The housing protest visited Haarlem on February 27, 2022. The location was both good and bad. Good as it is in the middle of an area where old social houses are replaced for new ones, but also where empty spaces are filled with new houses most people can’t afford. It is not build for starters or low incomes. The new houses which are build are for profit only. Why the location was bad? It is easy for the police to seal off.
The march to the center of town was not allowed by the major as he was afraid of the Black Bloc and the judge went along with his story. Still there was a lot of riot police, seven police vans and six overseers on horseback waiting just out of sight of the demonstration which was covered by a handful of cops. Pure waste of tax money.
That didn’t stop the Woonoproer from being a great event! Accessibility was taken care of, two sign language interpreters translated everything, plenty of chairs were available and a quiet space was setup for those who needed a break.
Raja Alouani opened the speeches and discussed the importance of having a home on your health and relationships. She supported it with hearth breaking examples.
Joshua Baumgarten, who is squatting the position of city poet of Haarlem, summed up the housing problem and how the city is changing into a field of espresso bars in a great spoken word performance:
Haarlemtown full of open armed Haarlemmers a quiet place of refuge for those forced to flee their homeland out of fear of violent attacks now here in Haarlemtown, AZC process half accepted and stored away in Schalkwijk in low income high rise appartment flats.
Haarlemtown where is our heart when it comes to affordable and proper housing for each and everyone of its inwoners especially for those without the means to afford a notaris or to organise a down payment or a bank loan.
Haarlemtown all those god damn lekker sushi, overpriced bread and espressobars. All those cheap suit makelaars licking their lips and rubbing their greedy hand while touring around from Leidsebuurt to Kleverpark, Schalkwijk to Haarlem Noord in those ‘opporly’ mobile stealth bomber self driving electric cars.Joshua Baumgarten
Femke Schukking is one of the ambassadors of the Toegankelijke Stad, an organisation which wants to make the city accessible for everybody. As she could not use her voice Pleun read her speech. The housing problem in Haarlem is the same as in other cities. If your house doesn’t work any more for you it is hard to find another one, especially when you have extra ‘wishes’ for accessibility. The solution to this is simple. Make every building accessible for everybody.
Salim el Aater, FNV Young & United, discussed the problem with low wages, insecure contracts, high rents, increasing house prices. The solution of the union is to increase wages.
Zoran Radicheski, and his neighbors live next to the Reinaldapark in damp, moldy apartments with snails, rats and broken heating. The housing corporation doesn’t solve the problems. The tenants come from all around the world, have a broad range of problems and nobody helps them. They are just the people who pay rent. This shows what happens if you don’t unite and fight back.
Fleksick, spoken word artist, wrote a piece for the event.
Is dat de oplossing om leegstand te voorkomen?
Wordt er misbruik gemaakt van kwetsbaarheid?
En dan wordt er een tijdelijke woning aangeboden
Mijn kwetsbaarheid is strategisch overgenomen
Volgeladen met behoeftes verstopt in leugensFleksick
Julian Neugebauer, Bond Precaire Woonvormen, shared examples where collective action improved the housing situation for tennants. Working together is key.
Mohamed Rugamana left his country Burundi and came to The Netherlands in 2006. In 2008 his request for asylum was rejected. In 2009 he arrived, as undocumented person, in Haarlem and started selling the Straatjournaal to make a living. He reentered the procedure and is assigned a place in an asylum seeker center, AZC, in Dronten, far from Haarlem, his new hometown. His work and friends are here and every week he travels three hours to Dronten to report himself at the AZC. Suzan Nicolai, coordinator of the undocumented for Stem in de Stad, read his letter.
Joost van den Bogert, pastoral manager at Stem in de Stad, speeched about the need of a safe place to stay before you can solve problems. The system wants you to solve shit first and then get a house. That doesn’t work.
Diana Ozon shared a series of poems. Her first one about squatting and the problems with the police could have been written in the morning, but she wrote it way back in 1980.
Anarcha Feminist Group Amsterdam squat for those who need a roof over their head. They had a good speech about how expats and tourists are driving people out of Amsterdam. These economic refugees, as I call them, buy houses in Haarlem as they can’t afford a place in Amsterdam and drive the prices up. Last month a house in my neighborhood was sold for 2.4 times the original price of seven years ago.
Gwan Brandhorst, representing the Communistische Jongerenbeweging, discussed the housing availability in Haarlem. Conclusion : there are enough houses, but they are too expensive. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a house to buy or rent… you can’t afford it.
Lyra Tilder of the Woonoproer closed the planned series of speeches. Reflecting on the day, underlining the fact that the march was not allowed based on rumors, and a call for anyone who was preventatively searched by the police, which is not allowed, to come forward so the organization can file a complaint.
Close out speech was by representatives of the Black Bloc. They explained that the protest form is to protect the identity of the participant who are involved in direct action. This will keep them safe from the police and other elements of the society.
Wet of geen wet
Kraken gaat door!
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