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Change is a process


Failed attempt at normalisation
Jan Józef Lipski Social activist
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Można by się spytać, jak to się stało, że po stanie wojennym, kiedy rząd chciał czym prędzej znormalizować sytuację na zasadzie eliminowania tych sił, które... głównie „Solidarności”, które w tym ‘80–’81 okazały się tak potężne, dlaczego się ta... rządowi ta normalizacja nie udała? Ona by się udała, gdyby miał... gdyby rząd miał osiągnięcia ekonomiczne. Ale po pierwsze, żeby je mieć, trzeba by przebudować całe nasze życie społeczne, polityczne, gospodarcze, bez tego żadnych sukcesów rząd nie mógł mieć, a żeby takiej roboty dokonać, trzeba było zmobilizować ogromne siły społeczne, a te ogromne siły społeczne wyeliminowane zamachem grudniowym powiedziały: „Nie, my jesteśmy przeciw, my w ogóle w tym nie chcemy brać udziału”. Jedni się przeciwstawili czynnie, inni na zasadzie bierności, inercji; no, ale z taką... z takim społeczeństwem, które zajmuje taką postawę, nie można przeprowadzić żadnego procesu reform na których zresztą tylko do pewnego stopnia tej władzy zależało i zależy...no...niemniej jednak nawet ubogi program reform jest niemożliwy przy...no...takim inercyjnym oporze. I, no, nie udało się, bo musiało się nie udać.

You could ask how it happened that after martial law, when the government wanted to normalise the situation as quickly as possible by eliminating those forces, mainly those of Solidarity, which had been so powerful between 1980-1981, why didn't this government succeed in normalising the situation? It would have worked if the government had economic achievements but firstly, in order to have those, our entire social, political and economic life would have had to have been restructured. Without this, the government would never have any success, but to achieve this, massive social forces would have had to have been set in motion, forces which had been eliminated by December's coup and now said, ‘No, we are opposed, we don't want to be a part of this’. Some opposed it actively, others on the basis of passive opposition, inertia, but either way, there can be no process of reform with this type of society which the authorities only cared – and care – about up to a point. Nevertheless, even a modest programme of reform is impossible in the face of such inert opposition. And so it didn't work because it couldn't.

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: 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: Solidarity

Duration: 2 minutes, 14 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1989

Date story went live: 15 March 2011