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Address from the Polish bishops to the bishops of Germany

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Polish students fought for fundamental issues
Jan Józef Lipski Social activist
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The basic difference between the Polish movement of March '68 and the French movement of May is that the Polish students were concerned with issues that were, well, fundamental. The French students had these matters sorted out a long time ago, they had a degree of freedom to congregate in one way or another, they could participate freely in various debates, have access to all kinds of press either as passive readers or as individuals who were testing their strength. Whereas the Polish students found themselves in a situation where one obligatory doctrine had the monopoly, where there was one way of thinking which had to be adhered to, and where the police made sure that this monopoly wasn't broken. It is simply a far-reaching, very drastic lack of any sort of freedom, the minimum of which is, more than anywhere else, an essential condition for students. The fact that a student may encounter lies, either in the lecture theatre or in the material he reads, is something altogether different from lies that are monopolised and defended by the police, whether the lies are polycentric, so to speak, where one group is lying, a second group is lying and a third group is lying, but still even diversified mendacity is better than when it is monopolised. So when people are fighting for fundamental issues, as essential for intellectual work as air, well, it is a different matter than when they are fighting for various other things which I won't assess here as right or wrong, or if the demands were far-reaching or not, but they weren't 'air'.

No i chyba podstawową różnicą między ruchem polskim z marca '68 a francuskim z maja, to jest to, że studentom polskim chodziło o sprawy no, zupełnie fundamentalne. Studenci francuscy mieli już dawno załatwione te sprawy, przynajmniej takie, jak pewną swobodę takiego czy innego zrzeszania się. Mogli brać udział swobodnie w różnego rodzaju dyskusjach, mieć dostęp do różnorodnej prasy, zarówno jako bierni czytelnicy, jak ewentualnie jako ci, którzy próbują swoich sił; podczas gdy studenci polscy znajdowali się w sytuacji monopolu jednej obowiązującej doktryny, jednego obowiązującego systemu myślenia, gdzie policja w dodatku pilnuje, żeby ten monopol nie był przełamany. Jest to po prostu ten...ten daleko idący, bardzo drastyczny brak wszelkich swobód, a gdzie jak gdzie, ale przy studiowaniu te pewne minimum tych swobód jest po prostu warunkiem niezbędnym. A to, że na przykład człowiek studiujący się może zetknąć przy swoich studiach – czy to z katedry, czy przy czytaniu czegokolwiek – z kłamstwem, jest zupełnie czym innym, gdy to kłamstwo jest zmonopolizowane i bronione przez policję, czy jest to kłamstwo, że tak powiem, policentryczne; że może jedni kłamią, może drudzy kłamią, może trzeci kłamią, ale nawet zróżnicowane kłamstwo jest czymś lepszym niż kłamstwo zmonopolizowane. I po prostu kiedy ludzie walczą o sprawy fundamentalne, tak niezbędne szczególnie dla ludzi pracy umysłowej, no tak niezbędne jak powietrze no, to jednak jest trochę czymś innym niż walczą o różne rzeczy, które nie będę tutaj oceniał – słuszne, niesłuszne, czy żądania daleko idące, czy nie daleko idące, ale które nie są powietrzem.

Jan Józef Lipski (1926-1991) was one of Poland's best known political activists. He was also a writer and a literary critic. As a soldier in the Home Army (Armia Krajowa), he fought in the Warsaw Uprising. In 1976, following worker protests, he co-founded the Workers' Defence Committee (KOR). His active opposition to Poland's communist authorities led to his arrest and imprisonment on several occasions. In 1987, he re-established and headed the Polish Socialist Party. Two years later, he was elected to the Polish Senate. He died in 1991 while still in office. For his significant work, Lipski was honoured with the Cross of the Valorous (Krzyż Walecznych), posthumously with the Grand Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (1991) and with the highest Polish decoration, the Order of the White Eagle (2006).

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: doctrine, monopoly, freedom

Duration: 2 minutes, 37 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1989

Date story went live: 11 March 2011