Solidarity quelled, but not forgotten
The demonstrations called for by the Solidarity underground, operating here since martial law, did not ''bring out the workers,'' as the government spokesman claimed.
But the final report to come in from the provincial centers - some hours after he had spoken - could conceivably bring the workers out in force.
It was only in the early hours of Sept. 1 that the government news agency disclosed that disorders in the copper-mining town of Lubin, center of a key export industry, had resulted in two deaths and more than a score of civilian and police injuries.
Security forces, it was said, had used firearms after being attacked themselves by a mob throwing stones, bricks, and gasoline bombs.
Later reports said warning shots were first fired over the heads of the demonstrators. When this was answered with more missiles, police apparently fired into the crowd.
It is the only known shooting to have occurred in the rioting which broke out here in Warsaw and almost a dozen provincial capitals and towns on the second anniversary of the Solidarity trade union. The massive deployment of police and a special army unit kept the violence to a relatively small scale.
Lubin authorities ordered an immediate inquiry. But, regardless of who made the decision to take this drastic course of action, the incident was a vivid reminder of the bloody riots of December 1970 that set Poland on the path to its present crisis.
Some 70 workers were killed in the 1970 riots. Police action against the strikers in 1976 took another toll. The first days of martial law in December 1981 yet another.
In August 1980, one of the priority demands in the new strikes was for erecting monuments in Szczecin and Gdansk to put the victims of the 1970 clashes on record for all time. Similar bitter reactions could result from what happened Aug. 31 at Lubin.
Until the Lubin report became known, the government might, on the whole, have been satisfied with the outcome of Solidarity anniversary observances. Despite the urgings from the underground activists, there were no significant strikes or work stoppages and, although several hundred people were arrested, there had been no bloodshed this time.
Here in Warsaw, at the places where the main outbursts occurred, the crowds - the majority of which were bystanders, not protesters - always looked evenly matched, if not outmatched, by the ''law-and-order'' forces.
Western reporters watching events around Warsaw saw no hand-to-hand scuffling , no cases of real violence, and only on one or two occasions an impression of more force than necessary at the hands of riot police wielding long clubs.
But in this observer's first balance sheet, it seemed that the outbursts in various sections of town added up to more than the government might have anticipated in view of its saturation security. Polish authorities reported Sept. 1 that overall, 4,050 people were detained by security forces in Poland Aug. 31.
This suggests that, while Solidarity and its founding idea as an independent trade union may be as alive as ever in most people's minds, the Solidarity underground and its militant policies have so far been unable to galvanize substantial rank-and-file support.
Only at the Nowa Huta steelworks in Krakow do workers seem to have taken a major part in an effort to mark the August 1980 anniversary. Elsewhere and in Warsaw itself the bulk of the stone-throwing was by young people. They were as greatly outnumbered by the sidewalk watchers as they were by the police.
These first conclusions seem evident:
* That young people will not easily be deterred from ''blowing off steam.'' Without a doubt there were some habitual troublemakers among them, but most of them were probably simply frustrated young men, not necessarily unemployed, but lacking prospects.
* That the authorities have the means to contain these youth and will go on using the necessary means to do so.
* That unless the government starts recognizing the increasingly apparent inevitability of bringing Solidarity and at least its moderate, most responsible leaders into the talks about new unions, it is going to have this periodic trouble and a restless youth on its hands for a long time. The Lubin shootings will simply add to the unrest.