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22/03/12 Soli Demo with Elba Squatters, London

hgw | 21.03.2012 14:27 | Free Spaces | Social Struggles | Birmingham | World

Polish Embassy, 47 Portland Place, London W1B

Soli Demo with Elba Squatters

16th March there was an attempt of illegal eviction of the oldest squat in Warsaw. Early morning private security broke into the squat and forcibly removed the squatters. Elba was recovered by mobilizing the squatters and sympathizers, but i...t was a hard fight. The police dragged demonstrators on the ground, used pepper spray, batons, beaten and humiliated them.
The squatters were given a one week notice to leave the place.

23 March in Warsaw there will be a demonstration in defense of Elba:
Enough of turning lodgers and independent culture into the street!

It seems so natural. A corporation buys a ground and can do whatever it wants on it. Build a work, an office or a golf course. Nobody and nothing can stop that process...

But what if there is a cultural centre used by thousands of people and known all over Europe placed on that premises? What if social welfare is in conflict with company's egoistic plans? A company, which piously advertises itself as "producing in conditons safe for the society and conducting dialogues with every side concerned". Where is that dialogue? There's no dialogue, there is, still, the rule of money. Stora Enso corporation is known for its uncompromised profit policy at the cost of people and the environment.

Actually, being natural begins when urban processes coincide with social welfare. ELBA is an answer for a housing problem which has been present in Warsaw for many years. The housing problem begins with Warsaw authorities' lack of vision on housing policy and ends with a criminal process of gentification. The most blatant example being constant exmissions of Warsaw's lodgers. Methods - forcing doors, tenement houses arsons, burning lodgers. Jolanta Brzeska will never be forgotten! The attempt of Elba's eviction is nothing else but another attack on 'cheapness and roughness' which Varsovians simply have problem with. "First profits, then people" logic is a leitmotiv of city authorities policy. It need to be reversed!

Warsaw - as every city in the world - needs some space for alternative culture. ELBA creates that kind of space and the city shouldn't ignore culture-creating and social potential of Elba's operation. The attempt of evicting Elba is an attempt of destroying one of the biggest fields of alternative culture in Poland. It need to be stopped!

That's why we're off on the streets! The fight for Elba squat is the fight for social justice - that's why WE ARE ALL ELBA! THE TOWN IS NOT A SUPERMARKET! Elba is not a stale product which they can scrap!