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Kazio Świtoń's trade unions

RELATED STORIES

Bogdan Borysewicz organises Robotnik
Jacek Kuroń Social activist
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To bardzo zabawne, oni wtedy rozmawiali o tym jak założyć Związek Zawodowy, Wolny Związek Zawodowy w Ursusie, a ja im tłumaczyłem, że to nic z tego, że trzeba się szykować raczej na coś w rodzaju Komisji Robotniczej, że związek zawodowy też się nie założy, bo to by trzeba by tak prawie rewolucji. Bo to właśnie z tymi związkami zawodowymi było – robotnik prowadził taką akcję w różnych sprawach robotniczych, nadgodzin, różnych płac, różnych zakładów, miał korespondencję, korespondentów. To był taki czas, gdzieś już w ósmym to może nie, ale w dziewią... w ósmym, a w dziewiątym na pewno. Wychodziły w nakładzie trzydziestu tysięcy egzemplarzy, podczas kiedy Piłsudzki wydawał pięć tysięcy, Piłsudzki z Wojciechowskim wydawali. Niesłychanie to udało się ten nakład robić i to kolportować. I to miało duże wzięcie i to organizowało różne działania i ta gazeta była, jak mówił Lenin, rzeczywiście "organizatorem". Potem wyszli z taką akcją Karty Praw Robotniczych, który między innymi podpisał Wałęsa. Podpisywać to mieli tacy działacze robotniczy, za którymi coś stało. Bogdan Borysewicz niesłychanie wielką działalność w Gdańsku tego Robotnika zorganizował.

It's very funny, at the time they were talking about how to set up a trade union, a free trade union in Ursus. I was explaining to them that nothing will come of it and that they should really be aiming for something like a worker's committee, that a trade union can't be set up now because they'd need a revolution for that to happen. With those trade unions, Robotnik was leading all sorts of campaigns relating to various matters relevant to workers, overtime, wages, different workplaces, there was correspondence, they had correspondents. At that time, by the eighth, perhaps not but by the ninth... by the eighth and definitely by the ninth it had been printed with a print run of 30,000 copies whereas Piłsudski printed 5,000, Piłsudski and Wojciechowski were doing that. It was amazing that this print run was successful, that it was distributed and reached a lot of readers and was popular and organised a lot of actions and was, as Lenin put it, a real organiser. Then, they came up with a motion for Worker's Rights Cards which was signed by Wałęsa among others. It was meant to be signed by worker activists who had some clout. In Gdańsk, Bogdan Borysewicz organised a huge action of this Robotnik.

The late Polish activist, Jacek Kuroń (1934-2004), had an influential but turbulent political career, helping transform the political landscape of Poland. He was expelled from the communist party, arrested and incarcerated. He was also instrumental in setting up the Workers' Defence Committee (KOR) and later became a Minister of Labour and Social Policy.

Listeners: Marcel Łoziński Jacek Petrycki

Film director Marcel Łoziński was born in Paris in 1940. He graduated from the Film Directing Department of the National School of Film, Television and Theatre in Łódź in 1971. In 1994, he was nominated for an American Academy Award and a European Film Academy Award for the documentary, 89 mm from Europe. Since 1995, he has been a member of the American Academy of Motion Picture Art and Science awarding Oscars. He lectured at the FEMIS film school and the School of Polish Culture of Warsaw University. He ran documentary film workshops in Marseilles. Marcel Łoziński currently lectures at Andrzej Wajda’s Master School for Film Directors. He also runs the Dragon Forum, a European documentary film workshop.

Cinematographer Jacek Petrycki was born in Poznań, Poland in 1948. He has worked extensively in Poland and throughout the world. His credits include, for Agniezka Holland, Provincial Actors (1979), Europe, Europe (1990), Shot in the Heart (2001) and Julie Walking Home (2002), for Krysztof Kieslowski numerous short films including Camera Buff (1980) and No End (1985). Other credits include Journey to the Sun (1998), directed by Jesim Ustaoglu, which won the Golden Camera 300 award at the International Film Camera Festival, Shooters (2000) and The Valley (1999), both directed by Dan Reed, Unforgiving (1993) and Betrayed (1995) by Clive Gordon both of which won the BAFTA for best factual photography. Jacek Petrycki is also a teacher and a filmmaker.

Tags: Robotnik, Ursus, Worker`s Right Cards, Gdańsk, Bogdan Borysewicz, Lech Wałęsa

Duration: 1 minute, 25 seconds

Date story recorded: 1987

Date story went live: 12 June 2008