Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party has drawn international attention with its hard-line right-wing rhetoric and policies on a range of issues, from immigration to LGBT rights to attempts to gain control over formerly independent institutions such as the judiciary and the media. Some critical voices in Poland and elsewhere have drawn comparisons with fascism. The party denounces such parallels, pointing out that Poland suffered Nazi occupation, even though it venerates Polish politicians of the World War II era who espoused positions such as eliminationist anti-Semitism. To avoid such impasses created by raising fascism in analyses of contemporary politics, this essay proposes using Poland as a case study for a new category of analysis: Right-wing Exclusionary Nationalist Popular Illiberalism, encompassing both classic fascism and today’s right-wing populism.

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