Letter from Andrzej Slowik to "Roundtable" Chair Wladyslaw Findeisen
Between February and April 1989 in Poland, Communist Party leaders and Solidarity activists engaged in negotiations during the historic roundtable talks. Several days after these talks commenced, Andrzej Slowik, a Solidarity activist in the city of Łódż who was not asked to participate in the talks, wrote this letter to Wladyslaw Findeisen, the roundtable chair for Solidarity. In this document, Slowik claimed that an expansion of representatives was needed to gain more support from the general population. In particular, he emphasized that the Solidarity participants did not represent all factions within Solidarity and argued that because of this limited participation, agreements made during the roundtable talks may not be followed by Poles. This document demonstrates that tensions not only existed between Communist and opposition leaders, but also evolved within the opposition.
Andrzej Slowik to Wladyslaw Findeisen, 12 February 1989, trans. Jan Chowaniec, Cold War International History Project, Documents and Papers, CWIHP (accessed May 14, 2008).
...Additional disappointments in some socially active circles is caused by an incomplete representation of the so-called social side, which cannot always be justified by categorical refusal of participation of that or another group or circle. The conviction prevails that not all significant groups or organizations have received such an offer.
Moreover, the NSZZ “Solidarity” delegation is not fully representative. It does not include many authentic activists of the Union (signatories of the August 1980 Agreements, 104 elected members of the National Commission and its Presidium, and still active leaders of the regional structures), who, not questioning either the need of reaching an understanding with or a statutory function for Lech Walesa [Solidarity leader and later president of Poland], think that the Union is not someone’s private or group property, [but] that it had been created as a democratic and pluralistic organization, obeying its own voluntarily adopted rights—and it should stay as such.
The “Solidarity’s” delegation represents only one group, and even if it is now a group in control of the main spheres of the Union’s life, it is still only one group, and it is difficult to expect that other groups would feel bound by an agreement on which they will have (from the very beginning) no influence whatsoever.
An understanding which has a chance to be national, may be perceived in important public circles as being particularistic....
Even more serious is another apprehension—a fear that incomplete representation at the “Table” and hence a limited focus on the [actual] situation will mean that particular arrangements (or even parts of them) will be so far below social aspirations that with a verbal acceptance they will, in fact, be rejected by the society.
...Perhaps an expansion and diversification of the delegation’s composition will cause greater difficulties in negotiations, perhaps even part of the common record will be questioned—but it is probably better that controversies take place at the Table before concluding the agreement than outside of the Table after its conclusion....