The Self-governing Republic in the Third Republic
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Polish Academy of Sciences
Publication date: 2006-03-30
Polish Sociological Review 2006;153(1):55-74
This article discusses The Self-governing Republic, a programmatic-ideological conception which was part of the “Solidarity” Program accepted at the union’s First Convention in 1981. This conception was rooted in the ideas of the democratic opposition of the nineteen-seventies but it also reflected the pivotal changes in social consciousness which took place in 1980–81. Its main focus were postulates for the development of democratic institutions in all walks of social, political and economic life, postulates concerning the development of participant institutions, and the postulate to lay the moral foundations for democracy (e.g., responsibility of those guilty of communist crimes). This text confronts the programmatic legacy of The Self-governing Republic with its only partial implementation after 1989. The foundations of procedural democracy had been lain by this time but development of themoral foundations for democratic transformation were conspicuously lacking. The institutions of social self-government were only partly developed in the formof territorial self-government and, not without considerable resistance, development of the NGO sector which became the main programmatic successor of “Solidarity’s” legacy. In the nineties those changes which did take place in this sector were mainly the result of grassroots pressure and foreign aid. Since 2001/2002, however, positive institutional improvements have been observed in the vicinity of this sector. These improvements correspond with the sector’s new conditions of functioning following Poland’s accession to the European Union.
Paper based on my article presented at the Conference “Solidarity—the Event—the Consequences—the Memory” organized inWarsaw (September 22–23, 2005) by the Institute of Sociology,Warsaw University and by the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology Polish Academy of Sciences.
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