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Referendum in the villages


How did the people vote?
Jan Józef Lipski Social activist
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Zestaw pytań oczywiście był taki, że z punktu widzenia jakiejś takiej wewnętrznej uczciwości, bardzo wielu ludzi mogło odpowiedzieć na to „tak”. Bo pytanie o te podstawowe reformy, które... nie każdy był ich zwolennikiem, ale skądinąd czy reforma rolna, czy upaństwowienie wielkiego przemysłu, a wtedy jeszcze ciągle, kiedy robiono referendum nie wszystko było... zostało tak w sposób tak daleko idący upaństwowione, jak to się stało po tym. No to nie wszyscy zapewne, ale bardzo wielu ludzi mogło to uczciwie zaakceptować. Sprawa oczywiście tego, czy mają być dwie izby senatu czy jedna, to to w ogóle jest pytanie, no po prostu głupie, bo nieważne. Z tej sprawy, no jak wiadomo, Mikołajczyk chciał zrobić papierek lakmusowy, że kto będzie głosował za dwiema izbami, to głosuje za PSL-em. No pytanie o akceptację tych granic nowych, to znowu ogromna ilość ludzi w Polsce mogła akceptować, bo to było tak sformułowane, że właściwie jakby pytano tylko o zachodnie granice, prawda. No niemniej jednak zachowania się ludzkie były różne, no moi rodzice głosowali tak, jak sobie życzyło PSL, jak sobie życzyło PSL. Natomiast moja babcia ze strony matki – chłopka – z takim już chłopskim radykalizmem głosowała trzy razy „nie”. No, ale to już trochę była to sprawa charakteru mojej babci.

The list of questions was such that from the point of view of their personal integrity, a great many people were able to answer 'yes'. The questions relating to the basic reforms, of which not everyone was a supporter whether it was an agricultural reform or the nationalisation of a large industry, at the time of the referendum not everything was... later it was nationalised to such a great degree. Not everyone but a great many people were able to accept this quite happily. The issue whether there ought to be two chambers in the senate or one was simply a stupid question because it didn't matter. Mikołajczyk simply wanted to make this issue into a litmus test so that whoever voted in favour of two chambers would be voting for PSL. Then there was the question about the acceptance of the new borders. Again, huge numbers of people in Poland were able to agree to this because the question was phrased in such a way that it seemed to be only asking about the western border. Nevertheless, people's behaviour was varied. My parents voted the way PSL wanted them to vote. However, my grandmother on my mother's side who was a farmer's wife, displayed the radicalism of a farmer, and voted three times 'no', although this was partly on account of my grandmother's nature.

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: nationalisation, reforms, PSL, radicalism, referendum

Duration: 1 minute, 54 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1989

Date story went live: 09 March 2011