Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski appeared today to have held in check an attack on his policies by Communist Party hard-liners as the ruling Politburo issued a lengthy report reaffirming the Polish leader's line and indicating no change in basic course.
The report was read at a long-awaited meeting today of the party's policy-making Central Committee. It came amid political tensions over Jaruzelski's efforts to push limited economic reforms through a resistant party apparatus and to promote cooperation with Poland's powerful, anti-Marxist Roman Catholic Church.
But in an indication that internal disputes continue to fester, the Politburo announced that the settling of ideological differences--which had originally been planned for this meeting--was postponed until the next one, sometime later this year.
The delay was interpreted by western observers as an attempt to paper over unresolved conflicts, avoiding any disruptive clash or leadership reshuffle before the politically critical visit in two weeks of Pope John Paul II to his native land.
"There's no dilemma for us of too little or too much, struggle or conciliation," the Politburo statement said in backing Jaruzelski's call for struggle against opposition forces and conciliation between Polish authorities and society. "Our direction is clear cut: more struggle and more conciliation."
While party officials have denied any serious splits in their ranks, claiming such reports are the invention of the West, suggestions of a renewed assault on Jaruzelski by hard-liner factions have been evident in recent weeks.
Fortified by economic statistics that show productivity declining again since February after some earlier gains, party conservatives are sniping at Jaruzelski's efforts to bring some decentralized management to the country's heavily bureaucratized economy.
The hard-liners are irritated further by continuing displays of opposition activity, often associated with Catholic organizations and churches. Some hard-liners are pressing for greater use of repression.
Their general position appeared to have been bolstered this month by the publication in the Soviet journal New Times of an article sharply critical of the notion of pluralism expressed in the Polish party journal Polityka, which is associated with civilian advisers around Jaruzelski.
Without explicit reference to an ideological rift, the Politburo report called for a show of party unity--particularly in the party journals, where much of the political crossfire has been exchanged. It said both revisionism and dogmatism would be combated, but added that the whole matter of ideology would be "more broadly discussed" at the next Central Committee meeting.
The Politburo signaled tighter control generally over the party press to prevent the spread of "alien or confused opinions" and of "articles incompatible with the party's ideology and policy"--an apparent reference to criticisms of Jaruzelski's line in the hard-line journals.
In what may have been a sop to party conservatives, the Politburo denounced the concept of pluralism. But rather than a reply to the Soviet journal's call for more Communist orthodoxy in Poland, the Polish statement seemed aimed at former Solidarity chairman Lech Walesa and other representatives of banned labor groups who this month issued a joint call for more open, competitive and pluralistic unions.
The party statement said advocates of pluralism really want a "free play of political forces," intended to make antisocialist opposition a permanent part of Poland's political life.
In a lengthy review of attitudes within the society, the Politburo claimed gradual success in winning Poles over to party programs and the new official trade unions. But it acknowledged opposition in parts of the intellectual community and alienation among the youth.
On the approaching visit of the pope, the Politburo said it hoped the pilgrimage would lead to social peace and national accord and would provide "a touchstone" for good church-state relations. At the same time, the party leadership lashed out at churchmen turned political activists, condemning "instances when religious ceremonies and sites of religious cult were abused for symbols and acts of antistate eloquence aimed against social calm."
The Warsaw regime has tried unsuccessfully to force the removal of some outspoken clergy. Today's criticism reflected the state's frustrations in seeking the support of the Catholic bishops in pacifying a country in which the church is widely regarded as the defender and proponent of the nation's true interests.
Missing from the 400-member Central Committee meeting were two of Jaruzelski's key party allies--veteran Politburo member Kazimierz Barcikowski and Manfred Gorywoda, the secretary responsible for economic affairs. Both men have reportedly been hospitalized for heart ailments in recent days.