A poster advertising Robert Winnicki’s appearances on Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint this week

The following is an account from a Polish American Greenpointer who grew up in the neighborhood and whose parents are from Poland.

Where to begin about Robert Winnicki and his first trip ever to New York City?

How can I write anything positive about an obscure player in Polish politics who decided that his main role in life will be to repeat empty nationalist slogans?

As a Polish-American I think:

How do we out Winnicki as the worst type of opportunist? How do Polish Americans stop feeling angry that while he’s excited to turn his vacation into a mini-PR stunt for his own political gains that he’s also causing real harm to the Polish community here in NYC and Chicago (his next stop)? Does he realize that he’s an embarrassment to everyone living here?

When did Winnicki become interested in the American Polonia, and what has he done for us?

Is he here to endow a scholarship for an outstanding first-generation student who can’t afford to go to a private college? Is Winnicki here working with the retired Polish pensioners? Is he handing out food to the Polish homeless and visiting them in the Brooklyn shelters? Is Winnicki talking to Polish business leaders about how to fund Polish tech? Is he standing up for Polish people in court or paying for their lawyers? Is he supporting the Polish artists working in theater, fine art, design, and fashion? Did he launch an innovative project to promote Polish culture in the region? Is Winnicki curious at all who are the people working with the Polish community and has he met with them? Did he even at least visit the Polish Slavic Center?

Beyond staging a rally for — let’s be honest — himself, is Winnicki taking the time to do anything else here beyond posting videos from Central Park to his social media feeds? Is he really this self-absorbed and arrogant?

Did Winnicki just want to walk around New York City for the first time and wonder at the skyscrapers? Otherwise, what does he hope to achieve from this trip? Is there an election coming up and Winnicki is this hard up for votes back home? Does he realize that hundreds of thousands of Polish-Americans live in the Tri-state area and only around 100 showed up for his rally? Does that give him a clue as to how we feel about his platform?

Are all these questions expecting too much for Winnicki? Am I being unfair to expect that he care about what it means to be a Polish immigrant in the US or our issues? Am I being unfair to expect that if he’s going to come here — as a public figure — that he should at least leave the Polonia better off, instead of leaving us with the feeling of shame that someone like this gets mentioned in the American press?

What has Winnicki accomplished so far in his life? Did he publish any books? Did he open up his own company? Is he a medical researcher? An influential director? A well-known architect? Did he figure out a way to create new jobs in the Mazury region? Or, did he spend years doing a grueling manual labor job in a foreign land just so he could send money to his family back home? Has he adopted any orphans? In his free time, does he volunteer anywhere? Does he actually have any hobbies or interests? Does he have anything to be proud of?

Why does he talk like an excited little kid in his video posts from New York? Is this city everything he always dreamed of? Is he falling asleep tonight thinking about trying a bagel tomorrow while I ask myself how many more questions I need to write out before I stop feeling so disappointed?

Did he really just show up to give a speech full of far-right cliches and leave? Did he really want to ruin the image of Polish-Americans in under one week and make it harder for all of us or was that just an accidental byproduct of his selfishness and idiocy?

Why do people like Winnicki always like to get in front of the camera and debate about conspiracy theories, but never actually do any practical good for their people? Is it because they are too busy fighting invisible enemies to help their neighbors?

Mr. Winnicki, if it’s not already clear, you came to Greenpoint and embarrassed yourself and the Polish-American community. I hope you never have a chance to visit us again.

Join the Conversation

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  1. There have been three articles about this guy now and not one has had even a single example of his supposedly hateful rhetoric. That raises some serious red flags for me.

    1. There is a good ViceNews web article about” Poland’s populist government” which includes his movement.
      Winnikcki spreads his poison in various places.\
      Here is a dispatch from England from several ears ago:
      As reported in various places, extreme Polish right-winger Robert Winnicki was speaking in a number of venues across England and Wales last week. Winnicki is the honorary president of Młodzież Wszechpolska (MW) which translates as The All Polish Youth Movement, an extreme nationalistic, homophobic and anti-Semitic organisation. Winnicki himself is infamous for his speeches against “faggots” and saying that homosexuality is an illness that has to be cured, not accepted. During one of his speeches in 2012 he said “we are building a force of which faggots and leftists are so afraid”.
      He was due to speak in Cambridge, Aberystwyth, Bristol and London.
      The original advertised venues (mostly Catholic churches) appeared to know nothing about Winnicki speaking. The event in Cambridge took place despite protests in the Polonia Club as advertised. However, the Bristol event originally advertised for a church ended up taking place in  a pub after the church denied all knowledge. The event in Aberystwyth was originally advertised to take place in the University but ended up taking place in a secret location after protests from the Students Union, anti-fascists, LGBT and women’s groups.
      In London, Polish anti-fascists organised to oppose Winnicki. Members of London Anti-Fascists joined them. About 30 anti-fascists confronted approximately 60 Polish Nazis. One anti-fascist was arrested.

    2. Gcoff
      He spoke that the romantic uprisings which were bleeding out the nation weren’t good. In politics Poland must maneuver, suckers can’t survive. Poles must organize their own country and then not give up on the international arena.
      He spoke about patriotism, family, rising children to be good Poles. This is his hate speech, which irritated the author of the article, without a first and last name.

    3. Gcoff
      He spoke that the romantic uprisings which were bleeding out the nation weren’t good. In politics Poland must maneuver and suckers can’t survive. Poles must organize their own country and then not give up on the international arena.
      He spoke about patriotism, family, rising children to be good Poles.
      This is his hate speech, which irritated the author of the article, without a first and last name.

  2. Nie pozyskalem zadnej wiedzy po przeczytaniu tego artykulu. Kupa pytan nic wiecej. Co macie do co do Winnickiego? Chcialbym sie dowiedziec konkretow? Nie biore zadnej strony tu bo nie znam sie na polityce. Ale skoro spedzilem czas na przeczytanie tego artykulu, chcialbym sie przynajmniej dowiedziec tu setna problemu? “that he should at least leave the Polonia better off, instead of leaving us with the feeling of shame that someone like this gets mentioned in the American press?” – dla przykladu, czy mozna to wyjasnic?
    Ogolnie, bardzo stronnicowo napisany artykul i przede wszystkim bez zadnych konkretow. Chce polubic strone Greenpointers.com, ale jakosc pisma naprawde musi byc polepszona. To jest naprawde slabe.

  3. As David Bentley Hart once wrote, journalism is the art of translating abysmal ignorance into execrable prose. And here, ladies and gentlemen, we have before us no ordinary, run of the mill journalism, but the creme de la creme of the Greenpoint intelligentsia! We must therefore speak in reverent and hushed tones and prostrate ourselves before the magnificence of this august journal for the ages…

    But enough with the paeans to the Greenpoint elite. This article is nothing but a list of very basic questions, many of them very easily answered. The fact that the author poses them reflects rather poorly. Frankly, it makes the author look clueless and amateurish, someone who can’t even be bothered to do a few simple Google searches. Knowing fully well how leftist Polish parties employ their ilk in foreign papers to influence opinion and put international pressure on domestic politics, I would not be surprised if this author was just another third rate shill.

    Not only have you, dear author, not listed a single thing to corroborate your rather serious accusations, but you rather presumptuously arrogate onto yourself the authority of speaking for the majority of American Poles. I don’t know how you know that Winnicki’s supporters are in the minority. Perhaps its wishful thinking. What I do know is that the left has been growing more belligerent on the once hand, insecure on the other. Which dominates here is anyone’s guess. The author, of course, conveniently forgets that the group Winnicki represents is known for its grassroots origins, only recently entering politics after spending years on the outside. Meeting with Poles around the world is grassroots. But even if it weren’t, I would also find curious the author’s forgetfulness concerning the campaigning of other politicians of other parties.

    For these reasons, I encourage the author’s target audience to pay little heed to the author’s scare mongering. He, or she, offers little but empty insinuations and accusations either out of ignorance or out of ill will. Sad.

  4. Very biased and poor journalism. Whoever wrote this piece should be ashamed. have you even interviewed Mr. Winnicki? I for one have not met even one Pole who expressed his dissatisfaction with Mr. Winnicki. maybe we live in different worlds. Very easy to lable someone antisemite for not agreeing with someone’s ideology. I thought we lived in a world where tolerance is supposed to break walls. Why not sit down with Mr. Winnicki and his followers and ask a couple of question. I am sure he would be happy to answer. And most of all let the real journalism happen in the heart of Brooklyn. Half truths and hearsay will only lead to confusion and disinformation.

  5. Winnicki sieje panike wsrod was, temu taka nagonka na jego bo jest w 100% za Polska i przeciw jej grabierzy przez “kapeluszy” co sciskaja amerykanskich politykow i wiekszosc swiata za jaja.

  6. Love how these articles are never signed, and are always at the 3rd grade level. So much hate and racism. Ridiculous. And, please, stop calling yourselves Polish ‘immigrants’. You are note ones, and certainly do not speak for the Polish community.

  7. If there we wouldn’t have patriots like him in our history, Poland wouldn’t exist after World War 2, so get lost, Please

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