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(en) Czech, afed - Poland: You can not burn us all! - Why Poland is battling against the restitution of flats [machine translation]

Date Sat, 23 Dec 2017 11:53:23 +0200

Privatization of the public sphere takes many forms. Restitution is one of them. It should represent the restoration of property confiscated by the communist government to the original owners, heirs or those who have acquired restitution rights. The last restitution wave in the Czech Republic has created an influential land magnate of a total unpopular Catholic Church with which it has to count on development projects. Warsaw is no better at this, since the nineties there is restitution of flats, which results in thousands of evicted long-term tenants. Flats go into the hands of developers who turn them into living for smithanka or in a luxury office. That's not far from everything. Under Warsaw, many crimes, including murder, have been committed in Warsaw against the tenants. However, the events do not remain unanswered by tenants, solidary groups and anarchists.You can not burn us all! .

In order to understand this process, we have to make a bit of history. During World War II almost 85% of Warsaw flats were demolished. After the war, the Polish People's Republic launched the nationalization of the land and the reconstruction of the metropolis. Workers who participated in the renovation were given new flats instead of salary. After the fall of the Bolshevik regime in the 1990s, some interest groups began to demand property and restitution became a profitable business. Developers started buying at very low prices from elderly owners of restitution rights. Flats costing several million were worth thousands.

In 2006, the government approved the deregulation of rents, and the developers increased the rent. Thousands of people found themselves executed within a very short time and ended up on the street. These were people who could not afford commercial rent, such as seniors, single mothers, retail chain employees, and assistant workers. De facto, they were privatized along with apartments as part of the equipment. In the eyes of developers, however, it was a damaging, difficult insect, and to get rid of it, they started hiring deratizators, private security agencies. After the emigration of the socially weak, those who have tightened the rent have also come to the fore. They were an obstacle to further investment projects. They did not even spoil the deratizators. It started with threats of further rent increases and continued openly by mafia practices, the destruction of equipment in corridors, flats, and physical attack by tenants. Some practices were quite cunning, in the abandoned flats there was a continuous reconstruction. Everything had to be done to prevent them from living in these houses.

One of the busy tenants was Mrs. Jolanta Brzeska. She lived in a house that was reconstructed after her father's war. In 2006, a delegation appeared in front of the house. It turned out that the house was returned to the original owner in the restitution. Including tenants. In the following months, the tenants received indiscriminate threats. Mrs. Brzeske's apartment tried several times to break a bunch of sharp boys who claimed to have a permanent residence at this address. It was not until Mrs. Brzeska contacted the solidary group that the attempts ceased. After this incident, she contacted other tenants and decided to deal with the situation. In 2006, together with several members of the Solidarity Group, Warsaw Tenant Association
(Warszawskie Stowarzyszenie Lokatorów), which launched a campaign against restitution and housing policy of the municipality. In 2010, the association contributed to the release of the first report on the crimes committed in the restitution process, which the political class had mercilessly ignored.

In March 2011, a burnt body of Mrs. Brzeska was found in a forest on the outskirts of Warsaw. From the beginning of the investigation into her death, both the police and the prosecutor claimed that Ms. Brzeska had committed suicide by self-immolation. After two years, the case was postponed. Jolanta Brzeska became a symbol of tenants' resistance. The slogan "You can not burn us all!" (Wszytkich nas na slealie!) Began to resonate through the streets of Warsaw and other cities experiencing similar restitution practices. In March 2017, the Minister of Justice renewed the investigation into the death of Mrs. Brzeske, under pressure from the public, on the grounds that she was most likely murdered. In the second half of 2017, after countless protests by tenants, the issue of restitution of flats was successful in the public debate. It has been shown that government officials and municipal councilors have been working for years with security agency deratizators, who provided important information. The result was the arrest and prosecution of some political careerists.

The extent of this affair is enormous. Thousands of flats were thrown into the bosom of businessmen, often without verifying their claims. Developers dominate the market in the most lucrative Polish neighborhoods. Kaczyn's clefefacial administration is now relentlessly abusing the restitution process to consolidate its power. The tenants' movement, which includes a number of anti-authoritarian and anti-authoritarians, fortunately does not trust the politicians, and the ruling ultra-conservative right, which has participated and participates in the looting of public space, especially not. The tenants' movement calls for a more effective investigation into the murder of Mrs. Brzeske, a new law that removes developer claims and compensation for victims of restitution.

Tenants are not a commodity!

You will not burn us all!

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