Activist Who Reagan Called ‘One Of The World’s Greatest Labor Leaders’ Coming To Support Occupy Wall Street

As ThinkProgress reported earlier this week, former Polish anti-Soviet activist, union leader, and president Lech Wałęsa announced that he supports the occupation of Wall Street by demonstrators upset about economic injustice.

Now, Wałęsa has announced that he will be joining the protests in New York city in person:

Solidarity hero Lech Walesa [sic] is flying to New York to show his support for the Occupy Wall Street protesters. “How could I not respond,” Walesa told a Polish newspaper Wednesday. “The thousands of people gathered near Wall Street are worried about the fate of their future, the fate of their country. This is something I understand.”

Wałęsa was instrumental in organizing the Solidarity union that helped mobilize to overthrow the Soviet Union’s control over Poland. In 1983 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. None other than President Ronald Reagan — no left-wing, anti-capitalist activist — responded by praising Wałęsa’s leadership, saying he was “one of the world’s greatest labor leaders”:


REAGAN: I’d like to take a moment this afternoon to send a moment of congratulation to one of the world’s greatest labor leaders, Lech Wałęsa. […] This award demonstrates that the world will always remember and will honor the commitment to freedom and the committement to free trade unions that Lech Wałęsa and millions of brave Polish people share.

Watch Reagan’s remarks:

Wałęsa says he’s coming to help protest economic “unfairness.” “Union leaders and capitalists need to figure out what to do, because otherwise they will have to contend with a worldwide revolt against capitalism,” he warned.