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Lech Kaczyński

Democratic opposition

From 1976, in response to an appeal of the Workers’ Defence Committee, Lech Kaczyński took up the action of collecting money for oppressed workers; the money was handed over with the help of his mother Jadwiga to Jan Józef Lipski. In 1977 Lech Kaczyński started to work with the Intervention Bureau of the Workers’ Defence Committee. A year later, he got involved in activities of the Free Trade Unions. He provided training sessions and lectures for workers in labour law and history. He wrote articles for Robotnik Wybrzeża (Worker of the Coast) and distributed among workers such papers as Robotnik (The Worker) and Biuletyn Informacyjny KSS KOR (Information Bulletin of the Committee for Social Self-defence – Workers’ Defence Committee).


In August 1980 he was appointed as an adviser to the Gdańsk Inter-Enterprise Strike Committee in Gdańsk Shipyard. He is the author of several provisions contained in the Gdańsk Agreement as well as of a part of the statutes of the Solidarność trade union concerning strikes, trade sections and collective agreements. He was the head of the Intervention Bureau and manager of the Ongoing Analysis Bureau at the Inter-Enterprise Strike Committee. On September 17th, 1980 he supported the idea of Jan Olszewski, Jarosław Kaczyński and Karol Modzelewski, which was that all the newly established trade unions should unite into one national union called Solidarność (Solidarity).


In 1981 he was a delegate to the 1st National Congress of the Solidarność Independent and Self-Governing Trade Union (NSZZ “Solidarność”) and chairman of the 11th Congressional Committee Team for relations with the Polish United Workers’ Party. From July 1981 – a member of the regional management of NSZZ “Solidarność” in Gdańsk.


He was interned under martial law for his involvement in the Solidarity movement. He was kept in an internment camp in Strzebielinek from December 1981 to October 1982. After his release, he returned to trade union activities and was a member of the underground authorities of NSZZ “Solidarność”. From 1982, together with Jacek Merkel and Aram Rybicki, he was a member of Lech Wałęsa's “team” in Gdańsk. From 1983 he took part in meetings of the Temporary Coordination Commission (TCC) and was its adviser, together with his brother Jarosław. From 1985 he was a member of the regional Council for Aid to Political Prisoners in Gdańsk. From January 1986 he was a TCC member and took part in the work of the secret Regional Coordination Commission of NSZZ "Solidarność". From July 1986 he performed the function of TCC secretary. From December 1987, when TCC and the “S” Temporary Council combined into one body, Lech Kaczyński became a member of the Secretariat of the National Executive Committee of NSZZ "Solidarność", next to Jarosław Kaczyński, Andrzej Celiński and Henryk Wujec.

In September 1988 he participated in talks between the opposition and representatives of the government in Magdalenka near Warsaw. He joined the so-called “six” appointed by the National Executive Committee, i.e. the management of “Solidarność” for talks at the Round Table. From December 1988 he was a member of the Citizens’ Committee led by Lech Wałęsa. From February to April 1989 he took part in the round table talks, working in a team dealing with the issue of pluralism of trade unions. From April to July 1989, he was a member of the Coordinating Commission for negotiations between the government and “Solidarność”. In April 1989 he became a member of the Presidium of the National Executive Committee of NSZZ "Solidarność" and performed duties as its deputy chairman. In May 1990 he was appointed the 1st deputy chairman of NSZZ "Solidarność" (as a matter of fact, he managed the union during Lech Wałęsa’s presidential campaign and after Wałęsa was elected President of the Republic of Poland). In February 1991 he ran for the position of chairman of "Solidarność". Defeated by Marian Krzaklewski, he took 2nd place in the election.

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