THE riots were only the outward expression of an intellectual ferment which has seethed through Poland ever since Gomulka declared his provisional independence from Moscow. Its unquestioned leader is a gawky, 36-year-old political philosopher whose devastating attacks on the Russians' brand of Communism have already made him a hero to Poland's students. "Leszek Kolakowski," said one ardent young Communist last week, "is much more important for Polish intellectual development than Khrushchev's speech."

Kolakowski has been a Communist since he was 18, won scholastic fame for the fervor of his pro-Stalinist views. But even before the Soviet 20th Party Congress, Kolakowski had established...

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