Leaders of the Solidarity underground have called on Poles to work for the downfall of what was termed Poland's "totalitarian dictatorship" through resistance measures that include preparation for a general strike.
The call came in a lengthy declaration issued by the self-styled Provisional Coordinating Commission of the banned independent trade union. The leadership group, whose five members are former senior-ranking officials of Solidarity still in hiding, was set up last year when Poland was under martial law.
The commission's program, dated Jan. 22 and received by western correspondents today, represents the most radical and extensive underground statement since the call last autumn for mass demonstrations.
Ruling out compromise with the current authorities, the shadow Solidarity commission urged the country to support "a program of democratic reforms" that would result in "a self-governed republic."
"Our readiness for making concessions would today be recognized as a symptom of weakness," its statement said, "and contribute to perpetuation of the repressive system. The society has no other choice. Resistance and struggle against the dictatorship is its only choice."
The openly confrontational course outlined by the underground group contrasts with statements by ex-Solidarity chairman Lech Walesa. Following his release last November from 11 months of internment, Walesa has said he intends to use only peaceful means in continuing to struggle for more workers' rights. In a phone interview with Reuter tonight, the former union chief said he supported the aims of the new underground program but not all of the methods advocated.
Listed as signing the statement were Zbigniew Bujak, former head of Solidarity in Warsaw's Mazowsze region; Wladyslaw Hardek, a key activist in Krakow's Malopolska region; Bogdan Lis, former deputy chief of Solidarity in the Gdansk region; Jozef Pinior, an ex-leader of Solidarity in Wroclaw's lower Silesia region, and Eugeniusz Szumiejko, a former member of Solidarity's National Coordinating Commission.
The first step in their program is to topple the current Warsaw leadership. "It will only then be possible to go ahead with the reform process and provide conditions for the activity of independent trade unions and for organizations and associations representing society's interests," their declaration said.
Showing some deference to limits imposed by Poland's alliance with the Soviet Union, the statement added that such reforms could "be carried out gradually without weakening the basic balance of power in Europe." At the same time, it declared that "alliances concluded by Poland should not justify the existence of dictatorial governments, commonly hated and offering the country no development prospects."
Charging Polish authorities with endorsing "a system of terror" and violating international conventions and obligations, the statement proposed a resistance program including these points:
* Boycott of the new official trade unions which are being established to replace Solidarity, which was outlawed in October. The courts report they have registered more than 4,500 new unions, although officials concede the labor groups have yet to draw much public support.
The program, called "Solidarity Today," also urged Poles to stay away from organizations that support the government. "The authorities must remain in a political vacuum," it said.
* Insistence by workers that employers adhere strictly to the labor code. People are encouraged to demand detailed reports on production and wage decisions and to publicize actions they regard as erroneous.
* "Mass protests, petitions, refusals to work overtime, boycotting orders which curb workers' rights or create divisions between workers in a factory."
* Fostering of "independent forms of thinking to overcome the state's monopoly over the printed and spoken word." Advocated here are the development of "various creative centers" and self-education initiatives as well as the expansion of the network of clandestine Solidarity bulletins and publishing offices.
* Preparation for a general strike. No specific date is offered, but the program stated that the government's "state of alert and preparedness cannot last too long."
The underground's call for a nationwide strike on Nov. 10 fizzled in the face of threats by the authorities and a general mood of resignation or fatigue.
"The time is coming," said the Solidarity statement, "when strikes will become a strong and real weapon, and when the decision to use force against striking workers will pose a serious threat for the existence of the dictatorship itself."
Recalling the union program set up at Solidarity's national congress in 1981, the underground leaders said their aim is to realize a "self-governed republic" with worker self-management in factories, self-government at the local level, and a democratically elected parliament at the national level.