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The decision to strike

RELATED STORIES

False PAP agendas
Jacek Kuroń Social activist
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We worked from 7:00 in the morning until 2:00 at night, and then at 2:00 everything would fall silent. The police had stationed one car on one side of the building under the window, and on the other side they were patrolling the courtyard on foot, they surrounded us but they didn't stop us. Why? This is extremely interesting. The fact is that our information broke through and so Interpress also called for information on the strikes except that they didn't really have a source for this information. There wasn't a body in the country nor in the Party that could provide them with serious information so they got their data from their PAP agendas but how were they supposed to know anything? They passed on false information saying not just that there was no strike when there was one, but also saying there were strikes when there was nothing of the sort. For example, I remember getting a phone call from a lady at Reuters saying that Interpress had told her the buses in Chełm were still on strike, so I said no, they've just ended their strike. She was determined that wasn't so and replied with real conviction, so I rang Lublin and said they've got to do something about Chełm because there's something wrong with the buses. After a while, a lad rings me and says, 'Jacek, I was in this bus a moment ago, I've still got the ticket in my hand.' So, yes... Lublin. On top of everything, it was as if someone had written the screenplay. July 22nd, July 21st, 19th, 18th, 20th the whole of Lublin was on strike because public transport was at a standstill, the train station was on strike so everyone else, all the factories were striking. First Lublin, and then Chełm soon after that. It was as if someone had written this screenplay. Anka got a call from some man who said, why are you doing this bit by bit? Do it once and for all and then everything will be sorted, but you're doing it bit by bit. He refused to accept her explanation that we weren't doing anything, we were just passing on information. The best part was that when it was all over, he rang her and said, I do apologise, you had a much better plan and I was stupid, I wanted to advise you.

Pracowaliśmy od siódmej rano do drugiej w nocy. O drugiej w nocy zapadała cisza. Policja postawiła jeden samochód z jednej strony pod oknem, z drugiej strony pod oknem, chodzili po podwórku, obstawiali nas, ale nie zatrzymywali. Dlaczego? To niesłychanie interesujące. Faktem jest, że nasza informacja się przebiła i w pewnym momencie w Interpresie powołano też informację strajkową, tyle tylko, że oni nie bardzo mieli skąd uzyskiwać te informacje i nie było w państwie i partii takiego ciała, które by mogło ich informować, tak żeby oni dostawali te informacje serio, oni dostawali od swoich agend PAP-owskich, a skąd miały wiedzieć agendy PAP-owskie? I oni podawali fałszywe informacje nie tylko w te stronę, że nie ma strajku, co im się zdarzało, ale zdarzało im się, że podawali, że jest strajk, którego nie było. Na przykład dzwoni do mnie pamiętam pani Rojter i mówi, że jej w Interpresie powiedzieli, że w Chełmie autobusy dalej strajkują, a ja mówię: "Nie, one właśnie przerwały strajk". Na to powiada... i no z taką pewnością mówi, ale dzwonię do Lublina i mówię: "Koniecznie trzeba z tym Chełmem coś, bo to coś z tymi autobusami nie w porządku". Po chwili dzwoni do mnie chłopak z Chełma i mówi: "Jacek, ja przed chwilą jechałem, bilet mam w ręku". I tu... No właśnie Lublin i to w dodatku tak jakby ktoś ten scenariusz napisał. 22... 21 lipca, 19, 18, 20 lipca strajkował Lublin cały, bo stanęła komunikacja miejska, dworzec kolejowy zastrajkował, no to zastrajkowali wszyscy, wszystkie zakłady. Lublin i zaraz potem Chełm. To tak jakby ktoś ten scenariusz napisał. Do Anki dzwonił jakiś pan, który mówił: "Czemu Wy to tak robicie po kawałku? Przecież zróbcie raz niech będzie porządek, a Wy tak po kawałku". I nie przyjął jej informacji, że my tu nic nie robimy, my tylko informujemy. A żeby było śmieszniej, jak się już wszystko skończyło, zadzwonił do niej i mówi: "Bardzo Panią przepraszam, wyście mieli o wiele lepszy plan, a ja byłem głupi, chciałem Wam radzić".

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: PAP, Interpress, Party, Reuters, Chełm, Lublin

Duration: 2 minutes, 19 seconds

Date story recorded: 1987

Date story went live: 12 June 2008