Hundreds of people packed into the City Council today to participate in the extraordinary session forced by tenants. There was not enough room in the main hall so people packed into two halls outside and watched the session on big screens. People were hoping that a resolution proposed by the tenants would be passed, even though it was clear from the beginning that the ruling party was strongly against.
There was a presentation on the effects of certain aspects of the city's housing policy which was quite shocking and caused great debate. Vice-President Jakubiak, whose office was occupied and tenants tried to recall last year, responded to the presentation and was treated with intense heckling and shouting from the audience. The session lasted until 22:30, when councilpeople, trying to cut the whole thing short, got to the voting. It was clear from the beginning of the session that the politicians would not vote on the resolution since the city sent their lawyer to give a negative legal opinion on it. In the end, the council voted that the President of the City should call a group of "experts" to consult with her on the housing issue.
Of course this is not satisfactory to anybody given the fact that her team is largely responsible for a horrendous housing policy, her husband was involved in a fraudulent privatization scheme and she will probably choose yellow NGOs and property owners as the main "consultants".
Most of the tenants were well aware that the session would look like a farce and we thank the politicians because any who were still counting on making "dialogue" with them left mumbling that the only thing left to do is bring a shotgun into the council or burn the place down.
ZSP is preparing a response to these events. The rent strike action has just begun, as will a series of protests and direct actions in the upcoming weeks. More on this to follow.
Members of ZSP have been active in organizing these tenants' protests at the Council, have prepared reports on the housing situation, opinions on legislation and have spoken at the Council. Our delegate is invited to make dialogue with the President but we consider it to be pointless. Instead we are interested in promoting the self-organization of the tenants and direct action against the politicians, who are just trying to fool people and divide them by offering empty slogans and trying to buy off people with small concessions to individuals.
Information about the strike will be a serious news item tomorrow. Even today this was on the radio all day, even on a Catholic station which aired an interview with ZSP numerous times throughout the day.