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Szymanski-Düll, Berenika (2015): Strategies of Protest from Wroclaw. The Orange Alternative or the Riot of the Gnomes. In: Journal of Urban History, Vol. 41, No. 4: pp. 665-678 [PDF, 116kB]


In the 1980s the people of Poland demanded freedom and political change in their country by staging their discontent with the communist system. Alongside strikes and demonstrations of the now famous trade union Solidarność, there were other forms of urban protest, such as the happenings of the Orange Alternative from Wroclaw. Although according to the recent academic work on pro-democracy movements in Poland, these protest strategies do not play a key role, their contribution to Poland’s transformation to democracy should not be overlooked. By focusing on selected happenings staged in the urban setting at the end of the 1980s, I will analyze the creative ways in which the Orange Alternative used the inner city of Wroclaw to produce new forms of protest. In doing so, I will examine the ways these forms of protests differed from those of other groups, especially Solidarność. Further, I explore the significance and influence they had in the process of Poland’s transition from communism to democracy.

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