To the Editors:
Last August, thirteen Polish intellectuals addressed an appeal to seventeen Western intellectuals asking them to express their solidarity with Polish workers who were being victimized by the government because of their participation in the strikes and demonstrations of June 1976. This appeal was published in the September 30, 1976 issue of The New York Review.
A number of the Western addressees have already responded individually to the August appeal, but it apparently did not come to the attention of all concerned.
The enclosed collective response has now been signed by twelve of the addressees. In rendering it public, they wish at the same time to record their satisfaction with the action of the Supreme Court of Warsaw in reducing significantly the original sentences handed down against the workers who took part in the June 25 demonstration at the URSUS factory near Warsaw.
Thirteen Polish intellectuals addressed an appeal, last August, to intellectuals in Western Europe and in the United States, asking them to intervene on behalf of workers who had been condemned for demonstrating against the severe rise in food prices in Poland.
We wish to assure them that we will do our utmost to justify the trust they have placed in us.
We join them in protesting against a secret and slapdash trial and the ill-treatment to which they were subjected. We protest against the harsh sentences meted out to the demonstrators. We protest against the accusations of vandalism which are an insult to their integrity as workers. We protest against the dismissals and intimidations.
We consider that the Polish workers have earned, through their suffering and their courage, through the probity of their open and active demands, the right to form their own organizations and to run them independently. Workers’ freedoms, workers’ democracy have meaning and value, whatever the regime in power, and have to be defended everywhere.
We accordingly also call upon the labor organizations and the trade unions in our own countries which so often have stood up for the rights and dignity of their workers, to intervene on behalf of the Polish workers who were imprisoned and persecuted for having demonstrated against the aggravation of their living conditions.
Saul Bellow, Heinrich Böll, Jean Daniel, Jean-Marie Domenach, Pierre Emmanuel, Günter Grass, Eugène Ionesco, Claude Roy, Jean-Paul Sartre, Laurent Schwartz, Ignazio Silone, Stephen Spender