Solidarity faced with choice: continued resistance or dialogue? Government's new stance creates dilemma
Poland's Solidarity opposition faces difficult decisions. Should it fight single-mindedly for the reinstatement of the independent union, outlawed five years ago with the imposition of martial law?
Or should it embrace the government's offer of a dialogue and abandon its clandestine structure?
These choices have emerged since the Sept. 12 amnesty of 225 political prisoners, including Solidarity leaders.
``They have to rethink everything,'' explains Jacques Rupnik, an East European specialist at the Paris Center for International Studies. ``Until now, they've been calling for national resistance. But it's hard to call for resistance when the government liberates all prisoners and pledges a dialogue.''
After a recent meeting in Warsaw, Lech Walesa, Solidarity's founder, did not appear in public with Zbigniew Bujak, the leader of clandestine Solidarity, leading to speculation of a rift between the two. Mr. Walesa announced a follow-up meeting in Gdansk for next Monday.
``Walesa wants to be prudent, to test the truth of the government's offer,'' says Pierre Hassner, an East European specialist at the French National Center for Scientific Research. ``Bujak and others don't want to make any concessions. They see themselves as being incompatible with a communist regime.''
Mr. Bujak, who was arrested in June, was Poland's most wanted man, consistently calling for strong protests and strikes. Upon walking out of prison after the amnesty, Bujak said he had few qualms about going underground again, should the union's members ask it of him.