Silesian Autonomy Movement
Ruch Autonomii Śląska
Ruch Autōnōmije Ślōnska
LeaderJerzy Gorzelik
FoundedJanuary 1990 (organisation)
27 June 2001 (voluntary association)
HeadquartersPlac Wolności 7, 44-200 Rybnik
Membership~ 7,000
IdeologySilesian regionalism
Fiscal federalism
Workplace democracy
Political positionCentre-left[1][2]
National affiliationCivic Coalition (2019)
Regional affiliationSilesian Regional Party
European affiliationEuropean Free Alliance
International affiliationEuropean Free Alliance
ColoursYellow, Blue
Silesian Regional Assembly
0 / 45
Opole Regional Assembly
0 / 30
Party flag

The Silesian Autonomy Movement (Silesian: Ruch Autōnōmije Ślōnska, Polish: Ruch Autonomii Śląska, German: Bewegung für die Autonomie Schlesiens[3][dead link]), abbreviated as RAŚ, is a movement officially declaring its support for the autonomy of Silesia as part of a unified Europe. The association was founded in January 1990 by Rudolf Kołodziejczyk and is based in the Polish part of Upper Silesia. RAŚ sees the Silesians as a "separate nation" rather than primarily as Poles, Germans or Czechs.

On 17 October 2009, the Silesian Autonomy Movement signed a cooperation agreement with its German sister organisation, Initiative der Autonomie Schlesiens (IAS), based in Würzburg, and the UK-based Silesian Autonomy Movement.

In 2002, RAŚ became a member of the European Free Alliance.

In 2007, RAŚ activists reestablished football club 1. FC Katowice. Also, since 2007 RAŚ has organized annual "Autonomy Marches" in Poland (pl, szl).

Nationally, the party is affiliated with Civic Coalition. In 2019, the RAŚ signed an agreement with the Civic Coalition for elections to the Sejm and Senate, in which both parties ran on a joint list in Upper Silesia.[4] The two parties continued to cooperate afterwards, and the secretary of RAŚ, Jacek Tomaszewski, is also a member of the Civic Coalition.[5]

Polish parliamentary elections

The movement participated in the 1991 parliamentary elections and received 40,061 votes (0.36%) and two seats, one of its MPs was Kazimierz Świtoń.

In the 2001 parliamentary elections, two candidates of the movement were included on the lists of the Civic Platform (PO).

In the elections of 2005, several candidates from the movement, including its vice president Krzysztof Kluczniok, took part in the list of the Polish People's Party (PSL).

Election year Seats won +/–
Sejm Senate
2 / 460
Increase 2
0 / 460
0 / 100
Decrease 2
1997 Steady
2001 Steady
2005 Steady
2007 Steady
2011 Steady
0 / 460


The main representative of the party and its ideology is Jerzy Gorzelik, known for his controversial statements regarding the historical relations between Silesia and Poland.[6] One of his most known statements include "To give Poland Silesia is like giving a monkey a watch, and after eighty years one can see that the monkey broke the watch." (paraphrase of a statement by David Lloyd George from Paris Peace Conference) and "I am a Silesian, not a Pole, and I have not pledged to Poland, so I have not betrayed her and I do not feel obliged to be loyal to this country."[6] Gorzelik describes the party as being "between" nationalism and regionalism, condemning ethnic nationalism in the sense of a "perennial vision of the nation as a community shaped by the forces of history", emphasising party's belief in a "strictly modern and voluntarist nationalism" instead.[6]

The party cites Józef Kożdoń and his Silesian People's Party, as well as Ewald Latacz and his Union of Upper Silesians, as the main inspirations for the movement. According to Gorzelik, these two parties had risen at the time when Silesians already emphasised their regional identity beyond the division into Poles, Germans and Czechs. The struggle between Poland, Germany and Czechoslovakia for the ownership of the region resulted in indifference amongst the population, with many identifying themselves exclusively as Silesians and being ready to join whichever nation would give Silesia the greatest autonomy.[6] Silesian Autonomy Movement therefore defines contemporary Silesian identity as inherently pluralist, with Gorzelik stating that "The concept adopted by the animators of the Silesian national movement is at odds with the monistic image of culture and identity propagated by integral nationalism. This is because it assumes multiculturalism. A Silesian is part Czech, part Moravian, part German or part Pole, without having to become any of them. Diversity is therefore at the centre of the Silesian national ideology, and its affirmation becomes the essence of Silesianness."[6] As such, the party affirms that Silesian identity is completely compatible with Polish and European identity as well.[6]

According to party's programme, autonomy should not be the exclusive prerogative of Upper Silesia, but a right of all regions, distributed according to the principles of a regional state, citing the territorial system of Spain and its tradition of localism known as Fuero as a model to follow.[6] The party considers decentralisation and workplace democracy necessary steps towards ensuring economic prosperity of Silesia, arguing that the economy must be controlled by the local workers and community. Socially, RAŚ declares that Silesian autonomy is required for the preservation of Silesian language and culture.[6]

Local elections

Polish local elections, 2006

The results of the elections in Polish local election 2006, divided into committees and constituencies

In the 2006 Polish local elections, the movement did not win a single seat in the sejmik of the Silesian Voivodeship, gaining 4.35% of the popular vote. It finished behind the main parties: Civic Platform (PO), Law and Justice (PiS), Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and Polish People's Party (PSL), but ahead of other parties such as Self-Defense of the Republic of Poland (Samoobrona), which won 3.96%, and the League of Polish Families (LPR), which won 3.46%. In Opole Voivodeship, RAŚ won 1.46% of all ballots. RAŚ won mandates in a few municipalities and county councils: in Katowice (7.7% of the popular vote), Ruda Śląska (9.39%), Zabrze (5.71%), Tychy (5.1%), Bytom (6.8%), Mysłowice (8.3%) and Gliwice county (7.54%), Bieruń-Lędziny county (10.4%), Tarnowskie Góry county (7.73%), Siemianowice Śląskie (4.94%), Piekary Śląskie (5.06%), Rybnik county (8.1%).

Former RAS logo

Polish local elections, 2010

The movement's results at the Polish local election 2010

In the 2010 Polish local elections, the movement got three seats (for Jerzy Gorzelik, Henryk Mercik, Janusz Wita) in the sejmik of the Silesian Voivodeship, gaining 8.5% of the popular vote. It is double the result of the previous elections (in 2006). It placed RAŚ after the main parties in Poland: Civic Platform (PO), Law and Justice (PiS) and Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), but ahead of other main National parties: Polish People's Party (PSL), Self-Defense of the Republic of Poland (Samoobrona) and the League of Polish Families (LPR).

In the Silesian part of the Silesian Voivodeship RAŚ had the following percentage of votes: Chorzów area - 17,50%, Katowice area - 15.96%, Rybnik area - 14.57%, Gliwice area - 8.70% and Bielsko-Biała area - 1.58% (actually only half of Bielsko-Biała lies within Silesia). Generally, the average result in Silesia within the Silesian Voivodeship (Katowice, Chorzów, Rybnik and Gliwice areas) was nearly 15%.

In districts of the Silesian Voivodeship which lie outside of the historical Silesian region RAŚ had the following support percentage: Sosnowiec area - 1.37% and Częstochowa area - 0.69%. Towns, cities, communes or municipality councils: Gmina Godów - (10 of 15 seats), Gmina Lyski - (8 of 12 seats), Gmina Cisek - 41.26% (4 seats), powiat rybnicki - 25.61% (5 seats), Czerwionka-Leszczyny 20.48% (4 seats), Mysłowice - 9.29% (2 seats), Katowice - 8.86%, Chorzów - 8.69%, Ruda Śląska - 8.18%, powiat wodzisławski - 7.91%, Powiat Opolski - 5.27%, powiat bieruńsko-lędziński - 4.54% and Gmina Gaszowice (1 seat), Gmina Marklowice (1 seat).

Candidates in the towns, cities, communes or municipalities majors: Gmina Godów - 90.3%, Gmina Lyski - 64.67%, Mysłowice - 9.79%, Ruda Śląska - 7.75%, Chorzów - 7.61%, Rybnik - 3.78%.[7][8] RAŚ in comparison with the other parties did not have a developed election campaign, moreover, RAŚ is not a political party but a social organization.

Silesian Regional Assembly

Political groups Mandates
Platforma Obywatelska 22
Prawo i Sprawiedliwość 11
Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej 10
Ruch Autonomii Śląska 3
Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe 2
Total 48

Polish local elections, 2014

A campaign poster of the Silesian Autonomy Movement displayed in Zabrze in 2014

Silesian Regional Assembly

Political groups Mandates
Platforma Obywatelska 17
Prawo i Sprawiedliwość 16
Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe 5
Ruch Autonomii Śląska 4
SLD Lewica Razem 3
Total 45
Autonomy March in 2012


In June 1939, the club's activities were suspended by Polish authorities when they were accused of promoting and supporting the interests of Nazi Germany (through the 1930s, club was overtaken by the radical pro-Nazi nationalists from the Jungdeutsche Partei). After the German invasion of Poland which began World War II in September 1939, the team resumed play with German authorities looking to hold up 1. FC Kattowitz as a model side in Upper Silesia for propaganda purposes.[12][13]
Meanwhile, writing in a party document entitled "The State of the Nation", the Law and Justice (PiS) leader, Jarosław Kaczyński, said “Being a Silesian is a simple way to cut ties [with a Polish identity], and indeed could be a way to camouflage a German identity”. At a later press conference, the former Prime Minister said that anybody who declared their Silesian nationality was in some way “declaring their Germaness”.[18][19]
In 2010, Gorzelik was elected to the Sejmik of Silesian Voivodeship. Upon taking a councillor's seat in the Sejmik, he swore an oath (as is mandatory for every councilor of each Voivodeship Sejmik), and thus automatically pledged loyalty to the Republic of Poland (before Gorzelik was elected, oaths were always sworn collectively in the Sejmik of the Silesian Voivodeship).[21] The oath reads as follows:[22]
I do solemnly swear to honestly and diligently carry out my duties to the Polish nation, to protect the sovereignty and the interests of the Polish State, to do everything for the prosperity of the Fatherland, for the community of the autonomous government of the Voivodeship and for the good of its citizens, and to abide by the Constitution and other laws of the Republic of Poland.


dr Jerzy Gorzelik

See also


  1. ^ Gorzelik J., Ruch śląski – między nacjonalizmem i regionalizmem, (in:) Nadciągają Ślązacy. Czy istnieje narodowość śląska? (in Polish), L.M. Nijakowski, Warszawa 2004.
  2. ^ Tudierz, Łukasz (21 October 2021). "Prawica przegrywa walkę o śląskość. Czy lewica zbierze głosy Ślązaków?" (in Polish).
  3. ^ "Account Suspended". Retrieved 17 July 2018.[dead link]
  4. ^ "Śląskie Porozumienie Wyborcze nawiązuje współpracę z Koalicją Obywatelską. Śląski wyborca musi mieć pewność, że głos na regionalistów nie będzie głosem zmarnowanym" (in Polish). 8 October 2019.
  5. ^ Jedlecki, Przemysław (5 November 2021). "Sekretarz RAŚ zapisał się do PO. Czy to już koniec śląskich autonomistów?" (in Polish).
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Slenzok, Norbert (2019). "Śląski nacjonalizm? Myśl polityczna Ruchu Autonomii Śląska" (PDF). Wrocławskie Studia Erazmiańskie (in Polish). University of Silesia. 13 (1): 250-266. doi:10.34616/wse.2019.13.249.268. ISBN 9788365158161.
  7. ^ "Ruch Autonomii Śląska – Ruch Autonomii Śląska". Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  8. ^ o.o., Dituel Sp. z. "Wybory Samorządowe 2010 - Geografia wyborcza - Województwo śląskie". Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  9. ^ Serwis PKW – Wybory 2010
  10. ^ Serwis PKW – Wybory 2014
  11. ^ skok. "VideoFact International Documentary". Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  12. ^ Piotr Spyra: 1. FC Katowice promotes Nazism
  13. ^ "Shameful page of the German sport". Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  14. ^ After all, maybe camouflaged German option...? Archived 2011-08-15 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Vanishing photos on the RAŚ site Archived 2011-07-04 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ ""Aroganccy i bezczelni śląscy separatyści"". 7 April 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  17. ^ Vanishing photo, in other words RAŚ and the Iron Cross
  18. ^ Kaczyński accuses 'Silesians' of 'Germanness' Archived 2011-09-26 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ Kaczynski accuses Silesia of being Germans
  20. ^ "Nie straszcie secesją i separatyzmem". Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  21. ^ "My som stond – Jacek Dziedzina - Bibula - pismo niezalezne". Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  22. ^ Original Polish version: „Uroczyście ślubuję rzetelnie i sumiennie wykonywać obowiązki wobec Narodu Polskiego, strzec suwerenności i interesów Państwa Polskiego, czynić wszystko dla pomyślności Ojczyzny, wspólnoty samorządowej województwa i dobra obywateli, przestrzegać Konstytucji i innych praw Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej."
  23. ^ Academic Corporations - RAŚ Archived 2008-02-24 at the Wayback Machine