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LEADERS OF THE SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT: A SOCIOLOGICAL PORTRAIT

Jan Pakulski
Sociology
Vol. 20, No. 1 (February 1986), pp. 64-81
Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42854189
Page Count: 18
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
LEADERS OF THE SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT: A SOCIOLOGICAL PORTRAIT
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Abstract

Data on the social backgrounds of 33 leading activists of the Polish Solidarity movement are examined in the context of the character of the movement, its social basis, and historical background of mass dissent in Poland. In the light of a typology suggested by the author, the recruitment and composition of the leadership could be seen as reflecting the anti-partocratic and crisis-triggered character of the movement. The top Solidarity activists were leaders and organizers of the 1980 strikes. They were predominantly young and skilled industrial workers, manual and non-manual, employed in the large factories in traditional centres of workers' unrest. They represented this section of the 'generation of People's Poland' whose upward mobility in a climate of political optimism generated high expectations and aspirations. These aspirations, frustrated by political exclusion and the economic crisis, led to the rebellion against the partocratic institutions. Although most of the Solidarity leaders were not involved in dissident activities before summer 1980, their backgrounds show a clear link with the political history of Poland and testify to the dramatic failure of the mechanisms of political participation and cooptation.

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