One often finds a few martial-law violators listed in the morning papers these days, right alongside the murderers, the robbers and other common criminals.
Their crimes are: painting slogans hostile to the state, printing leaflets with information allegedly intended to incite riots, refusing to obey orders in now-militarized companies, publicly slandering and mocking state authorities.
Their sentences have come swiftly, as the Polish leader, Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, said they would when he proclaimed martial law two months ago today. Most have received three to six years in prison, varying from region to region and judge to judge.
The harshest so far was handed down this week in the Baltic city of Gdynia: 10 years for Ewa Kubasiewicz and nine years for Jerzy Kowaski for organizing a strike in a shipping academy and distributing political leaflets. If there is any place in Poland where the military authorities want to set an example, it is along the militant Baltic Coast.
More than 300 summary judgments and arrests have been published, although there are believed to have been more than twice that number. A few charges stand out for their originality.
Boleslaw Biedrzycki of Leszno got three years for claiming to have been beaten by police when, said the court, the wounds he received came from fighting with his wife.
The police were also insulted in Poznan when Jodrzej Konieczny claimed he was beaten by them when, said the authorities, he had done himself in while drunk. The alleged defamation got him arrested.
Mieczyslaw Slonina is in jail for trying to circumvent the censors by sending a letter to West Germany with a traveler. The letter included false information about the situation here and called for a halt of Western aid to Poland, the court said.
Authorities also have shown acute concern about the mail reaching Poland. The chief censorship office complained this week that letters and parcels from the West are carrying drawings or inscriptions with "provocative political contents." In the future, said the office, such mail will be "excluded from postal traffic."
It has not been a good season for Poland's diplomatic corps. Just after martial law was imposed Dec. 13, two ambassadors defected--Romuald Spasowski in the United States and Zdzislaw Rurarz in Japan. Today a senior protocol officer was convicted of spying for the CIA.
The case fits with Poland's current anti-American propaganda campaign, which accuses the United States of trying to undermine socialism by destablizing Poland through manipulating the independent trade union Solidarity and other means. But Bogdan Walewski appeared to have had nothing to do with Solidarity.
During the years, as a diplomat posted at the United Nations, in Moscow and in Warsaw, the testimony indicated, Walewski is said to have passed secrets in foreign rendezvous with U.S. agents and via message drops in parked cars, city gutters and at a Warsaw food kiosk.
"Everything is in limbo here," said a Polish friend, explaining the general sense of suspension of important events that prevails under martial law. "The party doesn't know what to do.
"But that is Polish history," the friend continued. "Since the battle of Grunwald in 1410, Poles have not seemed to know what to do with victory."
At that battle, Poland's King Ladislas Jagiello routed the Teutonic knights but afterward took only insignificant concessions--a fact that haunted Poles centuries later when the state of Prussia, descended from the knights' fiefdoms, rose up to dominate central Europe.
It has been embarrassingly long since the party's top policy-making body, the 200-member Central Committee, has held a meeting. The last one was before the imposition of martial law. Plans for a session this month, perhaps by next weekend, are reported under way.
The party leadership is said by informed sources to be divided over when to lift martial law. Hard-liners want the Army back in its barracks soon so that they can reassert dogmatic Communist control over the country. Moderates, worried about what the hard-liners have in mind, are reported to be arguing for keeping the troops around a little longer as a sort of buffer.
On the crucial question of what to do about the Polish workers' desire for independent trade unions, party members appear as split as they were before the crackdown. The opposing arguments were sharply drawn in a recent exchange of views, published in the main party daily Trybuna Ludu, between two prominent party members: Jerzy Wiatr, a political scientist, and Zygmunt Najdowski, the party boss in Torun.
Wiatr spoke out for a course of renewed negotiations and agreement with Poland's varying social forces, on the basis of a leading role for the party. Najdowski indicated he was highly suspicious, given the recent past, of any social force outside the party.
"Only one road leads to regaining influence by the party," he said. "That is to offer the society such proposals that will liquidate the sources of perpetual crises in Poland for good."
In the midst of the controversy and indecision, someone has at least given orders to proceed again with plans to build a subway in Warsaw. The project, off and on for years, is a favorite of whoever is in power.
Gen. Jaruzelski celebrated his first anniversary as premier this week. The day was marked by editorials in the official press that praised him as a man of his word who had tried to reason with Solidarity and managed to steer Poland through its most difficult year since World War II.
Jaruzelski, 58, has kept his post as defense minister and gained two other top jobs as well. He is first secretary of Poland's Communist Party and chairman of the Military Council of National Salvation, the martial-law committee.
A current joke says there are five people who knew about martial law. The defense minister, the prime minister, the party chief, the military council chairman--and Marshal Viktor Kulikov, head of the Warsaw Pact forces.
With more top titles than any other East European leader, Jaruzelski is not a populist or paternalist leader. His strength continues to be his reputation as a professional soldier and his ability to avoid being publicly associated with any particular party faction.
The gradual easing of martial law takes place fitfully. Intercity phone communication, for instance, was allegedly restored this week, although placing a call still requires an operator's assistance and lots of patience.
"We felt like at a New Year's Eve ball," said an operator after Tuesday midnight, when her panel suddenly lit up with requests for intercity calls.
The efforts of Warsaw's force of 200 operators could not avoid delays the next day of from two to nine hours in putting calls through--and that was just for those who could get an operator.
An opinion survey, meanwhile, conducted by the official Polish radio and television, said 51 percent of the nation believes martial law was justified. But the authorities are still evidently worried about the other 49 percent.
Patrolling foot soldiers, military road blocks in and around the city, and car searches remain an everyday part of the sights and experiences of Warsaw and probably all other Polish cities.
In an especially calculated show of force this week, a convoy of more than 130 police vehicles, blue lights flashing, moved through Warsaw at the height of evening rush hour on both Thursday and Friday. The demonstration, apparently intended as a threatening gesture, followed reports from Gdansk of weekend rallies being planned to mark the second-month anniversary of martial law. Despite the fear, the hassles and the insult that came with Poland's military crackdown, a number of Poles will allow as how some things have clearly improved.
People do feel safer from street crime that had been on the rise. There also seems to be more food.
But there are signs, too, of another crisis building. Poland's Roman Catholic Church has toughened its public tone toward the government. A source close to the church leadership said this was done out of disappointment that the authorities had not moved faster to make good on Jaruzelski's pledge to continue reforms sought by Solidarity.
"The church's sharp language is not a change in position," the source said. "It is like a mother's voice warning a child that the child's hands are dangerously close to the fire. In this case, the fire is what can happen in the spring."
Development of a Polish underground, which government officials say has no significance, is nonetheless apparent. One group, the Committee of Social Resistance, publishes a thick newsletter.
Issue number four, dated Feb. 10, included such items as a poem on martial law by Czeslaw Milosz, a translation into Polish of a NATO communique condemning the crackdown, Solidarity's account of the disturbance in Gdansk Jan. 30 and a list of Polish journalists, actors and other professionals accused of collaborating with the martial-law authorities.