Show Less
Restricted access

Memoirs of a (Highly) Political Economist

Jan Winiecki

These memoirs portray an individual coping with the adversities and surrealistic qualities of life and work under communism. The author recollects his adolescence, next, how he tried to avoid head-on conflicts, dissented, and how he finally became a known critic of the system. As such, he belonged to a group of advisers to the underground «Solidarity» leadership. His memoirs help to understand the collapse of the communist system and the stormy period of systemic change from a personal perspective. The author participated in these changes as an already well known Sovietologist, as well as through his own on- and off involvements in post-communist transition politics, participating in various advisory bodies (including that advising President Walesa).
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Chapter 5: Communism – Game Over!


My growing interaction with the outside world had yet another, domestic policy-related effect. Some of the “Solidarity” intellectuals came to the conclusion that I could be a valuable addition to their advisory activities. The idea was accepted and at one point I was invited to take part in the conversatorium. This innocuous Latin term covered a group of about thirty people, who advised an underground “Solidarity” leadership (TKK: Tymczasowa Komisja Krajowa – Temporary National Commission). It was headed by Professor Bronislaw Geremek, an internationally recognized medieval historian and even more widely recognized political personality among the “Solidarity” advisers from the emergence of the “Solidarity” movement in 1980.

The group met secretly in various safe houses in Warsaw, in fact in safe apartments for there were few old houses left after the World War II (in particular after the disastrous Warsaw uprising). Conversatorium participants discussed current political and other developments, considered propaganda measures and countermeasures against those taken by Jaruzelski regime (the latter aimed at undermining the standing of opposition in the eyes of the population), and last but certainly not least prepared and discussed position papers on issues of more than transient importance. Occasionally, a small group from the conversatorium was selected to meet secretly with the members of the TKK in order to present our opinion on a given issue of interest to TKK members and answer the queries coming from them.

Clearly, I was moving away from my status of a loner, an...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.