This article discusses a study of the present vicissitudes of men and women who were active in the underground publishing movement in the nineteen-eighties. One of the elements of the underground 'Solidarity' ideology was civic responsibility and social activity. The author wanted to know whether the one-time conspirators have carried these ideas into free Poland. He found that very few former underground activists now work in public institutions. They are disappointed with the outcomes of the transformation which, rather than giving them a sense of agency, are convincing them that former members of the democratic opposition have not been instrumental to the successful development of a new, democratic state. The one-time activists are also finding it difficult to come to terms with the social costs of the reforms which they feel they co-authored. Most of them have not ceased to be socially active, however, although they no longer speak the language of civic involvement. They feel that the values they lived by in the years of struggle with the communist regime cannot be applied in any way to the political reality of a free country.