Poland's Solidarity and Its Fate
Seeing Through the Eyes of the Polish Revolution: Solidarity and the Struggle against Communism in Poland
Publisher: Against the Current
Date Written: 01/07/2017
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX21624
Book review of Jack Bloom's Seeing Through the Eyes of the Polish Revolution: Solidarity and the Struggle against Communism in Poland.
Bloom starts with mapping the structural context of the communist regime in Poland. Instead of outlining a totalitarian framework he underlines the networks of patronage developed under the nomenklatura system of Communist Party rule - referring to a list of names of people deemed to be loyal and politically reliable, from which the privileged elite was constituted.
While the system engendered poverty, it initially did provide unseen opportunities for social mobility for certain segments of society. Once these opportunities decreased and disappeared over time, the communist system was left to operate through a deeply permeated logic of corrupt practices, which implicated the entire society and destroyed people's sense of integrity and dignity.
It is this corrupt system of patronage that provides the overall framework for Bloom's class-based analysis and approach to the history of Solidarity as a social movement. In the 17 subsequent chapters, logically arranged into three parts, the book recounts first the important events that constitute the prehistory of Solidarity, then focuses on "the sixteen months" of 1980-81 during which Solidarity operated legally, and finally moves through the decade of underground resistance to end with Solidarity's resurgence and the fall of communism.