Poland May Let Solidarity Be Legalized

Associated Press

Communist Party leaders are ready to make Solidarity legal again if the independent trade union will help back their political and economic reforms, a government source said Friday.

The source--a party member informed about preparations for a key meeting of the party Central Committee on Monday and Tuesday--called the decision “a gamble” and said it was “revolutionary” for Poland.

If it is accepted by the opposition, it will mark the end of an era of political impasse in Poland and represent an admission that the efforts of authorities through most of the 1980s to destroy the East Bloc’s only independent union movement have failed.

Solidarity leader Lech Walesa was not available for comment Friday evening.


Could ‘Open the Road’

Solidarity spokesman Janusz Onyszkiewicz said that he had not been expecting such a dramatic action from the Central Committee meeting, “but if it happened, it would be very good” and could “open the road” to talks between the opposition and the government.

Members of the ruling Politburo, led by Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, visited factories Friday to inform party units about the Central Committee meeting, the state-run PAP news service reported.

The source, who demanded anonymity, said that Solidarity could be legalized in a few months if it agrees to certain conditions, which he said might be expected to include a promise to obey a 1982 union law that spells out arbitration procedures in collective bargaining disputes and bans wildcat strikes.

Solidarity, outlawed more than six years ago, has said it would accept legalization within the framework of that law.

Solidarity would also be expected to begin talks immediately with the authorities, the source said. It would be asked to agree with authorities on the form and aims of a new election law that could result in a “substantial presence” of the opposition in Parliament.

Parliamentary elections are scheduled this year and Jaruzelski has stressed that more opposition voices should be heard in Parliament.