Solidarity and the Politics of Anti-Politics: Opposition and Reform in Poland Since 1968

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Temple University Press, Mar 2, 1990 - Political Science - 279 pages
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"For both academic analysts and political activists, this book offers useful lessons from the Polish experience with anti-politics and neocorporatism." --Political Science Quarterly 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 union's remarkable resurgence in 1988-89, when it sat down with the government to negotiate Poland's 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, Solidarity's response to it, and the resulting reforms. Noting that Poland is the one country in the world where "radicals of ‘68" 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during the Solidarity uprising and a frequent visitor to Poland since then, David Ost has had access to a great deal of unpublished material on the labor movement.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 subtleties--such as the significance of the Szczecin as opposed to the Gdansk Accord--and shows how they shaped the budding union's 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." --In These Times "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." --Jewish Currents "An invaluable contribution." --Choice
 

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Solidarity and the politics of anti-politics: opposition and reform in Poland since 1968

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Born as an aftermath of the 1968 student rebellions in Europe, Solidarity was unprepared to assume power and authority, says Ost (political science, Hobart and William Smith Colls.), in this revised ... Read full review

Contents

The Style of Solidarity i
6
Civil Society and the Third Road
19
The Genesis of Political Opposition in Poland 19441970
33
Opposition and Civil Society 19701980
55
Politics AntiPolitics and the Beginnings of Solidarity
75
Solidarity Democracy and Neocorporatism
113
The Poverty of Martial Law Limping Toward Reform
149
The Viability of an Accord
187
The New Solidarity
205
Postscript
217
Notes
223
Bibliography
259
Index
271
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About the author (1990)

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.

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