POLAND: REFORM IN THE PARTY

Created: 4/23/1981

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

SPECIAL ANALYSIS

POLAND: Reform in the Party

The Polish Communist Party leadership itoderately reformist oourse in response to graving demands from the rank and file for party reform. It seem* prepared to overhaul the top party organs by bringing up more lesser ranking party membere. Thie will give theniquely "j. letarian" look, but other evidenceommitment to changeecessary to mollify theartial measures may only encourage demands for more radical changes that would seriously teet the limits of Soviet tolerance, ^ffj

Solidarity's attack on the bureaucratic valuo* of the traditional Communist state has fragmented the Polish party. Many members, embittered by revelations ofand malfeasance, have resigned. Many otherare seeking guarantees of greater intrapartyand new control over the party bureaucracy and leadership, in order toepetition of mistakes and to ensure the permanence of broader reforms. ff<|

The reformist movement, although potentially strong, thus far lacks effective organization and national Its influence, nonetheless, has been evident for months; it prompted the party leadership in December to endorse the practice initiated by some local partyof electing local officials by secret ballot. Party chief Kania and the rest of the leadership fear reform efforts to break the party bureaucracy's control over policy and decisionmaking, and they are trying to appear responsive, feaj

Reformists More Effective

Despite Kania's efforts, the pressure has become more Intense, more public, and more organized. The party leadership's mishandling of the incident at Bydgoszcz and its tardiness in moving ahead on party reforms widened the rift between the leaders and the goneral membership, ,

Approved tor Release

1

arch after tnefailed to hoed demands for the ouster of hardliners

dctshiP- The Central Committee's inaction prompted grass-roots reformers to take their first serious

about" soS'iISfnBt wee* Evolvingiberals fromrovinces. fjem

egainommitment to some measure

?he rfn^nd fu e JMd' 8 andhe results, ond it is

llberallxing the party statutes, i Mm

nffi^?aftY leodara"O" sees, inclined to trycnar?es O' corruption and malfeasance.Prepared to make extensive

" in the Central Committee and Politburo WednesdaJ? M mittee seasionfor next

Kania's Position

*lJhough Kania has been weakened by the events ofks, he is likely to'remain party

burocautlous moderateolit-

edthere are no aigns that

the Soviets are seeking his removal. fJM)

The few outright hardliners in the leadership are likely to remain despite party members* demands for tneir removal. Kania probably calculates that their presence is reassuring to UMMJ

m.o ont to be aeon as giving ln to the masses by removing specific persons. Tho hardliners alao serve Kania's purpose by making him appear more moderate by comparison.

^ Committee session probably will enlargo the Politburo by adding representatives from the grass roots. Although this Is likely to make the Politburo more reform-minded, newcomers will be carefully chosen and thoir impact may be limited. MMM

Kania probably will be strengthened and th* influence of the hardliners diluted by the TheCommittee itsell is likely to be purged of former provincial party leaders, who will be replaced by newofficials and by ordinary party membnra. fKff

These moves will enabl* tha leadership to claim that it is more representative of the party, thereby undercutting the radical reformers. If it is to ensure its support at th* next party congress, however, the leadership will still have to contend with the organizing efforts of some reformers and must try to managethe secret ballot process of selecting delegates to the congress. These will be no easy tasks, and the presence of newcomers from the ranks may make the tarks more difficult, fjf

Outlook

The Kania leadership probably realizes its limited reforms will not satisfy the radicals, but it may believe thatarty congress sooner rather than later will dony th*time to organize. It willth* congress, and presumablyirm date for it, at the Central Committee meeting next week, ln addition, it may be prepared to purge some of the radicals, even though this risks opening another rift. Keg

Party leaders also may believe that limited reforms in conjunctionenerally conciliatory policy toward key groups such as Solidarity and the Church will reduceor radical reform-*. T- flinilllllS cf hardliners and the Soviets, however, will prevent the regime fromniformly conciliatory policy toward Solidarity, and renewed tensions with the unions will to some extent help koop alive the agitation for internal party reform.

Tho possibility remains, moroover, that tho party membership will not be satisfied with partial measures and will push for more changes- and that the party leadership in turn willore radical reformist stance that severely tests tho Soviets' patience. If event* reach this stage, Kania probably would have to be removed, bbbbT

Original document.

Comment about this article or add new information about this topic:

CAPTCHA