a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


Were these really free elections?


Why the strikes happened
Jan Józef Lipski Social activist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

So, there's the question why were people ready to strike? I think the answer to this question is pretty straightforward. They weren't completely crushed in their spirit but they knew that we were caught in a situation from which there was no way out because everyone was tired of the economic and social and political situations. All of this adds up and in this situation and people are prepared to resort to desperate and crazy measures. This isn't what a strike is; a strike is an attempt to exert perfectly rational pressure. I'm not surprised that these strikes broke out, this happened because of a feeling of hopelessness and a feeling that this was essential that if we push, something will give. You have to admit that something did give. After this proposal, as we recall, nothing much happened for a long, long time, this Round Table wasn't in sight yet both sides were interested in it. The authorities, because for them it was clear that they wouldn't be able to carry on like this for much longer. New forces had to be motivated otherwise everything would just collapse, while Solidarity, well, everyone knew it wanted to start existing legally. And it became apparent quite quickly before everyone sat down at the Round Table that Solidarity would be registered and that the elections were the price for that. It is... sometimes people don't understand that it's simply the price.

Tak, pytanie dlaczego ludzie byli jednak gotowi... zastrajkować. No... myślę, że tutaj odpowiedź na to pytanie jednak jest, wydaje mi się, dosyć prosta. Stan, że tak powiem, upadku ducha nie był jeszcze absolutny. Natomiast ta świadomość, że miotamy się w bezwyjściowej sytuacji właśnie na skutek ludzkiego zmęczenia sytuacją gospodarczą, ale również zresztą i społeczną, i polityczną – wszystko to razem się w jakiś sposób sumuje, to w tej sytuacji ludzie gotowi są nawet do kroków rozpaczliwych i niepoczytalnych. Strajk nie jest czymś takim, strajk jest próbą wywarcia... racjonalnego nacisku. Ja się tutaj nie dziwię temu, temu wybuchowi strajków, on wynikł właśnie z poczucia beznadziejności i poczucia takiej konieczności – no, może jak pchniemy to, to ruszy jakoś. No i trzeba przyznać zresztą, że ruszyło. Po tej propozycji długo, długo, długo, jak pamiętamy, nic się nie działo, ciągle tego Okrągłego Stołu nie było widać, ale jednak obydwie strony były tym zainteresowane. Władze, gdyż było dla nich jasne, że dalej nie pociągną w ten sposób jak dotychczas. Trzeba jakieś nowe siły uruchomić, bo inaczej się to wszystko zawali, a „Solidarność” – no wiadomo – chciałaby zacząć żyć legalnym życiem. I dosyć szybko się okazało, nim do Okrągłego Stołu usiedli wszyscy, że „Solidarność” będzie zarejestrowana, a wybory są ceną, którą trzeba będzie za to zapłacić. Jest... czasami ludzie nie rozumieją, że jest to cena po prostu.

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: Solidarity, Round Table

Duration: 2 minutes, 40 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1989

Date story went live: 14 March 2011