POLAND: Implications ot Labor Crisis
Tha ourvsnz labor criaia hoa demonstrated that theis bankrupt, praatiofliy powerless, and must rely onprimarily the Church and the USSR, for its survival. the strikers in Gdansk ahould return to work soon,ery unsettled condition fcr some tim*
The regiae clearly is not in control of its own fate, and tiae is not on its side. Although the economic costt of the strikes obviously continue to mount, the greater danger isengthy impasse in Gdansk could result in the entire population demonstrating its distrust of the Polish Communist Party. Thethecandor of the domestic media in reporting theprobably already eroded the reliability of the police and other security forces. The regimeno longer be confident of its ability to use force.
The government's current tack is to raise morethan ever before tha dangers of nationalailion and the prospect of Soviet Intervention in order o increase the pressure on the strikers and to scare the Church into coming to its aid. This tactic apparently hasleast with regard to theits use demonstrates the few options open to the regime, fjaam,
Besides continuing its current tactics, the regime can buy tiae with new promises, offer up party chief Gierekcapegoat, or, in the extreme, risk the use of force. efesmaV
Using increasingly specific language, the Church under Cardinal Wyszynski has made it clear it believes tho current crisis has placed the "ffcte of Poland" in Jeopardy. The Polish Primato has no great love for Poland's Communist system or rulers, but he bel'.eves the
Church ia the carrier oi tha Polish national spirit, and ha will do whatever he can to prevent tha ultimate national tragedy,oviet military occupation of Poland.
The effect of the Church's statements on theof strike leaders to compromise is unclear, but strike leader Lech Walesa has indicated he understands the intended message. At the very least, the Church's actions and statements will raise serious questions of conscience for the striking workers.
The Church will undoubtedly become even moreed torsening of the situation.
Throughmcns and the activity of local priests, the Church could try to prevent tha spread of strikes. Cardinal Wyszynski could lay his prestige even moreon the line by going personally to Gdansk. Finally, Pope John Paul II couldore direct appeal.
Church activity and appeals could be most effective in the situation where regime negotiators and str*.ie leaders had agreed to compromise solutionsvlcii ttelpaelling them to some of the more militant workers.
The Workers' View
The key variable with regardeacefulremains the willingness of strikers to compromise. Although some strike leaders publicly are unrelenting, there are signs that they are prepared to give some ground. Their agreement to separate study of th* free trade union issue outside the kleig lights of the formal negotiations enhances the chances of frank talks and possible compromise.
This move aay be in respon on the strike lead
More pressure may be necessary, however, to brinq th* militant strike leaders around to the view that the
have come to outweigh the gains they seek. They clearly are less prepared
t""with promises? "est unfulfilled promises haveynicism and
" chQappear to feel no sense of urgency about moving touick settlement. tsTamV
more1 events might make the - 9round< the mostl^lifcbesabres
Resolution of the trade union issue in Gdansk could
*ouJd"ticking points, although strikers,Sam?nt S"" "aviations
coun"y going on inde-
pendent of the talks in Gdansk and couldew
on purely economic demands will continue to leapfrog,1 lin part by the naturVofThe settlements struck on the Baltic coast, fjj^
wichfn factories will remain high asworkers wait for tho regime to deliver promises
Sit*aYting concessions andlCan"- militant mood and
them intolerant of such tactics, (tea
tohip is*or th. present toublic distance from the Polish crisis i
The Soviets hava at the sane time, however, shown their anxiety over the concessions Gierek is offering by such measures as jamming Western broadcasts, selective editing of Gierek's remarks, and by repeating his that changes affecting the basis of the socialist system will not bo tolerated. Wm%>
It the strikes could be ended solely with economic concessions, the Soviets would almost certainly provide Warsaw with some economic aid, as they did0 to enable it to weather the short-term effects of the strikes and wage increases. Moscow's willingness, howovor, to provide the long-term economic aid Poland requires is questionable. The Soviets have their own economic problems, have long begrudged what they see as their subsidy of Poland's standard of living--which is higher than theirwould worry about additional deaanda :roc elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Sjmesm>
Circumstances could compel the Soviets to go along with some concessions in the politicalas some loosening of partythe hope that these, could be tightened once again when the crisis has past. The Soviets could not, however, tolerate genuinelytrade unions or the abolition of censorship. This would "strike at the foundations* oj socialism, which they have declared to be unacceptable.- mMJXXS
Should current negotiations fail to bring appreciable progross over the next few weeks, or if the situation should continue to deteriorate, Moscow would be likely to apply political pressure on Gierek toougher line toward the strikers. Moscow could couple this with cpen warnings of Sovietperhapsmilitary moves aroundan effort to impressstrikers and the Church with the gravity of the crisis. If these measures failed, Moscow might urge that Gierek be replaced, Qmm^
Another choice would be to advise the Polish party to use force. If Polish force did not resolve the the Soviets would consider-the possibility, ofintervention. The ramifications ofove on Eastern Europehole and on Moscow's relations ith the West would make the Soviets anxious toll other possibilities first. IC they concluded thathe Communist system in Poland was in danger of collapsing, however, they would accept the enormous costs that their military interventior. would bring.