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July - August 1981

  • 23 July - Meat rations on coupons are reduced.
  • 30 July - Hunger processions with massive participation of women are held in Łódź and other cities.
  • 1 August - Launch of rationed sale of sweets, coffee, fats, cigarettes and washing powder.
  • 3 August - The halting of a demonstration of city buses in Warsaw, organised by „Solidarity”. The main intersection in the capital remains blocked for three days.
  • 26 August - The printing of martial law announcements begins in Moscow.


Jacek Kuroń on hunger processions:

The economy collapsed even though there were many indications that people generally worked more effectively than before; for example in the mining sector, despite numerous Saturdays free from work, coal production dropped minimally which was more than compensated for by its increased calorific value simply because they ceased to add stones in order to overstate output. But how could that possibly count if socialist economy provided for an incessant growth of raw material and energy consumption. And so everything was in short supply. The collapse of organisation led to even more extensive waste and production plummeted dramatically. […]

Those crowds wielding banners broke the principle of not leaving factories to take to the streets. They created an atmosphere of such tension that the government probably panicked.





Click to enlarge
Women’s hunger march in protest against food shortages (photo: J. Fila/Forum).


Click to enlarge
„Solidarity” satirical poster referring to the PUWP congress in July 1981: „The first result of the party’s congress - food rations cut”.


 
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