Polish Communist Party tries again to woo workers but ignores Solidarity

After Poland's Central Committee and Politburo met last weekend to discuss ideology, they concluded with three ''yeas'' and one ''nay.'' Yes, said the Polish leadership, the country would continue on its reform course, recognize the Roman Catholic Church's place in Polish life, and - in a bid for public confidence - relieve the Communist Party apparatus of careerists to make way for employees who are skilled and dedicated to public life.

But for Solidarity, it was another no. For, at the same time as it was appealing to young workers and youth in general, the party again made clear that former union moderates - especially Lech Walesa - are still excluded from this national confidence-building process.

The two-day Central Committee session was concerned with the party's ideological position in the post-martial-law period. It needs both to come to grips with the situation, and at the same time to improve its image and its appeal nationwide.

That, without doubt, is the major essential to economic recovery. The question is how to achieve it.

* Reform. A party commission set up at the 1981 ''reform'' congress has finally issued its assessment of the reasons for the domestic strife that has convulsed Poland four times since the 1950s.

Except for martial law, it would have been a tougher document than it is. Nevertheless, it warns sternly that ''without recourse to democratic methods'' to meet the aspirations of workers and society at large, the government will find itself with another crisis on its hands.

The Central Committee meeting reflected both the party's failure to win worker support and special concern over the lack of enthusiasm among even its own rank and file.

From 1980 on it lost 800,000 members. Recruitment since has brought little replacement. This is partly due to ideological caution - but less because the party is rejecting applicants over ideological issues, than because it has failed to reach young workers.

General Jaruzelski also called for applied effort throughout the educational system to rear youth in ''the ideals and moral values of a socialist society.''

That will not not be easy, as the communist youth daily, Sztandar Mlodych - normally close to the official line - pointed out in a glum note on attracting youth.

''The party,'' it said bluntly, ''does not fulfill youth's expectations. We confine ourselves within meeting room walls immersed in the party's own internal affairs. . . . (And) society looks on from outside.''

* Role of the church. The drop in Communist Party membership is also due to the much-increased influence of the Catholic Church among large sections of Polish youth. These young people, previously not especially devout or church-going, have turned to a body that seemed more understanding of their problems.

There have been hard-line criticisms recently of ''militant clericalism'' on the part of younger priests.

One of them, the Rev. Henryk Jankowski, has been the ''chaplain'' to the Gdansk shipyard since August 1980, when Solidarity was started there. He is facing possible charges over the Solidarity ''corner'' maintained in his church ever since the union's dissolution by martial law.

But General Jaruzelski's concluding speech avoided criticism of the church and reaffirmed its cooperation as needed in the national interest.

* Government employees. New criteria are being set for elections for regional and local party posts, with orders to change ''old habits'' by choosing officers with professional skills and public rapport as well as ideological responsibility.

* Attitude toward trade unions. The deadline for political amnesty, set when martial law was lifted in July, is less than two weeks off. An official reminder , just issued, told the remnants of underground union opposition they still have until Oct. 31 to return to ''normal life.''

So far, about 400 have done so, and - according to official report - were fully pardoned subject to their refraining from ''illegal activity.''

''The door is still open,'' it is said, for the 50 to 60 activists who have said little recently but apparently are undecided about amnesty on the government's terms.

Mr. Walesa has several times indicated that the time has come for the underground to give up.

But neither this (which would relieve the government of an embarrassment), nor his repeated calls for moderation in a fresh dialogue involving representatives of the former Solidarity majority that still ignores the new unions, has had any effect on official thinking.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK