ON COURAGE OF ACTIONS AND COWARDICE OF THINKING. LESZEK NOWAK ON THE PROVINCIALISM OF THE POLITICAL THOUGHT OF SOLIDARNOŚĆ

in Thinking about Provincialism in Thinking
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Abstract

In the opinion of many Western observers (e.g. Timothy Garton Ash) as well as Polish authors (e.g. Zdzisław Krasnodębski), the political though of Solidarność was a mixture of ideas taken from different ideological traditions (right and left). What, in the aforementioned authors’ opinion, was a reason for pride was an object of criticism by Leszek Nowak, the eminent Polish philosopher, engaged in the Solidarność movement. One of his most important charges against the political thought of this movement was its intellectual provincialism and its inability to propose something new and fresh. The purpose of this paper is to present Nowak’s reflection on the political thought of Solidarność in years 1980-1981. I show that he presses three general kinds of objections. According to Nowak, the political thought of the movement had formal-internal deficiencies (it provided no clear theoretical vision), cognitive deficiencies (it was incapable of offering a diagnosis of the situation) and policy deficiencies (it was incapable of indicating the appropriate course of action).

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