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(en) Poland, WORKERS' INITIATIVE: Warsaw Uprising under a black and red banner [machine translation]

Date Thu, 8 Aug 2019 08:45:46 +0300


Graphics inspired by the banner of the Polish Syndicalist Company ---- On the anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising, it is almost exclusively reminiscent of the Home Army, as if it were the only formation associating insurgents. Meanwhile, groups existed to the left of the Home Army, which also took an active part in the uprising. Among them were syndicalists and anarchosyndicalists. Excluded by PRL historiography for being critical of communism and then discrediting all leftist movements of the Third Polish Republic, they were almost completely forgotten. ---- "Syndicalism is the liberation movement of the working masses with the help of their own forces and organizations. Syndicalism was always criticized for all democratic and parliamentary activities of political parties, knowing from experience not only Polish, but Western democratic countries, that by the struggle of the parties in parliaments no vital cause of the working people can be realized. No worker could expect anything from any parliament, it was also syndicalism that recognized only the path of direct economic struggle, ie strike, sabotage and general strike, as the only path leading to the goal. (...) The task of his[syndicalism]it was not only to unite the workers' forces to fight, but also to bring up the masses and prepare them to conduct their own affairs without the care of political parties " (" Syndykalista "No. 12, 20 September 1944)

The genesis of the Polish syndicalist movement dates back to the 20th anniversary of the inter-war period. At that time, the Trade Union Union was established, which with time became more and more bold for the ideas of Georges Sorel and Stanislaw Brzozowski. He gathered the most numerous Pilsudskis syndicalists, initially enthusiastically referring to the rule of sanacja, placing their hopes in them to reform in the syndicalist spirit of the social and economic life of the country. Disappointed by the total lack of interest in this idea by the ruling elites of the Second Polish Republic, they switched to the more radical positions of the syndicalist idea and began to refer to power critically. At the same time, the radical anarcho-syndicalism, popular in Western Europe, was cut off. However, his Polish supporters associated with the anarchist movement began to penetrate into the structures of ZZZ, and in time to gain more and more influence in the organization and give it a tone - until September 1939. Along with the occupation, supporters of both currents of syndicalism decided to immediately create their underground structures. The Association of Polish Syndicalists associates the "classical" syndicalists, while the Syndicalist Organization "Freedom" focused those on anarchist tendencies. During the occupation, the groups undertook various activities - from publishing numerous press titles to direct actions. When the Warsaw Uprising broke out on 1 August 1944, a syndicalist and anarcho-syndicalist conspiracy also stood to fight against the Nazi occupiers. Anarchists scattered in various insurgent units,

Initially, the company is composed of several dozen people, with time this number increases to several hundred. Of course, not all are declared syndicalists, many go to the 104th Company by accident because they did not arrive on time in their branches. The black and red formation is characterized by efficient organization, independence and social sensitivity towards civilians. As the syndicalists are the only ones in this region to have their own food transport, bakery and stored food, they feed not only themselves but also the residents of the Old Town, setting up a civilian food portioning committee. They publish the "Iskra" information magazine on an ongoing basis, organize a field hospital and a grenade production plant. In the heat of battle they did not forget about entertainment and education. So a cabaret evening was organized, on which Hitler's speeches were parodied, as well as Churchill, and the lectures were taught how to operate the weapon from the discharges and captured on the Germans. The way the company operates is clearly permeated with the ideals of syndicalism: independence, self-sufficiency, education and sensitivity towards others. The insurgents of the 104th Company were also distinguished by black and red armbands. They are colors drawn from anarcho-syndicalists. Meanwhile, there are further frictions: the captain of the Home Army gendarmerie, Wlodzimierz Kozakiewicz "Barry" from the National Armed Forces, orders the change of the current name to the 104th Army Company and the abandonment of syndicalist colors. Insurgents refuse to resign from their ideological identity, refusing to carry out the order. The captain was handed over, explaining to him what true democracy is all about.

As syndicalists, we primarily set ourselves the goal of not letting the widest masses of people again cheat. That is why we underline today that democracy without solving social issues in the spirit of equality and freedom has always been a deception. ("Syndykalista", No. 11, 19 September 1944)

The real drama began with the collapse of the uprising in the Old Town. Exhausted by fighting and embittered by the number of civilian casualties, the inhabitants of the Old Town cursed and cursed the insurgents. When the time came to evacuate the sewers to Sródmiescie, the syndicalists were given the task of defending the barricades and keeping the Germans at a distance. Despite the predetermined order of the descent of individual departments to the channels, 104. The ZSP company was pushed last in the order at the last moment. Thus, it had the task of protecting the evacuation of all groups, becoming the same "one-time use" branch.

However, the district was allowed to leave the wounded and paramedics earlier. Unfortunately, it was not without problems here. When it was the turn of the Syndicalist unit, Captain "Barry" played out for previous disobedience to him and omitted the Syndicalists by passing other units. Informed by the commander of the 104th Company, they began to argue about taking action. Eventually, the syndicalists imposed a gun at the gendarme who guarded the sewers, threatening to shoot in the event of further refusal to evacuate. Only major Stanislaw Blaszczak "Róg" resolved the conflict.

"... the first task of syndicalism with the liberation of Warsaw will be to expand the professional movement and create the basis for its uniformity. The trade unions created on these principles will organize work, take over the leadership of the reconstruction of the country, at the same time securing the rights of the working people to free life and prosperity. " (Syndykalista, No. 13, 21 September 1944)

After many perturbations, on the 2nd of September, about 80 syndicalists managed to evacuate from the Old Town. Their fates were different. Some came to the branches of the Home Army "Parasol" and "Boncza" others fought in Czerniakow, some managed to get to Prague, where they joined Berling's army. The other syndicalists who got into the city center along with the anarchists formed the Syndicalist Uprising Arrangement and the Syndicalist Brigade under its jurisdiction. It took the building at ul. Marszalkowska 56, on which she suspended the black and red banner. Despite the concentration in the brigade of about 250 people (including Hungarian and Greek Jews liberated from the Warsaw concentration camp, the so-called "Gesiówki"), she no longer took part in the insurgent fights. The SPP itself printed a new news body called "Syndykalista" in the pages of which the views and ideas of formation were presented and the future of syndicalist Poland was drawn. Also, civilians evacuating from the northern part of Sródmiescie were also fed from the food they gained. A marketplace was also organized at the back of the quarters where food was exchanged. There was even a violin concerto. When the moment of capitulation came, some of the syndicalists - above all the Jews - took refuge in one of the cellars, thus resolved to wait until the liberation of Warsaw, the others left the city together with the civil population on October 5. Thus, the history of the Polish syndicalist movement, which after the liberation, the new authorities did not let themselves be reborn, ended. Rafal Chwedoruk, historian of Polish syndicalism, stated: the views and ideas of formation were presented and the future of syndicalist Poland was drawn. Also, civilians evacuating from the northern part of Sródmiescie were also fed from the food they gained. A marketplace was also organized at the back of the quarters where food was exchanged. There was even a violin concerto. When the moment of capitulation came, some of the syndicalists - above all the Jews - took refuge in one of the cellars, thus resolved to wait until the liberation of Warsaw, the others left the city together with the civil population on October 5. Thus, the history of the Polish syndicalist movement, which after the liberation, the new authorities did not let themselves be reborn, ended. Rafal Chwedoruk, historian of Polish syndicalism, stated: the views and ideas of formation were presented and the future of syndicalist Poland was drawn. Also, civilians evacuating from the northern part of Sródmiescie were also fed from the food they gained. A marketplace was also organized at the back of the quarters where food was exchanged. There was even a violin concerto. When the moment of capitulation came, some of the syndicalists - above all the Jews - took refuge in one of the cellars, thus resolved to wait until the liberation of Warsaw, the others left the city together with the civil population on October 5. Thus, the history of the Polish syndicalist movement, which after the liberation, the new authorities did not let themselves be reborn, ended. Rafal Chwedoruk, historian of Polish syndicalism, stated: Also, civilians evacuating from the northern part of Sródmiescie were also fed from the food they gained. A marketplace was also organized at the back of the quarters where food was exchanged. There was even a violin concerto. When the moment of capitulation came, some of the syndicalists - above all the Jews - took refuge in one of the cellars, thus resolved to wait until the liberation of Warsaw, the others left the city together with the civil population on October 5. Thus, the history of the Polish syndicalist movement, which after the liberation, the new authorities did not let themselves be reborn, ended. Rafal Chwedoruk, historian of Polish syndicalism, stated: Also, civilians evacuating from the northern part of Sródmiescie were also fed from the food they gained. A marketplace was also organized at the back of the quarters where food was exchanged. There was even a violin concerto. When the moment of capitulation came, some of the syndicalists - above all the Jews - took refuge in one of the cellars, thus resolved to wait until the liberation of Warsaw, the others left the city together with the civil population on October 5. Thus, the history of the Polish syndicalist movement, which after the liberation, the new authorities did not let themselves be reborn, ended. Rafal Chwedoruk, historian of Polish syndicalism, stated: some of the syndicalists - above all the Jews - took refuge in one of the cellars, deciding in this way to wait for the liberation of Warsaw, the others left the city together with the civilian population on October 5. Thus, the history of the Polish syndicalist movement, which after the liberation, the new authorities did not let themselves be reborn, ended. Rafal Chwedoruk, historian of Polish syndicalism, stated: some of the syndicalists - above all the Jews - took refuge in one of the cellars, deciding in this way to wait for the liberation of Warsaw, the others left the city together with the civilian population on October 5. Thus, the history of the Polish syndicalist movement, which after the liberation, the new authorities did not let themselves be reborn, ended. Rafal Chwedoruk, historian of Polish syndicalism, stated:"Polish syndicalists were probably the largest armed conspiracy of this ideological provenance in Europe. They should be mentioned here next to the defenders of the Spanish Republic, continuing the fight after its collapse, French and Spanish anti-fascists in the resistance movement in France, or Italian and Bulgarian similar ideational provenance. Nowhere, however, on such a scale in 1939-1945 were not fought under black and red banners. "

Jeremi Galdamez / Warsaw Environmental Commission

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