From remarks by Maciej Zalewski, member of the executive committee of the Warsaw region of Solidarity, in the July issue of Uncaptive Minds:

{T}he fall of communism in Central Europe appears to be the result of the economic breakdown of the system. Communism couldn't keep up with the West; it failed to meet the challenge of the microchip. But we -- the people of the anti-totalitarian opposition -- view the fall of communism differently. It was not inevitable ... Opposition was a choice we consciously made, not the fulfillment of historical necessity. ...

Now the Communist Party has been swept off the political scene, but its remnants still cling to the slogans of the Left. Most of these remnants are concentrated in the social democratic party, which still promises a generous welfare state, mouths cliches about justice and equality and appeals to fears of unemployment, recession and monetary restriction. These slogans could become powerful rallying cries if the economic situation worsens or fails to improve significantly. The left-wing elites will be keen to take over this beaten yet potentially powerful political force and remodel it into a modern European left-labor party.

In Poland, the drive to build a free market, privatize state holding and quickly establish a strong middle class constitute a serious threat to the Left. Even the trade union Solidarity supports this program. The union wants capitalism ... provided that the costs and sacrifices of reform are fairly shared by all social groups. Which means that the former nomenklatura must be stripped of its special privileges.

Thus the debate over the place in the new democracy of the former Communists and their associates is not about the limits of tolerance. It's a political debate.