Henri Simon's brilliant and detailed account and analysis of the militant working class struggles in Poland from 1980 to 1982 which were a major contributing factor to the downfall of the USSR.
The work details the factors that led to a rank-and-file workers' movement in Poland that struggled to win a greater share of the surplus value being taken away from them by the state-capitalist ruling class of Poland and even, in some cases, forge new organizational forms for production and distribution. The issue of the imperialist rivalry between the "Western branch of capital" and the "Eastern branch of capital" (the Soviet Union) is also dealt with as it relates to Poland in this period. Finally, the work is also an outstanding analysis of the art of co-opting and mediation, detailing efforts by Lech Walesa, the leadership of Solidarity ("Solidarnosc", a trade union), and the Catholic Church to co-opt the rank-and-file movement and channel it into avenues less threatening to the ruling class so that these institutions could retain their privileged station in society.
The work also opens up many questions about the future of capitalism itself, the problems facing the ruling class when capitalism falters, and the prospects for proletarian revolution. In general, the work is written from an historical materialist, marxist, council-communist perspective that utilizes firmly-grounded and well-explained state-capitalist theory.
Originally published in English by Black & Red in 1985. OCRed for libcom.org by Linda Towlson.
Translated by Lorraine Perlman. The original title of this work is: Pologne 1980-82, Lutte de Classes et Crise du Capital. It was published in 1982 by Spartacus, 5, rue Ste.-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 75004 Paris. The present translation of the French work contains a number of revisions and additions by the author. B & R expresses gratitude to Dumont Press Graphix, Kitchener, Ontario for making their typesetting equipment available.