Poland and the new Europe

Issue: 108

Jane Hardy and Andy Zebrowski

Twenty five years ago the occupation of the shipyards in the Polish city of Gdansk signalled the birth of a mass workers’ movement, soon to be known as Solidarnosc (Solidarity). This was in a country where strikes had been banned and independent workers’ organisation repressed for the previous 35 years. It also signalled the inability of the Stalinist regimes of the then Eastern bloc to contain indefinitely opposition to their rule.
The movement was crushed by a military coup after 16 months, and repression massively reduced its influence in workplaces. However, a rash of strikes in the summer of 1988 revealed its potential to rise again.1 Rather than risk this, the general who had smashed it, Jaruzelski, held ‘round table’ discussions with its former leaders and advisers. This allowed opposition politicians associated with Solidarity to compete electorally with the old ruling party for government positions. The pattern was then set for the outcome of the political upheavals that transformed the whole region over the next three years, with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the disintegration of the USSR in 1991.
Yet the country that gave birth to probably the largest workers’ movement in post-war Europe just 25 years ago is now hailed as the biggest success story of capitalist transformation in Central and Eastern Europe,2 with the highest growth rate among the former Communist countries, the most rapid privatisation and the highest levels of foreign capital. Jane Hardy and Andy Zebrowski look at the reality.

The rhetoric of Poland as the ‘tiger’ economy of Central and Eastern Europe has been accompanied by proclamations about the decline and marginalisation of the very workers’ movements that brought about the demise of the Communist government.3

However, beneath the espoused success story of transformation there is growing polarisation and poverty. As elsewhere in Europe, the pursuit of neo-liberalism by both right wing and social democratic governments has led to deep-seated disillusionment with parliamentary and mainstream politics. The gloomy prognostications about trade unions are blind to their role in fighting neo-liberal policies and the rebuilding of workplace organisation since the late 1990s. And the growing anti-war and anti-capitalist movements have fed into a wider critique of, and struggle against, the market and capitalism.

More ‘shock’ than ‘therapy’

The defeat of Solidarity with the introduction of martial law in 1981 and the imprisonment of thousands of the most militant workers was followed by a move to the right within the leadership of the much weakened movement. The leadership of Solidarity came to see alliances with friendly Western powers as more important than mobilising workers-accepting $1 million from the US Congress in 1987.4 Along with this went an intellectual rapprochement with core sections of the existing Polish regime who saw the unleashing of untrammelled market forces as the only way to restructure Polish industry to their own benefit. It was this rapprochement which permitted the round table negotiations of 1988 to come to fruition in a way that produced free elections but left economic power in the same hands as before.

The newly elected Solidarity government in 1989 wholeheartedly embraced the market with ‘shock therapy’,5 a package of reforms which included draconian cuts in government spending, the immediate liberalisation of trade and an all-embracing programme of privatisation. Sections of the ruling class managed to enrich themselves by seizing assets,6 or taking lucrative positions with firms or consultancies. For the vast majority of the population this started a process of pauperisation and unemployment which has continued unabated.

In the last 15 years the economy has gone through three phases of profound restructuring. In the early to mid-1990s the exposure to the international economy meant the bankruptcy and closure of large state-owned enterprises and in some cases whole sectors (textiles, for example), while the collapse of the Soviet Union meant the disappearance of the main market for relatively advanced technological goods.

In 1999, the so-called ‘second wave’ of reforms introduced the market into public services and welfare.7 Pensions have been privatised along the lines of the World Bank model, and left providing for old age the vagaries of the stockmarket.8 The most dramatic of these reforms was in the health service, which resulted in hospital closures and job losses of nearly 30 percent between 1995 and 2003.9 By 2005 chronic underfunding and marketisation (a system where the money followed the patient) meant that some hospitals went bankrupt, and bailiffs were sent in to seize equipment to pay debts.

By 2005 the third round of restructuring was under way, primarily in areas that EU competition policy had prised open for the predations of large transnational corporations. This new round of reforms was mainly focused on telecommunications, airlines, railways and the post office.

Economic growth has been uneven. After years of growth of 5 percent or above up to the late 1990s, it slowed down to a meagre 1 percent in 2001, only to increase again in 2003.10 The World Bank played a key role in foisting neo-liberal policies on Poland, but even one of its research papers points to the increasing poverty and inequality alongside what is considered to be good growth.11 Official Polish statistics show 11.8 percent of the population below the subsistence level and 19.2 percent below the legal poverty line.12

The average rate of unemployment is around 20 percent, the highest in the EU, and in some places unemployment is as high as 40 percent. Small towns, parts of the east of the country and places where mines have been closed are destitute areas with little hope of work. Some 87.3 percent of the jobless get no unemployment benefits.13

Integration with the global economy

There has been huge shift away from trade with old Soviet bloc countries and towards the European Union, and Germany in particular. In 1989 the EU accounted for 32 percent of Polish exports and 34 percent of imports, with these figures rising to 68 percent and 61 percent respectively in 2003.14 This has shifted Poland to importing relatively high technology goods and exporting raw materials and semi-processed goods such as coal, timber, cement, copper and clothing.

Poland’s integration with the global economy has been highly dependent on foreign capital. In the early 1990s there was an unseemly scramble as large transnational companies picked off the ‘jewels in the crown’ of the economies of Central and Eastern Europe. Will Hutton has suggested that ‘all production is flowing east’ in a new division of labour.15 However, the level of foreign investment does not bear this out. It is actually paltry, despite the fact that Poland has the largest amount of foreign investment in the region. Investment in the eight East European accession countries fell from $23 billion in 2002 to $11 billion in 2003.16 Foreign investment into the new member states remained modest, at only 7.9 percent of investment within the EU and 5.5 percent of investment inflows into the EU.17

Neither has there been a wholesale movement of production to Poland on the basis of low labour costs. The largest investments have been in finance (69 percent of banks are foreign owned), telecommunications, food retailing and car assembly. It has provided the opportunity for firms in some sectors to try and restore their falling profits by lowering costs or grabbing lucrative new markets. Despite the proliferation of Science and Technology Parks and wishful thinking about new technology, the integration of Poland into Europe has been on the basis of relatively low technology production and semi-processed goods.

The workers’ reaction

In 1990 the Solidarity leadership saw its role as providing a ‘protective umbrella’ for the new government, necessary because of the potential backlash of the effects of shock therapy. The initial quiescence of workers can be seen from looking at strike statistics,18 which fell from 900 in 1989 to 250 recorded in 1990 (half of which were accounted for by strikes on the railway). The restructuring of the economy took a toll on membership as workers were laid off or retired, and the new workplaces based on foreign investments were often aggressive and hostile to workers’ organisations. There were numerous cases of workers being sacked simply for joining a union.

In 1990, as the reality of shock therapy set in, there were strikes in transport and coal and copper mining. In 1991 education workers took industrial action as their wages were held down by an incomes policy which particularly punished public sector workers. 1992-93 saw a real upsurge in strike activity. Again there were a large number of protests in education as teachers demanded more funding and higher pay. An upsurge in strikes in 1999 as a result of disputes in education had a significant impact on the teachers’ ZNP union. The ZNP transformed itself from an official union loyal to the Communist Party, limited to a social role, into a campaigning organisation with rank and file participation, engaged in industrial action.

The All-Poland Union of Nurses and Midwives (OZZPiP) was formed in 1995. This was extraordinary on several counts. It was founded by four women in a small town 100 miles from Warsaw, and grew from nothing to 100,000 members in five years. While some women transferred from other unions the vast majority of members, as well as leaders, did not previously belong to a union. In 1998 this union was incredibly militant in support of higher wages. This included occupying the Ministry of Health for over two weeks in December 2000, walkouts, and blockading international borders and railway lines.

Academic assessments of the current state of Polish trade unions are pessimistic. Pointing to falling membership, it is suggested that their role is declining and increasingly peripheral. David Ost,19 probably the most prolific commentator on Polish unions outside of Poland, and sympathetic to workers’ organisations, reported workers who were ‘apologetic about their [union] allegiance’ and an ‘allergy against the notion of recruitment’.

But this gloomy picture does not reflect what is happening to the working class. First, there has been a reinvigoration of old unions such as the ZNP, and the formation of new ones as a response to fighting against the reforms. Second, Solidarity has turned away from parliamentary politics and is now rebuilding in workplaces, and particularly in those that were previously un-unionised in the ‘new economy’.

David Ost was pessimistic about organising in new sectors of the economy. He writes about the General Motors plant in Silesia:

Modern HRM practices came to Silesia with a sheen and a glitter that makes trade unions seem hopelessly retrograde. For its young and hopeful workforce, Opel offered a much smarter and shinier community than any of the available unions could provide. And the unions seemed to agree. Far from developing innovative strategies to gain access to the site, local officials stayed away, seeing it as one of the hopes of the future where unions do not belong.20

In 2005, two years after these comments were printed, Solidarity claimed Opel as one of its big success stories. It had recruited 40 percent of the workforce, established negotiating structures and spawned a new layer of activists. Even in the most dazzling of workplaces the veneer may wear thin. In an increasingly competitive global market, conditions will always push bosses to drive down wages and intensify work. This picture of union recruitment was true in other foreign-owned car plants. Even though Volvo, GM and Volkswagen had handpicked young workers (without the ‘baggage of the past’), they did not succeed in sidelining workers’ organisations.21

Until the mid-1990s Solidarity had been most active in fighting job losses in the ‘old’ sector and privatisation. From the late 1990s onwards they turned back to rebuilding in the workplace with an aggressive and high profile campaign aimed primarily at new sectors of the economy. They targeted supermarkets, security guards, truck drivers and the finance sector. Young organisers leafleted all shifts at supermarkets, went to the international border to recruit truck drivers, and to gyms to recruit off-duty security guards. The results have been mixed, but some supermarkets have 50 percent of workers in the union. In one supermarket where workers who complained about the lack of toilet breaks were told to wear Pampers there is now an established union facility time and an office.

Entrenched hostilities between Solidarity and the biggest union federation, the OPZZ, have their roots in the 1980s when many Solidarity activists were arrested and interned. Those that joined the official union, the OPZZ, were considered to have passively or actively collaborated with the regime. More recently, when the post-Communists have been in power the Solidarity leaders have organised occasional big set-piece demonstrations-the OPZZ have done the same when the government is post-Solidarity. But pressure from below makes the leaders organise actions against their governments too.

Inter-union hostilities have diminished at an official level, particularly as a result of rebuilding workplace organisation and a rash of disputes over privatisation or non-payment of wages. Fifty percent of employers do not pay wages on time or only pay a proportion of them.22 At the level of factories, schools and hospitals, workers more often than not are united against bosses in taking action. In the post office dispute this year there was a joint committee representing 11 unions which coordinated industrial action and protests. Another example is that representatives from OPZZ and Solidarity met to coordinate their approach to negotiations with management at the headquarters of a supermarket in Warsaw. This level of cooperation would have been unthinkable a few years ago.

Political parties

The revival and reinvigoration of workers’ organisations has been paralleled by deep-seated disillusionment with political parties. The main formal division in Polish politics is between politicians who had their roots in the Solidarity movement and those who had been in the ruling Communist Party-the post-Solidarity and post-Communist camps. In Stalinist Poland the difference between Solidarity and the Communist Party leaders was relatively straightforward-workers had created Solidarity, while the ruling Communist Party leaders were those with control over the work process, investment and so capital accumulation. This was a clear class division. However, today hardly any workers regard post-Solidarity politicians as a working class political force. Despite their rhetoric and the espoused differences between the post-Solidarity and post-Communist parties, from 1990 until the present both have pursued neo-liberal policies with zeal and enthusiasm. In short, this has produced widespread disillusionment among workers, reflected in low turnouts in elections, and vacillation between post-Solidarity and post- Communist governments.

1991-1993 Solidarity governments: Among rank and file workers, illusions in the market and shock therapy gave way to disillusion and anger. This led to political crises and a quick turnover of prime ministers.23 In February 1991 the delegates to the third Solidarity conference, instead of electing the deputy of their world-famous leader Lech Walesa to head the union, chose the relatively unknown Marian Krzaklewski. Walesa was now president of the country and had been instrumental in extinguishing strikes-now the members wanted Solidarity ‘to close the protective umbrella’ over a government which was instituting anti working class reforms. The disillusionment with transformation intensified. Increasing public sector strikes forced the post-Solidarity prime minister, Hanna Suchocka, to appeal for calm on TV-to no avail. The action culminated in a two-day strike in the capital called by the Warsaw region of Solidarity in May 1993. Only days later one of the Solidarity miners’ members of parliament called for a vote of no confidence in Suchocka, leading to the collapse of her government. The ‘Solidarity’ prime minister had been overthrown by the Solidarity union. The mood of the times can be gleaned by the headline in Gazeta Wyborcza which asked, ‘Are We Threatened By A “Unionocracy”?’24

1993-1997 post-Communist government: The post-Communist Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) won the elections-something that had been unimaginable only months earlier-and its candidate, Aleksander Kwasniewski,25 very narrowly defeated Lech Walesa for the presidency in the 1995. It was clear that the leaders of the former Solidarity opposition were held in contempt by a large part of the population.26

1997-2001 Solidarity Electoral Action (AWS): Solidarity leader Marian Krzaklewski successfully created a political alliance-Solidarity Electoral Action (AWS)-with some 40 small Catholic and right wing organisations to fight and win the 1997 parliamentary elections. Apart from stressing the SLD’s attacks on workers, he played on the ‘traditional Polish values’ of Catholicism, family and patriotism. AWS governed in coalition with the Freedom Union (UW), the biggest neo-liberal party-led by Balcerowicz, who had introduced shock therapy in 1990. Workers had rejected neo-liberalism with strikes, protests, votes and abstaining from elections. Now the most important union leader in the country was foisting the neo-liberal arch-enemy on them again. Krzaklewski made his closest ally, Lodz region Solidarity leader Janusz Tomaszewski, interior minister. In 1999, during Tomaszewski’s time in office, police used rubber bullets against protesting workers and farmers five times,27 and anti-terrorist police were used to evict nurses occupying a local government office in Gorz—w Wielkopolski. These kinds of experiences of ‘their’ government attacking them have led to complete disillusionment with political parties by Solidarity activists, and Krzaklewski was voted out as leader of the union in 2002.

2001 until now-the post-Communist SLD: The Democratic Left Alliance easily won the elections of 2001, and has followed neo-liberal and pro-US policies, enthusiastically sending Polish troops to help Bush and Blair attack and occupy Iraq. It does not have the working class roots and history of the British Labour Party or German SPD-in fact its leaders had headed a police state. Nevertheless, people were prepared to vote for them after the experience of Solidarity Electoral Action, and clung to some hope that the SLD would govern in the interests of ordinary people. They were to be disappointed. Unemployment continued to rise, and there were more cuts in welfare and a series of corruption scandals. From winning the 2001 elections with 41 percent of the vote, the SLD slumped to under 5 percent in opinion polls in 2004.

In the face of widespread disillusionment with political parties, both post-Communist and post-Solidarity parties have undergone a process of fracturing and regroupment. A new party (SdPl) was formed in 2004 by people who split from the SLD in an attempt to distance themselves from an unpopular government. This forced prime minister Miller to resign to minimise the losses. However, even new prime minister Marek Belka left the SLD and joined a neo-liberal post-Solidarity party. Meanwhile, out of the collapsed Solidarity Electoral Action two right wing parties have emerged as being frontrunners for this year’s elections.

Although divisions between post-Solidarity and post-Communist parties are alive and kicking in some quarters, particularly in the higher echelons of parties and unions, this division now has much less resonance among workers. It is noticeable on trade union protests and demonstrations that workers who are in Solidarity, OPZZ or some other union have similar opinions. ‘Us and them’ is no longer ‘Us-Solidarity’ and ‘Them- the Communist Party’, but ‘Us-ordinary people’ and ‘Them-corrupt government and thieving privatisers’. This bodes well for building a new radical left.

However, there could be a high price to pay for a lack of unity, which is the threat from the extreme right waiting in the wings. The League of Polish Families (LPR), an amalgam of extreme rightists and right wing Catholics, managed to get into parliament in 2001 backed by an anti- Semitic Catholic radio station, Radio Maryja.

The anti-capitalist, anti-war movement

The best chance of creating a new left is around the opposition to neo-liberalism, war and discrimination. Here the situation is becoming much more hopeful. The example of the Samoobrona (Self-Defence) farmers’ union shows that people will follow a fighting lead. Its leader Andrzej Lepper leapt to popular notoriety by organising road blockades which resulted in clashes with the police. Today Lepper is a serious contender in the elections-but his union turned party is becoming a club for the wealthy, as candidates have to pay a high price to buy their places on his lists. However, his rise to popularity shows that people are ready for an alternative.

It is a journalistic commonplace in Poland that most people have left wing views which are not reflected in the character of the parties in parliament. Poll after poll shows that opinions on privatisation, free education and health, the war in Iraq and abortion are left wing. In a poll taken in 1999, weeks before the momentous Seattle demonstration that well and truly launched the anti-capitalist movement, 50 percent of those asked had a negative attitude to the word ‘capitalism’.28

When it comes to street demonstrations, the biggest protests remain those organised by trade unions, on which some of the slogans of the anti-capitalist movement have been in evidence. However, outside of these trade union demonstrations, since 2003 there have been four significant demonstrations of up to 10,000 people.

Some 70 percent of the population opposes the occupation of Iraq,29 and this was reflected in the first two demonstrations just before and just after the US-led attack on 20 March 2003. While the anti-war movement is not massive, there have been regular demonstrations of hundreds or thousands of people which have taken place in Warsaw, as well as smaller protests in dozens of towns.

The third demonstration took place in 2004 when 10,000 people demanded the shutting down of the Warsaw summit organised by the World Economic Forum. Initially the authorities tried to ban the march but gave up the idea when they were told it would go ahead anyway. There were two months of hysterical attacks in the media about the oncoming hordes of alterglobalist30 hooligans with pictures of violent confrontations on some of the previous anti-capitalist demonstrations. Shop windows were boarded up for miles and hopeful glaziers leafleted worried shopowners offering their services. In the event the march was non-violent and was joined by large numbers of ordinary people who wanted to express their disgust with the authorities’ lies. This demonstration showed that anti-capitalists could organise a significant march in Poland. Importantly, the Warsaw region of Solidarity advertised the march twice on its website and included articles arguing for attendance. The media witch-hunt had backfired. The combination of extensive coverage and a highly successful demonstration meant that millions of people for the first time heard that there was an alterglobalist movement in Poland-and many are interested by it.31

Trade unionists asked on demonstrations about alterglobalism are nearly always sympathetic to it, because it chimes with their experience of poverty, unemployment and cuts in welfare.

The fourth march took place in June 2005 around the issue of gay pride. The president of Warsaw, right wing populist Lech Kaczynski, had stressed that he would not allow ‘the public propagation of homosexuality’ and banned the Equality Parade for the second year running. The organisers withstood his threats and the march took place anyway. Many people who would not normally attend such a protest joined in because they wanted to protest and break the ban. This was a significant victory for activists arguing that mass protest was the way to defeat bans on demonstrations. A new left is emerging out of these actions-actions which are on the way to being really mass protests.

Elections and the new radical left

A significant barrier to the formation of a radical left in politics has been the identification of socialism with the Stalinist pre-1989 political system. In any case, today this identification is double edged. Although no one is arguing for a return to the old times, the neo-liberal policies driving down living standards for the vast majority means that the old system does not look so bad to many people.32 What is happening is that activists are looking around and wanting to be part of the global anti-capitalist and anti-war movements. For example, unemployed workers’ organisations in Elk, a town in the east of Poland (with 40 percent unemployment), and Miastko in the north west (with 30 percent unemployment) have regularly sent coaches to anti-war demonstrations, European Social Forums and demonstrations against unemployment in Brussels. Workers from Ozar—w who had bravely fought the closure of their factory for over a year in the face of brutal attacks from the police and security guards went to the Paris ESF in 2003. A year later a group of nurses from OZZPiP went to the London ESF.

However, there is a danger that activists can be incorporated by the post-Communist social democrats. This has happened in this year’s election campaign, where leading members of left wing and green organisations have been persuaded to join the electoral lists of the SLD and the SdPl. The point is to build an alternative to these government parties, not to be swallowed up by them.

The examples of such initiatives as Respect in England or the Left Party in Germany have been influential. This year there are presidential and parliamentary elections in Poland. Maria Szyszkowska is a senator who had joined the SLD because she believed in their left wing rhetoric before the 2001 elections. Today she has left the SLD and is the only parliamentarian who has consistently attended anti-war protests. She opposes neo-liberalism and discrimination, and has had her meetings disrupted by the extreme right. Her presidential campaign has been an opportunity to unite alterglobalists. Szyszkowska is standing on the parliamentary list of the Polish Labour Party (PPP), a small new left social democratic party. Its leader, Daniel Podrzycki, who also heads the ‘August 80’ trade union (which has its roots in Solidarity), is currently trying to unite with other left groupings.33

These developments show that exciting new possibilities and opportunities are opening up. Successes will not be automatic. Activists have to fight to build political unity between trade unionists, alterglobalists and anti-war protesters. But the prospects are good.

1: For the strikes of 1988 and the role of Solidarnosc, see A Zebrowski and others, ‘Solidarity at the Crossroads’, International Socialism 41 (Winter 1988).
2: G Hodgson, ‘Fifteen Years of Economic Transition’, paper presented at Workshop on Institutional Economics, University of Hertfordshire, June 2004.
3: See J Gardawski, Konfliktowy pluralizm Polskich Zwiazk—w Zowodowych (Controversial Pluralism of Polish Trade Unions) (Warsaw, 2003); and J Gardawski, B Gaciarz, A Mokrzyszewski and W Pank—w, Rozpad Bastionu? Zwiazki Zawodowe w Gospodarce Prywatyzowanej (The Fall of a Bastion? Trade Unions in a Privatised Economy) (Warsaw, 1999).
4: According to Solidarity’s website: www.solidarnosc.org.pl/historia/historia.htm
5: Jeffrey Sachs was one of the chief architects of shock therapy. He lays out his stall in D Lipton and J Sachs, ‘Creating a Market Economy in Poland’, Brooking Papers on Economic Activity,1 (Washington, 1990).
6: This process of the ruling class converting themselves into the new capitalist class started in the 1980s. Decentralisation of power and control in state-owned enterprises in order to deal with the deep economic crisis led to ‘spontaneous privatisation’. This was where high-ranking party members in the government and firms simply grabbed the most profitable parts of firms or business operations. It was politely called ‘spontaneous privatisation’ rather than kleptocracy.
7: L Kolarska-Bobinska (ed), Cztery Reformy: Od Koncepcji do Realizacji (Four Reforms: From Conception to Realisation) (Warsaw, 2000).
8: The World Bank pension model has been foisted on countries as part of the neo-liberal package. It means that workers are forced to save for their retirement with private pension companies who then gamble this money on financial markets.
9: J Hardy and A Stenning, ‘Public Sector Reform, Women and Work in Poland: Working for Juice, Coffee and Cheap Cosmetics’ in Gender, Work and Employment, 11, 6 (2005).
10: P Paci, M J Sasin and J Verbeek, ‘Economic Growth, Income Distribution and Poverty in Poland During Transition’, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 3467(December 2004).
11: As above.
12: Gl—wny Urzad Statystyczny (GUS) (Central Statistical Office), ‘The Situation of Households in 2004 in the Light of the Research into Household Budgets’.
13: GUS, Monthly Information on Unemployment in Poland (June 2005).
14: GUS, Statistical Yearbook of the Republic of Poland, adapted from Table 4 (2005), p540.
15: W Hutton, ‘Don’t Weep for Our Lost Factories’, The Observer, 19 December 2004.
16: Euractive, ‘Marked Decrease in Investment Flows Into and Out of the EU’ (2005), www.euractive.com/Article?tcmuri=tcm:29-142312-16&type=News
17: As above.
18: EIRO (European Industrial Relations Observatory On-line), ‘Poland: Strikes Over 1990 to 2001 Examined’, www.eiro.eurofound.eu.int/2002/07/feature/pl0207103
19: See for example, D Ost, ‘Unionists Against Unions’, East European Politics and Society, 13,1, pp1-33.
20: D Ost, ‘The Weakness of Strong Social Movements: Models of Unionism in the East European Context’, European Journal of Industrial Relations, 8, 1 (2002), pp33-51.
21: Volvo, General Motors and VW did not employ workers under the age of 24 on their assembly lines. The thousands of applicants for between 800 and 2,000 jobs meant they tried to choose the most ‘acquiescent’ workers. This information was from interviews by one of the authors between 2000 and 2002.
22: ‘Fakty’ TV News, 3 March 2004.
23: After Walesa took the president’s office and Mazowiecki resigned as premier there were governments headed by Bielecki, Olszewski, Pawlak (33 days) and then Suchocka.
24: Gazeta Wyborcza, 24 May 1993.
25: Kwasniewski had been a member of the Polish Communist Party (PZPR) and also a minister in the last Communist government.
26: Many outside Poland cannot understand how Walesa became so unpopular that in the 2000 presidential elections he received only 1 percent of the vote! But he, more than anyone, had been the personification of Solidarity during its heroic period, and he more than anyone had sold the market reforms to the population with absurd promises that Poland would become a second Japan-this was his punishment.
27: Pracownicza Demokracja ( Workers’ Democracy), September 1999.
28: Gazeta Wyborcza, 4 November 1999.
29: Polish Press Agency (PAP), 25 April 2005.
30: ‘Alterglobalists’ is the most common term for anti-capitalists in Poland. It is taken from the French movement (‘altermondialistes’), and implies that we should globalise-but in another way.
31: Mainstream journalist Jacek Zakowski has recently edited a book entitled Anty-TINA (Anti-Tina) with articles from a whole range of people including Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky and Joseph Stiglitz. Tina is of course Thatcher’s ‘There Is No Alternative’.
32: In a recent opinion poll Edward Gierek, who was in power between 1970 and 1980, was chosen as the leader who had done the most for Poland since the Second World War. Gierek received 46 percent of the vote to Lech Walesa’s 39 percent (Gazeta Wyborcza, 26 May 2004). Gierek’s bubble burst in 1979 as he faced the first post-war recession in Stalinist Poland and was ousted a year later by the force of the new Solidarity movement.
33: According to Daniel Podrzycki, ‘August 80’ split away from ‘Solidarity 80’ in late 1992 and was legally registered in 1993. Led by Marian Jurczyk, the Szczecin shipyard workers’ leader, ‘Solidarity 80’ had broken away from Walesa’s Solidarity in 1990, but was not legally registered until 1991.