restricted access Document No. 77: Notes of Meeting of the Presidium of Solidarity’s National Coordinating Commission in Gdańsk, December 2, 1981
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414 Document No. 77: Notes of Meeting of the Presidium of Solidarity’s National Coordinating Commission in Gdańsk December 2, 1981 Although only a partial document, this record of an NCC Presidium meeting gives an important explanation for what transpired inside Solidarity just before martial law. Contrary to information provided by Jaruzelski and Kiszczak that the Union was preparing an attack against the authorities at this time, these notes show considerable hesitation and uncertainty on Solidarity’s part about how to proceed. While radicals in the organization were pressing for action, moderates were appealing for calm. It is clear that by now the authorities were gearing up for conflict, and sought to create a pretext for a crackdown by depicting Solidarity as aggressive and irresponsible. […] The goal of the meeting was to prepare the standpoint of the Presidium of the NCC and its opinion on the current situation to be presented at the meeting of the Presidium of the NCC and chairmen of the RA’s on December 3 in Radom. L. Wałęsa says that “the Union is a huge hanging baton,” but the need is to undertake decided and wise actions, and not to use hot [social] feelings. Solidarity is being involved in politics, while typical trade union activities are being neglected. Establishing the Clubs by Kuroń was a political mistake and is dangerous for the Union, because “we will get divided, and the authorities will take advantage of that.” G. Pałka states that society expects the Union to assume an attitude towards essential issues (price rises, elections, diminishing food allowances—rations), therefore one cannot confine oneself to the “basic work.” He is in favor of suspending the right to strike for FC [Factory Committee] besides striking for the Union’s safety. Professor A. Stelmachowski discusses the up-to-date policy of the authorities and states that the Union should sharply react to the recent provocations (beatings in Chorzów, surprise raid against WOSP), categorically refuse participation in the National Reconciliation Front and start preparations in case the Sejm passes the law on extraordinary full powers for the government. For that purpose, one should start talks with members of parliament or even take the action of dismissing members of parliament by means of their voters. S. Wądołowski reports on the course of negotiations of the Radom MKR with the authorities (see: AS No. 55, p. 001) and states that the government side was holding talks “not in a serious way.” W. Frasyniuk says that “the PUWP behaves like a wounded animal in a rage.” He calls for a clear definition of political demands. 415 K. Modzelewski states that the idea of the law on extraordinary measures results from the logic of the system’s operations. The so-called provisional system arrangement for the year 1982 will cause an avalanche of strikes in enterprises, whose workers will suffer the costs of somebody else’s decisions, so the authorities provide the only remedy that they know: one consisting of repression. Beside that, the apparatus cannot act and gets destroyed in a democratic environment , so they try to revoke the former status by any means. Modzelewski thinks that one should—under penalty of a strike—demand publishing the law on the state of emergency, whose draft has not been revealed so far. However, the strike can be proclaimed only after formulating a positive program. He suggests mobilization of all the Union’s cells before future actions and considers the possibility of taking such steps as taking over the orderly functions in enterprises by workers ’ guards. J. Merkel draws attention to the weakness of self-governments, which operate satisfactorily in 10–20 percent of enterprises. An active strike, due to organizational issues, is only possible for a very short time. He thinks that on behalf of all the workers’ crews, a few persons employed in key positions of essential importance for the enterprise could go on strike, which would avoid problems connected with payment for the strike. A referendum on issues of self-government , reform and prices for basic foodstuffs can also be a tool for pressure on the government. Z. Bujak speaks in favor of political solutions. If a general strike is proclaimed , it should only last for a couple of days, and then it can be continued by arms factories. That should cause a clinch which will result in a political settlement at the top level, which will allow the holding of elections, appointment of a...