Kate Korycki (Western University): Nostalgic Longings and Liberal Causes of the Right-Wing Populist Turn

Relying on the insights of collective memory literature which posits narratives of the past are always woven for the present day needs of the storytellers, this talk uses the political classes of post-communist Poland to articulate both causes and constitutive features of the present-day right-wing populism. In doing so, it looks to material conditions faced by the populations and then it examines how those conditions are represented and addressed in the speech of liberal and right-wing populist parties. The talk thus considers the implication of nostalgic, memory-oriented narratives in the current anti-liberal turn. The talk then tests the proposition on the recent events in Canada, which involve Freedom Convoys occupying Ottawa in the name of nostalgically-inflected visions of the past and the subsequent right-wing turn of Canadian conservative parties. In other words, the talk treats Eastern Europe as an incubator and modeller of nostalgic politics, adapted and modified in North American contexts.