On a method of discussion that leaves ALL the questions unanswered
dmschanoes at earthlink.net
Mon Sep 29 17:38:15 MDT 2003
----- Original Message -----
From: <clyder at gn.apc.org>
My memory was the the Sparts identified Solidarity as a movement aiming for
capitalist restoration, as did Arthur Scargill, they were both obvious right
Your memory needs some refreshing-- for the Sparts totally identified the
workers' movement with the most right-wing forces unleashed by the economic
rupture in Poland, a rupture absolutely quickened, stimulated, administered
by the Polish bureaucracy.
Certainly as the Polish economy disintegrated, tremendous right wing forces
were unleashed. How could it be otherwise whens the bureaucracy had allowed
the Catholic Church the expand its role in education and accumulated landed
property, when private agriculture was subsidized (and this subsidy comes
from the workers), when a thousand spores of latent capitalism were
protected, nurtured, and brought to growth as relations between city and
But not all the forces were right wing-- the industrial workers, while
forthright in their insistence on democratic rights, was engaged a struggle
to protect its living standards against the bureaucracy's attempt to meet
its debt obligations at the workers' expense. Does this sound familiar. It
On March 31, 1981 the Solidarity leadership agreed to cancel a general
strike after Walesa threatened to resign, the bureaucracy threatened to use
the army, the Western bankers threatened not to extend Poland's debt, and
the Soviet Union threatened to extend military maneuvers.
Two weeks later, Jaruzelski presented his austerity program to the Polish
parliament. Its centerpiece was a 2 month ban on all strikes. The program
included the closing of certain factories and their export to other
countries of the then Comecon bloc; reduced allotments for housing;
increased prices for food and consumer products; and the introduction of
unemployment as an element of official policy when "economic conditions"
warranted so. Official recognition was promised for private farming. That
same day Western bankers reported "good progress" was being made in
rescheduling Poland's debt. They were right. On March 30, one day prior to
the retreat, the bankers had stated that they envisaged a resolution of
Poland's debt along the lines of Turkey, Zaire, Peru. They only forgot to
In May, Solidarity, in the control of the right, called for higher food
prices to support private agriculture when the workers were already spending
60-70 percent of wages on groceries.
The austerity program was followed by measures to channel 3/4 of future
agricultural investment into private farms, while demanding that state farms
become "self-sufficient." Meanwhile the US bankers took advantage of the
defeat of the workers to impose harsher terms on Poland's debt rescheduling.
The bankers' terms included a 4 year postponement of 95 percent of the
principal due in 1981 but full payment of interest plus payment of principal
after four years at a rate 1.75 percent higher than the London interbank
rate or the rate in the original agreement, whichever was higher.
Poland, in its disintegration was both revolution and counterrevolution.
The bureaucracy creates both in its incompetence. And the Polish workers
absorbed that conflict between revolution and counterrevolution into its
very make-up. There were significant revolutionary forces among the Polish
workers, and just these forces were targeted and silenced by
Jaruzelski...paving the way for Jaruzelski to eliminate the 5 day work week
for coal miners and export coal to Britain when Thatcher was battling the
British coal miners. Talk about stabilizing capital.....
And what was the US Spartacist response-- did it articulate a revolutionary
program to separate the workers both from the bureaucracy and the right
leadership of Solidarity? Did it search out and support those left groups
struggling against the counterrevolution in Poland? Absolutely not. The
Sparts denounced the Polish workers as being lazy, whiners, unproductive,
Now everyone with an ounce of brains knew that production in Poland declined
due to the lack of vital components and parts imported from the West, not
the "unproductiveness" of the Polish workers. Everyone with an ounce of
brains knew that steel produced in Poland was left to rust because
warehousing, distribution, and transportation systems were inadequate.
Everyone with an ounce of brains knew that productivity at the Gdansk
shipyards, where Solidarity claimed its origins, actually increased.
Everyone knew that before the introduction of the 5 day work week, coal
miners were quite literally worked to death. Every Marxist with an ounce of
brains would agitate for expropriation of the means of production, including
private agriculture, the overthrow of the bureaucracy, and the repudiation
of the international debt.
But then no one with an ounce of brains would ever accuse the Sparticists of
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