Sunday 2 October 2011

Tenants' Day

On Oct. 2 we took part in the annual Tenants' Day march. This year we marched in Praga, where there are many tenant problems happening within a few blocks of each other. Stopping at various buildings, people told about the problems they were having there, how they were fighting back and the attitude of the state towards their situation.

Some photos are below.

We saw buildings that were obtained in shady ways and are now in the hands of private landlords who raise the rent, harass tenants and eventually evict them. We also heard stories about how buildings where people can live have been condemned so that the city can speculate on the real estate if they are in the right location, but in the meanwhile, people whose floors are collapsing under them are forced to live in hazardous conditions. Neighbours stopped and listened to the stories, the Tenants' Defense Committee encouraging people to organize and fight back.

After a walk around the neighbourhood, visiting buildings, talking with neighbours, we headed to the park for an open-air meeting. There some people told of their stories and a few people sitting in the park joined in. A member of the Committee called on people to recall the President of the City, others reminded of direct actions such as eviction blockades and the rent strike.

The day passed in a nice atmosphere, with a lot of interaction in the neighbourhood.
It is also worth noting that the Committee and representatives of 9 other building or block associations decided to organize themselves away from political vanguards, lifestylists and politicians who are not an integral part of their activity but try to make political capital on the movement, be its leaders or to buy influence with big funding. The ZSP members who are part of the Committee of course support this attitude and desire to keep the movement at the grassroots level, self-organized and self-financed.

More photos, films, here: