To the Editors:
As American leftists we are greatly disturbed by the increasingly harsh campaign against dissidents in the KOR (Polish initials of the Workers Defense Committee/Committee for Social Self Defense), supporters of Poland’s Solidarity movement. In particular we are concerned about the attack on one of the group’s leading spokesmen, Jacek Kuron.
Playing on the fear of a Russian invasion, the conservative leadership in Poland is calling for the expulsion of these dissidents from Solidarity. As American dissidents we are familiar with the pattern in which a militant minority is attacked as a first step in an attempt to divide and defeat a movement that is too strong to be taken on directly. As opponents of American interventionist foreign policy we are especially concerned that a defeat of the Polish workers’ movement by the Polish government, by the Russians, or by both working together, will strengthen the hand of the advocates of American military interventionism.
The open support of dictatorship by the Reagan-Haig administration, and the cynical dropping of even the slogan of “human rights,” is made easier because it is echoed in the Warsaw Pact bloc. If Polish democrats, progressives, and workers can be brought back into line by the threat of outside intervention it will encourage the United States government’s attempt to do the same in its “sphere of influence.” Therefore we view the defense of the Solidarity movement, and of its KOR supporters, as an integral part of resistance to militarist interventionism by the US government as well.
Barry Commoner, Hal Draper, Kate Ellis, Barbara Garson, Allen Ginsberg, Michael Harrington, Joanne Landy, David McReynolds, Seymour Melman, Harley Shaiken, I.F. Stone, William K. Tabb
April 16, 1981