25 Years of Solidarity

This week saw a quarter century of the Polish freedom movement, Solidarnosc. In celebration, I want to quote CLR James, writing in 1986:
“In Poland in 1981 the working class and the people of Poland registered the first basis of the new conception of the emancipation of the working class. The people of Poland formed a socialist party - but this was the party to end all parties. It consisted of ten million Polish people. In fact the able-bodied people of Poland, the men and women, formed a party which did not represent the people, but itself consisted of the people. The people were the party and the party was the people.”
This is from the foreword to the fourth edition of James’ devastating 1950 attack on the Stalinist system, State Capitalism and World Revolution, written with Raya Dunayevskaya. It is no coincidence that the second edition was brought out in 1956, at the very moment of the workers’ uprising against Stalinism in Hungary, and the third edition in 1968, as the Czech people were in turn rising up. James - like EP Thompson, Adam Michnik, Jan Kavan, Miklos Haraszti, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Peter Schneider, Rudolf Bahro and Vaclav Havel - represents the continuity between 1956, 1968, the birth of Solidarnosc and the Velvet Revolution.

Here’s to the continuing struggle against totalitarianism and authoritarianism, for democracy, and for working class self-emancipation.

Keywords: Pope Benedict, Pope John Paul, Cardinal Ratzinger
File under: Tags: Poland, Stalinism
Links: Charles Taylor on Koba the Dread by Martin Amis, Christopher Hitchens on socialism, Christopher Hitchens on Trotsky, marccooper: On Sontag
Previous: The Pope and Stalin, The Pope and Stalin 2


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