Committee for the Defense of Workers
Set up by the group of dissident intellectuals in September 1976, the Committee for the Defense of Workers (Komitet Obrony Robotników, KOR) was the first civic oppositional group in Poland and the Soviet bloc, which made its existence public and claimed that its actions were legal in accordance to the 1975 Helsinki Accords signed by the government of People's Poland. KOR was an icebreaker, which paved the way for the activation of democratic opposition and promotion of civil, autonomous, pluralistic, and open society in Poland and Eastern Europe. Initially, the Committee launched and coordinated relief efforts to workers who were sacked, imprisoned, and persecuted for their involvement in the June 1976 strikes and protests against the increase of food prices. KOR provided financial assistance, legal advice, and moral support for workers and their families. Soon it launched samizdat publications, which are held at the Polish Library POSK in London, and began organizing independent trade unions, flying universities, and the alliance of workers and intelligentsia against communist authoritarianism. In 1977, KOR transformed and renamed itself into Social Self-Defense Committee (Komitet Samoobrony Społecznej, KSS KOR). The group provided opposition cadres and was instrumental for the creation of Solidarity in 1980. KSS KOR dissolved itself prior to the first Solidarity congress in 1981. Its activists came from different political milieus and included former activists of the prewar Polish Socialist Party, veterans of the non-communist resistance movement, former Marxist revisionists, members of the 1968 youth opposition and various anti-communist circles.
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