Civil Society "As If"
For me, the development of a post- totalitarian politics, from the half-hidden battle for a free public life in the politics of culture (such as the Lublin happening), to the more open struggles of the democratic opposition and Solidarity (above and below ground), to the constitution of democratic practice throughout the old bloc, is best represented by my acquaintance with Adam Michnik. In and through our developing friendship, I came to know about the dense social relationships of a besieged but emerging independent civil society which eventually overwhelmed the coercive powers of totalitarian orders. This, to my mind, is where the end of communism began.
I had heard about Michnik even before I had any special interest in things Eastern and Central European. He was 1968's student from Poland. The French had Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Danny the Red; we Americans had an extensive cast of characters from Tom Hayden to Abbie Hoffman; and the Poles had Michnik. But he was a more sober