Karol Modzelewski 1937-2019

June 26, 2019

From the July-August 2019 issue of News & Letters

Karol Modzelewski, July 6, 2017. Photo: Tomasz Leśniowski, Via Wikipedia.

We mourn the passing of a great revolutionary, Karol Modzelewski, who, along with Jacek Kuron, declared in 1964 that the post-war economic planning of the Polish Communist regime was a statist form of capitalism. Modzelewski‘s living legacy is that he never wavered, in theory or practice, from the principle of a freedom-filled future rooted in the self-activity of the masses of workers themselves.

A leader in the rise of Solidarity, which eventually brought down the regime, he ruthlessly criticized what it had become when it took power.

We met Modzelewski in Warsaw in 2001, where we shared our appreciation of his perspective, about which we wrote a few years earlier in News & Letters (see “Solidarnosc 15 years later: What happens after?” Oct. 1995 N&L p. 13). By then he was saying another generation would have to take up the effort where his left off. He asked us about the U.S. and dreaded the consequences of the 9/11 attacks on the New York Twin Towers.

-–Urszula Wislanka and Ron Kelch


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