POGLĄD nr. 4 GRUDZIEŃ 1989 r., str. 14-16

Tłumaczenie na język angielski
JPRS-East Europe Report
90-023 21 FEBRUARY 1990





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Article by Katarzyna Zborska:

Federation of Fighting Youth


The people of the Federation of Fighting Youth, or FMW, have won for themselves the name of "rabble-rousers." They fight in the streets with fliers, and rocks too, if absolutely necessary to their defense. They see themselves as the lost generation, insofar as the communist officials are concerned. They have no illusions about the good intentions of those who "by oppression and force tried to strangle our economy." They reject passivity, because it causes the human individual and society to become a slow, shapeless mass with which it is possible to do anything. They call out: "Let's overcome fear, our own egotism, and ordinary cowardice." They consider their place to be in Poland, not abroad as emigres. They are fighting for independence. A well-known four-line verse has become the motto of WOLNY UCZEŃ, an irregular publication of the Confederation of Polish Youth issued jointly with FMW: "If somebody burns down our Polish house, Then each of us must be ready, Because it's better for us to die standing up, Than to have to kneel, and live on our knees."

They define the struggle for independence as "actions which lead directly or indirectly to the overthrow of the communist system thrust on Poland by the Soviets."

This is where the division between people in the Federation of Fighting Youth begins. It was against this backdrop that the split into two factions came about owing to different approaches to the June elections (and the roundtable talks before that). On the one hand, there were "the angry ones," or radicals, encompassing Gdynia, Warmia and Mazury, Płock, and part of Łódź. They also lay claim to Bydgoszcz, Wroclaw, Upper Silesia, and Szczecin, but they do not seem to have any influence in these places. On the other hand, there are the moderates, with strong groups in Gdansk, Krakow, part of Łódź, and Warsaw. The radicals opposed any neutral position during the elections and therefore boycotted them, turning voters against Lech Walesa's team. The moderates supported Solidarity.

This May "the angry ones" created an FMW national commission under the leadership of "Partisan", who cannot reveal his identity because of conspiracy. The whole rest of the Federation became nearly hysterical over the advent of the new executive body. A major biweekly called MONIT (No 67, 1989) said that several FMW groups were trying to oppose the concept of groups' rights to free association and were usurping for themselves the prerogative of making declarations on behalf of the Federation. The FMW National Coordinating Committee is one completely legitimate "plane of consolidation."

What are the differences between the two factions? Bogdan Falkiewicz, leader of the Gdansk federation, the "moderate" one, says that the people from Gdynia are working for a national rebellion, like the November rebellion.

"We have more political realism," explains the fellow who has been circulating offensive writings since 1985, that is, since the creation of the Federation of Fighting Youth. "We do not recognize the London government. And the relationship to Solidarity is the personal affair of each one of us. The organizational discipline of the radicals, on the other hand, forces them all to think alike."

The moderates publish more than a dozen newspapers in Gdansk alone and dozens more all over Poland. The best known are MONIT, mentioned above, KLAKSON, MAŁY WYWROTOWIEC, DWÓJKA, SZPALTA, and LARWA (Warmia and Mazury), as well as MONIT's great competition, BISZ (BIULETYN INFORMACYJNY SZKÓŁ ZAWODOWYCH [Vocational Schools Information Bulletin]), while the radicals' main publication is ANTYMATYKA, issued in Gdynia. Besides publishing newspapers, the FMW organizes demonstrations and publishes books and cassettes, while the executive groups see to it that house walls are decorated with bearable slogans: "Schools in the hands of the students" or "Soviets, go home."

Some of the federation members joined the Independent Union of School Children, which sprang up last June. This new affiliation does not exclude them from continued participation in the FMW. The new group's purpose is to defend the students' interests. It operates out in the open and is asking to be registered as an association. The moderate faction wants school officials to recognize its activity on school grounds as legal.

The federation recruits incoming freshmen to bring about changes in their conditions, that is, to cancel the defense training classes, and military training in the vocational schools. They are enlisted in the struggle to implement the "youth table's" demands and are called upon to join in the protests, for example, against construction of the nuclear power plant in Żarnowiec (and the expansion of nuclear power altogether) or against police brutality. The time for overturning the absurd system of real socialism will come later.

~The angry ones,"the radicals, have contempt for "all of Gdansk" and "the Wałęsa", whom they consider to be run-of-the-mill collaborators. On the ninth anniversary of the August agreements, they went to St. Brigid's
church with a banner reading "No more deals with the reds:' Somebody shouted: "The elections — Targowica" [confederation formed at Targowica protesting against the constitution of 3 May 1791; figuratively "targowica"
refers to treason], but the only response was looks of surprise from the middle-aged faithful there.

"The angry ones" do not support Walesa, the Mazowiecki government, or Solidarity, although at one time they fought to have it made legal again.

"We detest them, and we are ashamed of them for getting into a deal with the communists," says Mariusz, from Łódź,

Walesa made them angry on 4 May, when he said in a press conference: "Those who carry banners saying 'Down with communism' are provocateurs ... We have films of the 13 May disturbances. We will point out the organizers to the nation. and the nation will hang them." That came from the former idol and symbol of freedom. And so this Solidarity is not the 1980 Solidarity anymore. Walesa's Solidarity took away people's right to strike as a rider to the union's bylaws, it supported Jaruzelski's candidacy for president, and the members of the Sejm and Senate chose a man who was responsible for the imposition of martial law. After all, only the London government abroad, with President Ryszard Kaczorowski, Kazimierz Sabat's deputy, can legally pass on his right to power won in truly democratic elections. Premier Mazowiecki also disappointed the radicals, when he "did not question Poland's role in the Warsaw Pact, thereby distancing the country from achieving independence." What will happen in free Poland? There will be no communists, but if there are any, they will be allowed to gather, provided there is anyone who wants to join them.

Nobody knows exactly how many people belong to the Federation of Fighting Youth. Not even the two faction leaders themselves have any control over who distributes pamphlets in their name. It is not possible to count the members in an organization which does not issue membership cards or set up regular meetings, where just about everything is secret. "The angry ones" estimate that there are about 1,000 people who support them throughout Poland, but only 600 people took part in the August anniversary celebrations this year. There were at least 100 of the "moderates."

"You are a member of FMW if you do something in the organization, if you feel an emotional bond with it, if you take part in the demonstrations," explains Tomasz, who "signed up with" FMW, in order to begin living normally.

The fighting organization does not recognize personal interests. Here you have to either give yourself entirely to the cause or not commit yourself at all. Young people begin their "career" at age 13-14 with distributing publications, because "the biological young are the future." Parents do not usually know what their son or daughter is doing. When they do, they put them out or start exerting strict control. FMW members have no boy friends or girl friends, do not identify with discotheques, and do not even go to the movies. Fighting youth do not have a sense of fear. They say: "Everything is for people, even the police."

In their rooms hang eagles with crowns, pictures of Marshal Smigły·Rydz:, and a prewar map of Poland. Within their four walls they live in "the "Independent Republic".

FMW youth feel responsible for the fate of the country, think in terms of great politicians, and believe they can change the system. In conversations they quote Lenin, Stalin, and often Miłosz and Orwell.

Since March 1989, MAŁY WYWROTQWIEC has been putting out the communist way for alliances, or J. Stalin's contribution: "There should be an alliance between the iron pot (communists) and the clay pots (allies). And implementing the alliance? Put all the pots into one bag and shake it up,"

Moral: "Let's not let anyone shake us up; let's shake ourselves up".

Use of the clever phrase is the FMW's strongest suit. It is hard to distinguish fiction from regality. They repeat Lenin's saying: "The more revolutionary young people are, the better the revolution," adding al the end: "The only way to talk with the communists is to accept their CAPITULATION."