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TheSolidarity trade union was the first free and independent trade unionin communist Europe, led by Lech Walesa. The union was formed in 1980and drew a membership of around 10 million Polish with a specific aimto end social injustices, oppression, and poor working conditions1.The Solidarity movement had a significant impact, not only in Polandbut the rest of the world. The essay seeks to establish theconsequences of the Solidarity trade union.


Theruling government was under pressure from the Soviet Union to end theSolidarity movement. In 1981, Polish government declared martial lawthat gave the Prime Minister the power to subdue the solidarity byarresting Walesa and other sympathizers. On the other hand, thesecret police used excessive force to quell the ongoing protests tothe extent of killing Father Jerzy Popielusko2.The government cruelty over its citizens led to increased popularityof the Solidarity movement. In the 1989 elections, over 90 percent ofthe candidates endorsed by the Solidarity movement won parliamentaryseats, resulting in an end to Communism in Poland. Moreover, LechWalesa was elected as the president in 1990, creating significantpolitical reforms such as the approval of a multi-party system3.The solidarity movement also led to the abandonment of the BerlinWall and successive systemic transformations across Central Europeannations.


Inconclusion, the Solidarity movement emerged as an independent tradeunion with the sole aim of defending workers’ rights. However, thesocial and political environment in the country eventually convertedthe movement into a political vehicle that was used to change thecommunist system. As a result, it led to a massive revolution andbroader reforms across the Eastern bloc.


Goddeeris,Idesbald . Solidaritywith Solidarity: Western European Trade Unions and the Polish Crisis,1980-1982.Plymouth: Lexington Books, 2014.

Palmer,Michael D, and Stanley M Burgess. TheWiley-Blackwell Companion to Religion and Social Justice.Chichester: John Wiley &amp Sons, 2012.

Slay,Ben . ThePolish Economy: Crisis, Reform, and Transformation.New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2012.

1 Goddeeris, Idesbald . Solidarity with Solidarity: Western European Trade Unions and the Polish Crisis, 1980-1982. (Plymouth: Lexington Books, 2014), 11-18.

2 Palmer, Michael D, and Stanley M Burgess. The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Religion and Social Justice. Chichester: (John Wiley &amp Sons, 2012), 73.

3 Slay, Ben . The Polish Economy: Crisis, Reform, and Transformation. (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2012), 79.