From La Forge
January 1 - 15, 1990
The "stabilization plan" for the Polish economy has been presented to the Diet (the Polish parliament) by Finance Minister Leszek Balcerowicz. Prime Minister Mazowiecki and the president of "Solidarity" Walesa have put all their weights in the balance to make these measures pass.
This will without a doubt not be sufficient to swallow "the miracle potion" designed to make Poland change from a state capitalist economy to a capitalism of the classic type. The main lines of the plan have been clarified by the IMF and international capital. Despite the reluctance of the Polish leaders who fear a popular explosion and who would have wished for a little more time to prepare public opinion, the IMF has imposed its timetable: the measures must enter into force step by step from January 1, 1990.
On December 22 a definitive agreement was signed between Poland and the IMF. It permits that country to borrow up to $720 million (4.26 billion Francs) in the course of the next 13 months.
This agreement was a condition placed by international finance to agree to new loans. It is thus that after many ups and downs a stabilization fund for the zloty of $1 billion has been put into place ($250 million has been provided by the [West] German Federal Republic, $200 million by the USA, $150 million by Japan, $100 million by France, Great Britain and Italy, etc.). It is a question of devaluing of the Polish currency (there have been 11 devaluations since the formation of the Mazowiecki government) in order to render it convertible and to liberalize foreign trade.
What are the consequences of this plan which the Director General of the IMF has called "very courageous"?
On January 1, the price of energy increased practically 6 fold, for electricity, gas, central heating and hot water. The price of coal, of which Poland is a major producer, has greatly increased. Other increases will take place in stages until they reach the "true price."
This is the "potion" which must be swallowed. One understands the haunting appeals launched by Walesa to the population that it should not revolt against these measures and that it "not attempt to resolve economic problems by street demonstrations." Prime Minister Mazowiecki promised that "the weakest and poorest will not be abandoned." These are the workers and the rest of the Polish people, who will pay for the transition to classical capitalism, the integration of Poland into the Western imperialist system, a transition and integration decided by the leaders of Solidarity and the PUWP, the Polish revisionist party, with the blessings of Gorbachev.
In the near future the Polish workers will not be marching in step, and knowing their combativity, the leaders are frightened and their international sponsors are worried.
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