Monty Johnstone


The Polish Crisis

(January 1982)

Source: Marxism Today, January 1982
Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2009). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

The declaration of martial law in Poland on December 13 dashed the hopes for a historic compromise discussed in this issue in the article on Poland, which went to press on December 1. The analysis of Poland’s political and economic crisis made in it still retains its validity. The authoritarian scenario outlined there has now come about with power passing into the hands of a Military Council. With the introduction of draconian penalties for strikers, the suppression of trade union rights and activities, and the imprisonment without charge of a considerable number of Solidarity leaders, the process of democratisation initiated by the workers’ struggles of August 1980 has been rolled back.

The escalation of social tensions immediately preceding this was ushered in by the decision of the PUWP leadership to introduce emergency legislation including a temporary ban on strikes. Faced with the loss of gains granted in the Gdansk Agreement, the Solidarity leadership responded with a policy of confrontation, threatening to organise a national stoppage and a national referendum about establishing a provisional government.

Poland, tragically, has now entered a new and dangerous stage of military rule, the consenquences of which will become clearer in the following days and weeks, and which will require analysis in a subsequent issue of Marxism Today.

Monty Johnstone
December 14

Last updated on 27 July 2010