Chapter

Fear, Laughter, and Collective Power: The Making of Solidarity at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk, Poland, August 1980

Colin Barker

in Passionate Politics

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2001 | ISBN: 9780226303987
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226304007 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226304007.003.0011
Fear, Laughter, and Collective Power: The Making of Solidarity at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk, Poland, August 1980

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This chapter discusses the emotional components of the collective action in Gdansk, Poland in August 1980. Every record of August 1980 at Gdansk, where the Solidarity movement was founded, is packed with incidents of human emotionality. Fear, courage, anger, laughter, nervous breakdowns, pride, and solidarity appear at peak intensity during those seventeen days. The narrative is punctuated by displays of feeling, including tears, cheering, booing, whistling, open-air Masses, public readings of workers' poetry, presentations of flowers. From the organized flood of feeling, which focused on the Lenin shipyard between Thursday the 14th and Sunday the 31st of August, was born the fastest-growing trade-union movement in world history. Within three months of its recognition, Solidarity recruited ten million members and inspired parallel movements among students, peasants, shoppers in queues, prisoners in jails, and even philatelists.

Keywords: collective action; emotionality; trade unions; Solidarity movement

Chapter.  7867 words. 

Subjects: Social Movements and Social Change

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