Lech Walesa: one of my heroes

Leading his 'mob'

The union organizer who led the movement that overthrew Soviet communism in his native Poland 30 years ago, whose actions signaled the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union, is coming to New York to support Occupy Wall Street.

. . . to show his support for the  Occupy Wall Street protesters.

“How could I not respond,” Walesa told a  Polish newspaper Wednesday. “The thousands of people gathered near Wall Street  are worried about the fate of their future, the fate of their country. This is  something I understand.”

. . . Walesa said “capitalism is in  crisis” and not just in America.

“This is a worldwide problem,” he told  the Lublin-based Dziennik Wschodni newspaper. “The Wall Street protesters have  focused a magnifying glass on the problem.”

. . . A staunch anti-communist and former Polish president who helped steer his  country to a free market economy, Walesa . . .  has warned of a “worldwide  revolt against capitalism” if the Wall St. protests are ignored.

They are  protesting the “unfairness” of an economy that enriches a few and “throws the  people to the curb,” he said in a recent interview.

29 responses to “Lech Walesa: one of my heroes

  1. In the words of the late, great Artie Johnson … Very interesting. i recall that time in Poland. Unbelievable, yet let us remember that the circumstances are not the same. Thanks for the scoop as I had not heard this.


    • Walesa is important because he showed that one can be anti-communist and a man of the left. Too many people have difficulty beleivng that both can exist in the same person.


  2. Wow. This keeps getting more interesting.

    From the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence:

    That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.


  3. This movement is gaining steam. I participated in my first protest (in my life) on Tuesday. The people there were great! Very friendly.


  4. He’s still only focused on half the problem (Wall St. vs. Wall Street AND Washington), and it’s the one half that’s got the least amount of leverage. They need to camp out at the White House and demand 1) WH resignations, and 2) some real investigations into the financial meltdown.

    Until then, they can parade Jesus Christ himself down at that park along with Lech (arm-in-arm with Harry Belafonte, Kanye West, and Susan Sarandon, of course) and nothing’s going to change because they’re still determined to run east to try and find a sunset.


    • I agree with you that OWS may have reached the point where some cohesive structure is needed, especially as it spreads – which it is doing rapidly. But in these circumstances with the joblessness and poor prospects for growth, everything is on the table. This may have to go through a few iterations – georgraphic and ideological – before it becomes a focused thing.

      The anger is real. IN hard times, people need to beleive we have shared sacrifice. Or the anger can just grow.


      • I certainly don’t think they’re going to go home, so it will be interesting to see what happens.

        You marched on DC during Vietnam? Cool! 🙂


        • Oh yeah, I’m kewl . . ..


        • I think this OWS movement has a parallell in the feminist movement of the 70’s (mostly). Eventually N.O.W. was formed and became the voice of the majority of activists, but for years it was very grassroots with unaffilitaed protests popping up all over hte place.

          It was about ‘consciousness raising’ and it worked. And that’s what OWS is starting to look like. People have begun talking about the issues instead of the circus. I saw today that a few NY churches are pulling their money out of Citibank and others and moving to credit unions. The word seems to be getting out.


  5. Sorry it’s time to clean the park. Would you mind leaving?


    • Hi spark – just visited your place and see you’re a freshly minted blogger. Congrats and thanks for the shout out on the blogroll.

      By the way, our park is clean as a whiste down here if you want to come down 🙂


  6. Walesa is one of the best examples of the role unions can play in our democratic process to bring more justice for all.


  7. Maybe Lech will actually have a #OWS to visit! But he’d better hurry…


  8. Maybe hopefully he can talk some sense into these young clueless protesters


  9. The union organizer who led the movement that overthrew Soviet communism in his native Poland 30 years ago,

    Hi Moe,

    Remember, we support a group of people who wanna band together and unite. If they, as a group, are able to negotiate fairly with the corporation, more power. What we resent is when those negotiations are legally mandated because 49% of the people are forced to join a union against their will in an open and flagrant denial of rights by holding elections open for all to see.

    Uniting is good.

    Unions are for guys in Colorado or Canada 😉


    • Open primaries! (actually, I really want open primaries.)


    • “Unions are for guys in Colorado or Canada ;-)”

      SUCH a cheap shot, Pino! Haha! Not sure if it was directly at me, but regardless I’m only here another week before I’m back in Vegas. Besides, you won’t see much love for unions where I’m at (in Alberta) anyways. Very corporate, very conservative is (thankfully!) the majority here.


  10. When a socialist runs an economy into the ground he has to find enemies to blame . Both Stalin and Mao had their purges, where they sent their mobs out to get rid of imaginary enemies. Chavez does it in Venezuela . Now Obama is doing it here.


    • jean-philippe | October 15, 2011 at 12:46 am |

      I’m sure that this is your attempt to poke me in the eye.

      However, if you pay attention, you will find that people support the concept of an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s labor. Which means that, if you and I agree on that work and that pay, we should both honor that agreement. And further, that should either of us find the pay or the work to be out of balance, we can terminate our involvement in the agreement.

      But that’s NOT what YOU want. You think that an employer should be forced to pay more than the laborer is worth. Let the worker determine his worth. It’s interesting that of the wealthiest among us, NONE of them have their compensation dictated to their employer; they all negotiate for that pay.

      When you let another man dictate your compensation, you forfeit your liberty, and deserve neither.


  11. “Uniting is good.”

    Agreed. Seems like Walesa is an example of unions at their best. You can argue the collective action requires a way to prevent some from free-riding by getting the benefit of collective action without sacrificing for it.


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