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Solidarity Urges Polish Reforms : On 5th Birthday, Union Outlines Nation's Ills

August 31, 1985|ROBERT GILLETTE | Times Staff Writer

GDANSK, Poland — Weakened but unyielding, Solidarity, the independent trade union movement, marks the fifth anniversary today of its turbulent birth with a detailed assessment of Poland's social and economic crises and a renewed call for democratic reforms.

The assessment is contained in a book-length report that is Solidarity's most ambitious effort to shape a national program since the movement was suspended under martial law in 1981. Martial law was lifted in July, 1983, but Solidarity remains outlawed.

Calls for Civil Liberties

The report calls for the restoration of civil liberties won five years ago and revoked under martial law, including the right to form independent unions, and for vigorous steps to revive the government's sputtering economic reforms.

It describes worsening difficulties in Polish industry and warns of deteriorating conditions in health care, environmental control and the basic living standards of millions of families, some of whom are said to show signs of malnutrition.

The most urgent political task facing the government of Gen.Wojciech Jaruzelski, Solidarity contends, is to build a sense of mutual trust with the nation, without which, it says, no economic reforms can succeed.

"No one has a monopoly on thinking in Poland," Solidarity leader Lech Walesa said as he issued a 16-page summary Friday of the 500-page report. "No one can prevent us from thinking and talking."

Walesa said the full report will be published shortly, presumably by the illegal underground press.

A crowd of about 1,000 greeted Walesa with chants and tears when he emerged with the afternoon shift at the gates of the V.I. Lenin Shipyard here, where Solidarity was born in a nationwide wave of strikes in August, 1980.

'Solidarity' T-Shirt

Wearing a white T-shirt with "Solidarity" enscribed in crimson across the front, Walesa joined other workers in placing flowers at the towering three-crosses monument at the shipyard gate. It commemorates the 200 workers killed by police in the strikes of 1970.

Scores of uniformed police stood by as the crowd applauded, chanted Solidarity slogans and sang the Polish national anthem, an illegal act under a law that prohibits the 200-year-old anthem at unauthorized gatherings.

The anniversary marks the signing of the Gdansk agreements on Aug. 31, 1980, at the Lenin shipyard by the Polish government and the newly formed Solidarity trade union movement. The accord brought a peaceful end to strikes by tens of thousands of workers along the Baltic coast and marked an unprecedented social contract between workers and government in a Soviet Bloc nation.

The agreement allowed the formation of independent trade unions for the first time in a Communist state, conceded the right to strike and promised a broad range of economic and political reforms.

Sixteen months later, on Dec. 13, 1981, Solidarity was suspended with the sudden imposition of martial law, then stripped of its legal status in 1982. Although the government contends that it still adheres to the Gdansk accords, and is doing its best to fulfill the pledges it made, Solidarity spokesmen say the authorities effectively abandoned it in 1981. One of the few remaining concessions won by striking shipyard workers under the agreement is a weekly radio broadcast of a Roman Catholic Mass on Sunday mornings.

3% Still Pay Dues

Of the original 9.5 million workers who flocked to the defiant new union's red-and-white banner in 1980-81, about 300,000, or 3%, still manage to pay dues to clandestine units of the Solidarity underground. But the movement is no longer able to mobilize major strikes, and it avoids calling for street demonstrations, which carry the risk of violent confrontation with police.

In a brief news conference at the rectory of St. Brigida's Church near the shipyard, Walesa, the winner of the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize, said Solidarity will continue to reject violence in its struggle for democratic reforms. But he said the present political stalemate in Poland cannot be ended, and economic reforms cannot succeed, until Jaruzelski's government accepts the need for dialogue with its critics.

"We have had enough of lies, of falsehoods," Walesa said. "Today, we offer a warning. Our country is deteriorating. But nothing will succeed in Poland if there is no return to the path of agreement with the nation."

Solidarity's assessment of the state of the nation was prepared by a still-unidentified group of experts, according to the summary provided by Walesa. It is meant partly to counter the government's contention that the outlawed union's role is now purely negative and obstructionist. The report, Walesa said, "shows that we do not only say no."

In separate chapters, the report deals with law and human rights, the economy (which the government acknowledges to be in a state of crisis) and living conditions, and presents its basic conclusions.

Gulf Between State, People

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