Based on narrative interviews and textual materials, the oppositional life world of the Workers' Defense Committee (KOR) in pre; Solidarity Poland is analyzed. In response to oppositional anxieties, KOR activists developed their own sub-universe of meaning. This was a social construction which, elaborated in response to the repressive Polish state, was much more extensive than a typical Western collective action frame. It helped place KOR at the vanguard of the developing opposition. Most importantly, KOR's sub-universe of meaning positioned it to lay claim to charismatic leadership and to occupy the top strata in a new hierarchy of social status. Both these claims were central in its successful mobilizing efforts.

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