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Encyclopedia > Polish Socialist Party

The Polish Socialist Party (Polska Partia Socjalistyczna, PPS) was one of the two most important Polish political parties from its inception in 1892 until 1948, when it merged with the Stalinist Polish Workers' Party (PPR) to form the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR), the ruling party in the People's Republic of Poland. 1948 is a leap year starting on Thursday (link will take you to calendar). ... The Polish Workers Party was a communist party in Poland from 1938 to 1948. ... The Polish United Workers Party (PUWP; in Polish, Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza, PZPR), was the governing political party in communist_ruled Poland from its creation (through a fusion of the communist Polish Workers Party and the left wing of the Polish Socialist Party) in December 1948 until the regimes electoral...

The Polish Socialist Party, founded in 1892, was the main party of the Polish working class until amalgamated into the Polish United Workers Party in 1948. Like it’s rival party, the SDKPiL, the PPS was only organised in the Russian part of Poland while other sections of the Socialist International organised among Polish workers in the Austrian and Prussian portions of the country. The PPS combined both socialist and national demands within its program, subsequently becoming the mass party of the Polish working class.

It’s foundation followed a period of work by patriotic socialists such as Ignacy Daszynski who had been editing The Worker since 1891 which was produced by the Society of Polish Socialists itself founded in 1890 in Berlin. Meanwhile in the Polish provinces of Russia groups of patriotic socialists were organising as National Socialists. Boleslaw Limonovski a leader of the national Socialists was among those who summoned a congress of Polish Socialists on November 17, 1892 in Paris. It was at this congress that the Polish Socialist Party founded. Initially it included the remnants of the Second Proletariat, the Union of Polish Workers, the Association of Polish Workers as well as the National Socialist Commune. However almost all the those belonging to both the Second Proletariat and the Union of Polish Workers were to walk out and form the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland within months due to their rejection of Polish nationalism.

Among the most influential of the leaders of the PPS was Jozef Pilsudski initially editor of the party’s paper The Worker and later the leader of its Fighting Detachments. His strategy was to continue the tradition of national risings against the occupying powers and his principal enemy was, without doubt, the Russian Empire. As time went by socialism seemed ever more absent to Pilsudskis politics. With the Russo-Japanese war Pilsudskis nationalist politics dictated his pro-Japane position and as the revolutionary wave rose his fighting squads went into action against the Russian Army. Pilsudski would even travel to Japan in a quest to obtain support for an insurrection.

Through 1905 the number and size of strikes increased dramatically as did political demonstrations pushing the working class membership of the PPS to the left. This allowed an opposition to develop to the insurrectionist policies of Pilsudski which came to be called ‘the Youth’. Alongside the SDKPiL and the Bund, the PPS backed the wave of strikes that swept Congress Poland from January 1905. Then at the party’s Congress in March 1905 the left won control, now joined by two former members of Proletariat who had returned from exile Feliks Kon and Tadeusz Rachnievski, isolating the Military Organisation on the right. By this time Robotnik (The Worker) had come under the direction of the left too and with the Moscow uprising it called for a General Strike in solidarity. Despite this internationalist appeal the wave of revolution was receding and the appeal fell upon barren sands.

The Party Congress of February 1906 confirmed the victory of the left but the Military Organisation flaunted party discipline and carried out a series of actions. The left convened another Congress in November 1906 and the right were excluded. The same Congress also confirmed that the PPS saw the Polish revolution as being a part of the social revolution on an All-Russian level. The new leadership including Max Horwitz (Walecki), Pawel Lewinson (Lapinski) and Maria Kosucka (Kostrzewa), in addition to Kons and Rachnievski. The PPS-Lewica (Left) was now politically the Polish analogue of the Russian Mensheviks. The former Revolutionary Faction continued using the name PPS but was to experience the loss of a faction which became the Workers Polish Socialist Party in 1907 only to be smashed by repression by 1909. Another split occurred in 1911 when Feliks Perl led a breakaway group called the PPS-Opozycja. All factions of the PPS would experience repression and a reversal of their fortunes during the long years of the downturn following the defeat of the revolution. The outbreak of war in 1914 saw the PPS adopt a position of favouring the Central Powers hoping in this way to secure a Polish state within the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary. The PPS-Left however adopted an internationalist position moving closer to the Social Democrats as the war became prolonged. By the time of the success of the October Revolution in Russia and the end of the war the PPS-Left was extremely close to the SDKPiL as was proved when Workers Councils appeared throughout the country at the end of 1918.

The first Council to appear was that of Lublin on November 6 1918 and as in Russia it was from the first the potential beginning of a new workers state. And as in Russia it was counter-posed to the bourgeois state. Thus in Lublin Ignacy Dazynski established a "Peoples Government" the following day in Lublin and a short period of Dual Power ensued. Again as in Russia the Council was dominated by the reformists, in this case the PPS, who pledged support to Daszynskis government, support which would be switched within days to the newly established central government in Warsaw of Socialist Jedrzej Moraczewski, itself sanctioned by the new head of state Pilsudski. Councils also appeared in Lodz, the Dabrowa industrial region and Warsaw. Where the councils were not emasculated by the reformists they were repressed by the coalition government as in the Dabrowa region where Red Guard units were smashed by the Peoples Militia. Elsewhere, for example Warsaw, two rival Councils were organised by the PPS on one hand and by the SDKPiL, PPS-L with the Trade Unions on the other. Compelled through pressure from the PPS ranks to unite the reformists would split again in June 1919 as bourgeois democracy stabilised in Poland. Disunited and betrayed the Councils would fade away as the new state instituted a series of reforms such as the eight hour day. With the unification of Poland as an independent state the PPS united with the Social Democracy of Galicia and Silesia retaining the name PPS. In contrast to their splitting of the Workers Councils, embryonic organs of state power, the PPS now sought to unify the Trade Union movement whose existence is predicated a market economy. The unified movement counted 566,000 adherents in July 1919 which had risen to over a million in 1921. As in the World War the PPS would adopt a patriotic position in regard to the war with Soviet Russia in 1920. This in part propelled a left opposition within the PPS, led by Stanislaw Lancucki a Sejm deputy and Jerzy Czeszejko-Sochacki, to split in late 1920 and join the KPRP.

The PPS as a standard reformist party was, up until Pilsudski’s coup d’etat, trying to wrest reforms through electoral politics but when events such as the rising of 1924 in Cracow happened backed the bourgeois state. The coup of 1926 then caught them unbalanced and alongside the CPP they called a General Strike which had the affect of aiding Pilsudski by allowing his troops free movement when everything else was static. A parliamentary facade was maintained until 1935, even after 1930 and the "regime of the Colonels, but in practice the PPS was now a reformist party in a situation where reformism was not an option. The result was a growth in the strength of the KPP after 1926 and the development of a left wing in the PPS which was to breakaway in 1926 adopting the name PPS-Left only to disintegrate by 1929 with it’s left wing joining the KPP. By the time of the 1928 elections, the last free elections until the Jaruzelski regime relinquished power, the PPS was to find itself eclipsed by the KPP.

In the following years the PPS would become more distanced from the KPP as repression intensified and the Third Period dictated that the CPP became intent on denouncing the reformists. However the turn of the Communist International to the Popular Front meant that it was the PPS which refused unity overtures from the KPP despite which local agreements were reached in such places as Lodz, Bialystok and Grodno during the 1930's. With the war and occupation in 1939 the PPS would find itself underground.

One group of Socialists chose to breakaway as the Organisation of Polish Socialists which became the Workers Polish Socialist Party, RPPS, in March 1943. It was led by Edward Osobka (Morawski), who had never been part of the leadership of the PPS before the war, yet became the new leader of the PPS after a Congress was held in September 1944. The real leaders of the PPS were instead persecuted by the new regime. The General Secretary of the PPS from before the war, Kazimierz Puzak, who had joined in 1903, been jailed in 1911 and participated in the revolutions of 1905 and 1917 was arrested by the Russian Army. Similar fates befell such long standing leaders as Antoni Zdanowski a resistence leader and head of the Polish Trades Unions. Despite being having an unwanted leadership foisted upon it the PPS still proved to be more popular than the PPR in union elections. The hostility of the rank and file to fusion of the party with the PPR ensured that Osubka-Morawski too was forced to oppose this proposal. None the less following pressure from the kremlin itself the PPS acquiesced to the fusion proposal in November 1946. Despite a party Congress in December 1947 which again opposed fusion Jozef Cyrankiewicz replaced Osubka-Morawski and a mass purge of the party began. 82,000 members were expelled out of a total of 800,000, whole executive committees as in the case of Lodz were removed and the party destroyed. It only remained for the PPS to be absorbed into the PPR in December 1948 and the United Polish Workers Party was born.

Despite which the PPS survived as those of its members who had fled abroad reconstituted it in exile. As such it was to exist until the fall of the Jaruselski regime allowed the party to once more operate within Poland.

A new party of the same name, which intends to carry on the tradition of the original PPS, was established by left-wing oppositionists such as Jan Jozef Lipski in 1987. However, the new PPS remains a marginal group within the political landscape of the Third Republic. 1987 is a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Rzeczpospolita (pronounced: , zhech-poss-POH-lee-tah) is a Polish calque translation of the Latin expression res publica (public affair). It has been used in Poland since at least 16th century, originally to denote any democratic state. ...

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