Breaking the Barrier: The Rise of Solidarity in Poland
Oxford University Press, 1991 - 466
In the last year the world has been electrified as one Soviet bloc government after another has collapsed. The Berlin Wall has been dismantled and Germany reunited, Vaclav Havel went from the prisons to the presidency of Czechoslovakia, and the Hungarian people have dismantled the one-party
state. But ten full years before any of these tumultuous events came the first successful challenge to the Leninist state--the shipworker's strike which began in Gdansk, and which led to the formation of the first free and independent trade union in the communist world, Solidarnosc.
Now, in Breaking the Barrier, Lawrence Goodwyn provides a fascinating history of the Solidarity movement, tracing thirty-five years of working class activism and state repression that preceded and defined the climactic struggle of 1980 on the Baltic coast of Poland. Goodwyn demonstrates the
extent to which Solidarnosc grew out of the workers themselves, not out of intellectual theories. He describes the strikes in 1956, 1970, and 1976, and shows how they provided workers with the knowledge to create Solidarnosc. Indeed in 1980, when they formulated and bargained for twenty-one demands
which shocked even sympathetic observers, the workers proved themselves far better political strategists than the elite intellectuals of the "democratic opposition" who came to advise them. Moreover, Goodwyn does not simply recount these dramatic events. In his gripping narrative, the movement comes
alive: we see Lech Walesa standing up to the powers of a physically and politically intimidating bureaucracy; we watch the difficult emergence of an alliance between the workers and Warsaw intellectuals, as the strikers adamantly refuse to compromise their demand for free unions, and we find
touching portraits of the martyred priest, Jerzy Popieluszko, and the dissident, Adam Michnik.
In the epilogue, Goodwyn offers a provocative critique of Poland and Eastern Europe today, in which he defines the distance still to be traversed to fulfill the democratic legacy of the early years of Solidarnosc. Based on personal interviews with Polish workers and intellectuals, as well as
extensive historical research, this vivid interpretation of collective heroism and government corruption will interest anyone who has been amazed by the democratic revolutions in the East and who wants to know the real story of how it all began.
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Goodwyn, a professor at Duke University, is a historian of American social movements who has studied Poland's Solidarity movement since 1982. Through interviews with emigres, he traces the development ... Przeczytaj pełną recenzję
An Event of Unknown Origins
The Workers Encounter a Communications Problem
The Movement Finds a Democratic Form
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achievement action activity Adam Michnik advisors Andrzej Gwiazda Baltic coast became Borusewicz Bydgoszcz Cegielski workers censorship central Church civil society coastal workers consciousness crisis cultural delegates democratic dynamics enterprises evidence experience experiential fact factories force free trade unions Gdańsk demand Gdańsk shipyard Gdynia Geremek Gomułka Gwiazda historical idea independent unions intelligentsia Interfactory Strike Committee internal Jacek Kuroń Jagielski journalists KOR's Kuron's leadership Lech Wałęsa Lenarciak Lenin Shipyard Leninist Matyja Mazowiecki ment Michnik militants mobilization negotiations occupation strike official organizational organizing Paris interview party party's People's Poland Poles police Polish August Polish October Polish workers Polish working class political popular Poznań production Radio Free Europe Radom regime represented Revolution role seemed self-activity self-management shipyard workers shop-floor social formation social movements Solidarity Solidarność Soviet Staniszkis strategic Strike Presidium structure struggle Szczecin tactical tion trade unions visible Warsaw Warsaw intellectuals worker activists working-class Young Poland
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