Thursday 17 March 2011

Disruption of City Council. Politicians get lost!

Today members of ZSP, the Tenants Defense Committee and the Warsaw Tenants Association disrupted the City Council to protest against bad housing policy and to tell the politicians to get lost. ZSP and the Tenants Defense Committee declare that the authorities should have no legitimacy and nothing to say in these matters and that public housing should come under popular control.

Those two organizations declared that the would help people occupy vacant flats in response to the city not provided enough public housing. More protests are expected shortly.


Report from mainstream TV:
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Thursday 10 March 2011

Jola's last words to the city bureaucracy

Jola was a very engaged activist and went to all meetings with the city bureaucrats, even though talking to them usually proved useless. One colleague reminded us of what Jola said the last time we met to discuss with the bureaucrats. The city was represented by Tomasz Krettek (TK).

TK:  Under certain conditions you can apply to the neighbourhood (council) and they will help. I understand from what you are all saying that we should raise the criteria (for being eligible for public housing) for people from reprivatized buildings.

(Voices from the auditorium): Yes!

JB: You are talking about income criteria and that if somebody meets this, they will be helped. I cannot pay my rent. The owner tells me to pay 2500 zloties. (625 euros). I owe 80-90 thousand zloties. (20,000 - 22,500 euros). Who is going to pay for me, because I don't have anything. I applied for (replacement) municipal housing, because the court denied me social housing. (Note: that is a very poor roof over your head, given to homeless people who have been evicted.) The Borough office refused because there were no flats available. This is in violation of the law, in violation of the resolution of the City Council. There is nobody to help me. I am still waiting.
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Half Victory for the Right to Demonstrate - Police still Abuse Power

Last May, Maxwell Itoya was killed by a cop in Warsaw. (See May 2010 archives.) ZSP members were at the scene and organized a demonstration the next day. The demonstration, which gathered at the place of the murder, marched onto the police station where police were still holding people arrested during the police riot in which Maxwell was killed.

The demo marched a few kilometers on a main street and got to its destination without any interference whatsoever by the police. However the police are shits and when most people had already left, they tried to pick off individuals to ID. They did not target us, although they know us well.
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Wednesday 9 March 2011

Actions for Popular Control of Public Housing and in the Memory of Jolanta Brzeska

Today was an action called for popular control of public housing. We had announced that we do not recognize the local government and we are taking matters into our own hands. We revealed to the press that we are telling people who cannot get public housing where empty flats are that can be squatted and are helping in this process. Today was supposed to be also a public squatting action however, due to the tragic death of our colleague, Jolanta Brzeska, the atmosphere was quite different.

We spoke of Jolanta's tragedy and the deadly politics of the city. We condemned the inaction of the politicians, speculation and capitalism and reiterated our postulates. After the rally, people made their way to a meeting with public housing administrators, taking it over with harsh speeches and then declaring that there is nothing left to talk about with those people. Despite her very hard time, Jola's daughter came and made a particularly strong speech. People left and then went to Jola's house to light candles and leave a little memorial.

Photos and links to mainstream media coverage below.
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Tuesday 8 March 2011

Housing Activist found dead in Warsaw

On March 7 we learned that one of the most active members of the tenants' movement, Jolanta Brzeska, was found dead in the woods.

Her body had been burnt beyond recognition and it is unclear whether she was alive or dead when it happened.

Jola was 64 years old. She was one of the founders of the Warsaw Tenants' Association, a good speaker and committed activist who went to all demonstrations, who blocked evictions and advised other tenants. She herself was involved in a battle with Warsaw's most notorious slumlord, Marek Mossokowski, and was the last tenant left in a valuable piece of real estate at the time of her death.
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Women and Labour in the Realm of Capital

The Position of Labour in Poland in the Prism of Neoliberal Ideology

The relation of workers to capital is crystal clear: their goal is to produce surplus (profit) for those investing money, to improve the quality of those people's lives and to increase their power to own, invest and control. The neoliberal dogma instilled in people convince them that this is a natural relation. Moreover, workers are led to believe that the capitalists are doing them a favour by „creating jobs”. We are taught that we must beg and compete with others for work then comply with all the demands or whims of the bosses to remain in employment. Our very material existence depends on our willingness and ability to satisfy the needs of our employers. Our own needs are usually put on hold or forsaken.
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Monday 7 March 2011

ZSP Statement on Popular Control of Public Housing

On March 9, ZSP sections in Warsaw and Wroclaw, along with tenants groups, will tell politicians and public administrators to get lost!


Związek Syndykalistów Polski declares that the public housing authorities, in acting against the interest of tenants for the benefit of the corrupt bureaucratic apparatus, for the benefit of landlords and property speculators, are enemy entities which need to be abolished. The answer is not in replacing them with a new set of bureaucrats as the system of unchecked power is bound to always produce more or less the same results.
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We Will not Forget, We Will Not Forgive

On March 7 we learned of the murder of a 64-year old tenant activist from Warsaw. (On photo during anti-eviction action.) The local ZSP issued the following statement:

The burnt body of tenant activist Jolanta Brzeska was found in the woods in Warsaw. 

Jola fought for passionately for the rights of all tenants. She herself lived in a building which wound up in the hands of the notorious slumlord and speculator Mossakowski, known for his inhuman treatment of tenants. He raised her rent very high but she fought back. Her case was still in the courts but she already was over 20,000 euros in debt. But she was the only one left, the only one still fighting back, the only tenant left in that building.
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Sunday 6 March 2011

Public Meeting on Reprivatization

Over 150 people came to a public meeting in the North Praga neighbourhood about privatization. We spoke about the problems people faced, what could be done about it and the need to be active in the tenants movement. Many spoke out about the bad politics of the city and expressed interest in further action.

This meeting is part of a series we are organizing around the city.
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