<alter-ee> giant solidarity demo

Laure Akai alter-ee@lists.most.org.pl
Fri, 26 Apr 2002 20:51:05 +0200


Today there was really a giant demo in Warsaw, organized (unfortunately :-))
by Solidarity. I have to say that it was both extremely impressive and
interesting.

The crowd was quite huge; the organizers say that they brought 60,000 to the
capital from other regions by bus and my guess is that at least 20,000
locals joined in, although quite possibly more. It was about two hours
difference from the beginning until the end of the line and the line of
demonstrators was a couple of kilometers long. The demonstrators were
particularly festive and noisy and there was long lings of supporters on the
side; workers were going and shaking people's hands and inviting people to
march with them in their groups, and they really wanted to have contact with
people and talk, so the atmosphere was quite friendly and amazing.

I can truly say that it really was fantastic to march with people and speak
to them and the people were much more open than in other political demos.
Everybody wanted to take information about FA's Workers' Initiative and,
(this is quite nice) at one point I saw Szczecin shipyards and one guy asked
me where I was from and what I was giving out and when I gave it, he
recognized it, as did colleagues around and they gave thumbs up. So FA
Szczecin I think must be doing a good job there.

The longest talk I had was with women from a sweet factory in Lapy, near
Bialystok. They had lots to say, and I found that a few of them said they
were breadwinners in their families and that it seemed in general that they
knew lots of situations were men were unemployed and women were working shit
jobs, long hours, low pay and lots of problems with getting money. Of course
these were mostly all people somehow connected to Solidarity and I aksed
some critical questions, but they tended to blame their situation on the
government's economic policies more than anything. They asked me some
questions about where I work and conditions (and quite a number of people
were grabbing Varsovians and rather grilling them about their working
conditions cause I guess they were trying to compare their salaries with
Warsaw yuppies), and actually I had a small problem with nationalists who
were behind us listening who were pissed off that a foreigner has work while
Polish people are unemployed but the women told them to fuck off, so it was
OK.

Other workers that I spoke to a long time were from Daewoo in Warsaw.

The police unfortunately totally overreacted and gassed people by the Coucil
of Ministers, so I came back from this quite sick.

There was quite a lot of interesting interraction with people on the side,
but unfortunately there are a few asshole yuppies in Warsaw. There were
unpleasant words between rich bastards at a cafe who were disturbed in
drinking their lattes and workers. Also I saw two things which upset me;
students making fun of the workers and one feminist girl laughing at how
stupid they were. I have no real sympathy for Solidarity but I don't think
the situation with workers in Poland is funny at all and I'm disgusted with
the attitude of priveleged kids from Warsaw..............

Laure