Workers' Councils in Poland

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Workers' Councils in Poland or Councils of Workers' Delegates in Poland (Polish: Rady Delegatów Robotniczych w Polsce) were representative organs of workers and peasants, set up towards the end of the First World War on Polish territories.[1]

The main organisations behind the initiative were the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania and the Polish Socialist Party – Left, which soon merged to form the Communist Workers Party of Poland. Other workers' organisations and parties competed for influence within the councils as well, including the Polish Socialist Party, the Bund in Poland and the National Workers' Union.[2]

Due to significant disputes over the political and economic future of the newly independent Poland, the councils failed to create an executive committee. Nevertheless, over 100 workers' councils operated in Poland in years 1918–1919, assembling around 500,000 workers and peasants.[1] The most numerous and radical councils were located in Kraśnik, Lublin, Płock, Warsaw, Zamość and Zagłębie Dąbrowskie; some set up their own military self-defence units, the Red Guards.[1] A short-lived Republic of Tarnobrzeg was proclaimed on 6 November 1918.

The councils were dismantled around July 1919, following the withdrawal of the Polish Socialist Party (which in many cases had a council majority), and suppression by the Polish government, which saw the councils as a barrier to the formation of a Polish state.[3]

Apart from the 1918–1919 period, workers' councils in Poland had also been set up in Congress Poland during the Revolution of 1905, in 1944–1947 in the aftermath of World War II,[4] and in the Polish People's Republic during the Polish October of 1956.[5] Strike committees and councils appeared during the strikes of 1980–1981 as well.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Rady Delegatów Robotniczych w Polsce". Portal Wiedzy w Onet. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  2. ^ "Rady Delegatów Robotniczych w Polsce". Internetowa encyklopedia PWN. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  3. ^ Kuhn, Rick (2007). Henryk Grossman and the Recovery of Marxism. p. 97.
  4. ^ Kenney, Padraic (1997). Rebuilding Poland: Workers and Communists, 1945–1950.
  5. ^ "Rady robotnicze". Portal Wiedzy w Onet. Retrieved July 30, 2015.