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By George Sanford (eds.)

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Additional info for The Solidarity Congress, 1981: The Great Debate

Sample text

Wal~sa (TS, No. 24, p. 1), declaring the congress open, says: We are here by the will of those who elected us - the working people of the whole of Poland. Each of us individually does not mean very much. Together we mean as much as is signified by the strength of those millions of people who make up Solidarity. And with them, and to them alone, we want to keep faith during these proceedings. We shall take counsel on important questions concerning our Union and the whole of the country. We are trade unionists but above all we are Poles.

The former had lost its most effective weapon, the threat of a General Strike after Bydgoszcz, while the latter's threats to use force were wrongly derided as 'ridiculous' (Glos WoZny, No. 24 of 8 October 1981). The congress had elected Wal~sa and a leadership which wanted to negotiate and to collaborate with the authorities (see his interview in Polityka, 17 October 1981). Radical political demands for a new electoral law and for a referendum on self-management had been voiced in the resolutions, but unacceptable and provocative formulations had been avoided in the Programme.

Please excuse me if I do not mention them by name. Representatives of these delegations will speak during the course of our congress. I want, on the other hand, to direct individual thanks to all those, throughout the world, who during this year have shown solidarity with us by word and deed. The emergence of Solidarity was, for many people, not only in our country, but across the whole world a sign of hope and a sign that the struggle for human rights is not fruitless. Our Union arose last year.

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