Brezhnev speaks at length about the growing situation in Poland and emphasizes the importance of trade unions. However, he makes it clear that socialism and unity are most important.
December 5, 1980
Speech by Nicolae Ceausescu at the Meeting of the Party and State Leaders of the Warsaw Pact
S P E E C H
of comrade Nicolae Ceausescu at the meeting of the party and state leaders of the states participating in the Warsaw Treaty
Moscow, 5 December 1980
First of all, I would also like to greet the organizers of this conference and to extend a cordial greeting to all of the participants in this conference.
Our conference at the highest level takes place under very complex circumstances. In international life a state of very serious tension has occurred. The old hotbeds of tensions remained, and new military conflicts appeared. The conclusions drawn last year by the Consultative Political Committee of the states participating in the Warsaw Treaty regarding the international situation and the necessity of intensifying the efforts for the solution of problems via negotiations, for disarmament and, first of all, nuclear disarmament, for a new world economy order, for the policy of détente, collaboration, and peace proved to be entirely just.
We salute the beginning of the Madrid meeting for security and cooper-ation in Europe. We take the view that we must make every effort to wind it up successfully. Life demonstrates that we must act with full determination in order to assert, in the relationships between states, the principles of full equality of rights, respect for sovereignty and national independence, non-interference in internal affairs, renunciation of force and of threatening with force.
The world economic crisis becomes deeper and deeper and is ever felt ever stronger in the socialist countries as well. Even in the case of a succinct analysis, one can find that – within the framework of COMECON – we were not able to solve all of the issues of economic and technical-scientific collaboration in the most appropriate way; a special case is constituted by the issues of the energy and raw material sources, which were not solved in a satisfactory manner. To a greater or lesser extent, all of the socialist countries resort to imports from the capitalist countries, including credits. I do not want you to think that Romania is in favour of reducing the relationships with the capitalist countries, but it is necessary for us to aim at creating such a collaboration between the socialist countries as would make it possible to solve, to a greater extent, the issues of social and economic development, and reduce the dependence on capitalist countries or other states.
In our view, some of the difficulties encountered by socialist countries, including the events in Poland, must lead us to conduct a very serious analysis – starting from the necessity of solving, to a greater extent, and via collaboration between the socialist countries – the issues of economic and social development, and of socialist and communist construction, using only our own forces. This analysis appears to be all the more necessary as we are now at the end of the current five-year plans, and we pass to a new stage of economic and social development stage in the period 1981-1985.
I think I am not wrong if I contend that if – over the years – we had thor-oughly analyzed the issues of the development of socialist construction in our countries, the events in Poland could have been avoided.
I am of the opinion that that we must start from the fact that the collab-oration between the socialist and communist countries, the successful develop-ment of the socialist and communist construction has a special importance not only to our countries but also for the affirmation of socialist principles throughout the world, for the whole international situation, for the policy of détente, peace, and national independence. The socialist countries have to demonstrate that they are in a position to adequately solve the complex problems of economic develop-ment, that socialism offers a lasting basis, we could say the surest way of overcoming any phenomena of economic crisis, ensuring economic and social progress, the welfare of the peoples, their freedom and independence.
The fact is known and deservedly emphasized within the framework of the conference that the events in Poland have drawn the attention of the Communist parties in the socialist countries, and of the Communist parties and…everywhere, and are followed by international public opinion. Undoubtedly, there are interpretations and various ways of looking at these events, but there is one thing we can say – that the preoccupation and desire exist for these issues to be solved by the Poles themselves, and they should not affect the policy of détente, collaboration, and peace.
The Romanian Communist Party and the Romanian people followed and are following with deep concern the events and the crisis in Poland. We have often expressed our full solidarity with the Polish United Workers' Party, with the Polish working class, and the Polish people in their fight for coping with the current situation, for ensuring Poland's socialist development, for continuously strengthening its independence, and for raising the people's welfare. We are doing this starting from the spirit of international solidarity, the responsibility towards socialist construction in our country, the case of socialism in general. We think that Poland is an important factor within the framework of the socialist countries, of the world Communist movement, a special factor in the fight for détente and security in Europe and in the whole word. That is why Poland's socialist development is in the interest of all of the socialist countries, of the policy of peace and détente in the world.
We have listened with a lot of attention and interest to comrade Kania's exposé relating to the current situation in Poland, and to the conclusions of the recent plenary session of the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers' Party. We have learned about the decisions of the recent plenary session. We are aware of the various positions and appreciations regarding the cause of the events in Poland, and the ways of eliminating this cause. I want to declare right from the outset that the Romanian Communist Party, our Central Committee, the Romanian people take the view that the issues in Poland must be solved by the Polish United Workers' Party, by the Polish working class, by the Polish people in full unity, starting from the necessity of insuring Poland's socialist development, of uninterruptedly toughening its independence and sovereignty, its economic force, the people's material and spiritual welfare, and the cooperation with the socialist countries.
This is not the time to stop and dwell at length on the causes which brought about this state of crisis. Without the shadow of a doubt, the economic difficulties that arose had a strong influence on these events, but – as the Polish comrades pointed out, and as it is apparent from the plenary sessions of the Central Committee and the various stands taken – the current state of crisis was also created by a series of mistakes…of the socialist principles, of the ethics and equity, of strengthening the leading role of the country, of ensuring a close link with the working class, the large popular masses. It has many times been asserted that a rift exists between the party and the working class. The very fact that various elements came to influence a significant part of the [Polish] working class shows the especially serious and grave character of the situation that appeared. In our opinion, the situation in Polish economy must also be taken into account, more precisely the fact that two sectors, a socialist sector and a private production one, with many capitalistic elements (I am chiefly referring to the situation in agriculture) actually exist, which give rise to strong class contra-dictions, and are an important cause of the current state of affairs.
As it is apparent from what comrade Kania pointed out at the plenary session of the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers' Party, they drew very serious attention to the intensified activity of antisocialist and counterrevolutionary elements. In fact, in our view, if in the previous period [the Polish United Workers' Party] had acted with more political firmness, things would not have been what they currently are. Even when intense dissatisfaction [with the situation in Poland} was expressed last summer, it would have been possible – via appropriate actions – to prevent things from becoming more serious and the occurrence of the well-known events. I had the impression that even the Polish leadership had underrated the situation, and did not pay suitable attention to taking immediate measures to solve the issues. This made things get worse and worse for several weeks, and triggered the organization of the strikes and of the other actions.
The Romanian Communist Party firmly declared for the development and extension of socialist democracy, for the large participation of masses and, first of all, of the working class in the leadership of society. Undoubtedly, socialist construction cannot be conceived without the support of the working class and of the people. Concomitantly, however, we think that the fact must never ever be forgotten that the antisocialist elements, the reactionary circles of every descrip-tion, including those from abroad, will always use the mistakes and the short-comings to carry out their hostile-to-socialism activity. That is why, in addition to developing socialist democracy, largely attracting the working class, all of the social categories, the whole people in the leadership of the work of socialist construction, one must manifest exactingness and firm vigilance against any attempts and any actions of the antisocialist elements, irrespective of their form. I wholly agree with what some comrades pointed out here, namely that one must not back down in the face of the blackmail of antisocialist and reactionary elements, that the policy of the Communist party and the socialist state should not be drawn up under the influence of these reactionary circles.
I have registered with all attention what the Polish comrades intend to act for solving the complex problems, for overcoming the crisis situation, and ensuring Poland's socialist development. We salute this general orientation, and are of the opinion that the overcoming of this situation can only be achieved by an intense politic and organizational activity, for the continuous improvement of economic and social leadership, the broadening of socialist democracy, the ensuring of the active participation of the working class, the popular masses, the whole people in the solution of problems, in socialist construction.
In our opinion, no kind of solution can be conceived in Poland without the backing of the working class and of the Polish people.
The issue of the use of the army, security, and militia was raised here. Naturally, these are instruments of the power of the working class, of the socialist state, but we must understand that resorting to these instruments in Poland is not possible without [first] ensuring the support of the working class and of the people. In our view, the foremost thing required should be to regain the trust of the working class, of the popular masses, to organize them and, together with the working class, to act against the antisocialist and counterrevolutionary forces, using all of the means at the disposal of the socialist state.
We do not want to meddle in the internal affairs of Poland. It is undoubtedly the task of the Polish United Workers' Party, the [Polish] working class, the Polish people, and all of the progressive forces in Poland to find the most appropriate ways of overcoming the crisis situation, and of ensuring the economic and social development, the increase of welfare on the basis of the socialist construction in accordance with the conditions in Poland. We think, however, that it is necessary to do everything possible to devise a clear orien-tation, to draw up a program that is very clear and can be adopted by the working class, the broad masses, the whole people, and which can [finally] become the program of action first of all of the working class. Without such a political program, adopted by the working class and the broad popular masses, the over coming of the crisis situation cannot be conceived. New ways of directly attract-ing the working class and the other social categories in the leadership of all of the fields of activity have to be found.
We do not understand how the so-called independent trade unions could appear either. This is now a reality which must be reckoned with, and actions should be undertaken to restore the unity of the working class in revolutionary, class trade unions on the firm positions of socialism, but to attain this goal a clear policy and a clear program of action are of paramount importance in this field as well, which – without the shadow of a doubt – will take a certain time to achieve. When we speak about the necessity to find new forms of attracting the working class to the leadership of society, we think – starting from our own experience – that such forms can be found as to enable the workers to better understand, by directly participating in various leadership bodies of the socialist state, that the state is theirs, that they must defend it, that they should not let themselves be influenced by various counterrevolutionary, antisocialist elements, even when various economic difficulties or difficulties of a different nature are encountered, as happened in Poland. Such forms will result in an increase of the party's influence on the working class and the attraction of the latter, in an organized manner, to the leadership of economy, and of the other sectors of society. It is necessary to start from the fact that any Communist party, due to its being a party of the working class, must rely first of all on the working class, and insure the participation in the leadership of the party, from bottom up, of the best activists of the working class, of the workers. We think that, just in the current situation, it is necessary to create in Poland a broad party active from the ranks of the workers, who should be promoted to various leadership positions until the Congress takes place, and will assume responsibility for insuring the organization of the Congress, imparting a revolutionary, workers' spirit to it. Here, too, in our opinion it is only by appealing to the Polish party active/core and relying on this party active's working-class origins, that the overcoming of the [crisis] situation and the strengthening of the force and monolithic unity of the party can be ensured. The affirmation of the leading role of the party in all fields cannot be achieved only by making decisions and expressing wishes. This [assertion] must be the result of political and ideological activity, of the trust of the working class in the party, of this role being recognized by the whole working class, by the whole people.
We must start from the necessity of strengthening the unity of the party, and its force and organizational capability. We take the view that the firm application of the method of criticism and self-criticism should not result in a denial of what is positive in socialist construction.
The fact must also be taken into account that in the present circumstances in Poland it is just the antisocialist and reactionary forces that try to cast doubt on the socialist achievements in order to undermine the leading role of the party and be able to promote their policy. It is for this reason that, in our view, more atten-tion should be paid to the way the various aspects are criticized, and everything that is positive in the activity of the Polish United Workers' Party, of the Polish people in relation to the construction of socialism should be underlined.
The Romanian Communist Party highly appreciates the results obtained by the Polish people on its way to socialism. We think that more attention must always be paid to the people, to the cadres, even when they have made various mistakes. The punishment of some activists must in no way lead to a weakening of the party's force but, on the contrary, should ensure the toughening of Communist responsibility and discipline. We wish to tell the Polish comrades frankly that, in our opinion, the punitive measures taken against some cadres are plyed up too much. The essential fact now is, in our view, the union of all of the forces for the purpose of strengthening the party, its links with the working class and with the people, with the view of solving the problems and [further] developing the construction of socialism.
More than ever, just in such circumstances, without overlooking the serious cases of some cadres, it is highly desirable to make every effort to achieve the union of the whole active, of all of the party's forces, to insure the defeat of the antisocialist and counterrevolutionary forces and [to continue] the socialist development of the country.
I was very much surprised by comrade Kania's assertion that there are several centers, that there is the danger of the unity of the party being broken and of fractionism appearing. This is actually, in my view, the main danger and such an eventuality would make it impossible for the party to fulfill its role. I believe that some antisocialist elements, allegedly by virtue of their possible good will, want to criticize some mistakes, deliberately determine that [punitive] measures are taken against some activists and cadres in order to discredit not only the latter, but the activists in general and, through their agency, the party in general, and the party's role of leading political force.
We also salute the orientation of the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers' Party, what comrade Kania said here about the necessity of taking decisive measures in order to expose and isolate the antisocialist and counterrevolutionary elements. During the talks I held with the representative of the Polish United Workers' Party, who was sent [to Bucharest] to inform us about the situation in Poland, I pointed out that it is imperative for Poland to pass to the offensive, first of all a political one, and to take the necessary measures against the antisocialist and counterrevolutionary elements.
It is in the interest of the [Polish] working class, of the Polish people, of socialist construction, of Poland's role in international life, in the fight for social-ism, détente, peace, and national independence that Poland be a powerful, united country, that it successfully develop the construction of socialism in close cooperation with the other [socialist] countries. For this reason, anyone who acts against the interests of the Polish people must be held responsible for his/her actions and punished accordingly by the organs of popular power. We think that Poland has at its disposal everything that is required to enable it to act, as it will turn out to be necessary, to ensure Poland's order, quietness, socialist and independent development.
It goes without saying that, with this end in view, the activity of the party leadership, the party active, the party itself is decisive in order [for the party] to assume this role and fulfill it in accordance with the revolutionary spirit that characterized [in the past] and is characterizing [now] any Communist party, and which characterizes the Polish United Workers' Party as well.
The Romanian Communist Party, socialist Romania, express their total solidarity [with Poland] and support to the full the fight of the Communists, of the progressive forces, of the [Polish] working class and of the Polish people for overcoming the current situation, for [Poland's] economic and social develop-ment and socialist construction, as well as for the participation of Poland in the solution of all of the international problems. We will act with all-out firmness for the development of the collaboration between our parties and countries. Within this framework, we will try to strengthen the collaboration, to contribute to ensuring economic and social development, just as we will act for the development of relations with all of the socialist countries, taking into consideration the fact that it is the very strengthening of this collaboration and cooperation that is highly necessary at the moment both for ensuring the suc-cessful development of socialist construction in our countries, generally in the socialist countries, for the affirmation of socialism's prestige in the world, and also for the socialist countries to have an ever more important role in the solution of such complex problems of international life as are related with security and cooperation in Europe, the solution of problems by way of negotiations, and the furthering of the détente and peace policy.
I would like to emphasize once more the fact that everything necessary should be done by the Polish comrades – who have an important duty, both national and international – to solve their problems with their own forces, ensuring the development of socialist construction. We must not overlook the fact that the possibility of an intervention from abroad would be a very serious thing for socialism in general, and all the more for the policy of détente and peace. That is why we have to give the Polish comrades all our support to enable them to solve their problems by their own forces, in the ways they deem to be the best and the most useful – and they have such ways at their disposal – to ensure the development of socialist construction.
We express once more our conviction that the Polish comrades, in close solidarity with the socialist countries, will shortly overcome the current difficulties, and Poland will participate more and more actively – together with all of the socialist countries – in the development of socialist construction, in the solution of the complex problems of international life, for détente and peace.
In view of the limited duration and the character of this conference, it is necessary – in my opinion – for us to think about the organization of a new meet-ing at this level with a view to discussing in more detail the issues of economic collaboration and development of socialist construction in our countries and the strengthening of our solidarity and… To do this is all the more necessary as in the coordination of the five-year plans a series of problems appeared which presupose a political approach and have to be solved at the higher level of the party and state leaderships.
To conclude, comrades, I would like – in my turn – to thank the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and comrade Brezhnev for the organization of this meeting, and for their hospitality.
Ceausescu talks at length about the problems confronting the Polish United Worker’s Party. He emphasizes the need to not dwell on the causes of the discontent, but rather to stop it from continuing.
The History and Public Policy Program welcomes reuse of Digital Archive materials for research and educational purposes. Some documents may be subject to copyright, which is retained by the rights holders in accordance with US and international copyright laws. When possible, rights holders have been contacted for permission to reproduce their materials.
To enquire about this document's rights status or request permission for commercial use, please contact the History and Public Policy Program at [email protected].