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The idealised world of communism
Jacek Kuroń Social activist
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From the very moment you join, when you choose this way and become a member, an activist, the mechanism is set in motion, and you begin to see more and more things are not as they ought to be. Again, the reality of this movement conflicts with values in the same way that earlier I could see that the world was in conflict with values. Acceptance is only possible on the basis of 'yes, but'. However, anything a thinking person accepts ought always to be on the basis of 'yes, but', and then everything would be alright. The only question is how much of that is 'yes' and how much is 'but'? I could describe my communism as this kind of process in which the 'but' kept on growing, mainly because of my father's influence since I was having endless arguments with him, endless arguments. The truth was that I was rejecting his arguments, and I imagined that I was putting forward arguments that were just as good or were even better than his, but something always remained. I was surveying the world through my father's eyes up to a point, and because of this, I could see certain things very clearly. What were these things, apart from the cult of an individual which now doesn't seem all that important? You have to realise that in the early days, when I first became a communist, I, along with everyone around me, was very opposed. It might not seem like it, but it did help because that is how this mechanism works. I know a lot of people who solve the various problems they have with different people - and everyone has problems with the people around them - by making the group they relate to abstract. This is incredibly common among artists who can't stand other artists, but who love mankind. Except that they never come into contact with mankind on a daily basis. Instead, they meet other artists on a daily basis, and say the worst possible things about one another. This, of course, is not limited only to artists. All the problems we have with other people, all of our problems and all the evil in the world can be seen in our surroundings and that's how we assign them, that's how I ascribed them to the reactionaries; my reference point was the idealised world of the communists. However, I started to take an active part in this idealised world of the communists of whom there was a growing number around me. All of them were suffering from the same or even worse complaints. And that is how this process works.

Dlatego bo... bo tu się zaczyna już od momentu przystąpienia, wybrania tej drogi, stania się członkiem, działaczem, to zaczyna się taki mechanizm, że coraz więcej różnych rzeczy człowiek widzi nie tak, jak być powinno. Znowu ta rzeczywistość tego ruchu jest sprzeczna z porządkiem wartości, tak jak przedtem widziało się, że sprzeczny z porządkiem wartości jest świat. Ta akceptacja w ogóle jest możliwa tylko na zasadzie "tak, ale", ale w ogóle człowiek myślący wszystko co akceptuje, powinien zaakceptować na zasadzie "tak, ale" i tu wszystko jest w porządku. Pytanie tylko jest: ile jest "ale", a ile jest "tak"? No i mój komunizm mógłbym opisywać jako proces tego jak to "ale" mi rosło, pod niemałym wpływem ojca, bo toczyłem z nim nieustanne boje, nieustanne boje. I wprawdzie ja odrzucałem jego argumentację, znaczy zdawało mi się, że wysuwam równorzędną albo lepszą, ale coś zostawało. I tak jakby patrzyłem trochę na świat oczyma ojca. Przez to widziałem niesłychanie ostro różne rzeczy. I jakie to były rzeczy poza tym takim kultem jednostki, który tu mi się wydaje nawet mniej istotny? No, trzeba sobie uświadomić, że w początkowym okresie mojego komunizmu byłem... wszyscy w koło byli przeciwnikami. I to wbrew pozorom nie utrudnia, a ułatwia, dlatego bo to jest taki mechanizm szerszy. Wielu ludzi znam, którzy swoje kłopoty z ludźmi różne – każdy ma jakieś kłopoty z ludźmi z otoczenia – rozwiązują sobie przez taki porządek ideologiczny, że swoją grupę odniesienia umieszczają gdzieś tam w abstrakcji. To niesłychanie częste wśród artystów jest, którzy nie znoszą artystów wszystkich innych, natomiast w ogóle kochają człowieka. Tylko, że z tym człowiekiem nie mają w ogóle do czynienia na co dzień. Na co dzień spotykają się z innymi artystami i mówią o nich same najgorsze rzeczy. Nie tylko artystów to oczywiście dotyczy. Wszystkie kłopoty z ludźmi, jakie się ma, wszystkie problemy, które się ma i to właśnie całe zło świata widzi się w środowisku, widzi w otoczeniu, przypisuje się w ten sposób, przypisywałem w ten sposób reakcji, moją grupą odniesienia był ten wyidealizowany świat komunistów. No, ale zacząłem działać w wyidealizowanym świecie komunistów, coraz więcej ich było wokół mnie i okazywało się, cierpi na te same albo gorsze, inne dolegliwości, co to całe moje otoczenie. I to jest ten cały proces.

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: activist, reality, acceptance, communism, endless arguments, artists, reactionaries

Duration: 3 minutes, 11 seconds

Date story recorded: 1987

Date story went live: 12 June 2008