Seeing The Effects of Mass Migration in Western Europe Turns Young Poles Populist

GettyImages-872856494 (1)
Getty Images

In a piece perpetuating the perception of annual independence day celebrations in Poland as a “far right” festival, Britain’s Guardian newspaper has inadvertently identified an unexpected side effect of European free movement of labour — the growth of populist-right ideas among young Poles.

Rather than right-wing views becoming more prevalent among those ‘left behind’ by globalism and the breaking down of borders — a common trope repeated about a perceived lack of education among Brexit voters by sneering remainers — anti-mass migration views may actually be encouraged in Eastern European nations by their best travelled and internationalist citizens.

Trying to find sense in the continued growth of nationalist, populist politics in central and European nations including in Poland — which saw a 60,000 strong independence day march in the national capital Warsaw Saturday, the Guardian quotes Aleks Szczerbiak, a professor of politics at the University of Sussex who explains going abroad and seeing life in Western Europe had the opposite effect.

The academic said: “It was long assumed that young Poles would come to the west and become more secular, multicultural and liberal, and that they would re-export those things back to Poland. But instead their experience of the west seems to have reinforced their social conservatism and traditionalism in many ways.”

The paper also quoted the remarks of former member of the Polish parliament Krzysztof Bosak, who now organises for the National Movement — an organisation the Guardian calls “ultra nationalist” — who explained the experiences of many Poles living in Western Europe turned them away from liberalism. He said: “So many young people travelled to work in western countries, and then came back and told their friends and families what was going on in western Europe.

“They told them about the process of exchange of population, by which people of European origin are replaced by people from Africa and Asia, and about Islamisation.”

Although Saturday’s march has been variously described in Western media as far-right and even white nationalist, the organisers and Polish government has rejected the claims.

Rejecting the idea that the march was dominated by radical elements as “purely incidental” and “unwarranted”, the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement of the march: “It was attended by thousands of people who wanted to peacefully manifest their patriotic feelings. For Poles, who differ in their opinions but who share the same values like freedom, like allegiance to their Independent Homeland, the march was a big occasion to celebrate.”

Follow Oliver Lane on Facebook, Twitter: or e-mail: olane[at]



Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.