Freedom from hate: solidarity and non-violent political struggle in Poland
Journal of Human Values
Sage Publications India Pvt. Ltd.
1 - 21
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Thirty-first August 2001 marked the 21st anniversary of the end of prolonged strikes in Poland that resulted in the forming of the trade union Solidarity. The struggle of Solidarity remains a powerful lesson in political non-violence. In spite of the wide support it enjoyed in Polish society, Solidarity was outlawed in December 1981 and its leaders were imprisoned. If one is suppressed by force, one can answer with force. But Solidarity did not. Was it an ethical standpoint that Solidarity used only peaceful means in its defence or a utilitarian or pragmatic strategy? The paper argues that it was both. The struggle of Solidarity was not only guided by pragmatic considerations on how to achieve the goals more effectively, but also by ethical principles. Also, the author discusses the nature of political system that existed in Poland from 1945 to 1989.