Lech Walesa, leader of Solidarity
By Khmer Democrat, Phnom Penh
Expanding our Mind Series
Yet another real-life example of what happens when we have solidarity and coordination. Be of great courage, freedom-lovers! Take note, Cambodian Democrats! Take note, labor unions! Be warned, Dictator Hun Sen! On 5 Oct. 1983, Lech Walesa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Solidarity is a Polish trade union federation founded in September 1980 at the Gdańsk Shipyard, and originally led by Lech Wałęsa.
Solidarity was the first non-communist party-controlled trade union in a Warsaw Pact country. In the 1980s it constituted a broad anti-bureaucratic social movement. The government attempted to destroy the union during the period of martial law in the early 1980s and several years of political repression, but in the end it was forced to start negotiating with the union.
The Round Table Talks between the government and the Solidarity-led opposition led to semi-free elections in 1989. By the end of August a Solidarity-led coalition government was formed and in December 1990 Wałęsa was elected President of Poland. Since then it has become a more traditional, liberal trade union.
For more information, see Solidarity (Polish Trade Union) at Wikipedia, inter alia.