8 October 1982

Poland bans Solidarity and all other trade unions.

Solidarity, also known as “Solidarno??” in Polish, was a historic trade union and social movement in Poland that played a pivotal role in the country’s political and social transformation during the late 20th century.

Solidarity was founded in August 1980 in the city of Gda?sk, Poland, during a wave of strikes at the Gda?sk Shipyard. It was led by Lech Wa??sa, a charismatic electrician and labor activist.
The movement emerged in response to the oppressive communist regime of the Polish People’s Republic, which was controlled by the Communist Party and backed by the Soviet Union.

Solidarity aimed to advocate for workers’ rights, improved working conditions, and economic reforms in Poland.
Beyond its labor-focused goals, the movement also became a symbol of opposition to the authoritarian government and called for political change, democratization, and greater civil liberties.

Growth and Suppression:
Solidarity quickly gained widespread support across Poland, amassing millions of members and supporters. It evolved into a broad-based social and political movement.
In December 1981, in response to the growing influence of Solidarity and fearing a loss of control, the Polish government declared martial law, banned Solidarity, and arrested many of its leaders and activists.
Despite the crackdown, Solidarity remained active underground, with its members continuing to resist the regime’s policies.

Negotiations and Transformation:
Solidarity’s perseverance, along with international pressure and economic hardships, led to negotiations between the government and the opposition.
In 1989, the government agreed to hold semi-free elections. Solidarity participated in these elections and won a significant number of seats in the Polish parliament.
This marked the beginning of a peaceful transition towards democracy in Poland.

Post-Communist Era:
Following the 1989 elections, Poland experienced a period of political and economic transformation. Solidarity played a key role in shaping the country’s transition to a democratic and market-oriented system.
Lech Wa??sa was elected as the President of Poland in 1990, further solidifying Solidarity’s influence on the country’s direction.

Solidarity’s successful struggle against communist rule in Poland had a profound impact on other Eastern European countries facing similar challenges.
The movement became a symbol of peaceful resistance, democracy, and human rights and was recognized worldwide.
Solidarity remains an important historical and cultural symbol in Poland, and its legacy continues to influence Polish politics and society.