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Strike in the Party press printers

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The truth about the strikes in 1981
Jacek Kuroń Social activist
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Można sobie wyobrazić, że oni byli przekonani, że kierownictwo związku nie jest w stanie powstrzymać ludzi przed generalnym strajkiem. No i oczywiście powstrzymano cudem ten generalny strajk. Cudem powstrzymano ten generalny strajk, dając niewątpliwy dowód tego, że "Solidarność" chce spokoju, że "Solidarność" chce odbudowywać kraj. Zarazem strasznie duże koszta żeśmy ponieśli przy tej operacji powstrzymywania generalnego strajku, dlatego że wielu ludzi się zniechęciło. Powstawało wiele konfliktów, kwasów, pretensji wzajemnych wśród działaczy związku i to miało bardzo złe skutki w dalszym działaniu ruchu. Po audycjach telewizji widać było, że oni chcą nas sprowokować. Oni nadawali komunikaty z kraju, tak jakby strajki trwały wszędzie, a tych strajków nie było. Jeśli były, to ostrzeżenia: godzinny ostrzegawczy. Jedyne naprawdę, naprawdę te niebezpieczne wielkie strajki, które się toczyły to jest Bielsko-Biała, to jest Zielona Góra i to były strajki... Zielona Góra na pewno, sprowokowane to jest poza... przez władzę. Powiedziałbym nawet zainicjowane przez władze. Poza zarządem Regionu powstał Komitet strajkowy i wymusił na zarządzie Regionu ten strajk. W Bielsku-Białej ta sprawa jest bardziej tajemnicza, ale faktem jest, że materiały dowodzące jak bardzo kradną, kradli notable miejscy... podrzuciło bezpieczeństwo zarządami Regionu, a to młodzi, niedoświadczeni, napaleni chłopcy, huknęło strajkiem i ten strajk rzeczywiście trwał blisko dwa tygodnie. Innych takich strajków myśmy nie robili. A z telewizora wyglądało wciąż, że strajk goni strajk.

You can imagine that they were certain the union management wouldn't be able to stop the people from coming out in a general strike. It was only by a miracle that a general strike was prevented which was a clear sign that Solidarność wants peace, that Solidarność wants to rebuild the country. Averting the general strike cost us a great deal because a lot of people became discouraged. It gave rise to lots of conflicts, objections and bad feeling among the union activists and this affected the union's continued activities very badly. You could tell by watching the TV programmes that they wanted to provoke us. They were showing reports from around the country which made it look like there were strikes everywhere when there were no strikes. If there were any, they were warning strikes which lasted an hour. The only really dangerous, large-scale strikes were the ones in Bielsko-Biała, Zielona Góra, and those strikes, definitely the one in Zielona Góra, were provoked by the authorities. I'd even say it had been initiated by the authorities. A strike committee had been set up outside of the regional management and it had forced the regional management to declare this strike. In Bielsko-Biała there's a lot of secrecy surrounding this issue but the truth is that the material proving how much theft there was by the local dignitaries was planted by the security of the regional management which was made up of young, inexperienced, excitable lads. The call went out to go on strike, and that strike actually lasted close on two weeks. We didn't conduct any other strikes like that, but from the TV reports it looked like there was one strike after another.

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: Bielsko-Biała, Zielona Góra

Duration: 2 minutes, 4 seconds

Date story recorded: 1987

Date story went live: 12 June 2008