URGENT Prime Minister Urges Legalization Of Solidarity For Trial Period
WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ Prime Minister Mieczyslaw F. Rakowski today urged the Communist Party to legalize the Solidarity trade federation for a two-year trial period.
He said the government ban on Solidarity should be lifted only on condition that it be ″a partner,″ not an opponent that would ″pull the country into anarchy.″
Rakowski also suggested Solidarity - which was outlawed in 1982 - should give up the financial assistance it receives from the West.
The prime minister said that during the trial period, both the government and Solidarity would gather ″positive and negative experiences,″ according to a TV account of his speech to the Central Committee meeting.
The trial period would last until May 3, 1991, he said. That date is the 200th anniversary of the adoption of a short-lived but still admired progressive constitution in Poland that was overthrown by Imperial Russia.
Earlier today, Zygmunt Czarzasty, newly appointed party secretary, told the 230-member Central Committee he endorsed the stand of the ruling Politburo on union pluralism. His comments suggested the Politburo already has sanctioned allowing more than one legal trade union.
Permitting more than one union is a ″social necessity and not a gesture of the government or the party. In the interests of social peace, social agreement has to be reached,″ Czarzasty said.
He stressed those which receive permission to function should show responsibility and ″above all endorse the principles of the law.″
The discussion is crucial, as communist leaders struggle to decide whether to risk repeating the experiment of 1980 that allowed creation of Solidarity as the East bloc’s first independent union.
After 16 months of exhilarating freedom, Solidarity was suppressed in a 1981 military crackdown. Since then, the Polish economy has stagnated and reforms have been hamstrung by many workers’ and independent groups’ refusal to participate as long as Solidarity is illegal.
At the second session of the two-day Central Committee meeting, the manager of southern Poland’s Katowice Steel Mill warned that competing trade unions might bring ″anarchy and divided work crews.″ Bogdan Kolomyjski urged talks with the opposition to make clear ″proper conditions″ for gradually introducing pluralism.
A government source had told The Associated Press last week that the meeting will end with a decision to offer Solidarity legalization under certain conditions, thus paving the way for talks with its chairman, Lech Walesa.
Marian Orzechowski, the party’s chief ideologist, told the meeting Monday that the question of allowing union pluralism was ″ripe to be solved,″ and said a draft statement on the topic had been prepared for a decision by the Central Committee.
″It seems they will register Solidarity,″ said Zbigniew Bujak, a Solidarity activist. If so, he said, formal talks between the authorities and the opposition could begin soon.
But Jan Turzynski, a party leader from southwest Poland, said groups which receive Western aid - a definition that would include Solidarity - should be barred from public dialogue.
Alfred Miodowicz, chief of Poland’s official union federation OPZZ, told the meeting Monday that no decision on trade unions should be taken before a party conference on ideology next month, the state news service PAP reported.
Miodowicz’ official alliance, factory-based party organizations, and elements of the army and police remain among Solidarity’s strongest opponents, according to party sources.
Polish leader Wojciech Jaruzelski, said in an opening speech Monday: ″Today we will draw directions of democracy which will include some pluralistic solutions.″
Rakowski asked the Central Committee when it met last month to evaluate the opinions of local party members toward Solidarity and return with their assessment in mid-January.
Walesa has warned the public’s patience is wearing thin after years of rising prices and consumer shortages - threatening a social explosion even he might be unable to control. The country’s foreign debt stands at $39 billion and many of its major industrial plants are outmoded.
Unrest over communist authorities’ handling of the economy has toppled governments three times in postwar Poland: in 1956, 1970 and 1980.