Monday 20 September 2010

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.

The politicians are playing a bullshit game, which confuse some people, but not all. Before elections, the parties pretend to support the people, especially the "opposition" - that is the party which was not in the ruling coalition. It tries to mislead people that all the time it was supportive of the tenants, but that it is all the fault of the ruling coalition that bad policies were made. In the meanwhile, they do not officially sign the proposals for new regulations sent to the city council by a coalition of citizens which now includes 25 groups. (This is mostly consisting of tenants from reprivatized houses.)

The coalition seeks the reform of several local housing regulations, but no party in the City Council is really supporting this is in fact - they only make such claims in the media to try and win votes. Housing activists thus need to take radical action. In terms of muncipal housing reform, which most of the activists want to accomplish, they are only left with the option of gathering 100,000 signatures.
We see very clearly that activists from another coalition have played into the hands of the politicians but get nothing out of it except money and some government jobs. A different "tenants" coalition was formed earlier this year, partly on the funds of European left groups like Die Linke from Germany who over the last few years have been cultivating a class of pseudo-left political swindlers in Poland. The organizations that joined on are well-known for their shady collaboration, for authoritarianism, for scamming and for tendencies to claim other people's actions for themselves - they even try to get grant money for that. This coalition now tries to support local politicians, including the Mayor of Krakow (!!! a city which has horrendous housing policy and a huge speculator mafia!!!), in exchange for some places on electoral lists.

We can only clearly object to these "strategies" of the opportunist scum who never accomplish anything through instruments of authority and power - but only get sucked into a game of never-ending compromise with the other political parties. In the meanwhile, those opportunists wishing to stay quiet now until elections are over so that they can get some places on lists, condemn the more radical protests of the people who are sick and tired of being fucked over and jerked around by politicians of all political options.

ZSP supports the actions of the grassroots groups which want to change housing policy and this even includes support of attempts to introduce new legislation. However we have no illusions about this and say that this battle will not be won by participation in the hierarchical and corrupt political institutions, subservient to capital and acting above and beyond the control of the people. What we want now is to maximize the pressure, through protest and direct action and to create alternative horizontal structures which can stand up to the authorities, creating real mutual aid structures and popular bodies based on direct democracy.

We call on those who support these postulates to join in the protests, including the rent strike, to hang banners on their houses, to be at the City Council on the 30th and at the demonstration consisting of a series of street meetings in the Praga district on Oct. 2.

(And don't vote - it only encourages them!)