by psephology
Last updated 10 years ago

Social Studies

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Solidarity, which is short for Independent Self-Managing Trade Union Solidarity, was a Polish trade union in 1980-1981 until it was banned. It was the first independent labor union in a country bound by the Warsaw Pact and led to the eventual freeing of Poland from a communistic society in 1989 with the bringing in of free elections. It was founded by a man named Lech Walesa in the Lenin Shipyards in the 1980s, where workers gathered to strike. They wanted eight-hour days, higher wages, an end to censorship, and the ability to strike when they wanted to, according the Modern World History website.

All the Polish unions gathered together under Lech and pushed for free elections. However, the government arrested Walesa in December and disbanded the Solidarity, but released him later. He was given the Nobel Peace Prize. Meanwhile, Solidarity was granted the allowance to have seats at the legislature and it was there that they defeated communism, along with elected Lech for president.

Lech and Solidarity helped usher in a completely new government and win rights for workers. It showed how merely protesting and creating unions can pay off deeply in the end.



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