|Full name||Independent Self-governing Trade Union "Solidarity"|
|Native name||Niezależny Samorządny Związek Zawodowy "Solidarność"|
|Founded||17 September 1980|
|Members||Almost 10 million at the end of the first year; over 400,000 in 2011 (680,000 in 2010)|
|Affiliation||ITUC, ETUC, TUAC|
|Key people||Anna Walentynowicz, Lech Wałęsa|
|Office location||Gdańsk, Poland|
|Website||Solidarnosc.org.pl (in English)|
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Solidarity (Polish : Solidarność, pronounced [sɔlʲiˈdarnɔɕt͡ɕ] (
Polish is a West Slavic language of the Lechitic group. It is spoken primarily in Poland and serves as the native language of the Poles. In addition to being an official language of Poland, it is also used by Polish minorities in other countries. There are over 50 million Polish language speakers around the world and it is one of the official languages of the European Union.
Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres (120,733 sq mi), and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With a population of approximately 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, and Szczecin.
Gdańsk Shipyard is a large Polish shipyard, located in the city of Gdańsk. The yard gained international fame when Solidarity (Solidarność) was founded there in September 1980. It is situated on the left side of Martwa Wisła and on Ostrów Island.
In the 1980s, Solidarity was a broad anti-bureaucratic social movement, using the methods of civil resistance to advance the causes of workers' rights and social change.The government attempted to destroy the union by imposing martial law in Poland, which lasted from December 1981 to July 1983 and was followed by several years of political repression from 8 October 1982, but in the end it was forced to negotiate with Solidarity. In the union's clandestine years, Pope John Paul II and the United States provided significant financial support, estimated to be as much as 50 million US dollars.
A social movement is a type of group action. There is no single consensus definition of a social movement. They are large, sometimes informal, groupings of individuals or organizations which focus on specific political or social issues. In other words, they carry out, resist, or undo a social change. They provide a way of social change from the bottom within nations.
Civil resistance is political action that relies on the use of nonviolent resistance by civil groups to challenge a particular power, force, policy or regime. Civil resistance operates through appeals to the adversary, pressure and coercion: it can involve systematic attempts to undermine the adversary's sources of power, both domestic and international. Forms of action have included demonstrations, vigils and petitions; strikes, go-slows, boycotts and emigration movements; and sit-ins, occupations, and the creation of parallel institutions of government. Civil resistance movements' motivations for avoiding violence are generally related to context, including a society's values and its experience of war and violence, rather than to any absolute ethical principle. Cases of civil resistance can be found throughout history and in many modern struggles, against both tyrannical rulers and democratically elected governments. The phenomenon of civil resistance is often associated with the advancement of democracy.
Social change involves alteration of the social order of a society. It may include changes in social institutions, social behaviours or social relations.
The round table talks between the government and the Solidarity-led opposition led to semi-free elections in 1989. By the end of August, a Solidarity-led coalition government was formed. In December 1990, Wałęsa was elected President of Poland. Since then, Solidarity has become a more traditional liberal trade union. Its membership had dropped to 680,000 by 2010and 400,000 by 2011.
The Polish Round Table Talks took place in Warsaw, Poland from 6 February to 5 April 1989. The government initiated the discussion with the banned trade union Solidarność and other opposition groups in an attempt to defuse growing social unrest.
The President of the Republic of Poland is the head of state of Poland. Their rights and obligations are determined in the Constitution of Poland. The president heads the executive branch. In addition the president has a right to dissolve the parliament in certain cases and represents Poland in the international arena.
Liberalism is a political and moral philosophy based on liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but they generally support limited government, individual rights, capitalism, democracy, secularism, gender equality, racial equality, internationalism, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion.
In the 1970s Poland's government raised food prices while wages stagnated. This and other stresses led to protests in 1976 and a subsequent government crackdown on dissent. The KOR, the ROPCIO and other groups began to form underground networks to monitor and oppose the government's behavior. Labour unions formed an important part of this network. billion by 1980.In 1979, the Polish economy shrank for the first time since World War II, by 2 percent. Foreign debt reached around $18
June 1976 is the name of a series of protests and demonstrations in People's Republic of Poland. The protests took place after Prime Minister Piotr Jaroszewicz revealed the plan for a sudden increase in the price of many basic commodities, particularly foodstuffs. Prices in Poland were at that time fixed, and controlled by the government, which was falling into increasing debt.
The Workers' Defense Committee was a Polish civil society group that was founded by Antoni Macierewicz to give aid to prisoners and their families after the June 1976 protests and ensuing government crackdown. KOR was an example of successful social organizing based on specific issues relevant to the public's daily lives. It was a precursor and inspiration for efforts of the Solidarity trade union a few years later.
Movement for Defense of Human and Civic Rights was a right-wing political and social organization formed in People's Republic of Poland in March 1977. It tried to resist the regime by denouncing it for violating Polish and international laws including the Constitution of the People's Republic of Poland and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Anna Walentynowicz was fired from the Gdańsk Shipyard on 7 August 1980, five months before she was due to retire, for participation in the illegal trade union. This management decision enraged the workers of the shipyard, who staged a strike action on 14 August defending Anna Walentynowicz and demanding her return. She and Alina Pienkowska transformed a strike over bread and butter issues into a solidarity strike in sympathy with strikes on other establishments.
Anna Walentynowicz was a Polish free trade union activist and co-founder of Solidarity, the first non-communist trade union in the Eastern Bloc. Her firing from her job at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk in August 1980 was the event that ignited the strike at the shipyard, set off a wave of strikes across Poland, and quickly paralyzed the Baltic coast. The Interfactory Strike Committee (MKS) based in the Gdańsk shipyard eventually transformed itself into Solidarity; by September, more than one million workers were on strike in support of the 21 demands of MKS, making it the largest strike ever.
Alina Barbara Pienkowska was a Polish free trade union activist and a Senator for Gdańsk. She was involved in the creation of Solidarity, of which she was a member of its organizing committee.
Solidarity emerged on 31 August 1980 at the Gdańsk Shipyard when the communist government of Poland signed the agreement allowing for its existence. On 17 September 1980, over twenty Inter-factory Founding Committees of free trade unions merged at the congress into one national organization NSZZ Solidarity.It officially registered on 10 November 1980.
The Gdańsk Agreement was an accord reached as a direct result of the strikes that took place in Gdańsk, Poland. Workers along the Baltic went on strike in August 1980 in support of the 21 demands of MKS which eventually led to the creation of Solidarity.
Lech Wałęsa and others formed a broad anti-Soviet social movement ranging from people associated with the Catholic Church [ self-published source ] In September 1981 Solidarity's first national congress elected Wałęsa as a president and adopted a republican program, the "Self-governing Republic". The government attempted to destroy the union with the martial law of 1981 and several years of repression, but in the end it had to start negotiating with the union.to members of the anti-Soviet left. Solidarity advocated non-violence in its members' activities.
Roundtable Talks between the government and Solidarity-led opposition led to semi-free elections in 1989. By the end of August a Solidarity-led coalition government was formed, and in December Tadeusz Mazowiecki was elected Prime Minister. Since 1989 Solidarity has become a more traditional trade union, and had relatively little impact on the political scene of Poland in the early 1990s. A political arm founded in 1996 as Solidarity Electoral Action (AWS) won the parliamentary election in 1997, but lost the following 2001 election. Currently, as a political party Solidarity has little influence on modern Polish politics.
Unlike the Carter Administration, the Reagan policies supported the Solidarity movement in Poland, and—based on CIA intelligence—waged a public relations campaign to deter what the Carter administration felt was "an imminent move by large Soviet military forces into Poland." million yearly in cash to Solidarity, for a total of $10 million over five years. There were no direct links between the CIA and Solidarnosc, and all money was channeled through third parties. CIA officers were barred from meeting Solidarity leaders, and the CIA's contacts with Solidarnosc activists were weaker than those of the AFL-CIO, which raised $300,000 from its members, which were used to provide material and cash directly to Solidarity, with no control of Solidarity's use of it. The U.S. Congress authorized the National Endowment for Democracy to promote democracy, and the NED allocated $10 million to Solidarity.Michael Reisman from Yale Law School named operations in Poland as one of the covert actions of CIA during Cold War. Colonel Ryszard Kukliński, a senior officer on the Polish General Staff was secretly sending reports to CIA officer David Forden. The CIA transferred around $2
When the Polish government launched martial law in December 1981, however, Solidarity was not alerted. Potential explanations for this vary; some believe that the CIA was caught off guard, while others suggest that American policy-makers viewed an internal crackdown as preferable to an "inevitable Soviet intervention."CIA support for Solidarity included money, equipment and training, which was coordinated by Special Operations. Henry Hyde, U.S. House intelligence committee member, stated that the USA provided "supplies and technical assistance in terms of clandestine newspapers, broadcasting, propaganda, money, organizational help and advice". Initial funds for covert actions by CIA were $2 million, but soon after authorization were increased and by 1985 CIA successfully infiltrated Poland.
In Sollicitudo rei socialis , a major document of Catholic Social Teaching, Pope John Paul II identifies the concept of solidarity with the poor and marginalized as a constitutive element of the Gospel and human participation in the common good. The Roman Catholic Church, under the leadership of Pope John Paul II, was a very powerful supporter of the union and was greatly responsible for its success. Wałęsa, who himself publicly displayed Catholic piety, confirmed the Pope's influence, saying: "The Holy Father, through his meetings, demonstrated how numerous we were. He told us not to be afraid."
In addition, the priest Jerzy Popiełuszko, who regularly gave sermons to the striking workers, was eventually killed by the Communist regime for his association with Solidarity. Polish workers themselves were closely associated with the Church, which can be seen in the photographs taken during strikes in the 1980s. On the walls of several factories, portraits of the Virgin Mary or John Paul II were visible.
In 2017, Solidarity backed a proposal to instate blue laws that would prohibit Sunday shopping, a move supported by Polish bishops.A 2018 new Polish law banning almost all trade on Sundays has taken effect, with large supermarkets and most other retailers closed for the first time since liberal shopping laws were introduced in the 1990s. The Law and Justice party passed the legislation with the support of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
Although Leszek Kołakowski's works were officially banned in Poland, and he lived outside the country from the late 1960s, the philosopher's ideas nonetheless exerted an influence on the Solidarity movement. Underground copies of his books and essays shaped the opinions of the Polish intellectual opposition. His 1971 essay Theses on Hope and Hopelessness, which suggested that self-organized social groups could gradually expand the spheres of civil society in a totalitarian state, helped inspire the dissident movements of the 1970s that led to the creation of Solidarity and provided a philosophical underpinning for the movement.
Kołakowski later described Solidarity as "perhaps [the] closest to the working class revolution" that Karl Marx had predicted in the mid-1800s. Ironically, however, Solidarity featured many elements contrary to socialism as conceived by Marx: "[workers organized] against the exploiters, that is to say, the state. And this solitary example of a working class revolution (if even this may be counted) was directed against a socialist state, and carried out under the sign of the cross, with the blessing of the Pope."
The survival of Solidarity was an unprecedented event not only in Poland, a satellite state of the USSR ruled (in practice) by a one-party Communist regime, but the whole of the Eastern bloc. It meant a break in the hard-line stance of the communist Polish United Workers' Party, which had bloodily ended a 1970 protest with machine gun fire (killing over thirty and injuring over 1,000), and the broader Soviet communist regime in the Eastern Bloc, which had quelled both the 1956 Hungarian Uprising and the 1968 Prague Spring with Soviet-led invasions.
Solidarity's influence led to the intensification and spread of anti-communist ideals and movements throughout the countries of the Eastern Bloc, weakening their communist governments. As a result of the Round Table Agreement between the Polish government and the Solidarity-led opposition, elections were held in Poland on 4 June 1989, in which the opposition were allowed to field candidates against the Communist Party—the first free elections in any Soviet bloc country. A new upper chamber (the Senate) was created in the Polish parliament and all of its 100 seats were contestable in the election, as well as one third of the seats in the more important lower chamber (the Sejm). Solidarity won 99 of the 100 Senate seats and all 161 contestable seats in the Sejm—a victory that also triggered a chain reaction across the Soviet Union's satellite states, leading to almost entirely peaceful anti-communist revolutions in Central and Eastern Europeknown as the Revolutions of 1989 (Jesień Ludów or Wiosna Obywatelów), which ended in the overthrow of each Moscow-imposed regime, and ultimately to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.
Given the union's support from many western governments, relations with trade unions in capitalist countries could be complicated. For example, during the UK miners' strike of 1984–85, Wałęsa said that "The miners should fight, but with common sense—not with destruction" and said of Margaret Thatcher "With such a wise and brave woman, Britain will find a solution to the strike." However, David Jastrzębski, the president of Upper Silesia Solidarity, voiced his support of the striking miners: "Neither the British government's mounted police charges nor its truncheon blows, any more than the Polish junta's tanks or rifle fire, can break our common will to struggle for a better future for the working class."This was despite the fact that Arthur Scargill, president of the British National Union of Mineworkers had been highly critical of Solidarity, condemning it as an "anti-socialist organization which desires the overthrow of a socialist state".
In late 2008, several democratic opposition groups in the Russian Federation formed a Solidarity movement.
In the United States, the American Solidarity Party (formerly the Christian Democratic Party USA), a Christian democratic political party, attributes its namesake to Solidarity.
In a 2011 essay "The Jacobin Spirit" in the American magazine Jacobin, philosopher Slavoj Zizek called Solidarnosc' one of the "free spaces at a distance from state power" that used "defensive violence" to protect itself from state control. The notion of "defensive violence" runs in the vein of ideas postulated by Alain Badiou.
The union was officially founded on 17 September 1980,the union's supreme powers were vested in a legislative body, the Convention of Delegates (Zjazd Delegatów). The executive branch was the National Coordinating Commission (Krajowa Komisja Porozumiewawcza), later renamed the National Commission (Komisja Krajowa). The Union had a regional structure, comprising 38 regions (region) and two districts (okręg). At its highest, the Union had over 10 million members, which became the largest union membership in the world. During the communist era the 38 regional delegates were arrested and jailed when martial law came into effect on 13 December 1981 under General Wojciech Jaruzelski. After a one-year prison term the high-ranking members of the union were offered one way trips to any country accepting them (including Canada, the United States, and nations in the Middle East).
Solidarity was organized as an industrial union, or more specifically according to the One Big Union principle, along the lines of the Industrial Workers of the World and the Spanish Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (workers in every trade were organized by region, rather than by craft).
In 2010, Solidarity had more than 400,000 members.National Commission of Independent Self-Governing Trade Union is located in Gdańsk and is composed of Delegates from Regional General Congresses.
Solidarity is divided into 37 regions, and the territorial structure to a large degree reflects the shape of Polish voivodeships, established in 1975 and annulled in 1998 (see: Administrative division of People's Republic of Poland). The regions are:
The network of Solidarity branches of the key factories of Poland was created on 14 April 1981 in Gdańsk. It was made of representatives of seventeen factories; each stood for the most important factory of every voivodeship of the pre-1975 Poland (see: Administrative division of People's Republic of Poland). However, there were two exceptions. There was no representative of the Koszalin Voivodeship, and the Katowice Voivodeship was represented by two factories:
|Gdańsk||Vladimir Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk|
|Poznań||H. Cegielski - Poznań S.A.|
|Bydgoszcz||Rail Vehicles Repair Shop|
|Zielona Góra||Rolling Stock and Steel Works Zastal in Zielona Góra|
|Katowice||Wujek Coal Mine in Katowice|
|The Spare Parts Factory Zgoda in Świętochłowice|
|Kraków||Vladimir Lenin Steelworks in Nowa Huta|
|Wrocław||Rail Carriage Factory Pafawag in Wrocław|
|Rzeszów||Factory of Communication Equipment WSK in Rzeszów|
|Białystok||Cotton Works Fasty in Białystok|
|Kielce||Ball Bearings Factory Iskra in Kielce|
|Olsztyn||Tire Company Stomil in Olsztyn|
|Lublin||Factory of Communication Equipment PZL in Świdnik|
|Łódź||Julian Marchlewski Cotton Works in Łódź|
|Warsaw||Ursus Factory in Warsaw|
|Opole||Malapanew Steelworks in Ozimek|
The Polish United Workers' Party was the Communist party which governed the Polish People's Republic from 1948 to 1989. Ideologically it was based on the theories of Marxism-Leninism. It also controlled the armed forces, the Polish People's Army.
Andrzej Gwiazda is an engineer and prominent opposition leader, who participated in Polish March 1968 Events and December 1970 Events; one of the founders of Free Trade Unions, Member of the Presiding Committee of the Strike at Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk in August 1980, Vice President of the Founding Committee of Solidarity, then Vice President of Solidarity in 1980 and 1981; in December 1981 interned and next imprisoned with six other Solidarność leaders. His wife, Joanna Duda-Gwiazda also was a prominent member of the anticommunist opposition in the 1970s and 1980s.
The history of Poland from 1945 to 1989 spans the period of Soviet dominance and communist rule imposed after the end of World War II over Poland, as reestablished within new borders. These years, while featuring general industrialization and urbanization and many improvements in the standard of living, were marred by social unrest, political strife and severe economic difficulties.
Bogdan Michał Borusewicz, was the Marshal in the Polish Senate from 20 October 2005 to 11 November 2015. Borusewicz was a democratic opposition activist under the Communist regime, a member of the Polish parliament (Sejm) for three terms and first Senate Marshal to serve two terms in this office. He was the acting president of Poland for a few hours in 2010.
Bogdan Jerzy Lis worked in Port of Gdańsk and Elmor company. Between 1971 and 1972 he was imprisoned for his participation in the anti-governmental coastal cities protests. Although in 1975 he joined the Polish United Workers Party, in 1978 he was one of the founders of the anti-government Free Trade Unions of the Coast. In mid-1980 he organized the strike in Elmor, and took part in the creation of the Inter-Enterprise Strike Committee and soon afterwards, together with Lech Wałęsa and others, of the NSZZ Solidarity itself.
Free Trade Unions of the Coast were a government-independent trade union in the People's Republic of Poland.
Inter-Enterprise Strike Committee was an action strike committee formed in Gdańsk Shipyard, People's Republic of Poland on 16 August 1980. It was led by Lech Wałęsa and others and is famous for issuing the 21 demands of MKS on 17 August, that eventually led to the Gdańsk Agreement and creation of Solidarity.
Independent Students’ Association is a Polish student society, created in October 1980, in the aftermath of the Gdańsk Agreement and the anti-government strike actions. It was a student arm, or suborganization, of Solidarity, and together with it, as well as other similar organizations, was banned after the martial law in Poland,. Some activists were arrested, others organized an underground NZS. After the fall of communism in 1989, the organization was recreated, and its focus changed from political to cultural, although it still stands by its origins as seen by Polish students’ support for the Orange Revolution in Ukraine. It now is the largest independent student organization in Poland, with 90 chapters at Polish universities and a total of 20,000 members.
The history of Solidarity, a Polish non-governmental trade union, began on August 14, 1980, at the Lenin Shipyards at its founding by Lech Wałęsa and others. In the early 1980s, it became the first independent labor union in a Soviet-bloc country. Solidarity gave rise to a broad, non-violent, anti-communist social movement that, at its height, claimed some 9.4 million members. It is considered to have contributed greatly to the fall of communism.
Mieczysław Zygmunt Jagielski was a Polish politician and economist. During the times of the People's Republic of Poland he was the last leading politician from the former eastern regions of pre-Second World War Poland.
In the early spring of 1981, the quickly growing Solidarity movement faced one of the biggest challenges in its short history, when during the Bydgoszcz events, several members of Solidarity, including Jan Rulewski, Mariusz Łabentowicz and Roman Bartoszcze, were brutally beaten up by the security services, such as Milicja Obywatelska and ZOMO. The Bydgoszcz events soon became widely known across Poland, and on March 24, 1981, Solidarity decided to go on a nationwide strike in protest against the violence. The strike was planned for Tuesday, March 31, 1981. On March 25, Lech Wałęsa met Deputy Prime Minister Mieczysław Rakowski of the Polish United Workers' Party, but their talks were fruitless. Two days later, a four-hour national warning strike took place. It was the biggest strike in the history of the Soviet Bloc, it has also been called the largest strike in the history of Poland. According to several sources, between 12 million and 14 million Poles took part in it.
Rural Solidarity is a trade union of Polish farmers, established in late 1980 as part of the growing Solidarity movement. Its legalization became possible on February 19, 1981, when officials of the government of the People's Republic of Poland signed the so-called Rzeszów - Ustrzyki Dolne Agreement with striking farmers. Previously, Communist government had refused farmers’ right to self-organize, which caused widespread strikes, with the biggest wave taking place in January 1981. The Rural Solidarity was officially recognized on May 12, 1981, and, strongly backed by the Catholic Church of Poland, it claimed to represent at least half of Poland's 3.2 million smallholders.
The 1988 Polish strikes were a massive wave of workers' strikes which broke out in 1988 in the Polish People's Republic. The strikes, as well as street demonstrations, continued throughout spring and summer, ending in early September 1988. These actions shook the Communist regime of the country to such an extent that it was forced to begin talking about recognising Solidarity. As a result, later that year, the regime decided to negotiate with the opposition, which opened way for the 1989 Round Table Agreement. The second, much bigger wave of strikes surprised both the government, and top leaders of Solidarity, who were not expecting actions of such intensity. These strikes were mostly organized by local activists, who had no idea that their leaders from Warsaw had already started secret negotiations with the Communists.
Lech Wałęsa is a Polish retired politician and labour activist. He co-founded and headed Solidarity (Solidarność), the Soviet bloc's first independent trade union, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, and served as President of Poland from 1990 to 1995.
The nominees of the American Solidarity Party (ASP), which takes its name from the Polish movement of the late Cold War and calls itself "the only active Christian Democratic party in the United States."
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