GEN. WOJCIECH JARUZELSKI has made his first major statement since he imposed martial law in Poland in mid-December. The statement shows that his policy is bankrupt. He indicates that some of the lesser burdens on Poles will be eased in coming weeks, but none of the larger ones. Putting down open popular resistance evidently is not much of a current problem--though, as one of the few independent deputies to the parliament warned yesterday, that
could change. But enlisting enough popular consent to get the country back to work, so that Poland's mind- boggling economic difficulties can be tackled, is another matter. In the seventh week after the coup, Poland remains ruled by the gun.
It is interesting, in the light of Western complaints about the West's relatively tepid and disorganized response to events in Poland, to hear Gen. Jaruzelski. He spoke extremely harshly of the sanctions that have been imposed. Perhaps he was merely raising them as a lightning rod to attract the people's discontent. It is also possible that, in an economy stretched as tight as Poland's, even relatively light sanctions hurt.
Gen. Jaruzelski says that sanctions "lengthen and sharpen martial law." This is nonsense. Understandably, he is reluctant to confess that it is he who is lengthening and sharpening martial law. Sanctions are reaction to and protest against his regime. While the Polish people, by withholding their full labor and by other means, are "voting" against repression, it should be unthinkable for the West to "vote" for it by resuming normal economic ties.
The regime has announced major consumer price increases to take effect next Monday. What will be the reaction? Solidarity, before it was chained, proposed similar price increases, which unquestionably are needed from an economic standpoint. Solidarity proposed them, however, in a context in which factory councils would have been legitimized in return. Not only are these councils out of the picture now, the government is also demanding anti-Solidarity loyalty oaths from the workers. The Catholic church has been in the forefront of opposition to these oaths. Gen. Jaruzelski's policy statement seems to have altogether ignored these developing facts. Far from easing the crisis, he is tightening it. The results will be on his hands.