Jacek Kuroń – Co-operation from abroad and within Poland (92/150)

Then it turned out that Adaś’s idea to leave for Paris because I got my call-up for the army while he was given permission to go to Paris and I was even a little upset with him that he was going. This was the beginning, something has to be going on. But he went anyway and it turned out to be a marvellous idea because he was our sort of foreign affairs minister – I talked with him regularly over the phone although he’d lose his head when he was on the phone, listening to the stuff I was telling him, openly talking about copying machines, this kind, that kind, that copying machines matter the most, this and that. It was amazing, and he developed the activity as he was able to and what’s more, I was able to work over the telephone non-stop because the fact that they’d they’d kicked out a whole load of our people into the West proved to be fantastic. Because these people who had been kicked out, forced to leave for the West, Alik Smolar, Gienek Smolar, Janek Gross, those two most of all. Especially those two, I was ringing those two night and day, night and day, non-stop. The small son, Piotrek was his name, I think, of Alik and his wife would pretend he was answering the phone and would lift up the receiver and say, ‘Hello, Jacek?’ I’d ring in the night, in the middle of the night: ‘Someone’s been locked up’, this, that and the other. And so thanks to this, the West was able to be of huge benefit to us because these guys already had some kind of standing there and it was against this background that Adaś was charging ahead. On account of this, the ones I worked with most closely at this time were Antek Macierewicz and Piotrek Naimski, we worked very closely together, we spent a lot of time debating. I’m mentioning this because it was then, at the very start of KOR that this thought crystalised in my head, it was the main idea for everything. A short while ago, Professor Lipiński said that Kuroń had come up with this idea but I came up with it during the debates I had with two other lads, there’s no doubt about that. I wrote this in ‘Thoughts on a programme of action’ which I put together in Autumn ’76, which was straight after KOR was set up, and this was the idea of social self-organisation. The society organises itself to carry out its different functions. Its own issues, dealing with the problems of each social group which it tries to solve for itself and by organising itself, it limits totalitarianism. This is an effective way of combating totalitarianism, and society deals with its own issues, forcing the authorities to step down in all kinds of matters. I wrote this and I imagined that everything would take off at any moment, we’d established KOR, and that any moment now the whole thing would set off with various groups involved in all kinds of matters. I completely didn’t anticipate that because of its centralism of decision making, totalitarianism also centralises its opponent. People with ideas simply came to KOR with them, and KOR just kept on collecting these ideas. People from other cities like Łódź and Gdańsk began to show up, that was how I came to know Bogdan Borusewicz. I met him a bit before then on one occasion when he had some youngster there talking and debating together. But he came to see me one night soon after I’d got back and said, ‘In Radom, they’ve arrested, and he told me who, they’ve beaten and arrested them.’ Then he suddenly said, ‘Why were they searching for a cassette with a recording of the trial but then didn’t take it?’ ‘How do you know they didn’t take it?’ ‘Because I have it here.’ ‘Where did you get it?’ ‘I was there’, said Bogdan. ‘I hadn’t yet mastered the talent of escaping.’ So in Gdańsk, there was a very strong group and then soon after that, following the reforms, Bogdan joined KSS KOR by which time he was already a close associate of KOR, or perhaps he’d joined KOR, I think Bogdan had joined KOR as the delegate from Gdańsk, and the same happened in Łódź where Józek Siezieniewski joined.

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