Poland's officially controlled press today hinted that the martial-law authorities are planning the final legal dismantling of the suspended Solidarity trade union.
The government newspaper Rzeczpospolita (Republic) argued that the word Solidarity has become inextricably associated with resistance to the Communist state. It proposed that entirely new "independent and self-government" unions be set up on the basis of the same agreements that gave birth to Solidarity in August 1980.
The Rzeczpospolita article was signed "an observer," a formula that has been used in the past to reflect authoritative government views. It said that a draft trade union bill would be submitted to the National Assembly in the near future.
Until now, the official line has been that Solidarity has merely been suspended for the duration of martial law.
Political analysts here suggested that one of the purposes of the Rzeczpospolita article might be to test Western and Polish reaction to moves against Solidarity. Underground Solidarity leaders have insisted that they will call for a general strike if their union is outlawed.
The restoration of Solidarity is one of the conditions set by the U.S. administration for the lifting of economic sanctions against the Soviet Bloc.
Polish officials evidently hope to divide the work force, gambling that, while some workers will undoubtedly protest Solidarity's demise, a significant proportion will be swayed by the argument that they now have a chance to start all over again.
Some observers believe that the government is planning to dissolve not only Solidarity but the official Communist-dominated trade unions as well. These unions, however, had only a fraction of Solidarity's 9.5 million membership.
Rzeczpospolita said that in establishing a "reborn" trade union movement, the authorities would abide by the principles of the Gdansk agreement of August 1980. The agreement committed the government to recognizing "independent, self-governed unions," and committed the unions to respecting "the leading role of the Communist Party."
From the authorities' point of view, one attraction of dissolving Solidarity is that it would deprive the union's leaders -- Lech Walesa included -- of any legal standing. Government spokesmen already have described the Solidarity leadership, which was chosen a year ago in free elections by union members, as an "unfit" partner for talks.
The Polish leadership clearly wants to resolve the issue of Solidarity's future before the end of the year -- the target date for the lifting of martial law.
Rzeczpospolita acknowledged that many Solidarity members had strong emotional ties to the union's name and said these feelings should be treated "with respect." But it listed what it described as a string of "merciless political facts" that it suggested had condemned the union.