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Ideology Conference to Debate Communist Party’s Future

February 2, 1989

WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ The Communist Party opened an ideology conference Thursday aimed at charting a new course following a Central Committee offer to allow the opposition to organize and participate in running the country.

Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, the leader ous contradictions, in the course of discussions and disputes in the increasingly broad socialist dialogue,″ Jaruzelski said.

″Hence our expectation the conference will answer questions about the current shape of values and principles of socialism, their presence in political and economic transformations, the essence of pluralism, and directions of further chances in the party itself,″ he said.

Issues of ownership, the political system itself and changes in the party are among the main topics at the meeting, said Andrzej Czyz, head of the party’s ideological department, in an interview with the news agency PAP.

The party convened the conference at a time when there is open criticism among its members over a Central Committee offer made at a party plenum Jan. 18 to negotiate the legalization of the banned trade union Solidarity.

The party-sanctioned martial law crackdown in December 1981 crushed the Soviet bloc’s only independent trade union and parliament formally banned the union about a year later.

At the plenum, 20 percent of the Central Commitee members opposed trade union pluralism, Politburo member Jozef Czyrek told the weekly newspaper Polityka.

The future of the union as well as political and economic reforms will be discussed when party officials, government representatives and members of the opposition open talks Feb. 6.

″Agreement combined with opening to broadly perceived pluralism will not be easy and will also be a struggle,″ Jaruzelski said. ″But we want this process to be marked by political culture, mutual respect which overcomes confrontational stereotypes, rancour and resentment.″

Politburo member Marian Orzechowski, designated to prepare the ideological conference, said Monday the conference ″is merely concerned with ideology and theory. It cannot take any personnel changes. It cannot take any other binding conclusions.″

Orzechowski said that the party has more than 2 million members and that less than 100 members had handed in their party cards after the decision on Soldiarity.

Czyz said the Polish party had been following changes in other socialist countries and that party scientists and theoreticians had met with their counterparts from the Soviet Union and Hungary before the conference.

The closed-door sessions of the conference will continue until Saturday.

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