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(en) Poland, WORKERS' INITIATIVE: Poznan without eviction, poverty and exploitation. 25 years of Rozbrat [machine translation]
Tue, 17 Sep 2019 11:05:44 +0300
In October 1994, several people spent the first night in the buildings located at
Pulaskiego 21a in Poznan. This is how the history of Poznan's Rozbrat begins. Today, it is
one of the oldest occupied socio-political centers in Europe celebrating its 25th
anniversary. On September 14, a demonstration will pass through the streets of Poznan, at
which trade unionists from the Workers' Initiative will also speak. ---- Of course, this
was not the first time when desperate people occupy vacancy to have a place to live.
Thousands of families in Poland do so in response to the housing situation. However,
Rozbrat was a broader project from the beginning. Occupation of abandoned, abandoned
buildings eventually turned into social, political and cultural activities. Sklot was to
affect the whole city and support grassroots initiatives and movements opposing state
oppression and the business dictate.
The natural consequence of the creation of Rozbrat was the willingness to support other
people occupying vacancy and opposition to the commercialization of housing. When mass
evictions began at the end of the 1990s, Rozbrat and the Anarchist Federation (FA)
operating there, organized the first evictions blockades. At the turn of 2011 and 2012, FA
and residents of the "cleaned tenement house" on ul. Piaskowa was founded by the Greater
Poland Tenants' Association.
It was a milestone in the fight for the rights of tenants in Poznan. The tenant movement
in the city has consolidated. Dozens of evictions were not allowed. What's more, actively
and successfully demanded the liquidation of the container estate, debt relief for
municipalities, the start of a wide program of construction of available housing and that
the rules for granting social housing be changed. "House cleaners" were successfully
opposed. Activists and activists from Rozbrat were the first in Poznan to start
cooperation with the poorest inhabitants of the city - Romanians of Romanian origin living
on a hillside.
People first, then profits
The first meetings of the Employee Initiative (in 2001) were also held at Rozbrata. The
goal of this yet informal group was to support protesting employees and defend dismissed
trade unionists. Three years later, Poznan FA and Cegielski's employees jointly
established a "regular" trade union under the same name. Today - as we know - IP has over
3,000 members gathered in about 70 committees operating in industry, education, logistics,
culture, social protection, etc. In the Poznan agglomeration, we managed to establish IP
organizations in Cegielski, Amazon, Volkswagen, and Poznan nurseries, theaters, hospitals.
One of the commissions operates on Rozbracie. The Poznan Inter-Enterprise Committee helps
many professional groups, e.g. recently porters working on outsourcing (which we described
in more detail in previous issues of our Newsletter). More and more often injured
immigrant workers from Ukraine come to her. First of all, the Commission is trying to
recover their overdue salaries.
In defense of greenery
Activists from Rozbrat took part in ecological actions - in blocking the devastation of
nature on the Saint Anna Mountain (still in the 90s), on the Rospuda, in the Bialowieska
Forest. Rozbrat itself is located in an area that is an integral part of the Poznan West
Green Wedge. This area is of interest to developers. However, the construction of wedges
causes the city to suffocate, and smog becomes one of the main ecological problems (as in
many Polish cities).
Demonstrations in defense of green areas came out many times from Rozbrat. One of the
first protests of this type broke out around the area that enthusiasts of the elite sport,
which is golf, saw. From 2005, there was a struggle to ensure that the valuable and open
area was not turned into a fenced hole with holes. Today, the Poznan authorities announced
that it will be afforested and remain open to the public.
Let's do it ourselves
Rozbrat is often associated with cultural activities. Over 25 years of existence, over 500
concerts have been organized here with the participation of over 1,000 music bands, over
150 film screenings, about 30 different types of festivals, as well as many other events
such as exhibitions, discussions, theater shows and happenings. The "free school" project
has been successfully developed for a year, where professional teachers give free English,
French, Flemish, Italian etc. lessons as well as mathematics and chemistry.
Freedom Fighters Gym has also been thriving on Rozbracie for some time - Muay Thai, Yoga,
Kettlebell and Cross Training workouts. Here, Polish champions and champions of various
sports disciplines have trained and trained. In total, hundreds of participants took part
in approximately 2,500 free classes of this type organized so far.
Screen printing workshop, bicycle workshop, rehearsal room for music bands - all these
initiatives show that you can organize differently, without subsidies and sponsors, on a
non-commercial basis, building a socio-political center accessible to everyone, regardless
of how much money they have in their wallet or where they come from.
However, Rozbrat is a salt in the eye of the local power and business elite. An attempt
has now been made to bid on the area it occupies, which may be attractive to developers.
The community centered around this place began a broad campaign in defense of Rozbrat. A
similar auction was attempted 10 years ago. At that time Rozbrat managed to defend
himself. To make it happen today, he needs extensive support from various sides.
An article by Jarek Urbanski, which appeared in the latest issue of the Bulletin of
Incijatywy Pracowniczej > download PDF with the entire number
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