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Solidarity won't cease to exist

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Are Poles incapable of cooperating?
Jan Józef Lipski Social activist
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We are a people who are striving for an independent Poland, but there is no... and the fact that in our souls we feel independent, well, that doesn't make Poland independent. That is not enough. Well, what don't I like? I have to say, mainly two things. The first is that – and it always ends badly – whenever we think about what we've done, what we're doing and what we're still going to do, we are always very critical of those whom we are opposing. However, we rarely criticise ourselves. This isn't just an empty statement. Put simply, whoever doesn't engage in self-criticism is that much weaker than they could be. The second thing is that each day I become convinced and this conviction is growing, that – putting aside a whole host of superstitions on this subject, that Poles are like this or that, including the opinions about the Polish temperament – I'm very sceptical about such generalisations. But what I do see day-to-day is a strange incapacity to cooperate. People confuse being independent in relation to one another – hold on, I've got lost here – people constantly confuse two things. They want to be independent and they are afraid that when they cooperate, they lose their independence. As a result, perhaps, they are unable to work together. Whoever sees what is happening around us in the opposition groups, has to look at this very critically. There are probably other things I don't like but these are the most important ones.

Jesteśmy ludźmi, którzy dążą do Polski niepodległej, ale jeszcze nie ma... a to że, no, w swoich duszach czujemy się niepodlegli, to jeszcze nie jest Polska niepodległa. To za mało. A co mi się nie podoba? No, muszę powiedzieć, że głównie dwie rzeczy. Pierwsza rzecz to jest taka, która... zawsze to się źle kończy, że ilekroć myślimy o tym, co zrobiliśmy, co robimy i co jeszcze zrobimy, tylekroć jesteśmy bardzo krytyczni wobec tych, przeciwko którym występujemy. Natomiast rzadko kiedy nas stać na krytycyzm wobec samych siebie. A to nie jest żaden frazes, bo po prostu kto nie przeprowadza autokrytyki, ten o ileś punktów jest słabszy, niż mógłby być. A druga rzecz to jest to, że ja się przekonuję z dnia na dzień – i nawet nie wiem, czy to nie nasila się – że... odrzucając całą masę przesądów na ten temat, że Polacy są tacy, owacy, jak różne te zdania o charakterze polskim – ja bardzo sceptycznie się do takich uogólnień odnoszę – natomiast to, co widzę na co dzień, to jest jakaś dziwna nieumiejętność do współpracy. Ludziom się myli to bycie niezależnymi wobec siebie wzajemnie, a to... a to – zaraz, zgubiłem się – ludziom się ciągle nieustannie mylą dwie rzeczy. Chcą być niezależni i obawiają się, że współpracując, tę niezależność tracą. I na skutek tego, być może, współpracować z sobą nie potrafią. Ktokolwiek widzi, co się dzieje dokoła nas w środowiskach opozycyjnych, ten, no, musi na to patrzeć bardzo krytycznie. Pewnie i więcej rzeczy mi się nie podoba, ale te są najważniejsze.

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: Poland

Duration: 2 minutes, 18 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1989

Date story went live: 15 March 2011