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Pho to by Ala n Pog u e was called a positive strike. We would proceed with normal university work, but without recognizing any more the authority of the government and the ministry. People in various branches of industry were talking about doing similar things. So by the end of 1981 the whole movement was at the stage of thinking quite seriously about taking authority out of the hands of the government. There was no way to make any stable compromise. Martial Law TO: What were you doing when you learned about the coup? MH: It was like this. The meeting at which we decided to go on positive strike ended about 6 p.m. on December 12. I called a meeting of the university strike committee at 8 p.m. to decide how to end the occupation strike that had been called to protest government actions at the Radom Engineering School. We were just finishing this meeting at about 10 p.m. when somebody brought in a report of military columns being seen on the highways around Poznan. So we knew something was going to happen. It was right after midnight when I came back home and I went to bed about 1 a.m. Renata was still up when, about ten minutes later, there came a knock at the door. There were two uniformed policemen, armed with submachine guns, and a plainclothesman. And they took me to the police station. There it was apparent something big was going to happen, because there were many policemen with helmets and submachine guns positioned on the sidewalk, forming an alley. I was marched upstairs. At 5 a.m. they handcuffed me and took me downstairs to a police van. Inside were a dozen of my friends and colleagues from various Solidarity committees, from factories, commercial institutions, from universities, from high schools. We rode for about two hours until we got to a prison enclosure. The cells were equipped with loudspeakers, fitted behind gratings so there was no way to turn them down from inside. And only upon entering these cells did we learn from these loudspeakers that martial law had been formally instituted. TO: How long were you in prison? MH: I was in for over three months, until the end of March 1982. TO: What happened after you got out of prison, during the two years before you left Poland in March 1984? MH: This was perhaps the most difficult time. This remains everybody’s personal experience. It is hard to generalize. I started to reestablish ties with Solidarity members who were not in prison and were still trying to organize something. But very soon I realized that there was no way to pursue any organized activity, especially in this region. There was no real underground. Most of the people who wanted to establish some underground organization were very inexperienced. At first I held seminars for my graduate students at my home. Later I taught again at the university. The university senate voted three times to approve my tenure, but it also needed Renata Henneberg to be approved by the ministry. The ministry never said no they just didn’t give any answer at all. I was left hanging. TO: Weren’t you also under some pressure? MH: From the time I left prison, secret-police officers came to visit me, asking me whether I was going to leave. Every time I avoided answering their question, something happened say, my car was broken into, wheels were stolen, a windshield was broken, and so on. And there were phone calls suggesting we had ties with the West and it was going to be very bad for us when this came out. Of course, I had taught here at the University of Texas for one semester in 1978, and I did have visitors from the West, even after martial law. So it was suggested that I should leave never said quite openly until one day they called and said, “Your passports are ready.” TO: You had not requested a passport? MH: No. So there were these direct pressures from the police plus indirect pressure of circumstances. Renata lost her teaching job and even tried for a while to make a living sewing. After two years of trying to remain active, we were discouraged. TO: What do you expect to happen next in Poland? MH: I think a kind of compromise is being created out of necessity on both sides. On the government side, there is sheer economic necessity. They need some Western money, and goods, so they will compromise on at least some of the American demands. On the side of Solidarity, the people want to recuperate after the last three difficult years, and it will take some time for them to be ready for the next upsurge of activity. TO: Is there an important role for the West in influencing events in Poland? MH: My personal opinion is that the West can do a lot. If the West isolates Soviet-bloc countries economically, they will deteriorate. They will come down to the point that basic needs of the people will not be satisfied, and then people will understand what’s wrong with their system and will start fighting. TO: So you’re talking basically about economic cold war? MH: Yes, this is necessary. What I’m trying to say is that there is a worldwide system of economic exchange, and this system is supporting the Soviet bloc for immediate economic gains, like selling some grain so that some American farmers won’t suffer, or buying Russian natural gas for Western Europe. Of course, the communist governments are also, in part, acting as economic partners for Western governments or the private sector. For example, during the 1970s, Poland bought a license for Massey-Ferguson tractors. Massey-Ferguson was not doing very well here in America, so they found a new market. The same with Fiat, which is growing because of such licensing arrangements. No matter what we say about policy and ideology, these are the hard facts: Who is going to make the Polish people work in the Ursus factory to build Massey-Ferguson tractors, as provided by the contract, so the government can repay Western loans? And the Polish government wants people to go there and work real cheap. There is still passive resistance. In the short run this is good, but in the long run it’s dangerous. People learn to be passive, to cheat at work, to do only the minimum work required, to think that their work is unimportant the whole problem of work becoming alienated. The people of Poland are in a kind of imprisonment, and if it lasts too long, they will lose the will to fight. O THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11