Tandem konserwatywny: Polonia brytyjska we współpracy z krajem po 1989 roku
CONSERVATIVE TANDEM: POLISH IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES IN GREAT BRITAIN IN COOPERATION WITH POLAND AFTER 1989
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The Polish immigrant community in Great Britain dates back to 1945 when due to the turmoil of the II World War and the post-war political situation around 200 000 Poles, mostly soldiers but also members of the political and intellectual elite, settled in the country. The identity of the steadfast, as they were soon called, normative in its nature and involving tight symbolic borders, was forged in sharp opposition to the communist regime as well as in social, political and economic depravation. Their energy was thus channelled into very rich yet, increasingly inner-centred and thus continuously ghettoised organizational activity. The impressive web of miscellaneous associations, organizations and institutions was established, which, on the one hand, facilitated accommodation of the migrants to the new conditions, yet, on the other, helped to sustain the exclusive anti-assimilationist identity by which the new incoming waves of Polish migrants could hardly be embraced. The present community of Polish origin is therefore fragmented: with the almost completely impregnable fortress of the steadfast at the centre and other forms of ethnic self-identification forming concentric circles outside. The organizations created by post-war migrants still exist in largely unchanged form and are still held by the steadfast. What is more, they act and are recognised by the Polish officials as the exclusive representatives of the Polish community in that country, even though, in many respects they do not meet criteria for being representative. The regime fall in Poland fostered a new phase of relations between the Polish community in Great Britain and the country of origin, which was by no means easy, as there was hardly any precedence to fall back on, not to mention the notorious heritage of the 1945-1989 period. It comes as no surprise that the present shape of mutual relations is far from satisfactory. What is more, the lack of developmental tendencies can mostly be attributed to the monopolization of official channels by the steadfast organizations in Great Britain, whereas in the country of origin by the conservative circles in the Senate and the Wspolnota Polska Association. Added to that, the overwhelming majority of initiatives within diasporic policies pursued by the Polish state are based on the concept of re-nationalisation.
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