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March '68 - trial


The students' battle
Jacek Kuroń Social activist
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Across the whole country, in every college and university, demonstrations and strikes were breaking out and student committees were being formed. They only included students and left out the teaching assistants which I think was a great mistake, a great mistake. In Warsaw, the teaching assistants who were our friends were tucked away in a house somewhere on Krakowskie Przedmieście or Nowy Świat, and students from the strike committees would come to them covertly. Meanwhile, student committees were everywhere. Demands were put forward and a very peaceful and deliberate battle was waged with those water cannon, the police and their dogs, the so-called worker's activists, drunk and carrying sticks. No one raised their hand, no one tried to defend themselves, they sat down in the road using a method we'd call 'non-violent' today, and this battle was waged systematically and for a long time. It lasted a long time but unfortunately without the support of the rest of society, it had to collapse.

W całym kraju na wszystkich wyższych uczelniach rozpoczęły się demonstracje, strajki, powoływano komitety studenckie. Studenckie tylko bez asystentów, to był moim zdaniem olbrzymi błąd, olbrzymi błąd. W Warszawie asystenci nasi przyjaciele siedzieli gdzieś tam w domu jakimś na Krakowskim Przedmieściu chyba czy na Nowym Świecie i tajnie do nich chodzili studenci z komitetów strajkowych. Tymczasem wszędzie były komitety studenckie. Wysunięto żądania i toczono niesłychanie spokojną, świadomą walkę przeciw tym armatkom wodnym, policji z psami, tak zwanemu aktywowi robotniczemu z pałkami pijanemu, nikt nie podnosił ręki, nikt się nie bronił, siadano na ulicy. Taką metodą, którą dziś nazwalibyśmy non violence. Prowadzono tą walkę systematycznie długo, jak tylko długo można było ciągnąć, tak długo ciągnięto niestety bez wsparcia szerszego, społecznego. Musiało to upaść.

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: Warsaw, Krakowskie Przedmieście, Nowy Świat

Duration: 1 minute, 7 seconds

Date story recorded: 1987

Date story went live: 12 June 2008