An analysis of Solidarity from it origins in the Polish "new left" to the union's resurgence in 1988-89
Solidarity and the Politics of Anti-Politics
Opposition and Reform in Poland since 1968
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Based on extensive use of primary sources, this book provides an analysis of Solidarity, from its ideological origins in the Polish "new left," through the dramatic revolutionary months of 1980-81, and up to the unionís remarkable resurgence in 1988-89, when it sat down with the government to negotiate Polandís future. David Ost focuses on what Solidarity is trying to accomplish and why it is likely that the movement will succeed.
He traces the conflict between the ruling Communist Party and the opposition, Solidarityís response to it, and the resulting reforms. Noting that Poland is the one country in the world where "radicals of Ď68" came to be in a position to negotiate with a government about the nature of the political system, Ost asks what Poland tells us about the possibility for realizing a "new left" theory of democracy in the modern world.
As a Fulbright Fellow at Warsaw University and Polish correspondent for the weekly newspaper In These Times during the Solidarity uprising and a frequent visitor to Poland since then, David Ost has had access to a great deal of unpublished material on the labor movement. Without dwelling on the familiar history of August 1980, he offers some of the unfamiliar subtletiessuch as the significance of the Szczecin as opposed to the Gdansk Accordand shows how they shaped the budding unionís understanding of the conflicts ahead. Unique in its attention to the critical, formative period following August 1980, this study is the most current and comprehensive analysis of a movement that continues to transform the nature of East European society.
"In his superb book, ...political scientist David Ost chronicles the trajectory of the Polish post-war opposition from its roots in the fascist resistance up to the actions of Solidarity in 19.... [He] astutely bridges academic disciplines, interweaving social theory with intellectual and political history to explain Solidarity's raison d'etre.... In an age when definitions of left and right have become obscured, Solidarity and the Politics of Anti-Politics stands out at a creative example of left thought."
"Ost contributes not only an explication of Polish political life, but he also presents a vision of democracy applicable to the Western world as a whole."
"An invaluable contribution."
1. The Style of Solidarity
2. Civil Society and the "Third Road"
3. The Genesis of Political Opposition in Poland: 1944-1970
4. Opposition and Civil Society: 1970-1980
5. Politics, Anti-Politics, and the Beginnings of Solidarity
6. Solidarity, Democracy, and Neocorporatism
7. The Poverty of Martial Law: Limping Toward Reform
8. The Viability of an Accord
Epilog: The New Solidarity
David Ost is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and the translator of The Church and the Left: A Dialog by Adam Michnik.
In the series
Labor and Social Change, edited by Paula Rayman and Carmen Sirianni.
Labor and Social Change, edited by Paula Rayman and Carmen Sirianni, includes books on workplace issues like worker participation, quality of work life, shorter hours, technological change, and productivity, as well as union and community organizing and ethnographies of particular occupations.