Thursday 20 January 2011

Statement of ZSP Against the Farce of Local Government: Politicians Hide, We Tell them Not to Come Back

In an unprecendented breach of democratic procedures, the ruling party and the left refuse to show up to the City Council. Tenant activists and members of ZSP took over the hall and ZSP announced that we would be happy if the politicians never showed up to work again. Both groups promised to raise hell and start procedures to recall politicians. ZSP also will try to hold organize a popular movement against the politicians.

In a couple of neighbourhoods, where the democratically elected local councils are not controlled by the neo-liberals from the ruling party, there has been active sabotage of the democratic process, in order to gain control. In the Praga neighbourhood, where ZSP has its seat and is very active, control of the local council means control of housing and the gentrification process since certain decisions lie in their competence.

In that neighbourhood, a power struggle has been going on for a few years. In an absolutely absurd procedural trick, ruling politicians, also having control over various courts, decided that the local council has been working illegally since 2006. It was then that, during a conflict, the Chairwoman of the meeting, from the ruling party, called a break, ran out of the room and (literally) hid in a closet. Since she never officially called the session reopened, it was decided that all the sessions held from 2007-2009 were invalid and, one evening in December 2009, every decision had to be re-voted. ZSP and the tenants organized a mobilization during this time to oppose this farce and try to prevent manipulations.

After the November elections, the ruling party decided that this trick worked so well the first time, they would try it again. During the session dedicated to appointments, the Chairwoman, again from the neoliberals, broke the session and never renewed it. This meant that appointments to certain positions and commissions were not made within the statutory period and, according to the City Charter, the President is then allowed to appoint the people herself. Which is what she did.

On Jan. 14, these appointees were in the local council building and tenants activists and members of ZSP went there with a wheelbarrel to cart them off and created a disturbance. Since these people had decided it would not appoint a housing commission, this basically meant that nobody could receive any municipal housing (!!!) since the commission is needed for this. In other words, the city ruling party, which wants to basically liquidate as much public housing as possible, used this method to try and avoid giving people flats.

We reminded people that we think this commission is crooked anyway, and our postulate is that the people should decide about public housing, not politicians and bureaucrats. ZSP declared that it is fine is there is no commission since we can call one ourselves and show people where the empty flats are.

Confronted with this, the politicians organized a commission.

Then, there was also the question of why these people appointed by the President were there and when they would be recalled. Not that we are in favour of other politicians - it was just that this move was far too outrageous! There was an official petition to the City and the City Council was supposed to resolve this issue today,

Of course, they have no desire to recall the people specially planted as the rulers of our neighbourhood. So the ruling party and the left party decided to boycott the session, which resulted in a lack of quorom.

A crowd of activists had gathered in the Council. Some had received a signal that this might happen, but others had hoped to raise a ruckus about the authoritarian manipulations and farce organized by the neoliberals. An effigy of the woman who pulled this bullshit trick in the local council was brought. When it  became clear that there would be no session, a little hell broke loose. The activists took over the council hall and denounced the tricks of the politicians. Leaflets and posters were distributed, complaining that they don't do any work anyway, and are an unnecessary group of parasites. Some interviews were made on TV with statements about recalling the politicians, occupying the administration and telling the politicians not to bother to come back.

ZSP Statement

Today the neoliberal vampires from PO and their chain dogs from SLD conspired to boycott the session of the City Council. In the empty halls of the Council, we also found reason for celebration: the long awaited absence of our masters. We maintain the idea that the City would be a much better place if they NEVER came to work and if, instead of being enslaved by their (anti-social) decisions,  we all ran the city ourselves.

As the politicians fight for control over our common wealth and assets, we declare that they constitute a thieving, parasite class that we aim to get rid off. While the people are lulled into passivity by representative democracy, some still notice what they are doing - and we oppose their manipulations!

Instead of them, we choose direct democracy, together with our neighbours, open and transparent, to the benefit of all, and not only to those with power and connections.

Politicians! You stayed home today - so don't come back!

Long live popular organization and resistance!