Rally in defence of Rozbrat – the oldest squat and social centre in Poland

when: 6 of May (Wednesday), 3 p.m.
where: The Hague, NL, in front of Polish Embassy (Alexanderstraat 25)


Rozbrat squat is the oldest squat in Poland this autumn it would celebrate 15th birthday. It is also a living autonomous social centre with Anarchist Library, Anarchist Federation and anarchosyndicalist trade union meeting point, bike workshop, printing workshop, concert halls, kitchen of Food not Bombs, seat of
Anarchist Publishing House and local ABC – and a home for 20 people.

is threatened with eviction. To put it short: the biggest plot where
Rozbrat sits was a mortgage for a company who took a loan in a bank in
the begging of 90s and disappeared. Now the bank wants their debt back
so a debt-collector is obliged to sell it. First court sitting already
took place. Final one is going to be soon. Rozbrat Collective locally
runs “Rozbrat stays!” campaign since months.

But – it is
important NOW to put a strong political pressure on local government
because NOW it is discussing local land development plan – and Rozbrat
Collective is fighting to be a part of it. That is why the action might
be something more than just a symbolic act of despair. If the local
plan is in favour of Rozbrat (not of developers), there will be chances
that nobody wants to buy the land and kick the squat out.

is why Rozbrat crew is organizing a big demo in Poznan, Poland on 9th
of May and calls for solidarity actions on the 6th of May. To protest
against treating any city as a shopping mall, against conforming
everything to the big business, against destroying the social bonds and
in defence of places such as Rozbrat – where social, cultural and
political functions work together.

We want to express our
solidarity with Rozbrat. We invite everybody to do so in front of
Polish Embassy on the 6th of May. Any support is welcome.

Friends of Rozbrat from NL
info:  haga@rozbrat.org, 0031-06 49980574

Rozbrat – a free space in an unfree world

squat is situated in Western city of Poland – Poznan. The city is one
of the richest ones in Poland, it’s close to the German borders, the
unemployment rate is much lower than in the other parts of Poland,
there is an International Trade Center plus a lot of hotels for its
guests, there’s a football stadium that will be one of the stadiums for
Euro 2012, there’s one the best awarded shopping malls owned by one of
the richest people in Poland. And yeah, the richest guy in Poland is
from Poznan, him and his wife were given a ground for their shopping
mall by the neoliberal president of Poznan on very doubtful grounds,
now he’s legally sentenced for this. He’s also sentenced for banning
several demonstrations in the city, at one of them – the infamous gay
pride in 2005, 60 people were illegally arrested, finally, no one –
apart from the president – was charged. Poznan is also a city where
F-16 aircrafts have their base, it’s located within the borders of the
city, being very dangerous and burdensome for its neighbors and all
inhabitants of the city. Poznan is an expensive city, what is
troublesome for masses of working class people and for around 100
thousand students living there. In the last years, the costs of living
rise rapidly, from the prices of food, rent, tram tickets, almost
everything gets more and more expensive every year.

existence of Rozbrat squat in Poznan is therefore even more surprising.
In this purely capitalist surrounding, we’ve been there for 14 years
now. From a housing project, our squat grew to a
social-political-cultural center, organizing dozens of different events
every year: gigs, parties, exhibitions, lectures, picnics, debates,
sports competitions and what is the most important: loads of
demonstrations and protests throughout the years. Having the autonomy
behind the fence of our squat, we’ve always tried to be as open as it’s
possible and not to stay closed within our autonomy – we’d rather call
our space a free space – free to new ideas to live in a better reality,
without exploitation, capitalism, oppression,, sexism, social control,
fascism. We take part in local protests, from workers strikes, to local
communities’ struggles with the authorities, through taking part in
wider protests of other oppressed groups, people discriminated against
sexually, racially or economically. For all those years, the eviction
threats were rather minor and didn’t cause much mobilization
considering eviction.

Peaceful times ended last January, when
a debt collector, together with cops, came to our squat with a warrant
from the court, drilled the locks and came in to estimate the price of
the ground of one of the parts where the squat is. Rozbrat is situated
on three parts of ground owned by three different owners. The biggest
one was owned by a company which disappeared roughly 15 years ago after
taking a big loan from a bank. So, after years, bank came to a moment
when they can auction the ground to get their money back – the space
has been occupied for 14 years though. We raised red alarm, all our
friends, supporters, comrades were informed that the auction can happen
any day now. It’s been over seven months now and nothing has happened.
Probably there are some legal problems in the court but we’re not
giving up. After the visit of the debt collector in January, we decided
to make as much publicity about Rozbrat as possible. We’re happy to see
hundreds of people coming to our events, dozens of guests visiting us
every now and again, getting a lot of support from other cities and
countries. We renovated our bar, small concert hall and we’re planning
more. We’re waiting for the hour zero but it’s not waiting for the end.
We know that we will not disappear. With this place or another – we
will always be here.

Recently, thanks to the international
squatting days of action, there’s been a wide international debate on
the future of squatting in Europe. We also took part in it. The Western
squatting movement focused much of its power to create autonomy within
the borders of capitalist reality. Did it work out well? Many squatting
communities became scene ghettos, they don’t have much to offer to the
world outside. That’s what we were always aware of and tried to fight
with the ghettoisation of squatting. More and more free spaces are
being repressed and evicted, but on the other hand more spaces are
falling into the process of gentrification, people from poorer
communities have to pay higher rents, not mentioning other costs of
surviving, the working law is being changed by the neoliberal
government so that it would make us work more and for less money. Our
surrounding is becoming an environment for rich people only. For money,
not for free thought. We, as squatters and anarchists, are under severe
attack of the authorities that want to take our free spaces away from
us. If we want to keep them, we have to change tactics. We have to show
our social face. Because squatting is a purely social issue and it is
an alternative for living in this world – an alternative which is
dangerous and inconvenient for this system. As people that still have
free spaces we should use them as much as possible to be open for
everyone who rebels against this reality of wealth and power. Together
we’re stronger. Let’s build a big free space around our squats – a
space of free thinking minds that will also be a support for each other
at all times.

We, at Rozbrat, are trying hard to get outside,
to get people from outside to visit us, to work with us, to have fun
with us. Sometimes it works better, sometimes worse, but we don’t feel
alone. On the final day, we will not be alone. For sure.

Rozbrat Collective, www.rozbrat.org
Anarchist Federation Poznan

E-Mail: haga@rozbrat.org Website: http://www.rozbrat.org

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