Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Lech Walesa and the Chinese "jasmine revolution"

"Can these “Sunday strolls” have any effect on China’s seemingly indomitable apparatus of repression and authoritarian rule? Although many people would scoff at the notion, this was how Poland’s Solidarity movement, the first independent worker’s union in a Communist-bloc country, was formed.

In the summer of 1980, workers at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk, led by Lech Walesa, were preparing to strike when they were informed that Poland’s Communist leaders were preparing to fire on the workers. So instead they began less confrontational protest activities, like “strolling” in large numbers through the city center, where strikers could not be distinguished from other citizens.

The regime tried to crack down, but its repression served to mobilize the broader population and resulted in the founding of the Solidarity union that September. The regime attempted to destroy the union, but in the end it was forced to give way."

Read all the article: "In China, Strolling for Reform"