In June 1976, after the authorities announced high increases in the prices of basic foodstuffs, a
series of strikes and demonstrations took place with the biggest in Radom, Ursus and Płock.
The participants were subjected to brutal repression, but unlike the events of 1956 and 1970,
the authorities did not decide to shoot at the workers. In defence of the beaten, released from
work and imprisoned citizens, the opposition Workers' Defence Committee was established
(later transformed into the Committee for Social Self-Defence KOR). Other opposition
organisations were also set up, such as the Movement for the Defence of Human and Citizen's
Rights and Free Trade Unions (FTA). The anti-communist opposition in the second half of the
1970s, although it was relatively small, had a significant impact on the formation of Polish
consciousness through its activity (e.g. as a publisher). It was also the source of many later
activists of the Independent Self-Governing Trade Union "Solidarity".
In October 1978, a Pole, Cardinal Karol Wojtyła, the archbishop of Kraków became the head
of the Roman Catholic Church. John Paul II (the new Pope took on this name) made a
pilgrimage to his homeland in June of the following year. The words spoken by John Paul II,
as well as the mass participation of the public in the meetings with him, had an invaluable
impact on the moods of Poles who were negatively disposed towards the communist
authorities. They felt that they were not alone in their opposition to the reality.