Conversations with a Polish populist: Tracing hidden histories of globalization, class, and dispossession in postsocialism (and beyond):

DON KALB

ABSTRACT

Building on the work of Jonathan Friedman and of Andre Gingrich and Marcus Banks, I explain the rise of populist, neonationalist sensibilities in Poland as a set of defensive responses by working-class people to the silences imposed by liberal rule. I trace in detail a sequence of all-around dispossessions experienced by Polish working-class sodalities since 1989, when activists with substantial legitimacy among organized workers had claimed de facto and de jure control over assets crucial for working-class reproduction. "Democratization“ and "markets“ were shrewd legal ways by which the new liberal capitalist state reappropriated and recentralized those assets from local constituencies. Meanwhile, the reputation of workers, whose fights with the party-state had been essential for regaining national sovereignty and establishing parliamentary democracy, was systematically annihilated in the public sphere by discourses of "internal orientalism.“[postsocialism, dispossession, class, neonationalism, populism, neoliberalism, globalization, privatization, Europe]