appears to me that, in the Polish case, this discourse is actually coming straight from Law and Justice politicians, President Andrej Duda, the Catholic Church.

One example (of many) was the comparison of “gender” to Marxism and communism. As Zuk (2019) highlights, this is a conscious act of persuasive inference to discredit the LGBT gender and sexual identities, as well as pro-abortion policy. This discourse also lumps together many of the Catholic Church and right-wing’s “enemies” into a single, easy-to-denounce category, absolving any of the nuance or differences between these issues. In the vice video, Duda’s campaign speech that denounces “gender” as the (even more dangerous) successor to Marxism. To the Catholic Church, “gender” is supposed to be a new version of dangerous, leftist ideologies, a new disguise of Marxism, which this time took the ‘cultural’ rather than the ‘economic’ form (Zuk, 2019)

This type of rhetoric not only positions gender as an ideology (which is highly problematic), but also portrays it as a threat tantamount to communism that the Polish people must be protected from. It fans the fear of national fragility, that when Poles or Hungarians or French nationalists, fear a perceived tyranny of a minority (LGBTQ, Muslim, Romani, etc.) that is seeking to undermine the values of the majority.

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