Tuesday 28 September 2010

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.
Last Friday afternoon, they discretely announced on some administrative page that they would like to have a social consultation with 'residents of Warsaw" on public housing. Social consultations are a required process under local law, but they are usually a complete farce. They are usually announced so that nobody knows about them and then a few "yellow NGOs" are invited. These yellow NGOs are some ficticious organizations that just write positive opinions for different local and national governmental bodies. So PO tried to organize such a social consultation. We already know that they collected a group of yellow NGOs to be the "public voice" against the tenants movement.

On Friday late afternoon, the notice went up but we were tipped off. It said that residents of Warsaw could be invited - but they had to either send an application by email or fill in a form and deliver it to the city housing authority. Deadline - Tuesday. Date and time of the consultation? The same time as the annual Tenants' Day demonstration. 

We got people to start sending emails - only they were bouncing. Probably on purpose. Then we just decided to ask people to bring the forms by Tuesday to the head of housing. 

We are not in a position to say how many submitted forms, but we are sure it was over 500. Our colleague from the Tenants' Defense Committee collected 262 and delivered them directly to the head of housing herself. And told her that they can try to avoid us, but they will not succeed.