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The decision to disband Po prostu

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Protests against the suspension of Po prostu
Jan Józef Lipski Social activist
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The news that Po prostu was being suspended spread throughout town at lightning speed, and the immediate reaction was a student rally outside the halls of residence on Plac Narutowicza where the police used batons. I didn't see this for myself. It was definitely a Thursday because there was a meeting of the Crooked Circle Club which I was obliged to attend as the organiser of these Thursday meetings. I was in the meeting room that evening when, with the meeting still under way, one of our very active members of the club, Staś Manturzewski, came running in with a very detailed account of what had happened there. In any case, we quickly passed some sort of resolution on the matter, which I don't even know if it got published anywhere, and the following day, the question in Po prostu was, what to do next? Well, it didn't look like the authorities dared to back out of this decision and so the main issue was to respond to this situation yet at the same time, new people kept turning up at the editorial offices asking what they should do and what had happened. This included a group of people from the Kasprzak workers' council with whom, as I mentioned, I had good personal contact, and they proposed going on strike – they were ready to support Po prostu with a strike. I immediately referred this to our deputy, Rysiek Turski, and we discussed it and came to the conclusion that this strike – if other workplaces supported it as well – this strike didn't have much of a chance of widespread support, that perhaps those places that had so far given the most support to Po prostu, you could say had befriended us, that maybe these workers' councils were ready to call a strike but that there wasn't much chance that the strike would receive broad support, and it was doubtful that it would last, and there was even the question how widespread would it be in the workplaces themselves, where would it be announced and we rather, well not rather but asked them directly to not do this, that the most they could do which made any sense at that point was if their workers' councils sent out circulars saying that they opposed the disbanding of Po prostu which, of course, proved futile.

Wieść o tym, że „Po prostu” zostaje zawieszone, no, błyskawicznie się po mieście rozeszła, no i od razu pierwszą reakcją był wiec studencki na placu Narutowicza przed domem akademickim, no, gdzie doszło do pałowania. Ja tego nie widziałem na własne oczy. Akurat to był niewątpliwie czwartek, bo było zebranie Klubu Krzywego Koła i ja z obowiązku byłem jako organizator tych spotkań czwartkowych, byłem obecny na sali zebrań, gdzie przybiegł po pewnym czasie wieczorem, kiedy jeszcze zebranie trwało, taki wówczas bardzo aktywny działacz klubu, Staś Manturzewski z bardzo dokładną relacją o tym, co tam się wydarzyło, w każdym razie myśmy czym prędzej jakąś tam rezolucję obecnie uchwalili na ten temat, która tam nawet nie wiem, czy gdziekolwiek była wydrukowana. I nazajutrz w „Po prostu”, co dalej robić – pytanie. No, nie robiło wrażenia, żeby to władza się miała wycofać już z tej decyzji i w związku z tym był problem przede wszystkim taki, żeby się jednak odezwać w tej sytuacji, a jednocześnie ciągle zwalali się nowi ludzie do redakcji z pytaniem co robić i co tu się stało. No, między innymi przyszli właśnie ludzie z rady robotniczej Kasprzaka – ja tam miałem, jak już mówiłem, dobre z nimi osobiste kontakty – i z propozycją strajku, że oni są gotowi poprzeć „Po prostu” strajkiem. Ja natychmiast odesłałem do naczelnego, do Ryśka Turskiego i w rozmowie doszliśmy wszyscy razem do wniosku, że ten strajk – nawet gdyby się okazało, że jeszcze te czy inne zakłady poprą – że ten strajk nie ma szans na szerokie poparcie, że być może te zakłady w których najbardziej jak dotychczas popierające „Po prostu”, najbardziej, no można powiedzieć skumplowane z nami... że być może te rady robotnicze są gotowe strajk wywołać, ale że ten strajk nie ma szans na szerokie poparcie, że jest wątpliwe, czy będzie trwał i nawet pytanie, jak szeroki będzie w tych zakładach... w samych zakładach, gdzie zostanie ogłoszony. I raczej, to znaczy nie raczej, po prostu poproszono ich, żeby jednak tego nie robili, że maksimum, co ma sens w tej chwili, to jest to, żeby ich rady robotnicze wysłały jakieś tam pisemka, tego, że są przeciwne rozwiązywaniu „Po prostu”. To nie dało oczywiście żadnych skutków.

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: Po Prostu, Plac Narutowicza, Crooked Circle Club, Kasprzak, Stanisław Manturzewski, Ryszard Turski

Duration: 3 minutes, 20 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1989

Date story went live: 10 March 2011