Solidarność: The workers' movement and the rebirth of Poland in 1980-81

Published on: Thu, 23/01/2020 - 12:30

2020 is the fortieth anniversary of the explosive birth of the Polish independent workers’ movement,
Solidarność (Solidarity).

The Polish workers’ struggle of 1980-1, from the creation of Solidarność in the mass strikes of August 1980 to the military coup of 1981, shook the so-called “socialist” ruling classes of Eastern Europe. The history of the movement is also full of lessons for the genuine socialist left of 2020. The story of Solidarność is a history of working-class courage, creativity, self-organisation and mass militancy against a despotic, bureaucratic Stalinist ruling class.


Poland and Trotsky's theory of bureaucracy

Published on: Tue, 02/07/2019 - 20:47

Chris Reynolds

August Grabski's obituary of Karol Modzelewski (Solidarity 511, bit.ly/ag-km) was interesting, but I want to take issue with what he says about Trotsky's theory of the Stalinist bureaucracy.

"Without the analysis of the bureaucracy by Trotsky expressed in his Revolution Betrayed from 1936", write August, we can't understand what happened in Poland.

Trotsky's Revolution Betrayed was about the bureaucracy in the USSR. Essential to his idea of the bureaucracy as a fragile stratum, without the solidity and historical clout of a class, was that part of the bureaucracy was linked back to the

Not the worst kind of renegade

Published on: Thu, 20/06/2019 - 09:03

August Grabski

Karol Modzelewski died on 28 April 2019. He was a well known personality on the western anticapitalist left in the 1960s, as co-author of the “Open letter to the Party”.

After the collapse of “actually existing socialism”, he was treated as a moral authority by the liberal media in the Third Polish Republic, as one of the fighters for Polish democracy.

Karol Modzelewski was born in Moscow in 1937 in a family of Communist activists. His stepfather, Zygmunt Modzelewski, became the foreign affairs minister in “People’s Poland” in 1947. In 1964, Modzelewski, who was then a lecturer at the

Women fighting Stalinism

Published on: Tue, 12/03/2019 - 11:52

Jill Mountford

How does a woman who adamantly refused to call herself a feminist and was vehemently “anti- communist”, who was a passionate Roman Catholic and held Pope John Paul II as one her heroes, and later friend, herself become an inspirational hero for socialist feminists?

For starters, she does so by being astonishingly courageous; by challenging the crushing Stalinist, anti-working class bureaucracy in her workplace over two long decades; by organising an underground workers’ group, and, in doing so, becoming the subject of constant harassment and risking imprisonment.

Anna Walentynowicz was the

Scargill and the Polish Scargills

Published on: Sun, 17/06/2018 - 18:46

Editorial, Socialist Organiser 15 September 1983

It's as if a giant reversing lens has been placed across Europe. Arthur Scargill denounces the Polish Arthur Scargills. At the same time, the time-servers and bureaucrats of the British labour movement support, in Poland, the same working class militancy that they detest in Britain.

Solidarnosc's programme includes: works managers to be subject to recall by elected workers’ councils; ‘opening the books’ of state economic planning; abolition of the privileges of the bureaucracy; free trade unions and the right to strike. That is not anti-socialist.

Solidarnosc was and is about the working class

Support the Polish socialists

Published on: Tue, 10/04/2018 - 19:33

Michael Chester

On 23 March — the day that has been dubbed “Black Friday”— tens of thousands of predominantly young activists descended on the centres of Poland’s major cities demanding the far-right Law and Justice government drop its plans for abortion reform.

Abortion law in Poland is already one of the most restrictive in the western world. The only exceptions under which a woman can obtain an abortion are in the case of a threat to the mother’s life, severe foetal abnormality or where conception is as a result of a crime (incest and rape).

The reform proposes to remove the exception in cases of foetal

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