Polish Socialist Party

The Polish Socialist Party (Polish: Polska Partia Socjalistyczna, PPS) was a left-wing Polish political party. It was one of the most important parties in Poland from its inception in 1892 until its dissolution in 1948. A party with the same name was established in 1987 but has remained at the margins of Polish politics.

Polish Socialist Party

Polska Partia Socjalistyczna
PresidentWojciech Konieczny
Founded23 November 1892 (1892-11-23) (historical)
15 November 1987 (1987-11-15) (modern)
Headquartersul. Turecka 3, 00-745
Warsaw, Poland
NewspaperNowy Robotnik
Democratic socialism
Social democracy
Left-wing nationalism
Political positionLeft-wing[2]
National affiliationThe Left (Affiliate)[3]
Colours     Red
SloganLiberty, Equality, Justice, Democracy
AnthemCzerwony sztandar
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European Parliament
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Józef Piłsudski, founder of the resurrected Polish state, was a member and later leader of the PPS in the early 20th century.


The PPS was founded in Paris in 1892 (see the Great Emigration). In 1893 the party called Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania, (SDKPiL), emerged from the PPS, with the PPS being more nationalist and oriented towards Polish independence, and the SDKPiL being more revolutionary and communist. In November 1892 the leading personalities of the PPS agreed on a political program. The program, largely progressive for the time of its creation, accented:[4]

  • Independent Republic of Poland based on democratic principles
  • Direct universal voting rights
  • Equal rights for all nations living in Poland
  • Equal rights for all citizens, regardless of race, nationality, religion and gender
  • Freedom of press, speech and assembly
  • Progressive taxation
  • Eight-hour workday
  • Minimum wage
  • Equal wages for men and women
  • Ban on child labour (till age 14)
  • Free education
  • Social support in case of injury in the workplace

After the Revolution of 1905 in the Russian Empire, the party membership drastically increased from several hundred active members to a mass movement of about 60,000 members.[5] Another split in the party occurred in 1906, with the Revolutionary Faction following Józef Piłsudski, who supported the nationalist and independence ideals, and the Left faction which allied itself with the SDKPiL. However, the Revolutionary Faction became dominant and renamed itself back again to the PPS, while the Left was eclipsed, and in 1918 merged with SDKPiL forming the Communist Party of Poland. In 1917-18 the party participated in the Central Council of Ukraine and the Government of Ukraine.

During the Second Polish Republic the PPS at first supported Józef Piłsudski, including his May Coup, but later moved into the opposition to his authoritarian Sanacja regime by joining the democratic 'centrolew' (center-left) opposition movement. Many PPS leaders and members were put on trial by Piłsudski's regime and jailed in the infamous Bereza Kartuska prison.

The party was a member of the Labour and Socialist International between 1923 and 1940.[6]

The party supported the Polish resistance during World War II as the underground Polish Socialist Party – Freedom, Equality, Independence (Polska Partia Socjalistyczna – Wolność, Równość, Niepodległość). In 1948 it suffered a fatal split, as the communists applied the salami tactics to dismember any opposition. One faction, which included Edward Osóbka-Morawski wanted to join forces with the Polish Peasant Party and form a united front against the Communists. Another faction, led by Józef Cyrankiewicz, argued that the Socialists should support the Communists in carrying through a socialist program, while opposing the imposition of one-party rule. Pre-war political hostilities continued to influence events, and Stanisław Mikołajczyk, leader of the Peasant Party, would not agree to form a united front with the Socialists. The Communists played on these divisions by dismissing Osóbka-Morawski and making Cyrankiewicz Prime Minister.

Timeline of Polish socialist/social democratic parties after 1986
Polish Socialist Party (1987–)
Polish Social Democratic Union (1990–92)
Social Democracy of the Republic of Poland (1990–99)
Democratic-Social Movement (1991–93)
Labour Union (1992–)
National Party of Retirees and Pensioners (1994–)
Democratic Left Alliance (1999–)
Reason Party (2002–13)
Social Democracy of Poland (2004–)
Union of the Left (2004–)
Polish Left (2008–)
Razem (2015–)

In 1948, Cyrankiewicz's faction of Socialists merged with the Communist Polish Workers' Party (PPR) to form the Polish United Workers' Party (Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza; PZPR), the ruling party in the People's Republic of Poland; remnants of the other faction survived on emigration in the Polish government-in-exile and because of that Polish Socialist Party was still active on emigration. Cyrankiewicz's faction isn't really treated as proper PPS.

A new party of the same name, which seeks to carry on the tradition of the original PPS, was established by left-wing opposition figures such as Jan Józef Lipski in 1987. However, the new PPS remains a marginal group within the political landscape of the Third Republic. However, in the 2019 Polish parliamentary election the PPS saw a member elected to the Senate of Poland under the banner of The Left.

Its main propaganda outlet was the Robotnik ('The Worker') newspaper.

Election results



Election year # of
overall seats won
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Notable people who were members or were associated with PPS

Presidents and heads of state

Prime Ministers

Other figures

See also


  1. Act 11 in platform
  2. Act 5 in platform
  3. Candicate List
  4. Friszke, Andrzej (1989). O kształt niepodległej. Warszawa: Biblioteka "Więzi". p. 22. ISBN 83-7006-014-5.
  5. Friszke, Andrzej (1989). O kształt niepodległej. Warszawa: Biblioteka "Więzi". p. 45. ISBN 83-7006-014-5.
  6. Kowalski, Werner. Geschichte der sozialistischen arbeiter-internationale: 1923 - 19. Berlin: Dt. Verl. d. Wissenschaften, 1985. p. 316
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