Thursday, 26 April 2012

Against the Politics of the Euro

Over the past couple of years, more and more social and political organizations and grassroots initiatives in Warsaw have been fighting against the city's social spending policies. We have seen movements and protests against public housing policy, the closure of schools, the privatization of school cafeterias and huge fee increases in nursery schools. (The latter have been cancelled due a judgment in favor of parents who launched a legal challenge against that decision.) All of these initiatives share a common sentiment: that the city does not care about the basic social needs of most of its residents, who are working but poor and who cannot afford private hospitals, education and rents.
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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Not guilty!

Finally there is a verdict in the case against Jakub and Marek related to a demonstration from 14 months ago. Then the authorities tried to make a crap case against them, with various bullshit charges. Today the court decided that our friends are not guilty.  This means that the state treasury has to pay the cost of the court proceedings - another waste of our tax money just meant to try and scare people from protesting.

It didn't work.

The verdict went out on TV since the case had drawn a lot of attention. Everybody was really happy and afterwards there was a little celebration.

We refuse to let social protest be criminalized and are very happy that it didn't happen this time.
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Eviction Successfully Blocked

Members of ZSP, the Tenants Defense Committee, the Warsaw Tenants Association, Syrena squat and others blocked the eviction of a single mother today. It was another example of direct action in practice.

The house, like many in Warsaw, became privatized and the new owners raised the rents. In such situations, the city rarely gives help. The city's own statistics show that 97.5 percent of such tenants are not able to get replacement municipal housing.

In other cases, a tenant may be offered replacement housing, but it can be much worse - for example, too small, without a bathroom, heat, etc. In this particular case, the city did not offer a regular municipal flat, but so-called social housing, which the family would have a right to stay in only until 2013. Also the flat has only one room and it cannot even be divided in any way for privacy. The family asks for a normal replacement flat from the city.
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Saturday, 21 April 2012

Wikipedia Censors ZSP

As it turns out, a bunch of right-wingers are active in censoring articles on Wikipedia in Poland. On the portal Center of Anarchist Information, we can read what the censors say about attempts to put up a page about the organization. Amongst the arguments the right-wingers use is that "nobody knows if it even exists and nobody ever wrote about them" and there is a lack of any sources about their activity!!! A few of the wikipedia editors have said there are "no sources" about ZSP's activity.

Of course this is not true and ZSP even appears quite often in the mainstream press. We have a few articles even reprinted on our home page: (not all of course... the mainstream press is not always a good source on information :-).

This just shows what organizations like ours face to deal with - constant harrassment from the right wing that ideologically dominate the country.

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Picket at Empik

On April 21, ZSP held a picket at an Empik store in Warsaw against working conditions in the chain and in support of workers who are organizing and beginning to take some actions. Empik is a huge chain of bookshops and for the last three years we have been in contact with workers from around the country. The initial contact was made through the Worst Employer of the Year contest. Every year we get dozens of complaints about them and last year they received 3rd place, for which they threatened to sue us. But that just caused more workers to send us evidence, with which we helped them to organize complaints and now some legal cases. Furthermore, we have heard that some employees have started to engage in various acts of sabotage as some sort of revenge.
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City's Show Crumbles to Pieces

On April 19 we went to see the President, Mayor, etc. at a public PR show where they gave keys to the first family which will move into new, "deluxe" public housing. The city, builds almost no public housing units, but when it does, it tries to make them look like luxury estates... and usually holds a competition for the families who can move in, not taking them on the order or the huge waiting list. The President and Mayor, etc. proudly took the journalists on a tour of the new building on Thursday. But on Friday night, a huge part of the facade just fell down. Local residents alerted the Tenants Defense Committee and we made the politicians and administration get over there on Saturday.  There was a look around the building and there will have to be an inspection.
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Solidarity with Antti

On April 20 we made a solidarity action against political repression in the form of the threatened deportation of Antti R.  (More info about the case: or We visited the Russian Embassy with a small picket, condemning political repression by the state. We also pointed out that the Russian state allows fascist murders to prowl the streets but go after political activists. We know that it is just a symbolic action, but we send our best wishes to Antti who is fighting his expulsion and we hope that other people will do the same.
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Thursday, 19 April 2012

Solidarity with the Workers of Huta Batory! Action at Alchemia Shareholders Meeting

On April 13, Alchemia company, which last week fired striking workers from Huta Batory ironworks in Chorzow, held an extraordinary shareholders meeting at its headquarters in Warsaw. ZSP went to protest the firing of the workers, the use of temp agencies to replace permanent jobs in the ironworks and Alchemia's plans to do this in other workplaces and to protest Alchemia's plans to liquidate the ironworks.
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Support for Antifascist Action in Bialystok

On the night of April 8-9, a band of fascists in Bialystok went on a spree of violence, attacking people in some clubs, screaming about killing gays and leftists. Some people were stabbed, one guy was beaten to death. Many of the attackers were related to the group Blood and Honor. In response to this, antifascists called for a mobilization on April 15. As there are not many in that city, they asked people from Warsaw to support.
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Protests against Roche

On April 19, Roche corporation held an international meeting in Warsaw to announce „restructuring plans” which will mean mass firings and outsourcing of about 200 IT jobs in Warsaw and Madrid.

Representatives of the corporation from different countries came to the Hilton Hotel conference center. One member of ZSP went into the conference hall with leaflets denouncing these actions and calling on workers to take mass action against the company. Some IT workers who would be affected were also present. Outside was a picket in a place right below the windows of the conference and, with excellent acustics, this was heard very well.

ZSP is advising the workers about to be fired about how to claim benefits that they were denied when they were falsely employed as „entrepeneurs”.

We thank the comrades of KRAS who on April 17 made a picket in Moscow at Roche. They report that there was a lot of interest and many workers took their leaflets.

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Protest against Housing Policy

Members of the Tenants Defense Committee and ZSP protested against city housing policy when the President of Warsaw came to the grand opening of new public housing units in the Praga neighbourhood. We confronted the President, the local mayor and other functionaries with the fact that while they are making PR for the city by showing that they built 70 apartments, at the same time the city public housing supply is being decimated by privatization and lack of repair, making existing housing unfit for living.

The city is widely known for giving generous bonuses to politicians, especially from the ruling party. The Mayor and ViceMayor, not elected by the people but appointed by the President, are at the top of the list in terms of bonuses. They were very happy to see us

(we even had a sign in English, in case any foreigners were interested in what we were protesting about)

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Friday, 6 April 2012

Solidarity with the Workers from Huta Batory!

Today we went to the offices of Alchemia to confront the management of that firm who were threatening to close down the Huta Batory ironworks in Chorzow because the workers went on strike.  We found that the office was closed for the day: not sure if they were scared of us or all meeting to decide to shut down the ironworks. Which they announced later in the day. So we will be back. Below is the story of a wildcat strike and what capitalist greed can lead to.

If you are pissed after reading this, send a nasty email to the company!

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Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Continued Protests against Privatization of Cafeterias and Political Manipulation

Members of ZSP and the Tenants Defense Committee visited the local council meeting today in the Central District of Warsaw to protest against plans to privatize some school cafeterias there, which would lead, among other things, to the firing of 186 cooks. What we encountered would be beyond belief – if only we weren't already convinced that the political process is completely rigged in this city and the democratic process is completely ignored by the ruling neoliberal party.
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Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Demonstration against Privatization of School Cafeterias

Today we demonstrated against the privatization of  school cafeterias in Warsaw. Both parents and cooks participated in the demo. The cooks talked about how the catering companies offer jobs on trash contracts and in the areas where the jobs are done by outside service providers, there is an extremely high turnover. They suppose that the workers are used a short time on temp contracts and changed. One cook complained that she has been working over 30 years and now is at risk of losing her job. She is over 50 and noted that it is very hard for women like her to find other work. Parents complained on the other hand about increased costs and the increased likelihood that the private companies would try to save a lot of money by serving smaller portions, serving leftovers or using worse ingredients in the food.
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