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(en) Poland, Warsaw, praga anarchists against gentrification

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sun, 12 Sep 2004 09:52:11 +0200 (CEST)

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News about and of interest to anarchists
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Praga Anarchist Group (FA Praga) made a protest visit to an international
conference on "The Revitalization of Decayed Urban Areas", held in an old
factory-turned arts center in the Praga district of Warsaw.
The Praga district was one of the few areas of the center of Warsaw not
destroyed by Germans in the war as the Red Army was stationed there. Since
the war time, many homes have not been repaired and many are full of
war-time damages such as bullet-pocked facades. It is an area slated for
gentrification; some office buildings, a shopping mall and luxury houses
were built amongst the slums and a multiplex is to replace the last old big
screen theatre in the city. During construction of new buildings, there were
some accidents where improper protection of old houses led to old apartment
buildings collapsing and also several houses have been cleared and the
tenants evicted or relocated. In the process of gentrification, rents are
going up leaving the poorer people at risk of eviction. The administration
slum lords do not make repairs on most building as they wait for them to
collapse or be declared unliveable.

The Praga anarchists call on neighbours to organize themselves against the
gentrification. We call for rent strikes across the district and taking the
money saved to fix some serious damages to the houses ourselves. We call for
direct tenant control and ownsership of the houses and the dismissal of the
administration bureaucrats. Also we encourage neighbours to create an
anti-eviction center and take direct action.

One part of the conference tells about how EU funds can be obtained to carry
out the gentrification. One of us had some proof of one EU-funded project
meant for poor people which is getting completely misused to by corporations
instead. We warn that any funds which may go to the corrupt and incompetent
adminstration can be stolen, mismanaged, misused or used for the benefit of
the richest only. Instead of dealing with the bureaucrats, they can deal
with existing tenants organizations or just not take taxes and let people

Although the conference promised that both neighbourhood residents could
attend and that it would make a walking tour through the neighbourhood, the
conference participants got scared and barricaded themselves inside the
factory and didn't come out.

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