Walesa speaks out, disavows extremists, encourages moderates in regime and union
Lech Walesa has spoken.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
And his words are likely to encourage and strengthen those within the Polish regime and in the Solidarity union movement who advocate moderation.
The first authenticated statement from the interned Solidarity leader was delivered by the parish priest of his church in Gdansk. Father Henryk Jankowski visited Walesa to arrange the christening of his new daughter (and seventh child), Maria Victoria.
The event is planned for March 7. And Walesa apparently anticipates being freed by then. If that occurs, it is possible that some meaningful contact with the authorities over Solidarity's future will already have taken place.
Father Jankowski disclosed details of his visit to reporters Feb. 16. He seemed confident of Mr. Walesa's release in time for the christening ceremony. He also disclosed the text of a written message in which Solidarity's chairman disavowed leaflets circulated in recent weeks purportedly in his name.
Walesa termed these ''provocative fabrications.'' This may imply that he suspects that such leaflets were issued by union radicals or by regime hardliners seeking to discredit him. The statement also denied any endorsement of calls by union colleagues who sought to organize underground resistance to martial law government.
Since being placed under confinement, Walesa said, he has issued nothing. More significant from the government's point of view, however, is his concluding remark that, ''My concept of struggle is different and I will explain it after coming out.''
In his account of the conditions under which Walesa is being held by the authorities, Father Jankowski said he has books, radio, and TV. He is ''well informed of the general situation in Poland'' and ''full of enthusiasm and eagerness.''
He added that ''(Walesa) is dreaming and thinking first of all of peace, of restoring peace to our country.'' Father Jankowski said he thought Walesa continued to support, and hoped still to lead, a self-governing and independent union.
Throughout last year, Walesa counselled union moderation. Several times he pulled it back from the brink of dangerous confrontations with the authorities. The union, he said, should concentrate on consolidating the gains of August 1980 , not present new extreme demands which the authorities clearly could not accept.
The Solidarity congress last fall elected him chairman but without the majority he would have won 6 months earlier. In the last weeks prior to the martial law decision he obviously lost control of the national commission and its swing to ever more radical politics.
Today, with martial law in place, the senior party leadership has yet to resolve the issue of the role of unions in this country. A flurry of preparatory meetings suggests that the first plenary session of the party's Central Committee since emergency rule started is now getting pretty near. One way or another, any such meeting will give the first pointers not only to Solidarity's but also to Poland's future.
Party reformers are urging that this country should allow the unions more independence and self-management than exists under the ''Leninist'' allies within the bloc, Hungary included. Hardliners would like the unions to be firmly under the thumb of the government, with no opportunity for independent action.
Walesa's statement offers a somewhat better augury for the authorities and Solidarity finding a mutually acceptable modus vivendi. But analysts have to be careful not to read too much into a single event of this sort.
Recently official attitudes have seemed to be somewhat frozen. The government has done little more than reiterate its acceptance of union ''independence'' - but within a new framework and carrying out a totally de-politicized function.
Publication of the government's draft proposals seems to have been put off till next week. That could be partly because of the ''hopeful'' note implicit in Walesa's statements.
''It's good for the moderates,'' a well-placed source here says, ''but it's embarrassing for those resisting Solidarity's or Walesa's return.''