Reakcje społeczne mieszkańców województwa poznańskiego na podwyżki cen w 1963 roku
Reactions of inhabitants of the Poznań voivodeship to price rises in 1963
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Reactions of inhabitants of the Poznań voivodeship to price rises in 1963 The People’s Republic of Poland (PRL) never had a real market. In their longterm policies on prices, the communist authorities sacrifi ced the rqeuirement of market balance, resorting instead to the principle of stable prices for basic products. But, the rules of economy cannot be ignored for a long time. Therefore, when the market balance collapsed, triggering market turmoil, the prices had to be risen. In 1963, after a harsh winter during which the authorities were incapable, i.a. of supplying citizens with enough coal, two rises of prices of products necessary for every household, were carried out. On 1 st April, the prices of coal and fi rewood changed, as did the fees for electrical power, gas, central heating and water. Whereas on 15 th September the retail prices were risen of dairy products (milk, cream, cheese, quark, ice cream, milk powder and milk beverages) and of distilled vinegar, vodkas, wines, rectified spirit, denatured alcohol, and matches. The prices had not been consulted neither with trade unions, nor communist party structures. The rises were explained by the need to counteract wastage and force savings upon society. In a situation when mass media were under the complete control of the ruling party, society could voice its opinion only by independent forms of expression. In the second quarter of 1963, a popular measure consisted in distributing satirical verses that mocked the higher prices of energy and the socialist system of work. Discontent was basically expressed by jokes and rumours ridiculising the rulers, disseminated in various circles, anonymous signs or some leaflets. Mockery and joke are the weapon of the weak, as the citizens of PRL felt so against the communist state in the early 1960s. Inhabitants of the Poznań voivodeship in their majority refrained from any serious protests. The people of Great Poland were prevented from reacting by the still vivid memories of the ruthlessness of the system, demonstrated i.a. during the pacification of Poznań in June 1956. Also, the 1960s marked the definite end of open resistance against the new system. After the time of “wrestling” with the new rulers in the 1940s and 1950s, people tried to arrange their lives somehow, in the consolidated communist reality; traditions rejected by the communists, were transferred to private circles of friends and families.
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