INTRODUCTION: A new grassroots movement for the reform of Poland's ruling Communist Party got a favourable reaction from the official government newspaper Zycie Warszawy on Thursday (16 April).
GV Delegates seated in conference room
SV Kania speaking to delegates
GV PAN Delegates seated (2 shots)
Torun, Poland. Dissident communists' meeting. GV delegates stand for anthem, then sit down (3 shots)
SV Delegate on rostrum
GV. CU PULL BACK TO GV Delegates listening (3 shots)
GV Speakers at rostrum (2 shots)
CU Delegate listening. GV rostrum party (2 shots)
23/3/81 footage. GV ZOOM IN TO CU Party meeting in Cracow, delegates voting by hand
SV & CU Delegates placing votes in ballot box (2 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: A new grassroots movement for the reform of Poland's ruling Communist Party got a favourable reaction from the official government newspaper Zycie Warszawy on Thursday (16 April). The newspaper said that the group had legitimised horizontal movement in the party. Delegates claiming to present a third of Poland's three million Communists began an unprecedented meeting in the city of Torun on Wednesday (15 April) to air their complaints that the leadership had lost touch with rank and file members. One speaker said that a month ago a Politburo member had warned of drastic consequences if such a conference should be held. Meanwhile Party leaders discussed the situation in Poland.
SYNOPSIS: Communist Party leader Stanislaw Kania met with party members on Thursday (16 April) to review developments. Poland is facing grave economic problems. Unemployment is inevitable, the government says -- the first time a Communist regime has made such an admission, and the Warsaw authorities have stated there will be a major drop in living standards this year. The Soviet newspaper Izvestia called on Poles on Wednesday (15 April) to solve their economic problems and put the country in order, while Pravda called for tougher action against what it termed counter-revolutionaries in Poland. Some Western observers believe it is significant that the Soviet press has stopped quoting from the official Polish media. They believe this shows that the Kremlin has lost confidence in the Polish government.
In Torun on Wednesday (15 April) delegates to the congress of grassroots Communists complained that the party had lost touch with its rank and file. They called for a thorough democratisation of the party, and for changes in its leadership at the Central Committee meeting later this month -- which they want to be televised live.
One speaker -- 34 years a party member and now a member of Solidarity too -- said he would put the union first, even if it meant contradicting the party which has been used to unquestioning loyalty from its members. The delegates said they had no grievance against communism, but they said they feared the total collapse of the party. Its membership has fallen by about 10 per cent in 12 months.
In a Cracow rubber plant last month the local party made no secret of the fact that it was holding open elections for delegates to this summer's national party congress -- a move without parallel in the party which has been used to keeping its internal affairs to itself.