Polish women strike to protest abortion ban, 2016
In 1993, the Polish Parliament, with the support of the Catholic Church, passed a bill known as the “abortion compromise,” which was intended to decrease abortions and increase overall birth rates in Poland. The law prohibits abortion in all cases except rape, incest, or when the pregnant person or fetus’s life is in danger.
Polish Students Reject Censorship and Repression, 1968
In early 1968, the Polish
National Theater in Warsaw decided to stage a production of “Dziady,” a classic
Polish play by the revered 19th century writer Adam Modzelewski. The
production’s director, Kazmierz Dejmek, choose to highlight the text’s
connection to early Christianity as well as the story of Poland’s struggle for
liberation. Although the communist government rejected religion, no pundits
viewed the play’s content as an exceptional departure from the guidelines of
Polish beekeepers achieve ban on Monsanto genetically modified corn, 2012
In March of 2012, Polish beekeepers and allies stormed the streets of Warsaw to protest the use of genetically modified (GM) maize and potatoes. The protest served as a call to action to mobilize the Polish Ministry of Agriculture to ban genetically modified organisms (GMOs) definitively. The campaign was a partial success as it helped mobilize Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk to impose farming bans on certain GM crops months later.
Polish shipyard workers' initiate regime change, 1970-71
In the face of a stagnating post-war economy, Polish Communist leader Władysław Gomułka, the First Secretary of the Polish United Workers’ Party (PZPR), decided to end government subsidies for food and other everyday items in late 1970. Although the system of fixed, artificially low food prices kept urban discontent in check, it was unsustainable, absorbing approximately one third of the budget.
Oskar and Emilie Schindler intervene to save Jews from Nazi genocide, Poland, 1939-1945
Oskar Schindler was not your typical nonviolent savior. There is no doubt that his actions resulted in the saving of the lives of 1,200 Jewish Holocaust prisoners. What makes this story stand out among other nonviolent campaigns was the enormous and sustained risk he took for people with whom he had no immediate identification.
Polish workers strike, stop price increases, 1976
Following World War II, the Soviet Union set up a government, the PZPR (Polish United Workers’ Party), in Poland that did not permit workers at state-owned factories and businesses to represent their interests in labor unions independently from Party commands. After a series of strikes in 1970, workers abandoned their hopes of forming independent labor unions in exchange for prospects of economic growth promised by First Party Secretary Gierek.
Solidarność (Solidarity) brings down the communist government of Poland, 1988-89
In the late 1980’s, Poland was nearing the end of almost 40 years of postwar communism as part of the Soviet Eastern Bloc. Out of labor organizing earlier in the decade emerged Solidarność (Solidarity), the first non-communist party-controlled trade union federation in a Warsaw Pact country (see Polish workers general strike for economic rights, 1980). Shortly after the rise of Solidarity, the organization expanded into a larger social movement, appealing for economic reforms, free elections, and increased political participation of trade unions.
Polish bus workers defeat privatization, Kielce, 2007
In the southern Polish city of Kielce, in the late 2000s, a public bus company, MPK (Miejskie Przedsiębiorstwo Komunikacyjne), employed around 630 people and ran 160 buses regularly in the city. For several years, the company had been struggling to survive. It had been put under a traffic planning authority, ZTM, which controlled business operations and pushed it into debt. Working conditions were also unfavorable: wages were low, bus schedules didn't allow drivers regular breaks, and it became difficult for the company to hire new employees.
Polish workers general strike for economic rights, 1980
The Soviet forces that liberated Poland from Nazi occupation after World War II installed a government under which workers, employed by state-owned businesses, could not organize or represent themselves. During the 1970s, frustration with the one-party system grew and by the end of the decade, the Polish economy was near collapse.
On June 30, 1980, the government announced a 'reorganization of meat distribution' which resulted in an immediate 60% price increase and greater difficulty in obtaining meat.