Lech Walesa said today that the three years since the suppression of Solidarity, the independent trade union, had shown the "complete bankruptcy" of the Polish government's repressive policies.
In a message released on the third anniversary of the declaration of martial law in Poland, Walesa also said the nation's future depends on "basic reforms" and called on Solidarity activists to launch a new campaign for trade union pluralism.
The anniversary passed quietly in the capital, which for the first time in three years is strung with Christmas lights as a sign of the normalization that communist authorities say has returned to Poland. A candlelight mass this evening at the Warsaw church of the recently slain priest, the Rev. Jerzy Popieluszko, drew a smaller crowd than usual for protest events.
Although martial law was lifted formally a year and a half ago, articles recalling the crackdown appeared in the major state-controlled newspapers today, reflecting an awareness by the government that the experience is still deeply etched in the memories of most Poles. The articles reasserted the government's determination to fight political opponents, a reference to Solidarity's former leadership, but reaffirmed a commitment to reforms that would partially decentralize economic management and widen participation in public life by Poles sympathetic to the government.
"The last three years have left no doubt about the complete bankruptcy of those who imagine that it was possible to make changes in Poland without society's help or to introduce some kind of absolutist rule," Walesa said.
"As long as the same situation exists in our public life as that which came into being on Dec. 13, 1981, . . . those who don't want reforms will always dominate in public life," he said.