Indiana Daily Student

Printing course simulates publishing under Communist rule

In honor of the 30th anniversary of the forming of Solidarity — the trade union that brought Communism to an end in Poland — history professor Padraic Kenney is taking students back in time.

Kenney’s course, The Technology of Revolution, gives 13 students the opportunity to place themselves in Communist Poland as part of the underground publishing society that brought about the historical social movement.

“Communism would not have fallen without underground press,” Kenney said. “You may have a great idea about how something could change, but it wouldn’t have been heard without the underground press.”

The course is being guided with the expertise of Witold Luczywo, one of Poland’s prestigious underground journalists who helped lead the Solidarity movement with his silkscreen printing method.

During the first two weekends in October, the students assembled their own printing presses in an undisclosed location, wrote their own materials to publish and will print their content on the homemade presses Saturday. The location of the students work has not been released to mimic the environment of the Polish revolution.

Kenney said the students have shown great appreciation for the course and have enjoyed making it as realistic as possible.

“The students typed all their content on typewriters with towels to muffle the sound, just like the publishers in Poland had to do while under the watchful eye of the authorities,” Kenney said.

The professor also said the materials, such as the ink, used for printing are very close to authentic. The ink is a mixture of shoe polish and floor soap and a students use a type of printing paper with a consistency somewhere between newspaper and grocery bag paper.

“The students really rebelled against my original plan to use computer paper,” Padraic said, adding that he has been impressed by the students’ desire to make the project as realistic as possible.

Senior and history major Maria Young, who is enrolled in the course, said the strong interest of the students is in large part due to Kenney.

“He’s somebody who makes you want to study and learn as much as you can,” Young said.

Young said Luczywo was jailed 25 times for his work, and talking to him has been an essential part of the course. She also said the course gives an appreciation for free press and speech, but also makes one consider the actual “freedom” we have.

“There’s some limits on our press too, we just don’t talk about them as much because it’s not extreme enough to make us have to go underground to write what we want. It’s a more complicated freedom.”

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