From Solidarity to Freedom
Although the rise 25 years ago of Solidarity, the first independent civic movement in the former Soviet empire, had huge political consequences, Solidarity was, primarily, neither a political movement nor a labor union.
First and foremost, Solidarity was a cry of dignity. We simply had reached the end of our endurance with the omnipresent and all-powerful communist apparatchiks who ruled in our workplaces, neighborhoods, even places of rest. Writers, journalists, and artists could no longer stand the heavy-handed censorship and supervision. In factories as well, Party bureaucrats wanted to know everything and decide everything.
Every civic initiative, every activity of any kind was subject to ideological evaluation and control. All who were tempted to disobey were certain to be “taken care of” by the secret police.