Seeing Through the Eyes of the Polish Revolution

Buy hardcover (Brill)
Published Nov 2016
ISBN: 9789004231801

Solidarity and the Struggle Against Communism in Poland

Jack M. Bloom, Indiana University Northwest

In 1980 Polish workers astonished the world by demanding and winning an independent union with the right to strike, called Solidarity–the beginning of the end of the Soviet empire. Jack M. Bloom’s Seeing Through the Eyes of the Polish Revolution explains how it happened, from the imposition to Communism to its end, based on 150 interviews of Solidarity leaders, activists, supporters and opponents. Bloom presents the perspectives and experiences of these participants. He shows how an opposition was built, the battle between Solidarity and the ruling party, the conflicts that emerged within each side during this tense period, how Solidarity survived the imposition of martial law and how the opposition forced the government to negotiate itself out of power.

Biographical note

Jack M. Bloom, PhD., (University of California, Berkeley, 1980), is Associate Professor of Sociology and Adjunct Associate Professor of Minority Studies and of History at Indiana University Northwest. He has published Class, Race and the Civil Rights Movement (Indiana University Press, 1987), which won second prize of the C. Wright Mills Award and received an Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center.


Specialists in social movements, in Poland and eastern Europe, educated laypeople, activists, academic libraries, public libraries, undergraduates and graduate students, and anyone interested in significant social movements.


“Die im Verlauf von mehr als fünfzehn Jahren entstandene Abhandlung von Jack M. Bloom zur Entstehung der polnischen Gewerkschaftsbewegung Solidarność und deren gewaltsamer Auflösung liefert einen empirischen Einblick in die Funktionsweise einer oppositionellen Massenbewegung, die im Sommer 1980 aus den Streiks der Hafenarbeiter in Gdańsk/Danzig entstanden ist.”

Wolfgang Schlott (Universität Bremen), International Newsletter of Communist Studies Online, XX/XXI (2014/15), nos. 27-28

Table of contents


1. Patronage and Corruption in Communist Poland


2. The First Systemic Crisis
3. ‘Living Parallel to the System’: The Solidarity Generation
4. A Line of Blood
5. An Opposition Emerges
6. Independent Organisations and Opposition


7. The Solidarity Explosion
8. Social Solidarity and the Victory of Solidarność
9. The Solidarity Revolution
10. The Solidarity Offensive
11. Bydgoszcz: the Turning Point
12. The Party at War with Itself