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Solidarity

Solidarity was formed in August 1980 in the Lenin Shipyard of Gdansk, Poland. Sick of a failing economy and corrupt leaders, anti-communist workers, including many Catholics, formed Solidarity under Lech Walesa, a young worker. An important aspect of this group was that it showed the strength of Catholicism in Poland as well as the unrest of many Poles. It was a big change from the government-led changes during the Prague Spring. During the strike and formation of Solidarity, the unpopular leader Gierek, was pushed from power. The government also gave Poles the right to organize, legalizing the group. Other Warsaw Pact countries were not pleased with this change and, in December 1981, moved in and forced Solidarity members underground. The Polish economy continued to fail and, after many workers strikes, the government was forced to legalize Solidarity in 1988. The group gained seats in the Polish parliament in 1989. In 1990, the Lech Walesa (who was given a Nobel Peace Prize for his role in creating Solidarity) was elected president of Poland. Solidarity was very important in organizing Poles and gave them the ability to do more than resign to the Communist leadership. The party is still important in Polish politics today.

Ben Winter
Meagan Smith
Bryce Benda
Elle Soderberg