National Capitalism, Anti-Semitism and Modernity. Modernization Discourse of Łódź’s Right-Wing in the First Years of Independence 1918-1923 Cover Image
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Narodowy kapitalizm, antysemityzm i nowoczesność. Dyskurs modernizacyjny łódzkiej prawicy w pierwszych latach niepodległości (1918-1923)
National Capitalism, Anti-Semitism and Modernity. Modernization Discourse of Łódź’s Right-Wing in the First Years of Independence 1918-1923

Author(s): Jacek Burski, Kamil Piskała
Subject(s): History, Recent History (1900 till today), History of Antisemitism
Published by: Żydowski Instytut Historyczny
Keywords: Łódź; right wing; national capitalism

Summary/Abstract: The first years of Poland’s regained independence saw the emergence of numerous programmes of profound reforms and a prospect of modernization. In the article in question, , using the Łódź right-wing press as an example, its authors reconstruct a local variant of the modernization discourse of that period as well as a vision of the political community that supported it. The conceptual and theoretical framework for the reconstruction pursued here is the poststructuralist theory of discourse (in particular the research procedure proposed by Jason Glynos and David Howarth). The authors prove that the figure of a “Jew” and the anti-Semitic rhetoric constituted the core of that discourse and played a crucial role in the mechanisms of political mobilization that were characteristic of it. In the “nationalist capitalist” vision, the Jews were castigated not only as “aliens” but also as the basic obstacle to the attainment of a quasi-utopian stat of social contentment and prosperity. That objective was attained through accusing the Jews of responsibility for the inherent contradictions of capitalism (e.g. unemployment, business cycles, competition, class conflict, etc.). Entering culturally embedded anti-Semitic clichés in the broader economic and social context, and also tying them to a vista of future social harmony, added to their potential to mobilize support, largely determining the considerable influence of the nationalist right wing of Łódź in the interwar period.

  • Issue Year: 258/2016
  • Issue No: 02
  • Page Range: 323-349
  • Page Count: 27
  • Language: Polish