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Fight Back for Housing in Europe! April 12-14 plus March info-tour

Posted by Fredsvenn den mars 7, 2013

A lot of people have asked, where was ‘occupy’ in Poland? Well it expressed itself through activists occupying not main squares, although there was a short attempt at that, but homes marked for eviction, occupying them in resistance to bailiffs and creating squatted social centres of resistance.

One tenants rights activist Jola Brzeska was the last woman standing in her building, holding out against greedy developers in central Warsaw. Her burned dead body was found in woods outside the city 2 years ago. She had been murdered. Noone has ever found her killer(s) but the developers got the property they wanted finally, the last obstacle to their capital out of the way.

Jola represented the human spirit of the collective and the co-operative in the face of this social bulldozer still making its way through communities in the heart of not just Warsaw but also cities like Poznan which has pioneered the forced removal and ghettoization of ‘problem’ families from the centre to peripheral ‘Container Ghettoes’ – metal container-home fenced off projects where families freeze and boil at the mercy of the seasons. Amsterdam remember, Poland already got there first with Poznan.

But basically this antisocial trend of capital privatising, enclosing, walling out communities that are not lucrative, people that ‘get in the way’ of profit, like courageous Jola Brzeska, is worldwide. And its accelerating now in Europe. We can see it in the UK and we can see it in Poland.

From the Syrena collective:

Dear All

Our friend, tenants’ rights activist and co-founder of one of Warsaw’s grassroots tenants’ rights associations- Jola Brzeska- was brutally murdered in March 2011. Two years after her death, whoever paid to kidnap, pour diesel fuel and set Jola on fire has still not heard charges. Instead, those with the greatest interest in her removal, most notably the developer who took over her building, continue business as usual on privatization of Warsaw’s public housing.

Jola’s murder shows the severity of what is already the collective tragedy of thousands of the city’s tenants, abandoned to the speculative caprice of the market. As the authorities put profits over people, they increase private investment and systematically reduce public housing options to the great harm of tenants forced onto the street and out of the city.

The degradation of the right to housing and wild privatization occur across European countries. We feel that it is time to learn from each others’ experiences of direct struggle against these processes (blocking evictions, reappropriation actions), to exchange knowledge about tactics used to enforce privatization in our respective countries, and to put an effort to externalize the struggle on a European-wide scale.

From April 12 – 14 we invite direct action housing rights groups for a practice-based meeting in Warsaw, Poland. From Friday to Sunday we will have workshop presentations on the struggle for the right to housing by country/city, time for closed discussion on strategies and perspectives for collective action, and a day of housing action here in Warsaw.

We will provide accommodations at our occupied social center- Syrena (www.syrena.tk), located in center city Warsaw. Please RSVP to this email by March 31st if you/your group would like to participate. Also, should you come, please send any materials concerning the struggle for housing in your country/city, as we would like to put together a practical publication.

We will be doing an info-tour in Europe until March 20th, please let us know if we can organize a meeting in your city anytime in those days. If for some reason we won’t be able to organize a meeting in your city, but you and/or your group want to come, write us with questions, concerns or needs and we will send details as they evolve.

We hope to see you in Warsaw!

Syrena collective



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