Preserving the Treasures of Solidarity
Forgiveness is a deeply rooted component in the fabric of Polish society,
Some 25 years after the fall of communism, the Center for Thought of John Paul II is embarking on a new project to remind current and future governmental leaders of the essence of Solidarity, the labor and civil movement which swept Lech Walesa into power in 1990.
“The treasure of solidarity lies not in politics or economics,” explains Michał Łuczewski, the Deputy- Director of the Center, “but in the strength of the human spirit, in the desire to make the world more human. This desire never passes away.”
In addition, forgiveness was a key facet of the movement’s civil action. Rev. Jozef Tischner famously responded to the shootings of workers during a period of 1980s martial law by saying, “I forgive, therefore I am.”
The project will show the spiritual, as well as social and political, dimensions of Solidarity. In the Polish context, these two dimensions mirror notions of mercy and justice. Spiritual mercy and socio-political justice will be explored as two elements of solidarity that should complement rather than contradict one other. In this way, the project will help to articulate new learnings on the relationship between spirit and governance.
In partnership with the Fetzer Institute, the center is midway through implementation of a five-step plan to discover and distill the essence of solidarity and to share it with the world. The plan includes:
· Selecting top research fellows (complete)
· Conducting meaningful interviews and meetings with witnesses and experts (complete)
· Developing a step-by-step manual to recreating solidarity in new situations (under way)
· Distilling those learnings into a documentary film, lesson plans and political discussions (under way)
· An international conference at the European Parliament in 2015 (in planning)
More than 20 semi-structured, yet conversational interviews with key figures in the Solidarity movement, including Walesa, have been conducted. These were captured on video and will be used in drafting historical and curriculum documents.
This is a project of the Fetzer Advisory Council on Governing Professions.