The experience of solidarity in Poland under communist rule and thereafter

Magdalena Solska

Although Solidarność was the largest mass movement in the history of after-war Europe,

the experience of solidarity during that time in communist Poland has barely

been analysed. Drawing on historical accounts of the events in the 1980s and press

interviews with Solidarność members, this paper attempts to bridge this gap and identifies

key aspects of the experienced solidarity. It argues that the solidarity under communism

in Poland derived not only from the common enemy – the communist party

state – but was deeply rooted in Catholic social thought and the national identity. It

was driven mainly by ideas of protection of human dignity, mutual aid, participation

and a demand for “life in truth”. Since 2015, the new social policy has had initially

positive impact on income inequality, birth rates and poverty but must be accompanied

by further measures to obtain a long-term character

Keywords: Solidarność, solidarity, Poland, communist system, inequalities

Vol: 1/2021 - Article 2.1


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