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October thaw. First rallies

RELATED STORIES

A 'coup' in the university student's union
Jacek Kuroń Social activist
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I mentioned the five leaders but I didn't say what it was that they were leaders of. At first, we had quite a large group when there were those four leaders without Bonawentura, and we had the idea of taking over the organisation of ZMP at the university. We were preparing for a coup. So we came to them to talk and said, 'Comrades...', because there were some guys there and I've already said here how these things... how a divide had formed between those who were with the people more than the others. That's what happened. All those people at ZMP who were involved in October, they were all new and they'd only just arrived. They weren't the more senior members of the committee. They were new, old people from the former ruling party, former ZMP activists. So then we turned up Tereska, Krzyś, Andrzej and I, the four of us came, perhaps Karol was with us but maybe he wasn't. We came to the university committee of the ZMP and said - we didn't know anyone - and we said that we'd like to, do they know what to do, and they said no. But we do. 'Go ahead, then', said Borys, 'do it.' And that's how he undermined our whole coup. That same evening he took us to this real dive, a bar called Kaskada in Warsaw, and he took us there to have a drink of vodka. Then, in the early hours of the morning we were leaving there, and there were some girls who we were walking back to the student halls on Kica, Kickiego Street, and we were walking over Poniatowski Bridge and the dawn was breaking over the bridge ahead of us, and I was crossing this bridge. I just felt that now it was up to us and we'd be the ones who would move the foundations of the world. Well, since we're talking about that, about those times, there's no doubt we have to say something about STS, too. That was a great theatre for people of my generation, for that group of people, it was a theatre that spoke our language. Witek Dąbrowski with his poems, with the songs of Dawidowo. I remember that as I was crossing the bridge I wasn't shaking the world's foundations, I was reciting Witek Dąbrowski's poetry under my breath: 'Closer and more clearly comes tomorrow's clarity, and no one would say at ease, we have to live our lives standing to attention!' That's from a poem called A Song to the Audience, which he never published and which has a chorus saying, 'Comrades, maybe this bold question mocks you; Comrades, is the blood in your veins red enough?' So we organised this university committee and we got down to work with the youth. The various revolutionary groups joined us because it was that sort of a movement, an idea for dividing ZMP and so revolutionary groups were created. They joined us straight away. There was one in the chemistry department which had the following issue: is our revolution lawful? Well, I don't mean 'Po prostu' but this is hilarious. It's as though everyone, a whole stride in the process of discovering the world, it's 'Po prostu'. I'm losing so many different things.

Bo ja tu mówiłem o piątce kierowniczej, ale nie powiedziałem czego. Bo tak na początku to nas, to tak i żeśmy mieli dość dużą grupę, kiedy tak wysuwała się ta czwórka bez Bonawentury, mieliśmy pomysł, że trzeba opanować ZMP-owską organizację na Uniwersytecie. Żeśmy się zamierzali na zamach stanu. No i przyszliśmy do nich na rozmowę, mówimy: "Towarzysze", bo tam jacyś byli faceci, ja tu już wspominałem o takiej rzeczy, że jakby taki podział nastąpił w aktywie na takich, którzy bardziej z ludźmi, taki nowy akt. Tak to się porobiło. Bo to ten cały aktyw ZMP-owski, który robił październik, to byli ludzie nowi, którzy przychodzili. To nie byli starzy członkowie zarządu. To byli nowi ludzie, starzy ludzie, dawni ludzie z dawnego aparatu przychodzili, dawni działacze ZMP-owscy. No i myśmy przyszli w tym składzie: Tereska, Krzyś, Andrzej i ja, w czwórkę śmy przyszli, może Karol był z nami, ale chyba nie. Przyszliśmy do zarządu uczelnianego ZMP i mówimy – no i nie znaliśmy nikogo – i mówimy, że właśnie my byśmy... czy oni wiedzą co robić, oni mówią: "Nie". "A my wiemy". "No to róbcie, to wszystko" – mówi ten Borys – "Proszę bardzo, już". W ten sposób cały nasz zamach stanu spalił na panewce.

Jeszcze nas tego samego wieczoru zaprowadził... taka kurewska knajpa była w Warszawie, Kaskada się nazywała, i zaprowadził nas na wódkę do tej Kaskady. I potem, nad ranem żeśmy stamtąd wychodzili i tam takie dziewczyny tam były, które żeśmy odprowadzali do akademika na Kica, na Kickiego, na piechotę przez Most Poniatowskiego, tak świtało nad mostem przed nami, ja szedłem przez ten most. Tak czułem, że to... teraz to my ruszymy z posad tę bryłę świata. No, jak się mówi o tamtym czasie, o tym... o tym... to jednak trzeba będzie powiedzieć o STS niewątpliwie. To był wielki teatr dla ludzi mojego pokolenia, dla tego środowiska. To był teatr, który mówił naszym głosem. Witek Dąbrowski z tymi swoimi wierszami, z piosenkami Dawidowa. Bo przypominam sobie, że ja wtedy nie z posad  bryłę ruszałem świata, idąc przez ten most, tylko se tak w duchu recytowałem Witka Dąbrowskiego: "Coraz bliżej, coraz wyraźniej nadchodzących jutr jednoznaczność, więc nie będzie komendy spocznij, pożyjemy sobie na baczność". To jest z takiego wiersza Song do widowni, którego on później nigdy nie opublikował, w którym taki refren jest: "Towarzysze może z Was drwi, to pytanie zanadto śmiałe, towarzysze czy w Waszej krwi nie za mało czerwonych ciałek". Więc wzięliśmy ten zarząd uczelniany i przystąpiliśmy do działania aktywizującego młodzież. Przy czym okazało... przyłączyły się do nas te różne grupy rewolucyjne, bo to był taki ruch, nurt na rozkładanie tego ZMP, grupy rewolucyjne powstawały. One się natychmiast do nas przyłączyły. Jedna była taka grupa rewolucyjna na chemii, która miała taki problem dyskusyjny czy nasza rewolucja jest zgodna z prawem. No, nie mówię o Po prostu, to jest prześmieszne. Jakby wszyscy, cały kolejny krok w każdym tym odkrywaniu świata, to jest Po prostu przecież. Strasznie dużo różnych rzeczy gubię.

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: Jacek Petrycki Marcel Łoziński

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.

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.

Tags: ZMP, Kaskada, Warsaw, Poniatowski Bridge, STS, A Song to the Audience, Wiktor Dąbrowski

Duration: 3 minutes, 56 seconds

Date story recorded: 1987

Date story went live: 12 June 2008