Polish Workers Party

Polish Workers’ Party


(PWP; Polska Partia Robot-nicza), a Marxist-Leninist party of the Polish working class. Founded on Jan. 5, 1942, in fascist-occupied Warsaw, the party included various antifascist organizations and groups founded by Communists between 1939 and 1941. The PWP inherited and carried on the revolutionary traditions of the Polish working class, the traditions of Proletariat-I, the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania, the Polish Socialist Party-Left Wing, and the Polish Communist Party. The work of the PWP was directed by the Central Committee, whose secretaries at various times were M. Nowotko, P. Finder, W. Gomułka, and B. Bierut.

In January 1942 the PWP issued a programmatic proclamation calling for the formation of a broad national front to fight against the fascist occupation forces and to struggle for independence, democracy, and social progress. In the spring of 1942 the PWP created the military organization called Gwardia Ludowa (People’s Guard), and during that year regional and district party committees were formed almost everywhere in occupied Poland. The PWP had 4,000 members in mid-1942, 8,000 members in early 1943, and about 20,000 members in mid-1944. Between 1942 and 1945 it published about 100 underground party newspapers and other publications. In November 1943 the PWP issued its main ideological document of the occupation period, the declaration “What Are We Fighting For?”

The PWP’s program—a creative application of the principles of Marxism-Leninism to the concrete situation in Poland at that time—organically combined the struggle for Poland’s national liberation with the struggle for the country’s social liberation, the creation of an independent people’s state. On the basis of this program the PWP launched a large-scale armed struggle against the occupation forces. The struggle was carried out by the Armia Ludowa (People’s Army), numbering about 60,000 soldiers. The PWP was instrumental in founding the Krajowa Rada Naro-dowa (National Council of the Homeland) and the Polish Committee of National Liberation, which became a provisional people’s government.

After Poland’s liberation the PWP was transformed from a cadre party into a mass party uniting workers, peasants, and members of the intelligentsia. (The party grew from some 235,000 members in December 1945 to more than 1 million members in December 1948.) The First Congress of the PWP, held in December 1945, outlined the directives for the further development of the people’s state and adopted the party rules, based on Leninist organizational norms and principles. In accordance with its program, the PWP led the working masses in the struggle to establish and consolidate people’s rule, to rebuild the country, and to carry out social and economic changes. These changes became the basis for building socialism in Poland and for strengthening cooperation and friendship with the USSR, the people’s democracies, the international workers’ movement, and all progressive and democratic forces in the world.

Between mid-1944 and the end of 1947 the PWP struggled against the reactionaries in the armed underground and the Polish Peasant Party (Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe), headed by S. Mikołajczyk, which opposed the socialist reorganization of the country. Some 16,000 members of the PWP and other democratic parties died in the struggle. During the struggle against the reactionary forces and in the course of joint work to restore and develop the country, cooperation between the PWP and the revived Polish Socialist Party (PSP) increased steadily. The Second Congress of the PWP, held in Warsaw in December 1948, adopted a resolution to merge with the PSP on a Marxist-Leninist platform, thereby forming the Polish United Workers’ Party.


Historia polskiego ruchu robotniczego, 1864–1964, vol. 2. Warsaw, 1967.
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