'There is a really sound place for the left'


In Warsaw, Professor TADEUSZ IWINSKI, a member of the Central Executive Committee and International Secretary of Social Democracy of the Republic of Poland, spoke with PETER ANNEAR.

Are you pleased with your vote in the election?

We regard our result as very good although perhaps not a success, because everything is relative. During the last weeks of this brutal election campaign we were attacked — mainly by Centre Alliance and also President Walesa. Moreover, the church is openly against us. All this considered, we can conclude that there is a really sound place for the left in Poland.

We now call ourselves the party of Social Democracy and are not Communists. We came out of the PUWP [former Communist Party], but we represent its most progressive reformist current.

We reject all those old Communist dogmas such as the dictatorship of the proletariat, the leading role of any social class or stratum and democratic centralism. We consider ourselves absolutely a Social Democratic party and want to join the Second International.

This election had three main surprises: our good result despite all the attacks, an enormous defeat for Solidarity and the good result for the far right Confederation for an Independent Poland, who were able to attract many young people and workers.

"Decommunisation" was a big issue in the election campaign. Why?

It was pushed by the Centre Alliance to shift the focus from economic failure. We are for punishing those who broke the law, regardless of their participation in the PUWP, but we are absolutely against collective responsibility. Within the PUWP you had altogether 9 million people, if you count their families and some other organisations which cooperated with them. You cannot criminalise one-third or even a half of society.

Secondly, we are against eternal discussions about the past. The main challenges for us are the problems of today and tomorrow. In our opinion, Poland needs some kind of historical compromise, some kind of national agreement on the main issues. I don't mean we should put aside ideological discussion, but we should learn from Spain, for instance.

What is your attitude towards economic reform?

The general march to the market economy should continue but taking into consideration the social burden. We have a very detailed socioeconomic program. We want to be a constructive opposition.

We want to take care of the interests of people, as we put it in our program, who live from the work of their hands or their minds.

Mazowiecki said before the election that the Democratic Union and the forces around them wanted reforms that do not hurt is the significance of the DU getting the highest vote?

I think the good result for the DU, although much smaller than expected, is a sign that from among the Solidarity groups society is ready to support the centre or the centre left forces who are pragmatic and reasonable.

If asked, would you join a government coalition with any of the other parties?

I cannot speak yet for the party, but my personal feeling is that we should stay in opposition.

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