'The New Intelligentsia' in Polish Industrial Enterprises 1945-1956
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One of the foremost social experiments conducted by the communist authorities in the People's Republic of Poland involved an attempt at creating a 'new' intelligentsia, closely linked with the Party. The communists distrusted representatives of the pre-war intelligentsia, whom they treated as potential political enemies. Due to assorted ideological and political objectives, the authorities ascribed a special role to the so-called technical intelligentsia. In this particular instance, they were forced to tolerate the presence of white-collar workers in various pre-war enterprises for purely economic reasons. In order to assure loyalty, it was decided to construct an expanded system of control and invigilation. At the same time, attempts were made to form communist cadres at an accelerated rate. The analysis of the emergence of the 'new intelligentsia' has been based on data obtained from the personal files of white-collar workers employed in four enterprises in Cracow and Wroclaw (metal and clothing). Consequently, we have at our disposal information about 1679 persons, who began working in 1945-1956. This sample may be recognised as a reflection of certain general tendencies, considering that the data at our disposal concern approximately 1% of all white-collar workers (July 1948). Pertinent information shows that the percentage of workers originating from villages and small towns, and with inferior education, increased particularly during the first half of the 1950s; they also included younger employees, trained already in the new system and without professional and life experiences. It is highly symptomatic that it was precisely these employees who constituted a significant section of the members of the communist Polish Workers' Party / Polish United Workers' Party. Their political choices were, however, determined not so much by identification with the ideology and targets of the communists, but rather with the degree of the intensification of authoritative stands typical for this group.
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