Solidarity, the network and the history of workers' self-management from the Gdańsk Agreement to shock therapy

Walters, Andrew (2016) Solidarity, the network and the history of workers' self-management from the Gdańsk Agreement to shock therapy. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
[img] PDF
Download (1MB)
Printed Thesis Information:


This PhD thesis is an empirical research project in the field of modern Polish history. The thesis focuses on Solidarity, the Network and the idea of workers’ self-management. In addition, the thesis is based on an in-depth analysis of Solidarity archival material. The Solidarity trade union was born in August 1980 after talks between the communist government and strike leaders at the Gdansk Lenin Shipyards. In 1981 a group called the Network rose up, due to cooperation between Poland’s great industrial factory plants. The Network grew out of Solidarity; it was made up of Solidarity activists, and the group acted as an economic partner to the union. The Network was the base of a grass-roots, nationwide workers’ self-management movement. Solidarity and the self-management movement were crushed by the imposition of Martial Law in December 1981. Solidarity revived itself immediately, and the union created an underground society. The Network also revived in the underground, and it continued to promote self-management activity where this was possible. When Solidarity regained its legal status in April 1989, workers’ self-management no longer had the same importance in the union. Solidarity’s new politico-economic strategy focused on free markets, foreign investment and privatization.

This research project ends in July 1990, when the new Solidarity-backed government enacted a privatization law. The government decided to transform the property ownership structure through a centralized privatization process, which was a blow for supporters of workers’ self-management. This PhD thesis provides new insight into the evolution of the Solidarity union from 1980-1990 by analyzing the fate of workers’ self-management. This project also examines the role of the Network throughout the 1980s. There is analysis of the important link between workers’ self-management and the core ideas of Solidarity. In addition, the link between political and economic reform is an important theme in this research project. The Network was aware that authentic workers’ self-management required reforms to the authoritarian political system. Workers’ self-management competed against other politico-economic ideas during the 1980s in Poland. The outcome of this competition between different reform concepts has shaped modern-day Polish politics, economics and society.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Poland history, Solidarity, workers' self-management.
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D839 Post-war History, 1945 on
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Central and East European Studies
Supervisor's Name: Berry, Professor Richard and Oldfield, Dr. Jon
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Mr Andrew Walters
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7691
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2016 07:11
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2022 17:14
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.7691

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year