THE POLISH Communist regime's effort to cheat its way back into the toleration of the Polish people and the international community fell apart in the streets the other day. The regime had made a great display of "normalization," releasing some of its thousands of political prisoners (too often, by the way, called "internees"), relaxing the curfew and mumbling of a "national dialogue." On Monday, however, in Warsaw and other Polish cities, tens of thousands of citizens demonstrated against martial law. They were met by police violence; scores were injured and 1,300 detentions were reported. So much for any hope of inducing the Polish people to forget about their lost liberties and to cooperate, however sullenly, with Gen. Jaruzelski's police rule.

And now? Archbishop Jozef Glemp, for one, still seems to believe there is a negotiable way out of the crisis the Communist authorities created last December when they shut down Solidarity. He blames "extremists" for the current impasse--the government's for relaxing martial law too little and Solidarity's for pushing protest too hard. Cardinal Glemp is the most credible voice in Poland arguing fora dialogue and a political compromise between the narrowly based, Soviet-supported regime and the people, whose allegiance to their chosen representatives in Solidarity remains strong.

There is the real possibility, however, that the "extremists" on the Communist side will take the demonstrations not as proof that normalization had lagged but that it had gone too far. Nor can it be doubted that some in Solidarity figure that there can be no worthy compromise with the regime, only a tightening test of wills. So it could happen that before either side reaches out further to the other, both will intensify their internal debates. This makes the moment fraught with fresh uncertainty.

For Solidarity, as for its friends outside Poland, however, the test must be whether martial law is rolled back and whether Solidarity itself is allowed a role commensurate with its standing among its constituency. Until that happens, there will be little taste in the West for providing Poland with a measure of cooperation, especially the cooperation essential to its long-term economic revival. That should be clear by now to everyone in Poland, including Gen. Jaruzelski.