Friday 19 June 2009

Tenants' Protest at City Council

Members of the Tenants' Defense Committee and Warsaw Tenants' Association were to speak at the City Council meeting June 18. The city is about to adopt a new resolution on public housing and there is much to criticize in it as there are many points not beneficial for tenants. Last month tenants protested at the meeting and the Council had promised to deal with these questions during the next session.

Members of ZSP of course know that the promise of a politician means nothing and that the most important thing is creating grassroots movements. If these movements are strong enough, they can possibly win some reforms or concessions on the political level and, although we are generally critical of reformist politics, in the case of such real issues as whether people will be homeless of not, we can support making pressure on the politicians for such reform. But we have no illusions about what the politicians are capable of.

Tenants were not allowed to speak at the City Council this time; the point was taken off the agenda. The politicians had a convenient pretext: some other groups showed up to protest at the City Council and the place turned into something of a circus with a couple of hundred protestors trying to get in. They closed off the entrance to the meeting room, but many of the tenants were in the room. In the end, the Council decided that they would talk about the issue of real estate development in a city park - but not about the housing issue. The tenants were furious. There was about 15 minutes of yelling, protesting, etc.

Tenants decided on making more protests in the upcoming week at a response to this treatment. We proposed that a homeless city be set up in Warsaw in the near future.

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