Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Critical of Warsaw Union Farce

ZSP took part in the labour demonstration held by the mainstream unions in Warsaw on September 29. In the last days, it published critical statements of the farce and gave an interview on TV criticizing the mainstream unions. It called on some small unions and independent workers to attend and form a radical blok.

Unfortunately, people expected called that they would not attend at the last minute. For some it was due to bad weather but we also heard that in at least one case, local union bureaucrats said that only Solidarity or OPZZ members were invited and could march in the bloks. (ZSP was actually invited to officially attend, but did not answer the invitation. In the end, it was the only independent union (of well over 5000 in Poland) to attend this demo.) The radical blok was thus modest but miners and ZSP joined up later. Some of these miners were ones who ignored the union leadership in 2005 and rioted with anarchists in front of the Sejm, eventually forcing the politicians not to make drastic changes to their pensions. The miners wanted again today to escalate the protest but at every step we were foiled by the union bureaucrats.
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Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Strike is the Only Reasonable Dialogue with the Bosses

Leaflet for demonstration, Sept. 29 in Warsaw.

The so-called "economic crisis" in Poland was a boom for the bosses. Although there was actually economic growth in this country - in contrast to some other places in the world - the crisis served as a pretext for mass dismissals and worsening work conditions. As we can see, often the dismissals were made only to get rid of full-time workers with benefits and replace then with temporary ones. Working people saw how this was happening, yet all the time we were hearing lies from the bosses and being told we should be happy to have any job
at all. The crisis also brought in new anti-worker legislation. Some of it, in the anti-crisis package, was meant to be temporary. But we know that the bosses have been trying to impose these things for a long time and now it is clear that much of this will become permanent changes, a permanent blow to working conditions.
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PO tries to ignore tenants - but we fought back!

On Sept. 30, a special session of the city council will be held to vote on the future form of cooperation with tenants. Tenants demand that they be included in the decision making process in municipal housing and have prepared a bill. The council was forced, due to consistent protests, to hold the voting session. But it is clear that the leading party, PO, is vehemently against anything that may impede their plans to destroy public housing.

Politicians from this party have already expressed their negative opinion of this bill. ZSP is calling for a rent strike and direct actions, in particular against the members of this party before elections. It has also published some hints about legal loopholes that tenants can use to avoid evictions. Some politicians from PO, who are currently in charge of offices such as housing, responded by trying to play a trick.
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Thursday, 23 September 2010

Tenants Demand Session or Will Take Action

Today is the tenants' deadline to the City Council to call a special session to vote on a resolution submitted by a coalition of 30 groups. The Tenants' Defense Committee is one of the founders of this coalition and is encouraging people to form newgroups in their houses, streets and neighbourhoods. Needless to say, if the session is not held on September 30, tenants will start occupations and blocking the city council.

ZSP has called for a rent strike and series of actions starting Oct. 1. If the City Council does not publically announce the Sept. 30 session by 17:00 today, ZSP will answer with direct action against the politicians.

The media has been warning that this time the fight will be harder than before since the situation of tenants is worsening.

See video from TVN (in Polish) Read more!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

ZSP on Labour Action 29 September

ZSP will be a critical participant in the labour action against austerity to be held  29 September in Warsaw.

The main unions, Solidarity and OPZZ call for a symbolic protest, which is not even a strike. Austerity measures of all sorts, reforms in the Labour Code and Act on Trade Unions are hitting workers with huge force, yet all the unions call for is a few hours of protest. These unions even do not encourage workers on a large scale to take a day off and go to the protest: their armies of paid union activists will lead the protest instead. Despite this, we know that some groups of rank and file workers from supermarket chains (who want to strike and are held back by the unions) and the railways will be there - so we will too.
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Monday, 20 September 2010

Another One Bites the Dust

September. The politicians come back to work, sessions start up again and so do the protests. But somebody was oddly missing at work and, as it turns out, was discretely recalled from his post. Vice Mayor Majewski, the famous anarchist-baiting, Libcom reading, tenant bashing politician we motioned to recall after scandals related to a housing struggle this winter was, in fact finally voted out. 

This is the umpteenth politician or administrator to be ousted in relation to our protests and this is the highest-ranking official yet to lose his job. Earlier motions to recall the Vice President and the Chairwoman of the City Council did not pass, although they were submitted and actually voted on.

For those who can be Polish, we recommend the film of negotiations with Majewski which shows how he failed to deal with the tenants' problems.
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More on the Rent Strike, Days of Protest and Politicians before Elections

More and more banners and posters supporting the rent strike can be seen around Warsaw. Even banners left in public places have not been taken down and posters are being put up by residents in their houses. We know that public administration buildings have also been postered over the weekend.
On September 30, several hundred people are expected to go to the City Council to demand changes to the city housing policy.
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Tuesday, 14 September 2010

ZSP Starts Rent Strike Action

ZSP Warsaw is calling for a rent strike starting on Oct. 1. The strike is meant as a protest against the housing policy of the city and against serious problems with the reprivatization process in Poland. It is meant as a means of radicalizing tenants' protest, which the local politicians try to ignore. It aims to bring together tenants who face eviction or live in dangerous and substandard housing to organize for their own mutual self-defense. The strike will be accompanied by public meetings, assemblies and hopefully the creation of neighbourhood committees.
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Sunday, 12 September 2010

Freedom from Fear Day

September 11 we took part in a happening organized as part of international Freedom from Fear Day. The happening was meant to draw people's attention on the omnipresence of security cameras in the city and to be a critique of security culture.

Activists participating in the happening pointed out not only the implications for personal freedom but showed that the security cameras were very costly and in fact did not serve the purposes they claim. In the end, the biggest criminals and sources of thievery against the working class are the bosses and the state, who exploit labour and force payments of taxes which they often use for their own personal profit.
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Thursday, 2 September 2010

Historic Victory for Tenants!!!!

The Tenants Defense Committee managed to stop the privatization of one house on Targowa St. in Warsaw. This is an historic moment: as far as we know, this is the first privatization in Poland that has been successfully stopped by protest!

In addition, the city has agreed to recommunalize part of the building which was under claim. This means that the entire property (which consists of several buildings) will remain municipal housing!

The Committee is currently fighting a couple of privatization attepts. It is common in Poland that extensive fraud is committed during reprivatization and that there is no independant process of verifying claims and documents.
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