Solidarity Congress Commemorates 1980 August Agreements
August 31, 2010
PM Tusk(L), EP President Buzek (C), President Komorowski and first non-communist Polish PM Tadeusz Mazowiecki (back) at the Congress
Some 2,500 delegates and invited guests, among them President Bronislaw Komorowski, PM Donald Tusk and EP President Jerzy Buzek gathered yesterday for the special Solidarity trade union congress held in Gdynia on the Baltic coast to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the so-called August Agreements.
In his address President Komorowski said the Agreements and establishing The Independent and Self-governing Trade Union (NSZZ) “Solidarnosc” (Solidarity) had been a wise conclusion to one stage in the risky and important struggle against the communist regime in Poland. Komorowski also said that Poland must continue to build on the amazing achievements of 30 years ago.
" The Solidarity movement is a source of inspiration in the fight for liberty for all the world's citizens," US President Barack Obama said in a message read out at an anniversary ceremony by Lee Feinstein, the US ambassador to Poland.
Celebrations of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Solidarity trade union turned out to be a festival of severe disputes.
Opposition PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who is supported by the Solidarity's current leadership, used a strong language aimed at the ruling Civic Platform (PO) leaders and former Solidarnosc activists.
The speech of Prime Minister Donald Tusk was interrupted by whistling, while the speech of Kaczynski, was met with applause from most Solidarnosc members present.
Tusk's Civic Platform Party has been in conflict with Kaczynski's Law and Justice Party for years, with situation aggravating after Komorowski - Tusk's candidate won the elections to replace Kaczynski twin brother Lech ,tragically killed in a plane crash.
Kaczynski's speech was followed by a riposte of Henryka Krzywonos, a former tram driver who had blocked tram traffic in Gdansk, Sopot and Gdynia supporting Solidarnosc strike that broke out 30 year ago. Krzywonos accused Kaczynski of waging hatred and offending Solidarnosc people.
Lech Walesa the legendary leader of Solidarity union during the August Agreements did not attend the events in Gdynia. Walesa claims the contemporary trade union is now too much involved is “too political”.
Walesa came into conflict with the Solidarity trade union already in the first half of the 1990s, during his term of office as president of Poland. Tensions between him and leading members of the old Solidarity movement, including Lech and Jaroslaw Kaczynski, led to his gradual distancing from the trade union.
Wałęsa, however, together with PM Tusk laid flowers at the Monument of the Fallen Shipyard Workers in Gdansk on the same day.