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57 Document No. 4: Protocol of PUWP CC Politburo Meeting August 27, 1980 By this time, the PUWP Politburo had begun meeting almost daily. During the session recorded here, it was not yet clear whether the authorities would decide to use force against the strikers. All possibilities were discussed, and the debate was characterized by considerable candor. Although the option of force was always in the background, the focus of this meeting was on how to use propaganda to convince the population of the need to avoid a catastrophe. On at least this one point—the fear of widespread bloodshed—certain segments of the communist elite and Solidarity shared common views, particularly after the events of December 1970 (see the Chronology ). While they searched for a solution, the Politburo also began looking for a scapegoat, which they soon found in party First Secretary Edward Gierek. […] Agenda The socio-political situation in the country Cde. S. Kania: The situation is fluctuating, for better or worse, but actually for worse. The main problem is our attitude toward the chief political issue: establishment of a political organization for separate trade unions. This issue appeals to workers. They think that new unions will guarantee a sense of strength in dealings with the authorities and the ability to force through various demands by means of strikes. Not only the opponents hide behind the slogan of F.T.U. [free trade unions]—it is also supported by a large portion of the striking crews. Mass enroll­ments and money collection have already begun. There are reports that two Western union organizations have donated sums of money. At present the strikes are mainly in solidarity with Gdańsk in order to force a decision on us. Our stance ought to be firm, though it might be fraught with serious consequences . For this reason a joint declaration of the party and its allies needs to be published today (Supplement No.1). Other measures such as sanctions by the prosecutor’s office against people engaging in anti-socialist activities also need to be taken; it is about Poland. The organizers (Michnik, Kuroń, Moczulski) are being detained for 48 hours. Consideration is also being given to the possibility of capturing the Northern and Świnoujście ports. This task cannot be assigned to the army. Whether it can be carried out by the CP [Citizens’ Police] is being explored. This is not a simple and easy matter; we must also be aware of the lurking consequences. Even if the ports are captured, what then? Who will man them? Skilled personnel will be needed. 58 An active, firm, and tactful influence should be exerted in restricting the possibilities for people to gather outside the shipyard gates. Entering the shipyard by force is unrealistic; it would do little good and could lead to bloodshed. It appears that strict censorship control is necessary (today Sztandar Młodych, under the headline “What do the workers want?” published all the demands—the publication of this article was brought about by an employee of the CC Press Department ). Cde. J. Waszczuk: Part of the Sztandar Młodych pressrun was stopped in Warsaw . The censorship mechanisms were made more strict; we will strengthen them. But it also needs to be made known that criticism is on the rise within journalistic circles. Critical comments often come from very committed people who are now trying to whitewash themselves in the eyes of society and join the ranks of those favoring renewal. We will counter this tendency, but we have to accept that it is, and will be, no longer possible to preserve the previous model of the press. At the same time boundaries which cannot be crossed must be drawn. The press is under great pressure. There has to be a safety-valve which will become a medium for dialogue between the party and society. Our previous work contains a certain flaw. In propaganda, we are concentrating mainly on the demands, but we ought to address also other, more general subjects and be fully aware that today only concrete, radical actions—and not appeals—count. Consideration might be given to a return to proven, positive methods as was the case with the Citizens’Tribunal after the Sixth Congress; they demand it, and rightly so. Perhaps, without waiting for the Sejm, a member of the government (e.g. Cde. Grabski) should appear on TV and clarify certain matters. The position we have taken so far on the issue of new t...

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