To skip this introduction and go directly to read Adam Chmielewski’s In-Depth Analysis “Academies of Hatred – Part 2,” click here.
Part 2 of Academies of Hatred takes off where Part 1 ended, concluding with a critical account of the present cultural and political dangers facing Poland. Chmielewski links the disruption of Bauman’s lecture to the argument of the lecture. Bauman presented a critique of Poland, and Europe’s more generally, neo-liberal path, and specifically the Social Democrats’ complicity in this. The rise of the xenophobic right is materially a consequence of such policies, Chmielewski maintains. I am not as sure as he is that there is a direct connection between neo-liberalism and the politics of hatred, such politics seems to have a life of its own, but no doubt the production of extreme inequality and the absence of decent life chances for many young people are factors. And as Chmielewski shows here, those who would fight for norms and values that stand as alternatives to the blind workings of the market, those who would work for, to take a key example, the value of free intellectual exchange and the autonomy of the university, do not have the means to fight against direct political assaults and systematic underfunding.
In my piece on the Bauman affair, I warned of a new treason of intellectuals, intellectuals who worried about their security and personal interests and didn’t defend the ideals of free inquiry. Here we see the difficulties: authorities who don’t understand their legal responsibilities to include the integrity of the university, rectors who don’t have the material means to defend their institutions, a minister of higher education who writes a letter against the interference by neo-fascists of the Bauman lecture, but doesn’t formulate policies to address the problem. All of this pushed forward by real intellectual treason, by professors who abandon their role as scholars, who become populist propagandists, such as the one described by Chmielewski, calling for the purge of Stalinists from the university, in full bad faith at the monument of the first king of Poland, Bolesław Chrobry, Bolesław The Great, 967-1025.
Chmielewski sees a rather dark future of Polish academic life: a situation where those with different opinions and identities will feel threatened, where the unconventional will be under siege and protecting the unconventional will become a persistent expenditure. And ironically it will be a lose – lose situation, if the expenditure is made, Chmielewski worries the quality of scholarship under siege is not likely to be very good, while if the expenditure is not made, there will be no scholarship. The new treason of the intellectuals, we see here, has significant social and political supports.
Chmielewski ends on a very pessimistic note, perhaps too pessimistic. After all Bauman gave his lecture and many heard and appreciated it. The University of Wroclaw has not yet closed down, far from it. And Chmielewski has reported on the event. There is resistance to the lessons of the Academies of Hatred. A serious battle rages, and as with the Dreyfus affair, a nation’s future is on the line.
To read Adam Chmielewski’s In-Depth Analysis “Academies of Hatred – Part 2,” click here.