2007 | 17 | 163-178
Article title

'Movement for National Agreement' in the Bialystok Area in the Eighties of the 20th Century - an Outline

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During the martial law the state authorities of the Peoples' Republic of Poland decided to assign a new formula implementing the ideas of the 'national agreement'. A new initiative was to be a 'platform of cooperation', which referred to earlier concepts of national fronts. The ideas of the movement were realized in a form of the 'Obywatelskie Komitety Ocalenia Narodowego (OKON)' (Civic Committees of National Salvation). 'Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza (PZPR)' (Polish United Workers' Party) was the main initiator of establishing organizations, as well as the 'kindred parties': 'Zjednoczone Stronnictwo Ludowe (ZSL)' (United Peoples' Party) and 'Stronnictwo Demokratyczne (SD)' (Democratic Party). The field administration and army played a great role in initiating the movement, too. In the Bialystok Province the first OKON was appointed by Hajnówka's inhabitants already in the middle of January 1982. Until the end of that year a number of the committees in Bialystok Area increased up to 210. Another phase of building the 'front of national agreement' was the adoption of declaration of the 'Patriotic Movement for National Rebirth (PRON)' on 20th July 1982 in Warsaw at the meeting of PZPR's Cooperation Commission, ZSL and SD with the participation of secular denomination societies of PAX Association, Christian Social Society and Polish Catholic-Social Union. The adoption of this document was an impulse for further development of the movement in the Bialystok Area. In 1983-1989 most social organizations, which were legally operating, were contained within the movement, starting from political parties through trade unions to social organizations. The Bialystok PRON dealt with all elements of social, economic and political life as it was an organizer of pre-election campaigns as well. The movement often fulfilled its functions: initiated and organized a number of community actions leaving factual proofs of its existence behind. More often than not, it filled in the gap that originated in result of suspended activity of social and professional organizations, by taking up actions in the sphere of social and living conditions or by signaling irregularities in state administration's operations. Together with disintegration of the system at the end of the eighties, a process of slow PRON's degradation started. The movement was treated very superficially by the authorities and the society and was referred to as a 'holiday decoration'. At the end of the eighties members of the Bialystok PRON started to feel frustration caused by unfulfilled political ambitions and limited possibilities of influencing a change of the political system. It did not have a mobilizing impact on works in the movement, and consequently, led to termination of its activity in November 1989.
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  • G. Radlowski, address not given, contact the journal editor
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