As martial law suspended, Poles' reactions vary widely
Poles' reactions to Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski's prospectus for the suspension of martial law vary widely.
Some had expected the removal of martial law at one stroke this week. Others saw his speech as a gesture of conciliation.
''The same old tune - promises for tomorrow,'' said one man. Many others echoed that feeling in a sampling of opinion the morning after the general announced on television that martial law would be suspended this month.
Intellectuals are disappointed that no specific reference was made to their place in Polish life. The Roman Catholic Church, too, received only brief acknowledgement of its ''vast'' role - in moral questions and the combatting of social evils and crime. There was no reference to former Solidarity leader Lech Walesa's offers of cooperation.
But many Poles - among them longtime, severe critics of communist government policy - admitted to being impressed by General Jaruzelski's presentation, its relative moderation, its approach generally.
''I think he was sincere in what he said,'' one said. ''The question is, can he carry it through?''
''Perhaps more was expected today,'' the general had said after listing the areas in which martial law is about to be reduced. ''But better realism and prudence than emotions.''
To this longtime observer of the communist bloc and its periodic convulsions by the demands and necessity for reform, the general's broadcast speech was conciliatory enough to present a not unhopeful signpost to more tolerable conditions for Poles.
The most striking point of all was that, while there was no concession to softness, there was only limited stress (compared with the news media in the preceding days) on the opposition.
The following day, Polish workers' right to protest and even to resort to strike action were reaffirmed in draft legislation presented at the opening of the Polish Parliament's special session Dec. 13 by Henrik Jablonski, chairman of the Council of State.
Strikes and other protest moves are to be allowed within the terms of the recently enacted law on trade unions. Although that law spelled the end of the independent union Solidarity, it retained many elements of the union independence laid down in law last year but aborted by the imposition of military rule a few months later.
But this restatement of the right to strike and Jaruzelski's pledge to the unions that they will have a meaningful place in society could provide a boost for the fledgling enterprise unions that workers have so far been slow in joining.
The workers' councils developed under terms of the August 1980 strike settlements may be reactivated, presumably within the limits of state-administration interests and prerogatives reasserted in legislation during martial law.
Most of the military courts set up under martial law are to close down, and the practice of monitoring telephone conversations is to end. So is the ban on public meetings.
The relatively liberal censorship law passed before martial law has been restored. But publications deemed ''dangerous'' to political and state security will remain banned.
Just how many persons were sentenced by the military courts for ''criminal'' offenses proscribed under the initial emergency decrees is not known. But, it can reasonably be calculated on the basis of the little that has been published to be at least a thousand persons and probably many more.
Military courts are to continue to function in only a limited number of cases. At time of writing, those limits had not been spelled out. There is concern the exceptions could be some of the former union activists and others still held in internment without charges having been lodged against them.
All but about 300 of these internees have been freed. It has been said that ''all'' are to be released when martial law is lifted, but a distinction is made between the suspension of martial law and its eventual lifting.