Solidarity (Polish trade union)
|Full name||Independent Self-governing Labour Union "Solidarity"|
|Native name||Niezależny Samorządny Związek Zawodowy "Solidarność"|
|Founded||31 August 1980|
|Members||During the first wave almost 10 million; over 400,000–680,000 (2010)|
|Affiliation||ITUC, ETUC, TUAC|
|Key people||Anna Walentynowicz, Lech Wałęsa, Piotr Duda|
|Office location||Gdańsk, Poland|
Solidarity (Polish: Solidarność, pronounced ( ); full name: Independent Self-governing Trade Union "Solidarity" – Niezależny Samorządny Związek Zawodowy "Solidarność" ) is a Polish trade union federation that emerged on 31 August 1980 at the Gdańsk Shipyard under the leadership of Lech Wałęsa. It was the first non-Communist Party-controlled trade union in a Warsaw Pact country. Solidarity reached 9.5 million members before its September 1981 Congress (up to 10 million) that constituted one third of the total working age population of Poland. In its clandestine years, the United States provided significant financial support for Solidarity, estimated to be as much as 50 million US dollars.
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 during the period of martial law in the early 1980s and several years of political repression, but in the end it was forced to negotiate with the union.
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 and in December 1990 Wałęsa was elected President of Poland. Since then it has become a more traditional, liberal trade union. 30 years after emerging its membership dropped to between just over 400,000 and 680,000.
In the 1970s Poland's government raised food prices while wages stagnated. This (and other stresses) led to the June 1976 protests and subsequent government crackdown on dissent. Groups like the KOR and ROPCIO began to form underground networks to monitor and oppose the government's abusive behavior. Labor unions formed an important part of this network.
In 1979, the Polish economy shrank for the first time since World War II by 2 percent. The foreign debt reached around $18 billion by 1980.
For participation in the illegal trade union, Anna Walentynowicz was fired from work at the Gdańsk Shipyard on August 7, 1980, 5 months before she was due to retire. This management decision enraged the workers of the Shipyard, who staged a strike action on August 14 defending Anna Walentynowicz and demanding her return. Anna Waletynowicz and Alina Pienkowska transformed a strike over bread and butter issues into a solidarity strike in sympathy with other striking establishments.
Lech Wałęsa and others formed a broad anti-Soviet social movement ranging from people associated with the Catholic Church to members of the anti-Soviet left. Solidarity advocated non-violence in its members' activities. In September 1981 Solidarity's first national congress elected Lech 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.
In Poland, the 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.
In Solicitudo 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. Lech 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.
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 dozens 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. The 4 June 1989 elections in Poland where anti-communist candidates won a striking victory sparked off a succession of peaceful anti-communist revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe known as the Revolutions of 1989 (Jesień Ludów). Solidarity's example was repeated in various ways by opposition groups throughout the Eastern Bloc, eventually leading to the Eastern Bloc's effective dismantling, and contributing to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, in the early 1990s.
Solidarity also voiced its support of trade unions in capitalist countries. During the 
Secular philosophical underpinnings
Although Leszek Kołakowski's works were officially banned in Poland, underground copies of them influenced 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.
Formed on 31 August 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 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:
- Gdańsk, based in Gdańsk,
- Warmia-Masuria, based in Olsztyn,
- Elbląg, based in Elbląg,
- Lower Silesia, based in Wrocław,
- Pila, based in Piła,
- Western Pomerania, based in Szczecin,
- Land of Łódź, based in Łódź,
- Częstochowa, based in Częstochowa,
- Land of Sandomierz, based in Stalowa Wola,
- Płock-Kutno, based in Płock,
- Lesser Poland, based in Kraków,
- Opole Silesia, based in Opole,
- Seashore, based in Koszalin,
- Słupsk, based in Słupsk,
- Zielona Góra, based in Zielona Góra,
- Podbeskidzie, based in Bielsko-Biała,
- Konin, based in Konin,
- Southern Greater Poland, based in Kalisz,
- Podlachia, based in Białystok,
- Piotrków, based in Piotrków Trybunalski,
- Cuiavia and Dobrzyń Land, based in Włocławek,
- Carpathia, based in Krosno,
- Land of Rzeszów, based in Rzeszów,
- Toruń, based in Toruń,
- Silesia-Zaglebie, based in Katowice,
- Land of Radom, based in Radom,
- Greater Poland, based in Poznań,
- Gorzów, based in Gorzów Wielkopolski,
- Holy Cross, based in Kielce,
- Middle-East, based in Lublin,
- Bydgoszcz, based in Bydgoszcz,
- Jelenia Góra, based in Jelenia Góra,
- Leszno, based in Leszno,
- Chełm, based in Chełm,
- Przemyśl-Jarosław, based in Przemyśl,
- Mazovia, based in Warsaw,
- Copper Basin, based in Legnica.
Network of key factoriesThe 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 and 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|
- Lech Wałęsa (1980–90)
- Marian Krzaklewski (1991–2002)
- Janusz Śniadek (2002–10)
- Piotr Duda (2010–present)
- Polish 1970 protests
- June 1976 protests
- Lublin 1980 strikes
- Jastrzebie-Zdroj 1980 strikes
- 1981 warning strike in Poland
- Summer 1981 hunger demonstrations in Poland
- Fighting Solidarity
- 31 August 1982 demonstrations in Poland
- 1988 Polish strikes
- Polish legislative election, 1989
- Conference of Solidarity Support Organizations
- Civil resistance
- (Polish) 30 lat po Sierpniu'80: "Solidarność zakładnikiem własnej historii" Retrieved on 7 June 2011
- (Polish) Duda za Śniadka? by Maciej Sandecki and Marek Wąs, Gazeta Wyborcza of 24 August 2010
- (Polish) „Solidarność” a systemowe przekształcenia Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej Retrieved on 7 June 2011
- Aleksander Smolar, '"Self-limiting Revolution": Poland 1970-89', in Adam Roberts and Timothy Garton Ash (eds.), Civil Resistance and Power Politics: The Experience of Non-violent Action from Gandhi to the Present, Oxford University Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-19-955201-6, pp. 127-43.
- KOR: a history of the Workers’ Defense Committee in Poland, 1976-1981. Berkeley:
- From Solidarity to Martial Law: The Polish Crisis of 1980-1981 : A Documentary History by Andrzej Paczkowski, Malcolm Byrne. Central European University Press, Budapest 2007. p. xxix
- (Polish) Solidarność, wielopłaszczyznowy ruch na rzecz demokratyzacji i głębokich reform ustrojowych PRL Retrieved on 7 June 2011
- Steger, Manfred B (January 2004). Judging Nonviolence: The Dispute Between Realists and Idealists (ebook). Routledge (UK). p. 114.
- Paul Wehr, Guy Burgess, Heidi Burgess, ed. (February 1993). Justice Without Violence (ebook). Lynne Rienner Publishers. p. 28.
- Cavanaugh-O'Keefe, John (January 2001). Emmanuel, Solidarity: God's Act, Our Response (ebook). Xlibris Corporation. p. 68.
- Piotr Gliński, The Self-governing Republic in the Third Republic, "Polish Sociological Review", 2006, no.1
- BBC World, Analysis: Solidarity's legacy
- McKinlay, John (Thurday, 8th September, 1983). "Scargill angers unions with Solidarity attack". The Glasgow Herald. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
- Kasparov starts new Russian opposition movement. The Associated Press. 13 December 2008.
- Guardian newspaper report Retrieved 22 June 2009
- (Polish) Solidarność NSZZ in WIEM Encyklopedia. Last accessed on 10 October 2006
- Matynia, Elzbieta (2009). Performative Democracy. Paradigm.
- Kaminski, Marek M. (2004). Games Prisoners Play. Princeton University Press.
- Kenney, Patrick (2003). A Carnival of Revolution : Central Europe 1989. Princeton University Press.
- Kenney, Patrick (2006). The Burdens of Freedom. Zed Books Ltd.
- Kubik, Jan (1994). The Power of Symbols Against the Symbols of Power: The rise of Solidarity and the fall of state socialism in Poland. The Pennsylvania State University.
- Osa, Maryjane (2003). Solidarity and Contention: Networks of Polish Opposition. University of Minnesota Press.
- Ost, David (2005). The Defeat Of Solidarity: Anger and Politics in Postcommunist Europe (ebook). Cornell University Press.
- Penn, Shana (2005). Solidarity's Secret : The Women Who Defeated Communism in Poland. University of Michigan Press.
- Perdue, William D. (1995). Paradox of Change: The Rise and Fall of Solidarity in the New Poland. Praeger/Greenwood.
- Pope John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, on Vatican website
- Smolar, Aleksander, '"Self-limiting Revolution": Poland 1970-89', in Adam Roberts and Timothy Garton Ash (eds.), Civil Resistance and Power Politics: The Experience of Non-violent Action from Gandhi to the Present, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-19-955201-6..
- Official website
- Presentation on The Solidarity Phenomenon
- FAES The Polish trade Union Solidarity and the European idea of freedom
- Solidarity 25th Anniversary Press Center
- , a documentary film about SolidarityWho is Anna Walentynowicz?
- International Conference 'From Solidarity to Freedom'
- Advice for East German propagandists on how to deal with the Solidarity movement
- The Birth of Solidarity on BBC
- Solidarity, Freedom and Economical Crisis in Poland, 1980-81
- Solidarność collection at the Libertarian Communist library
- Solidarność from Gdańsk to Military Repression by Colin Barker and Kara Weber (1982)
- The rise of Solidarność, Colin Barker, International Socialism, Issue: 108
- Arch Puddington, How American Unions Helps Solidarity Win
- Motion for a resolution, the European Parliament on the 25th anniversary of Solidarity and its message for Europe
- Solidarity Lost, by Daniel Singer
- (Polish) Solidarity Center Foundation - Fundacja Centrum Solidarności
- A Simple Way to Learn an Old Song A radio programme about the song "Mury", the anthem of Solidarność. In Russian with English transcript