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Solidarity in Berlin

Opublikowane 25/08/12 o godz.19:54 w kategorii English.
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berlinkol1On August 24, a solidarity action took place in Berlin with the tenants movement in Poland. Informational exhibits were hung all around the Polish cultural institute on the tragic state of public housing and tenants rights in Poland which drew lots of interest from passersby. Leaflets were distributed in many languages. Afterwards, more photos were hung around Berlin and an exhibit put at the tenants’ protest camp in Kottbuser Tor.  Our colleagues from Berlin offer best wishes and solidarity to activists from Poland and encourage people not to give up the struggle!


For the last few years, residents of many cities in Poland have been fighting against the desperate housing situation. First, there is too little public housing. Rents have been increased and there is a tendency to privatize and commercialize these flats. There are tens of thousands of families waiting and they cannot afford rents on the commercial market, because prices can be higher than in Berlin. At the same time, despite the myth of Polish economic growth, many people earn 400 euros a month or less. The unemployed, disabled or elderly must live on much less than that.

How can a family afford housing, for example, in Warsaw, where typical prices are about 2000 euro a meter and more for some flat? The answer is that they cannot and few people qualify for bank loans anymore. These means that hundreds of flats built by foreign investment companies remain empty. In the meanwhile, many families live in overcrowded conditions with nowhere to go.

The situation is made worse by the criminal activities of a small group of people who specialize in privatizing housing which was private before the war. The tenants of these houses, who had municipal housing contracts, are transfered to private owners, with no continuity of their municipal contract. Thousands of these people then find themselves in tragic situations, not able to pay the rent or with a new landlord which tries to get rid of them by cutting off heat, electricity or water. The authorities do nothing to protect these tenants, despite the laws that theoretically protect them.

In the worst cases, the end can be tragic. For example, Jolanta Brzeska, tenants activist fighting with her landlord, was taken to the woods, set on fire and killed. Many now are facing the tragic consequences of new policies which allow eviction onto the streets, despite this being against the Constitution. People are not being offered temporary shelter, or, if they are, only for a small time. This does not help them and is creating a wave of homelessness.

We especially show our solidarity today with Ewa, who was evicted from her home a couple of weeks ago with a huge police action. Put out into the street and in a state of shock, she had an accident and was hit by a truck. She had to have her leg amputated, so now she is homeless, with no job and still with no help from the city. Today she has to have another operation so we wish her strength.

For all these reasons and more, we are making this rally, in solidarity with the movement which is fighting for the dignity of tenants and decent housing conditions for all. It is part of a larger social movement in Poland, which is growing because the gap between the rich and the poor is wide and most people are on the side of the poor, victims of a system that places private profit above people.

More information: lokatorzy.info.pl


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