Jaruzelski gains a probable Pyrrhic victory
With the passage of the law abolishing all trade unions in Poland, the Military Council for National Salvation has put in place the last major component in its 10-month campaign to assert full political control over the country.
Any doubt that Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski has achieved his aim withers in the face of the response so far.
True, there have been some outbreaks of resistance in the Baltic ports and elsewhere. But during Solidarity's heyday such an act by the Polish parliament would have provoked a spontaneous general strike. Every factory in Poland would have shut down, and the streets would have surged with angry workers.
Instead, the fugitive remnants of the independent union's leadership have called for a four-hour strike on the Nov. 10 second anniversary of Solidarity's legalization.
The pitiful condition of Solidarity was clearly illustrated even before the new law was enacted. On June 1, Wladyslaw Frasyniuk, leader of Solidarity in the Wroclaw region, wrote from underground urging preparations for a general strike.
''In order to induce the authorities to initiate talks with Solidarity,'' he wrote, ''we are prepared to reach for the greatest weapons that our union possesses: the general strike.''
Frasyniuk was apprehended two days before parliament passed the law banning the independent union.
The final move in parliament was presaged by formal charges brought against seven members of KOR, the group of intellectuals who advised Solidarity during its foundation and openly opposed the regime in the late 1970s prior to the union's appearance.
Most of the seven have been incarcerated since last Dec. 13, hence the formal charges had the Jabberwockian logic of arresting those already imprisoned for months. Jaruzelski would like to portray KOR as the head of the serpent, an arrogant band of intellectuals who pulled the strings of Solidarity from behind the scenes.
The fate of the KOR leaders is still unclear. But the willingness of Polish courts to impose harsh penalties for political crimes is already demonstrated by the case of former Ambassador Romuald Spasowski, who was recently sentenced to death in absentia for defecting to the United States. Most likely the Military Council will save their trial until it feels the need to reassert its control.