Primary Sources

Theses for the Discussion with the Polish Leadership

Description

In response to another rise in prices, for meat products in particular, strikes erupted in the summer of 1980 in Poland among workers throughout the country, especially in the cities of Gdansk, Gdynia, and Szczecin. Strikers listed a total of twenty-one demands, including higher pay, more openness in media, less censorship, and the formation of free trade unions. To quell the situation, Poland's leaders made several agreements with the opposition, in particular with the Inter-factory Strike Committees. The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, as this document indicates, was concerned about the course of events in Poland. Soviet authorities strongly advised Polish officials on how to proceed; they pressured their neighbors to strengthen the support of socialism and to counteract the antisocialist opposition by whatever means necessary. This source points to the behind-closed-doors discussions that took place among party leaders in the Soviet Union and between the Soviet and Polish leadership.

Source

CC CPSU Politburo, "Extract from Protocol No. 213 of the Session of the CPSU CC Politburo on 3 September 1980," Cold War International History Project, Virtual Archive, CWIHP (accessed May 14, 2008).

Primary Source—Excerpt

&hellip

  1. To give a precise evaluation of and take a clear position on the agreement with the so-called "United Strike Committees" (ZKS) in Gdansk and Szczecin.

    The agreement concluded by the PPR [Polish People's Republic] government, and endorsed by the plenum of the PZPR CC [Central Committee of the Polish United Workers' Party, i.e., Communist Party], exacts a high political and economic price for the "regulation" it achieves. We, of course, understand the circumstances in which you had to make this onerous decision. The agreement, in essence, signifies the legalization of the antisocialist opposition. An organization has emerged that aims to spread its political influence through the entire country. The complexity of the struggle against it stems, in particular, from the fact that the members of the opposition disguise themselves as defenders of the working class and as laborers....

  2. Under the pressure of antisocialist forces, who have succeeded in leading astray a significant portion of the working class, the PZPR had to go on the defensive. Now the problem is how to prepare a counterattack and reclaim the positions that have been lost among the working class and the people....
  3. &hellip The current political crisis has sharply weakened the influence and authority of the Party among the working class. In such circumstances one must adopt all necessary measures for its organizational and ideological cohesion and for the reestablishment of its influence and authority....
  4. The reestablishment of severed links between the Party and the working class will require a fundamental renewal of the activity of trade unions. Do everything necessary to prevent the dissolution or disintegration of the existing trade unions (CRZZ) and their organizations....
  5. In light of the danger created by the activity of the antisocialist forces, use state structures to carry out necessary measures for the strengthening of the socialist legal order....

How to Cite this Source

Central Committee of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union, "Theses for the Discussion with the Polish Leadership," Making the History of 1989, Item #248, http://chnm.gmu.edu/1989/items/show/248 (accessed November 22 2014, 6:54 pm).

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