Nonetheless, incorporating the 1988 strikes into the official narrative of the transition from Communist rule to democracy in Poland has proven difficult. According to Gazeta Wyborcza while over 2000 people are known to have participated in the 1988 strikes, only 41 people were recommended for presidential recognition for their efforts. President Kaczynski, however, only ended up honoring 17 (of which only 3 were on the list of known 1988 strikers). It is unclear why the president was so stingy about recognizing he veterans of the 1988 strikes, although the 1988 strikers did not have the same kind of organizational backing as the 1980 strikers. In fact the old Solidarity leadership was nearly as surprised by the strikes as the government, and had little direct influence on the 1988 strikers.
Having experienced the events of 1980-81, the 1988 strikers were radicalized, and ready to challenge authority in ways the Solidarity leadership of 1980-81 would not have done. Realizing that the government began to reach out to the established solidarity leadership rather than risk dealing with more uncompromising 1988 strikers, and the solidarity leadership reciprocated. That tactical decision has put the 1988 strikers in a state of limbo ever since. Not only were they were unrepresented at the roundtable talks, they did not have a chance to develop as a cohesive group through the common experience of persecution.
Ironically, given the Kaczynski twins disenchantment with the roundtable compromises, one would think they would be eager to champion the radicalism of the 1988 strikers. Yet, clearly they do not quite know what to do with a group that made their own decisions rather than deferring to the traditional Solidarity opposition.