Professor of Political Science David Ost, the Joseph DiGangi Professor of Political Science, recently gave two talks connected with the 25th anniversary of the Round Table talks in Poland, which brought a negotiated end to the communist system.
On February 22, at St. Antony’s College at Oxford University, England, Ost presented a paper titled “1989: Turning Point for the Old Opposition” at an international conference titled “Poland’s Peaceful Revolution: 25 Years After the Round Table Talks.” On March 4, at the Industrial and Labor Relations School at Cornell University, Ost spoke on “Reconstructing Labor and Capital in Poland.”
Focusing in each talk on different aspects of the post-1989 transformation, Ost centered his comments on the political and social consequences of the agreement made between the Solidarity movement and the then-ruling Communist Party, around a program of market reform. He argued that by striking an accord that led to the economic exclusion of Solidarity’s labor base, the agreements ended up precipitating the rise of an anti-liberal political right, which threatens to undo many of the accomplishments of the past.
A member of the political science faculty at HWS since 1986, and a frequent lecturer in Eastern Europe, Ost holds a bachelor’s degree from State University of New York at Stony Brook and a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin. His research focuses on labor and politics, democracy and capitalism, questions he has explored through a focus on the political economy of contemporary Europe.
Ost is also the author of two books on Polish politics: “Solidarity and the Politics of Anti-Politics” and “The Defeat of Solidarity: Anger and Politics in Postcommunist Europe.” He has published more than 40 articles in scholarly books and journals, and is on the editorial boards of Politics and Society, East European Politics and Societies, the Polish Sociological Review, and several other European journals. He has also been featured on the BBC, PBS, the “McNeil-Lehrer Report” and on numerous major radio stations.