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Hooligans in the opposition
Jacek Kuroń Social activist
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I think, I'm inclined to believe that the problem of hooliganism which suddenly became apparent, the problem of groups of boys who apparently attacked people in the street without any reason - yes, I'm sure there was something of that unprovoked attack, something of that aggression. This was the problem, the problem of the huge mass that was promoted, that huge mass that came to the cities, to the worker's hostels into a cultural desert, torn out of their villages they found themselves in a cultural desert. But I think a significant element here was the scores that were being settled with the informers between the gangs. The cases of beatings by hooligans that I'm aware of were always like that where someone had been told to beat up an informer, it was a kind of social self-defense, criminal, terrible, depraved. But in this, there were elements of social self-defense, defense of the group's solidarity, a natural solidarity which was being ruptured from within. And a first, very noticeable division among ZMP activists was between those who didn't want to agree on the situation, who tried to manoeuvre, who felt that they were with the people, with friends, that they can't sell out on them. Of course, that's precisely how it is when I say that someone suddenly discovers that life contradicts his image of it and that he creates a theory which helps him explain it to us, to the old activists, not just the ones from school, but to all those ZMP activists. And the theory that explains this is the theory about careerists. The fact that everything around us suddenly turned red, these were the careerists, strangers, and they were the ones who were destroying socialism which, had it not been for them, would have been beautiful. But they're only, well, they're doing this to get ahead in their careers and so they're causing harm. This theory gained in popularity. Of course, it was left-wing but it repelled rather than attracted. Nevertheless, it was a form of opposition because it was against various people who were placed high up in the Party as well as in ZMP.

Ja sobie myślę, skłonny jestem sądzić, że zjawisko chuligaństwa, pewien taki problem, który nagle wybuchnął, problem band chłopaków, które rzekomo bezinteresownie biły na ulicy. Tak, na pewno coś z tego bezinteresownego bicia, coś z tej agresji było. To cały problem znowu, problem tej olbrzymiej rzeszy awansowanych, tej olbrzymiej masy, która przyszła do miasta, do hoteli robotniczych, na pustynię kulturową, wyrwani ze swojej wsi weszli w pustynię kulturową. Ale myślę, że niemałym elementem tutaj były rozrachunki z kapusiami zlecone przez bandy bandom. Ja przypadki pobić chuligańskich, które ja znam, to były przypadki pobić przez właśnie w takim, że zlecono pobicie jakiegoś kapusia, że była to taka społeczna samoobrona – bandycka, straszna, deprawująca. Ale były w tym elementy społecznej samoobrony, obrony solidarności grupy, naturalnej solidarności, którą tu łamano od wewnątrz. I taki pierwszy bardzo wyraźny podział, który poszedł w tym aktywie ZMP-owskim, to był właśnie podział na takich, którzy na to iść nie chcieli, którzy tu jakoś próbowali manewrować, którzy czuli się, że oni są z ludźmi, oni są z kumplami, że oni nie mogą ich sprzedawać, dawać. I to oczywiście tak to jest, kiedy ja mówię o tym, że człowiek nagle natyka się na to, że życie przeczy jego wyobrażeniom, że się buduje jakąś teorię, która ma to objaśniać i dla nas, dla tego starego aktywu już nie tylko szkolnego, a w ogóle ZMP-owskiego, to tym, co objaśniać by to miało, to była teoria o karierowiczach. Że oto nagle tak wszystko się zaczerwieniło wkoło, że to są wszystko karierowicze, ludzie obcy i że oni niszczą ten socjalizm, który byłby bez nich piękny. Ale oni tylko są po prostu, no, robią dla kariery i w związku z tym szkodzą. Ta teoria narastała, to jest ona oczywiście była lewacka, ona była właśnie taka na odrzucenie, a nie na przyciąganie. Ale zarazem ona była jakąś formą opozycji, bo ona była przeciw różnym ludziom zajmującym poważne stanowiska także w partii, także w ZMP.

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: AMP, ZMP, Party

Duration: 3 minutes, 2 seconds

Date story recorded: 1987

Date story went live: 12 June 2008