• Ser fiel a mi Patria, la República de Polonia

  • 31 de agosto 2017

    El 31 de agosto del 1980 el gobierno comunista de Polonia firmó un acuerdo con los obreros que estaban protestando en Gdańsk. Se decidió permitir la formación de un sindicato autónomo. entre otras cosas. Aunque los acuerdos trataban de asuntos internos, su importancia en la arena internacional no podría sobreestimarse.

    In 1980, the situation of Poland was quite peculiar. The tenth year of Edward Gierek in power was over, and Poland struggled with huge international debt and growing shortages of supplies. In July, in response to food price increases introduced by the authorities, a series of strikes erupted in Lublin, often regarded as a prelude to the events of August. On 14 August 1980, close to three weeks after the strikes in Lublin ended, a strike in the Gdansk Shipyard started, with more and more plants joining in on the following days.



    The strength of the August labour protests came from a few new factors coming into play. First of all, from the solidarity of workers and the establishment of the Inter-Factory Strike Committee that represented the interests of protesting workers from various plants. Moreover, it was a sit-in strike: contrary to the earlier (brutally suppressed) manifestations in 1956 and 1970, workers decided not to protest in front of the communist party headquarters; instead, they established their own organisational structure. It made negotiations with the authorities so much easier.


    The unique character of the strike was also due to the cooperation of workers with intelligentsia representatives who came to Gdansk and joined the strike as experts. Some of them had opposition background, e.g. in the structures of KOR, or Workers’ Defence Committee. The communist authorities disliked their arrival. They believed that the Gdansk-Gdynia-Sopot Tricity “was under heavy influence of troublemakers, mainly from KOR.”


    However, the most important thing was that the list of demands, next to social ones, also included political calls that concerned the establishment of an independent trade union. The protesters also demanded respecting the freedom of speech, easing state censorship, and allowing access to mass media that, until that point, had been fully controlled by the authorities. Inclusion of those demands was harshly condemned by the governing party, which referred to them as “demands of an anti-socialist character” that undermine the political foundations of the country and lead to “effective legalisation of the opposition.”


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