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Orange Alternative (Pomarańczowa Alternatywa) is a name for an underground protest movement which was started in Wrocław, a city in south-west Poland and led by Waldemar Fydrych (sometimes misspelled as Frydrych), commonly known as Major (Commander of Festung Breslau) in the 1980s. Its main purpose was to offer a wider group of citizens an alternative way of opposition against the authoritarian communist regime by means of a peaceful protest that used absurd and nonsensical elements.

By doing this, Orange Alternative participants could not be arrested by the police for opposition to the regime without the authorities becoming a laughing stock. Orange Alternative has been viewed as part of the broader Solidarity movement. Academics Dennis Bos and Marjolein 't Hart have asserted it was the most effective of all Solidarity's factions in bringing about the movement's success.

Initially it painted ridiculous graffiti of dwarves on paint spots covering up anti-government slogans on city walls. Afterwards, beginning with 1985 through 1990, it organized a series of more than sixty happenings in several Polish cities, including Wrocław, Warsaw, Łódź, Lublin and Tomaszów Mazowiecki.

It was the most picturesque element of Polish opposition to Stalinist authoritarianism. It suspended activity in 1989, but reactivated in 2001 and has been active on a small scale ever since.

A statue of a dwarf, dedicated to the memory of the movement, stands today on Świdnicka Street in Wrocław, in the place where events took place.

Orange Alternative movement has inspired several other similar movements in authoritarian countries including Czechoslovakia and Hungary and it has also inspired and influenced the Pora and the so-called Orange Revolution movement in Ukraine, which was in turn supported by Poland.

Some utterances ascribed to Waldemar Fydrych:

In Poland there are only three places when you can feel free: In churches, but only for prayers; in prisons, but not everyone can go to prison; and on the streets: they are the freest places.
The Western World will find out much more about the situation in Poland from hearing that I was sent to jail for handing out sanitary pads to women, than from reading books and articles written by other members of the opposition.
Can you treat a police officer seriously, when he is asking you: "Why did you participate in an illegal meeting of dwarfs?"
  • ^ Bronislaw Misztal (March 1992). "Between the State and Solidarity". The British Journal of Sociology 43 (1): 55–78. doi:10.2307/591201. 
  • ^ Dennis Bos and Marjolein 't Hart (2008). Humour and Social Protest. Cambridge University Press. pp. 141–147,. ISBN 0-521-72214-4. 
  • ^ The Orange Alternative – Revolution of Dwarves. Warsaw: Fundacja Pomarańczowa Alternatywa. 2008. ISBN 978-83-926511-4-7. 

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