Poland's KOR dissidents leave the job to Solidarity
Gdansk, Poland — The Polish dissident group KOR, which provided legal and other advisers for the Solidarity union movement during its formative days and months, has announced that it is disbanding. The reason: Its job is done.
The announcement -- made by Edward Lipinski, the grand old man of Polish socialism -- came during the second session of Solidarity's first national convention.
Professor Lipinsky cited KOR's success in building bridges between intellectuals and workers: It provided legal and sociological advisers and experts in the negotiations between goverment and strikers in the shipyards and mines last year, then did the same for the fledgling Solidarity union.
KOR was formed by only about 15 intellectual and political dissidents in 1976 to defend workers victimized in the official reprisals that followed large-scale strikes over steep hikes in food prices. Its membership never exceeded a few score. But its impact on affairs and public feeling was far greater than its size would suggest.
A socialist since 1906, Dr. Lipinsky, in his speech to the convention, defined socialism as "not state ownership, mismanagement, censorship, and police , but genuine control of the means of production by the workers themselves."
The delegates gave him a standing ovation. This is not surprising since his definition summarizes the demand of union militants in the current debate over the trade union and self-management law parliament passed last week.
In their view the union leadership settled for a poor compromise -- especially on the sensitive issue of the appointment of plant directors. The union's national committee decided to accept a government offer that splits responsibility for appointments between government and union.
When the delegates vote, they will in effect be casting a vote of confidence in the union's present national committee.
Professor Lipinski's speech and militant's demands are likely to clear the air. The committee's recommendation is expected to be approved.
As for KOR, it is disbanding largely because it sees Solidarity and, through it, the present reform movement carrying on the work it set out to do. But its dissolution also removes a sensitive target from the front line of attack from Soviet charges that "antisocialist" and "anti-Soviet" forces are dominating the new union movement.