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Lech Kaczynski 1949 - 2010

Polish lawyer who aided Lech Walesa in resisting the Communist Regime

Lech Kaczynski

Lech Kaczynski

Lech Kaczynski was born in Warsaw. His father had been an officer in the National Army (AK) and had taken part in the Warsaw uprising. In 1971 Lech graduated in law from Warsaw University. He took an active part in the student demonstrations of 1968. In 1971 he moved to Danzig, where he taught Labour Law. After the events of June 1976 he organized a collection to support the workers in Ursus and Radom, subjected to repressive measures by the regime. In the spring of 1977 he started to work with the Workers’ Defence Committee (KOR) and toured Poland bringing assistance to persecuted workers. In 1978 he helped set up the Underground Trade Union of the Coastal area. Between 1978 and 1980, as well as providing legal aid to those who needed it, he held lectures on employment rights and Polish history for the workers. In August 1980 he was one of the experts of the Inter-company Strike Committee, and one of those closest to Lech Walesa, contributing to drawing up the agreement with the authorities. He was on the executive board of both Solidarnosc and the trade union’s Programmatic Commission. After 13 December 1981 he was imprisoned and not released until October 1982. Between 1982 and 1988, along with Arkadiusz Rybicki and others, he was one of a group of advisors to Lech Walesa. He was also one of those in charge of the underground framework of Solidarnosc. In 1989 he took part in the proceedings of the Round Table in the commission for the pluralism of the trade unions. After the trade union was legalized, he became deputy chairman of Solidarnosc. On 4 June 1989 he was elected senator. Between 1991 and 1993 and then between 2001 and 2003 he was a Member of Parliament. In 1991, during Walesa’s presidential election campaign, he was one of the future president’s closest advisors. After Walesa’s victory, however, Kaczinski began to distance himself from him. In 2001 he founded the right-wing Law and Justice Party (PiS), along with his twin brother. In 2002 he was elected mayor of Warsaw. On 23 December 2005 he was elected President of the Republic.

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Dissidents of totalitarianism

in Central Europe's communist regimes

The so called "dissent" in the communist regimes of Eastern Europe cannot be just reduced to the simple notion of an "opposition" as its definition would suggest, but it should be above all considered as an attempt to build a "parallel polis" based on the responsibility of every citizen and aimed at occupying the spaces where cultural, social and human freedom are allowed, as wrenched from the totalitarian rule over the social fabric. Members of Charter 77 and Solidarnosc, such as Vaclav Havel, Radim Palous, Jacek Kuron and Adam Michnik, have always underlined that “the power of the powerless” consists in winning over fear through the empowerment made possible through a collective assumption of responsibility, witnessed by the exhortation to "live the truth" within a society based on lie. Ver often their "dissent" consisted in a way to claim the enforcement of laws, such as the ones about freedom of conscience, or the international agreements subscribed by their countries, such as the Helsinki Accords. This was the origin of a broad movement that was able to condition the behaviour and mentality of the public opinion, up to the point in which, letting aside Romania, the totalitarian rule was overthrown in a peaceful way, without shedding blood, with the rise of a new leading class recognized by the majority of the population and ready to take on government responsibilities.