Before Solidarność

Solidarność, established by the worker movement in 1980, along with its leader Lech Wałęsa, have become a symbol of the fall of communism in Poland, as well as all of Europe, and the Polish Round Table Agreement has become an example of dismantling a totalitarian regime.

None of this would have been possible though, if not for hundreds of brave people, who refused to be obey the communist regime in the 1970s. There would be no July and August of 1980, if not for the Polish democratic opposition.

The years between 1976-1980 was definitely one of the most important stage of development of the opposition movement in Poland. That time has initiated the process that eventually lead to the fall of communism. Not only in Poland, but many other countries in Europe. It was a time for the new ideological currents to be born, also ones present on the existing political scene…

The democratic opposition resisted the communist regime’s repression. Many overt, anti-system organisations, such as publishing houses and magazines emerged. This eruption of the independent activity was unstoppable. The authorities could only helplessly in watching their imminent fall.

The beginnings of worker’s unions also played an enormous historical role in mid-70s. It is the activists that organised the walkouts in July and August of 1980. It was them, who initiated and led the most important of them – the one in Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk.

Soon after, the Solidarność movement, the Independent Student Union and other free society organisations were formed.

Those changes were unstoppable, not by the martial state, nor by the massive government repressions against the society. The idea created in the 1970s, headed towards the realisation of a dream of the free, independent and democratic Poland.

This is why all those brave people, who undertook the fight with the totalitarian regime, when the notion of bravery was virtually non-existent, deserve our respect and thanks.