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Were these really free elections?
Jan Józef Lipski Social activist
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Wolne wybory byłyby tym, co by rzeczywiście społeczeństwo usatysfakcjonowało i co byłoby prawdziwym sukcesem. Natomiast wybory, w których zostaje wynegocjowana ilość posłów opozycji w Sejmie nie są wyborami sensu stricto – są pewnym pozorem wyborów. Ludzie już od dawna mają dość wszelkich pozorów. Wchodząc w tę sytuację, traci się w pewien sposób autorytet. Trzeba zrobić wtedy, co można, trzeba strasznie pracować, żeby stracić go tylko trochę, a nie bardzo, albo, a nie daj Boże, zupełnie. Ale, że się autorytet traci, to jest więcej niż pewne. Pytanie, czy jest go tak bardzo, czy też aż tak dużo, żeby można było sobie pozwolić na utratę czegokolwiek w tej dziedzinie. Ten rząd, ta władza w oczach społeczeństwa nie... – zawsze tak było – nie miała żadnej prawdziwej legitymacji. W tym momencie, kiedy opozycja zgadza się iść do wyborów na takich czy innych warunkach, po tych wyborach ta władza będzie mogła powoływać się na to – na legitymację. Nie tylko jest władzą PZPR-u i tam tych... satelickich stronnictw, ale jest władzą na którą opozycja wyraziła zgodę – przejściową zgodę, ale wyraziła. I ta legitymacja jest potrzebna głównie na zewnątrz, przy wszelkich staraniach właśnie o nowe pieniądze, o nowe kredyty i już widać, że ona będzie wykorzystywana skutecznie. Natomiast nie jest tak, żeby to również nie wygrywano tutaj czegoś wewnątrz. Jednak no nikt nie będzie mógł odtąd powiedzieć, że tylko oszustwem wyborczym i czołgami sprawuje się władza... w odwrotnym porządku – czołgami i oszustwem wyborczym. I to jest... i bardzo rozumiem, że rządowi zależało na tego rodzaju sukcesie i przede wszystkim uwikłaniu „Solidarności”, wciągnięciu „Solidarności” i całej opozycji – no w ten układ. Ja byłem od samego początku z różnymi zastrzeżeniami i krytycyzmem, ale zwolennikiem linii Wałęsy. I pozostaję nadal i mam nadzieję, że coś pozytywnego jednak z tego wyniknie w rezultacie. Niemniej jednak sytuacja jest bardzo dwuznaczna. Zawieranie takiej umowy wyborczej jest to jednak wchodzenie w jakieś błoto. A pytanie jak człowiek z ulicy zareaguje na to, kiedy widzi, że jego przywódcy – tych, których jedni kochają tych przywódców, inni ich lubią, a jeszcze inni przynajmniej mają jakiś... jakąś nadzieję z nimi związaną – że ci ich przywódcy, no, w to błoto jakoś wchodzą. Nie daj Boże, gdy się… gdy się społeczeństwo dojdzie w jakimś momencie do władzy, że w gruncie rzeczy zero na tym zarobiono, no to może nastąpić kolosalny krach zaufania. Więc wielkie ryzyko podjęto. Byłbym ciekaw, czy wszyscy mieli świadomość tego ryzyka. No, ja w każdym razie od początku mam i z wielkim strachem, wraz z całą ekipą tą solidarnościowo-opozycyjną, Komitetem Obywatelskim, z wielkim strachem brnę w to.

Free elections is what would have satisfied society and would have been a true success. However, elections, in which the number of representatives in the Sejm from the opposition is negotiated, are not elections in the strict sense – they just resemble elections. For a long time now people have had enough of any kind of pretence. When you get involved in this situation, you somehow lose your authority. Then you have to do what you can, you have to work very hard to lose only a little, not much, and not, God forbid, everything. But it goes without saying that you will lose your authority. There is the question, is there so much... is there so much that we can get away with losing anything at all in this area? This government, this authority in the eyes of society – it's always been like this – was never legitimate. Once the opposition agrees to take part in elections under these or other conditions, after those elections, the authorities will be able to refer to this as legitimate. The PZPR [Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza (Polish United Workers' Party)] and those other satellite groups aren't just the authorities, they're the authorities sanctioned by the opposition, a sanction granted only temporarily but still granted. This sanctioning is particularly necessary externally in all attempts to get fresh funds, new loans, and it's already clear that it will be exploited very efficiently. At the same time, it also wins points for them here within the country. From now on, no one will be able to say that authority was only effected through rigged elections and the use of tanks – or the other way around, with tanks and rigged elections. I have a clear understanding that the government was very keen on this type of success and above all in implicating Solidarity and all of the opposition. From the start, although I had lots of reservations and criticism, I supported the line followed by Wałęsa. I still do, and I hope something positive will come of this. Nevertheless, the situation is very ambiguous. Entering into this kind of agreement about the elections still means getting dirty. The question is, how will the man in the street react when he sees that his leaders – those whom some people love, others like and still others attach some kind of hope to – they see that their leaders are going deeper into this muck. God forbid that anything... when the moment comes when society comes to power and realises that in fact, nothing has come of this and then there might be a massive collapse in confidence. So a huge risk has been taken. I'd be interested to know if everyone was aware of this risk. I, for one, have been since the beginning and I'm hugely afraid as, along with this whole team of Solidarity oppositionists, we go deeper into this.

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: PZPR, Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza, Polish United Workers Party, Solidarity, Sejm

Duration: 4 minutes, 53 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1989

Date story went live: 14 March 2011