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May 1, 2020-2020


Polish Grannies vs. the right-wing ruling party



Polish Grannies


Neofascist government


Neofascism is poisonous to the commonwealth and the neofascist govt. must resign.


Issue and Opposition: Poland’s right-wing government is a major source of concern for a section of Polish citizens, especially those who belong to marginalized populations (e.g. LGBTQ and immigrants) and women in general. The ruling party- translated in English as Law and Justice and abbreviated in Polish as PiS is a nationalist party with an ultra-conservative ideological background. PIS came to power in 2005 winning both parliamentary and presidential elections. Leading a coalition government in 2005 and 2007, PIS once again won the presidential election in 2015 and a landslide victory in the parliamentary election in the same year. The election results were repeated in the 2019 and 2020 parliamentary elections in which PIS won majority seats. During its initial days, PIS posed itself as a political party running on Democratic lines although Christianity still had a central role in its infrastructure. However, with time, the party slowly deviated from its centrist position and began leaning and then adhering to right-wing sentiments. Ever since then, through its policies and legislation, PIS has established itself as a conservative party adverse to minority and women’s freedom and rights. After its re-election in 2020, an activist group named Polish Grannies formed mainly of older women began peacefully campaigning against PIS. This dilemma action is one of many such anti-fascist actions organized by this activist group.
Dilemma Action: For the old women of the activist group Polish Grannies, Poland’s present fascist rule was a reminder of the Holocaust and later atrocities under the Soviet occupation. The Polish grandmothers gathered on the streets and put up anti-government posters, showing their discontent with the conservative rule. The protesters used their advanced age in their favor, reasoning that no government would like to hurt a group of protesting grandmothers.
Outcome: Protesting elderly women in Poland used stereotyped as senior citizens demanding that more authority should be given to the church and religion-Christianity- should be the guiding principle of the government. By organizing themselves into this grassroots anti-fascist and pro-minority movement, the Polish older women have managed to challenge that stereotype. The group has a Facebook page and is loved on social media. Through their mass gatherings, the protesters have managed to find supporters globally and have created awareness about the oppressive right-wing rule in Poland. However, besides that, the group has not achieved anything more material.


Self-determination / Independence


Assemblies of protest or support



8 / 12

(MC) Media Coverage

(MSYMP) Media coverage was sympathetic to the activists

(OR) Opponent response

(PS) Dilemma action built sympathy with the public

(PUN) Punishment favored the activists

(REFR) Dilemma action reframed the narrative of the opponent

(RF) Dilemma action reduced fear and/or apathy among the activists

(SA) Dilemma action appealed to a broad segment of the public


3 / 3

Activist group continued working together after the action

Encouraged more participants to join the movement

Internally replicated by the same movement


Project documentation

Dilemma Actions Coding Guidebook

Case study documentation


CC BY 4.0 Deed, Attribution 4.0 International


Soguel, Dominique. 2020. “Polish Grannies vs. the right-wing: Europe’s unlikely democracy defenders,” The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved July 23, 2023. (https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2020/0511/Polish-Grannies-vs.-the-right-wing-Europe-s-unlikely-democracy-defenders).

Padgett, Donald. 2020. “These Grannies Are Fighting Nazis For Queer Rights,” Out. Retrieved July 23, 2023. (https://www.out.com/activism/2020/5/12/these-grannies-are-fighting-nazis-queer-rights).

Soguel, D., & Rębała, M. 2020. “Polish Grannies vs. the right-wing: Europe’s unlikely democracy defenders,” The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved July 23, 2023. (https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2020/0511/Polish-Grannies-vs.-the-right-wing-Europe-s-unlikely-democracy-defenders).

Deutsche Welle. 2021. “Polish grannies demonstrate for democracy,” DW. Retrieved July 23, 2023. (https://www.dw.com/en/polish-grannies-demonstrate-for-democracy/a-57448632).

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