News from Berlin

Call for a demonstration "BUILD UP THE LEFT - DEFEND RIGAER94!" on 26.01.02 in Berlin

On the 20th of December Berlin`s highest district court gave Suitbert Beulker the go ahead to evict the cultural projekt "Kadterschmiede" and an open workshop, both of wich are situated in the ground floor of the Rigaer 94.

As if that wasn`t enough! The same district court decided against giving the occupants of the house a contract, the so called Rahmenvertrag, that would have protected their collective structure as well as giving them the right to decide themselves with whom they want to live with and even the possibility of keeping the "Kadterschmiede" open. During the court case the judge even said that he could have decided to give the Rigaer 94 the contract, but instead clearly showed that the interests of a "house owner" are more important than those of a collective, self-organised house project.

This is the same owner who has also bought -up the neighboring houses - Rigaer 95,96 and Liebigstr.14 without bothering to consider the needs or ideas of the tennants. In this sense he is just as responsible as the town planners whose yuppification policies forces people living on low incomes out of the city centre. Old houses in the inner city, after an eviction fetch a far higher price than, for example the typical high rise estates built by the GDR. Every year in Berlin 12,000 households are faced with eviction, mostly because of the rent arrears and simply because the rent continues to rise while wages do not. In 1993 an average 17% of a persons "take home - pay" had to be spent on rent. In 1998 this had increased to 27%. This is no co-incidence. The face of the new Berlin is effecting change with an aim in mind. The inner city is to be only for the rich and those of us who are seen as "unwanted" are to be forced onto the edge of the town. Background The house was bought in autumn 2000 by Dr.Suitbert Beulker (Schönhauser Allee 73a) after the occupants had already established a cooperative with the intent of buying and managing the house themselves. There were attempts to negotiate a solution that could perhaps best suit the interests of all. But from the beginning it was apparent that our plans for self - organized collective living would not be possible as long as there is a hierarchial structure with the landlord in place. After a short while Beulker put an end to the negotiations. Since then he sent eviction notices to all the tennants he began to make numerous eviction trials and the "Rahmenvertrag" became of utmost importance. This contract would preserve the collective living structure, emphasize the right to common space for the house and give the occupants the right to decide with whom they wish to live together with. There was a contract,the "Rahmenvertrag", made in `91 that Beulker promised with a written statement to bring up to date during the negotiations. As was stated before he cut off the negotiations and did not fulfill his word and on that basis the house - collective decided to file a lawsuit against him with the hope of obtaining such a contract.

The Berlin line

Again and again the governmental housing policy has forced the unwanted out of the inner city. In 1872 the barracks which provided a root for the homeless people near Frankfurter Tor (five minutes away from the Rigaer 94) were evicted. Bismarck, in power in this time saw Berlin as the centre of prussia and germany. The eviction lead to rioting in which the inhabitants of Friedrichshain fought for three days against the police. Over the next few years flats where squatted and tennants refused their rents. In 1932 as widescale unemployment and rent increases meant housing was not affordable, evictions caused a new wave of riots against the police.

During the 1970`s as Berlin was cut off from the rest of West Germany, a special climate developed. This was answered with large squat actions throughout the 1980`s. The government of Berlin, which obviously saw the squatting as a problem, came up with the "Berlin line". This law allows the police to evict houses which an owner can show are for example to be renovated. At the same time thin laws gave the police powers to immediately evict every new squat. During the wave of new squats in 1990, the law was discussed again by the government of Berlin. They did not change the text, but 24.7.1990 was set as being the day after which all new squats were to be evicted and all old ones should get contracts. Only half of the houses got (after years of fighting for their right to stay) contracts, the others were evicted. Legalisation was a short term solution which served only to quiet down the squatters movement. The ultimate differences and contradictions between the interests of the town planners and the squatters were left unchanged. The destruction of more and more "free spaces" continued...

Our resistance against those in power needs a social base. We need house projects, "wagenplätze" (caravan/vehicle sites), collectivly organised, uncommercial meeting points and social centers! We need places where we can at the very least begin to live freely. For us it is an essential element of our politics that we confront our own inconsistencies and try to live out our own political utopia.

With the demonstration we want to show that evictions are not isolated problems, but are a problem for us all. The point is we cannot accept their politics of clearing out "undesirables" to make room for new development and must demand different political solutions that better benefit the interests of all. For that it is necessary that with this demonstration we develop a strategy of bringing the resistance on the street and in the minds of the people to come nearer to an emancipatory society. Only when the ruling class understands that it cannot continue to enforce anything and everything against everybody, than the status-quo can be changed.

Join us and come to the Demonstration on 26.01.2002 at 13 p.m. Rigaer Str. / Liebigstr. Let's start the revolution!!

Defend autonomous free spaces! Kadterschmieden aufbauen!

Stop the Berlin Line! For a Revolution worldwide! Rigaer 94 bleibt! No evictions - houses for all!

Build up Social Centers! Contact: Tue and Fri 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. 030-42017067 Kadterschmiede: Mon., Tue., Thurs. and every 2nd Sun. at 9 p.m.

The court process costs money! To send donations: Rote Hilfe e.V. Berlin, Ktnr. 7189590600, BLZ 10020000 Berliner Bank, Stichwort: Rigaer94

Rigaer 94

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