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Polish youth becoming more nationalistic, claim sociologists

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 27.02.2013 10:47
The disruption of two public lectures at Polish universities by young nationalists over the last fortnight echoes a definite trend, sociologists claim.

Warsaw
Warsaw University protest Feb. 19th: Youtube

“Over the last few years in Poland, there have been clear signs testifying to the radicalisation of young people,” said Dr. Jan Poleszczuk, sociologist at the University of Bialystok, in an interview with the Polish Press Agency (PAP).

On 19 February, masked young men forced their way into a lecture hall prior to a public talk by prominent left-wing professor Magdalena Srode at Warsaw University, shouting “Down with communism.”

Four days later, a similar incident occurred involving masked young men during a lecture at the Radom Academy of Social and Technical Sciences given by Adam Michnik, former Solidarity activist and current editor-in-chief of the liberal Gazeta Wyborcza daily.

The organisers of a debate on civil partnerships due to take place on Monday at the University of Gdansk cancelled the event, fearing similar developments.

In the opinion of Dr Poleszczuk, it is above all young men who are being lured towards radicalism.

“Today, the young man feels lost in society, he feels discouraged, frustrated and aggressive,” Poleszczuk claimed.

“Their radicalism may increase owing to difficulties in entering the labour market,” he noted.

Earlier this month, demographer Professor Krystyna Iglicka from Warsaw's Lazarski University told the Dziennik Gazeta Prawna that “research shows that 64 percent of young Poles feel that only work and a life abroad will be able to give them some kind of chance for the future.”

Meanwhile, sociologist Dr Lukasz Jurczysyn has noted that the radicalisation of youth is not only evident on the right, citing an incident this January when a Warsaw boutique of fashion designer Maciej Zien was vandalised, as part of a string of similar attacks claimed by anti-capitalist group 15WO8.

Dr Jurczysyn also told PAP that ejecting demonstrators from lecture halls provided no long-term solution.

He stressed that such actions may only force radical students underground, which could exacerbate the problem.

“We must all learn to debate, and it's not that easy,” he said. (nh)

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