Primary Sources

Plans for Reorganizing Solidarity


Prior to the historic roundtable talks that took place between February and April 1989 in Poland, preparations took place on many levels. In this letter dated January 20, 1989, a couple of weeks before the beginning of the roundtable talks, Andrzej Stelmachowski, a Solidarity activist, provided suggestions to Solidarity leader Lech Walesa on how to prepare for the upcoming discussions. In October 1982, Communist Party officials had formally dissolved Solidarity, and for more than six years, the union had functioned underground illegally, leading to disorganization and disunity. With the legalization of Solidarity on the agenda for the roundtable talks, Stelmachowski stressed the importance of developing new statutes for the union and creating a united Solidarity that would incorporate representatives from old and new factions.


Andrzej Stelmachowski to Lech Walesa, 20 January 1989, trans. Jan Chowaniec, A. Stelmachowski Papers, Cold War International History Project, Virtual Archive, CWIHP (accessed May 14, 2008).

Primary Source—Excerpt

Dear Chief,

Since I have to stay in Warsaw on Saturday due to the ongoing state-church talks, I am taking this opportunity to convey to you (also for possible use at a KKW [National Executive Commission] meeting) the following suggestions and conclusions:

1. I think that an important matter is to set up a not-too-large team to work out draft statutes for "Solidarity," which would adapt our Union to the law on trade unions. Particularly important is to work out a pattern for workplace organizations, operating with uniform statutes at workplace levels [that] would allow [one] to preserve the unity of the Union. Of course, the drafts should also include higher bodies, including the central one....

2. I think it is high time to break away from the secrecy of the Union structure, particularly at workplace levels (except for publishing and financial matters)....

3. [. . .] I think that in view of the chance of "Solidarity's" legalization an attempt should be made to unite all "Solidarity members," who still consider themselves members of the Union. Thus, I am in favor of the last year's scheme of A. Celinski, i.e., to convene a "sejmik," at which both members of the National Commission, remaining in the country, as well as members of structures created during the martial law period, and finally representatives of the newly created structures (strike committees from 1988 and organizing committees, founding committees) should participate. Personally, I think that representatives of the newly created structures should have at least half of the delegates....

How to Cite this Source

Andrzej Stelmachowski, "Plans for Reorganizing Solidarity." Making the History of 1989, #139.

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