Australian Left Review

Abstract

Since World War II the Polish crisis has been the most open and prolonged social and political conflict in what is sometimes called real existing socialism. Debate in and between the international communist parties is sharp, particularly between the Communist Party o f Italy and the Soviet Communist Party. In this issue, ALR reprints part o f an article published in the January 1982 issue o f the British Communist Party's journal, Marxism Today. Written in November 1981, the article was overtaken by events. But parts o f its analysis bear reprinting even now. The portion o f the article ALR is reproducing deals with the need fo r a social and political evolution towards what the authors call an historic compromise. Before the imposition o f martial law, things appeared to be possibly moving in that direction. However, this undoubtedly difficult and complex process was cut short by the unfolding of the second of Johnstone and Westphal's three scenarios — a Polish army and police clamp down. The authors were among the very few who gave this possibility greater weight than direct Soviet intervention. Whether military rule can really help to resolve the deep-seated difficulties Poland faces is extremely doubtful. More likely, Poland (and ultimately the whole o f Eastern Europe) will have to eventually adopt some form o f Johnstone and Westphal's first scenario. Only then would the social and political situation in Poland be reflected in the present name of the Polish state — People's Poland.

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