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Solidarity (Polish: Solidarność) is a Polish labour union that was founded on 17 September 1980 at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk under the leadership of Lech Wałęsa. It was the first trade union in a Warsaw Pact country that was not controlled by a communist party. Its membership peaked at 10 million members at its September 1981 Congress, which constituted one-third of the total working-age population of Poland.
In the 1980s, Solidarity was a broad anti-bureaucratic social movement, using the methods of civil resistance to advance the causes of workers' rights and social change. The government attempted to destroy the union by imposing martial law in Poland, which lasted from December 1981 to July 1983 and was followed by several years of political repression from 8 October 1982, but in the end it was forced to negotiate with Solidarity. In the union's clandestine years, Pope John Paul II and the United States provided significant financial support, estimated to be as much as 50 million US dollars.
The round table talks between the government and the Solidarity-led opposition led to semi-free elections in 1989. By the end of August, a Solidarity-led coalition government was formed. In December 1990, Wałęsa was elected President of Poland. Since then, Solidarity has become a more traditional liberal trade union.
Crowned eagle in the coat of arms of the Republic of Poland dividing the issue year. The state above, value below. The mintmark (M/W) under the eagle's left leg.
The Monument to the fallen Shipyard Workers 1970 with city view on the background, word Solidarity and two dates in front.