Dziennik Chicagoski -- September 13, 1893The Polish National Alliance Convention (Editorial)
In Monday's issue of Dziennik [Chicagoski], we gave the last in a series of reports on the proceedings of the Polish National Alliance Convention. We tried to give an accurate account of the Convention's proceedings and, in accordance with our promise, reserved all commentary until. after its close. In this article, we fulfill that promise.
We see now that we did well to refrain from jumping at conclusions after the first few sessions. In its earlier sessions, the Convention promised to be much worse than what it turned out to be later. Partisan politics played so important a role in its first hours, radical slogans were so boldly spoken, that it seemed doubtful whether the delegates would maintain themselves on the only foundation proper for a Polish institution, 2or whether they would be strong enough to release themselves from partisan blindness to truth and justice.
Fortunately, it developed differently, at least in a certain measure; at some points, justice and tolerance triumphed. The party which was undoubtedly the stronger, and which managed to re-elect some of the officers who--in the opinion of the minority--bring disgrace to the Alliance, knew how to discard personal prejudices on matters of general importance and followed the voice of justice for the public good.
We do not say that this was true in all cases. We are well acquainted with other matters which were settled less justly, like the Stan case, for instance; but on the whole, in spite of everything, the Convention turned out to the Alliance's profit.
What is most important is the fact that it smashed the hopes of anarchists and apostates, who, led on by the evil tendencies of the last editorial 3department of Zgoda, sought to sink their roots into the Alliance, like some malignant parasite. In this respect, the Convention's decisions leave no room for doubt. The attempt by a group of radical delegates to discredit the Third of May Constitution, which has hitherto been the cornerstone of the Alliance, was easily forestalled. The Convention, starting as it did with a prayer in a Catholic church, confirmed the Catholic foundation of the Alliance. Its basic Catholicism was further confirmed by exclusion from the organization of those enemies of the Catholic Church, the followers of Kolasinski, the Detroit apostate. In these two instances, the enemies of the Church were so definitely defeated that they dared not introduce on the floor their famous "memorial," dealing with the school question and proposing a socialistic labor alliance, a "memorial" which the editor of Zgoda saw fit to publish in full in one of the Convention issues of that paper. Thus, the fundamental principles upon which the Alliance exists were maintained; attempts by the radical element to change them were frustrated.4
In performing a public duty, the Convention followed the example of the Polish Roman Catholic Union. It appropriated a sum of money for the Polish Day fund and for the Lwow Exposition . In addition, it appropriated three hundred dollars for a school in Holy Trinity parish.
The Convention made several important changes within its own organization. The first, and perhaps the most important of them, was the abolition of representation by proxy. In the past, it often happened that small groups Located a long distance from the city where a Convention was held, could not afford to send delegates of their own. Instead, they sent their blank credentials to various individuals, usually to the Central Administration, in order to be represented by proxy. The Central Administration then distributed the credentials among its own followers. The groups did this in good faith, believing that in strengthening the Central Administration they were acting for the good of the Alliance. In reality, however, they helped create a majority favorable to the Administration, and thus prevented 5criticism of its actions, even when such criticism was necessary. This is what happened at previous conventions. Even at this particular Convention, it was well known to everyone that the names written on a certain number of blank credentials were in the handwriting of one of the officers in the Central Administration. The Tenth Convention's ruling will make such manipulations impossible in the future. Delegates from each group must be members of that group--otherwise the group cannot be represented. This was a very necessary measure, as it will prevent the creation of a "political machine" within the Alliance and will insure equal rights to all members of the organization.
An important change was made in the Central Administration itself. Henceforth, the Central Administration will consist of the president, vice-presidents, the auditing committee, and the treasurer. The secretary-general, as a paid official, is no longer a member of the Central Administration, whose officers receive no salary. Instead of being an arbitrary dictator, he becomes, as is perfectly right, a servant of the organization 6which pays him. Such a change has long been necessary; in its time, it would have prevented such things as the Morgenstern case and many of the more recent scandalous occurrences. At the same time, this change, putting the secretary in his proper place, releases the editor of Zgoda from his influence. The change, then, should have a definitely beneficial effect upon the affairs of the Alliance in the future.
We omit discussion of other changes, such as the increase in the death benefit to six hundred and three hundred dollars, and the abolition of the one-cent death assessment, for these are strictly internal matters.
We hurry on, instead, to give credit to the Convention and the Alliance for the result of the elections to the newly reorganized administration. However, we regard the elections as beneficial only in part. Credit is certainly due [to this Convention] for the removal of Mr. Gryglaszewski as a potential candidate for the office of censor. The turbulent past of this gentleman, his open anti-religious stand at the Convention, and his intrigues directed 7against Censor Przybyszewski during the past year, created the fear that, should Mr. Gryglaszewski stand at the head of the Alliance, he would certainly lead it into a sorry mess. The candidacy of Mr. Gryglaszewski, whose protestations of patriotism frequently smack of humbug, was very skillfully set aside. Mr. Helinski, formerly vice-censor, was elected to the office of censor. His conservatism during the recent misunderstandings was well appreciated. Mr. Lewandowski, well known in Cleveland for his honesty and moderation, and who demonstrated his tact and ability as president of the Convention, was elected vice-censor.
Another important fact was the removal of Mr. Nicki from the editorship of Zgoda. During the four-year incumbency of Mr. Nicki, the official organ of the Polish National Alliance dropped to an extremely low level, both morally and journalistically. During the past few years it has been an organ of dissension, incapable of conceiving or appreciating a single good idea, a single honest cause. While we deplore the fate of Mr. Nicki, who has been left at a rather advanced age without means of support, we cannot but commend 8the removal of this man from a job for which he was unfit. His successor, F. Jablonski, is a young, capable man, well known, it seems, for his peaceableness and tolerance. He seems destined to make Zgoda a decent paper again.
Most unfortunate was the re-election of the secretary-general and the president of the Central Administration. Considering the auditing committee's report, the interference of Mr. Mallek with the credentials committee, the charter mix-up, the case against Morgenstern's guarantors, and the illegal expulsion of Stan, the Convention proved beyond a doubt that these two men exert an evil influence over the Alliance's affairs. Their re-election strikes us and many other people as very inept. It will not have a definitely evil influence over the Alliance's affairs however, for a group of new people, representing fresh, healthy strength, have been elected to the Central Administration. These people, working in harmony with the decent elements of the Administration, will not allow any harm to come to their institution. By their own example they may even inspire--and we really believe this--the above-mentioned 9officials to peaceful and constructive work.
Such were the commendable acts of the Convention, which had its unworthy side also--the case of T. Stan, for example. Against all rules and logic, in spite of the fact that his credentials as a delegate were recognized, Stan was suspended without any formal accusations being made, and his case was put off until the very close of the Convention. Another bad feature was the constant shouting, especially on private matters, which was heard continuously during the entire course of the Convention; often the delegates would direct bitter words against others who did not share their ideas. It is also to be regarded as unworthy that as many as thirty delegates (against a majority of seventy) voted for acceptance of Kolasinski's followers into the Alliance.
On the whole, however, the commendable actions of the Convention outweigh the unworthy ones. We have hopes that with the reorganization of the Central Administration and the replacement in the editorial department of Zgoda, God's peace will reign within the Alliance instead of its usual bickerings; that 10instead of destructive activity and dissension, active work for the good of the Polish cause will be taken up. We believe that the Alliance will now enter upon the road of peace and tolerance, and we sincerely hope that it does. If it really does, we will never find expressions for the Alliance other than those of fraternal recognition.
III B 4, I A 2 c, I C, I E, II B 1 c 3, II B 2 d 1, II D 1, III C, IV
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