On Aug. 31, 1980, a peaceful protest led the communist authorities to back down and allow the formation of independent trades unions. The agreement reached between the workers and the authorities became the first serious breach of the communist system that existed behind the Iron Curtain. The foundations were built to organize the first independent trade union in the Soviet bloc, Solidarity.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki spoke at an anniversary commemoration organized by the Solidarity trade union in Gdańsk. He spoke about the courage and hope that guided the workers.
“Everyone remembered only too well December 1970 when the communist authorities put down the protests. It was necessary to be courageous to overcome fear and to have hope for the future. It is that courage that led to today’s freedom, sovereignty, and independence,” Morawiecki said.
According to the Polish prime minister, Solidarity was fearless but responsible. “The work they began led to the fall of the system. This was when we began to throw off the chains of Russian oppression”.
The Polish leader compared 1980 Solidarity workers to Ukrainians who are today fighting for “their and our freedom.”
Morawiecki said that Poles must remember both the victims of martial law and those who were responsible for introducing it in December 1981. It is an injustice that those perpetrators of martial law were never charged, he said while stressing that at least today the state was acting with solidarity towards the disadvantaged.
“Solidarity brought out the best in us. Let that also be true today” Morawiecki concluded.