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By Gideon Baker

This publication addresses the debates round civil society, utilizing democratic concept and case experiences drawn from jap Europe and Latin the US. It strikes past the completely theoretical to envision the connection among the belief of civil society as democratic idea and democratic perform.

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Michnik also denounced ‘the idea for a “centre” and a front for national reconciliation [which] are typical products of wishful thinking. I do not believe in the Poles’ “moralpolitical unity” ’ (1985: 111). ‘Civil society against the state’ The Polish opposition’s discourse on civil society was clearly central to the re-emergence of the concept in Eastern Europe and beyond during the 1980s, especially by way of Arato’s characterisation of the Polish theory-praxis as ‘civil society against the state’.

The reconstruction of society is possible because the foundations are there. Only more complete social ties have to be reconstructed. (1981: 29) The politics of civil society The issue that dominated the Polish opposition’s debate during the years 1976–81 concerned the relationship of the new thinking on civil society to the socialist tradition. How, if at all, was it possible to reconcile socialist solidarity and self-management with pluralist interest representation and formal–legal political democracy?

First, Solidarity was influenced by values other than the libertarian-socialist ones of the KOR. Lukes describes an ‘amalgam of the ethical teachings of Catholicism, of Polish Nationalism, of liberal democratic values and of a basic egalitarianism … [but] with no particular links with socialism, even with a human face’ (1985: 15). Indeed, in 1981 Walesa terminated KOR’s advisory role, a clear indication that the close relationship between the two bodies and their respective political thought can easily be overstated.

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