“Danzig Fanfare” – dedicated to Lech Walesa

40 years have passed since Lech Walesa and his henchmen forced the communist government to legalise the Solidarność movement through the strikes and occupation of the Gdansk shipyard.

In 1978 Lech Walesa, together with Andrzej Gwiazda and Aleksander Hall, organised the illegal underground association “Free Trade Unions of Pomerania”. In 1979 he was arrested several times for running an “anti-governmental organisation”, but the court acquitted him. He was allowed to leave prison in early 1980.

After the beginning of the strike and the occupation of the Gdansk shipyard, Wałęsa climbed the shipyard wall, according to its own account, on 14 August 1980 and became the strike leader. All over Poland, workers spontaneously followed the example of Gdansk and also stopped working in solidarity with their factories. A few days later Wałęsa fought for an agreement with the management and declared the strike over. However, Anna Walentynowicz stopped the workers who wanted to leave the Gdansk shipyard and persuaded them to set up an inter-company strike coordination committee to guide and support the general strike in Poland.

In September 1980, 40 years ago, the communist government signed an agreement with the Strike Coordination Committee that legalised, among other things, the independent trade union Solidarność. The Strike Coordination Committee legalised itself as the “National Coordinating Committee of the Solidarity Trade Union” (Polish: Krajowa Komisja Porozumiewawcza) and Wałęsa was elected chairman.

Musically these incidents were not substantially processed, only the Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki wrote a “Gdansk Fanfare” (for brass and percussionists), which he dedicated to the organiser and later president of Poland, Lech Walesa.

Other works concerning strikes and with a contemporary historical background can be found under this link.