Lipinski Cosponsors Resolution Commemorating Solidarity's Victory Over Communism in Poland

Congressman Daniel Lipinski (IL-03), co-chairman of the Congressional Poland Caucus, announced the introduction Thursday of a House resolution hailing the 20th anniversary of the Solidarity movement’s historic parliamentary victory of June 4, 1989.

“Solidarity’s overwhelming defeat of the communist government at the polls marked a turning point not just for Poland but for the world,” said Lipinski, a cosponsor of the resolution. “By giving hope to millions of people who had suffered for decades under totalitarian communist regimes, the movement helped spark the popular revolts that soon led to the fall of communism throughout Eastern Europe.”

The Solidarity movement formed in 1980 when striking shipyard workers banded together to create an independent democratic labor union. Rejecting the concept of class struggle, Solidarity proposed a nation united by the pursuit of justice, individual freedom and human dignity. But it wasn’t long before the government imposed martial law, banned Solidarity and imprisoned its members, forcing the movement underground.

With the all-important support of Pope John Paul II, Solidarity reemerged as a potent advocate for freedom in 1988. The following year, it negotiated reforms that led to the election of June 4, when Solidarity posted a resounding victory that produced the first non-communist government in the Soviet Bloc in four decades.

Solidarity’s open opposition to communism was not without precedent in Poland, as Poles launched revolutionary strikes against the government in 1956 and 1970 that were violently suppressed.

“It is a great honor for me to formally acknowledge the heroism of the Polish people in liberating their nation from oppression and bringing to an end a long and brutal chapter in the history of the 20th Century,” Lipinski said. “Like millions of people of Polish ancestry throughout the world, I am immensely proud of the role Poland played in illuminating the path to freedom.”  

The resolution congratulates the Polish Republic on the 20th anniversary of the elections; recognizes that the election permitted the formation of the first non-communist and democratic government in Eastern Europe since 1948; recognizes that the election inaugurated the series of democratic revolutions that swept Eastern Europe in 1989; commends the Solidarity labor union for uniting Polish society in a common struggle for freedom; and commends the Polish people for their courage.

(June 4, 2009)