Precarious housing in the Czech Republic

kuncovka_brno_czech_republicKuncovka, an apartment complex 10 minutes by tram from the centre of Brno, the 2nd city of the Czech Republic with a prosperous centre. A five year old girl is walking her “dog”, a broken DVD-player, on the field at the front door. The power cord serves as the leash. Inside a group of 15 sits in a 18m2 room, the largest room of the apartment. In between the meeting children play with cardboard boxes, no toy in sight. 4 chairs, 2 small tables and a mattress are all the furniture there is. Coffee and tea is made in the bathroom, there is no kitchen.

Julek is our host. He lives in 1 of the 48 apartments in the complex. He tells us the dilapidated apartments of 30m2, without kitchen, are rented out for 10500 crowns (roughly 400 euro) a month. Last winter the owner refused to turn on the heating. He wanted to make an even higher profit. He often extorts the tenants by switching off the electricity. For 750 crowns (30 euro) he puts the electricity back on for a day.

The tenants lack regular rent contracts. There are monthly contracts which are tacitly renewed by the owner, even though these are illegal according to the Czech law. If you criticize the owner, the extortion, or the atrocious state of the building, your contract won’t be renewed. When the owner has a bad mood he refuses to give a payment receipt for the rent, which causes you to lose your housing benefits. [Read More]

Prague: Don’t ruin Klinika, don’t ruin our city!

klinikaIf nothing changes, Klinika will likely get evicted in summer. We can turn the tide – come on 9th of April on demonstration for Klinika!

Klinika still vibrates from such relations, meetings and events that find themselves trampled upon and exiled out of sight in the rest of the city. An abandoned, decaying home, collectively rebuild, open for sharing of our experiences and knowledge, alternative culture and the organization of radical politics, both of which don’t back away before the brownish authoritarian swoosh around us.
However, we don’t want to advertise here, neither amaze with some overview of our events or convince you of our own diligence. Instead, we want to convey the experiences we have gained over the last two years. Prague needs its Klinika and the people, determined to fill it with life – here we have them plenty.
On every road there were many obstacles and many slips, never was it easy for the self-organized social center to exist. If it comes to its end though, it won’t be so much due to the naivete or impossibility of our goals, rather due to the diligence of people, whose deep-seated beliefs went unmoved by Klinika. The state institutions – Office for Representation of Government in Property Affairs (UZSVM) and the Railway Transport Administration (SŽDC), our current owner – finally came up together with a plan how to bury the social center. [Read More]

Prague: You can’t evict ideas

Praha_Klinika_zostaneThe Autonomous Social Centre Klinika, which occupies the building of a former clinic in Prague, has attracted a large number of supporters and was awarded a prestigious prize. Yet its future remains uncertain.

Since 1987, the Charter 77 Foundation has annually awarded the František Kriegl Prize in the Czech Republic. The award is a reminder of the brave attitude of the Czechoslovak politician František Kriegl, who refused, as the only member of the political elite at the time, to sign the “Moscow Protocol” after the country was invaded by the armies of the Warsaw Pact in 1968 and so legitimate the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Soviet tanks. The current mission of the prize is to highlight exemplary courage expressed by individuals or civic institutions in the quest for upholding human and civil rights, and political tolerance. Its results are announced each year on 10 April, the day of František Kriegl’s birth. This year, the prize was awarded to the collective of the Autonomous Social Centre Klinika, located in Prague’s Žižkov district. Its activists now stand alongside figures such as the Czech dissident Jaroslav Šabata, leading Roma scholar Milena Hübschmannová, or anarchist Jakub Polák, who all held the award previously. It is undoubtedly one of the most telling proofs of the social necessity and importance of the Autonomous Social Centre. “Klinika lives, the struggle continues”, runs the slogan of the movement that arose around Klinika in the past year. But despite the award and the strong imprint that Klinika has left, the centre’s future, symbolically and physically connected with the building of a former healthcare facility in Prague’s Žižkov, is still not certain. [Read More]

Prague: The Autonomous Social Centre Klinika needs your support!

Call for international solidarity

The Klinika Autonomous Social Centre celebrated its first anniversary,running a space on legal loan in Žižkov, Prague. Activists occupied the house, which laid derelict and full of rubbish for five years, at the end of November 2014, and after police interventions and negotiations on the contract with the Bureau for Representation of the State in Issues of Property, the Centre, called Klinika, began its varied program in March 2015.

[Read More]

Prague: Statement of Klinika collective about attack on the autonomous social centre

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Neonazis attacked Klinika. One person was hurt, others were in danger. Activists assume there’s a link between islamophobic demonstrations that were held today and visited by thousands of people. Klinika collective is not afraid and is going to continue its activities. Klinika also calls on people attending such demonstrations to realize whom they are supporting by doing that.

[Read More]

CZ: The situation of our comrades in prison

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English info about the Fenix case in Czech Republic originally posted on 23/06/2015, updated 21/07/2015, still current

Non-vegan diet, isolation, boredom, 90 minutes of daylight, meeting people through bars and hardened glass. These are just some of the conditions our comrades experience whilst imprisoned. In this article we would like to describe the everyday reality of imprisoned anarchists and outline ways to support them. We call for support of all four defendants and especially for Martin an I., to whom the next few weeks may be critical. We also call for exerting pressure on the Pankrác prison to respect Martin’s vegan diet and towards improving prison conditions in general and Ruzyně prison to respect I.’s vegan diet.
[Read More]

Prague: Klinika, struggle for autonomous space

20141212_Prague_Klinika_demoCzech republic is a country of „political stability“. In despite of general disillusionment in capitalism no social movements haven’t emerged yet. Whereas in other countries social protests and demonstrations underway at least, in the Czech republic demonstrations against neoliberal austerity can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Moreover even the radical left, anarchist and anti-authoritarian activities were in decline after anti-IMF and anti-NATO summit protests at the beginning of 2000′s and squatting practically disappeared.

The situation began to change slowly after the eviction the last squat in Prague in 2009. In the next years the squatting has become important repertoire of action of the small radical and autonomous milieu in Prague. In despite of police repression and quick evictions of the squats, activists used the squatting as a tool in struggle against real estate speculations, and as a symbolic challenge the dogma of private property as one of the cornerstone of capitalist ideology in the Czech republic. After 2012 only one squat (Cibulka) remained, but squatters brought attention to the issues of speculations. Besides this symbolic struggle there was long-term effort in autonomous milieu to open squatted social center as autonomous space for radical and anti-capitalists politics. [Read More]

Prague: Cibulka squat evicted

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The Cibulka squat has been evicted today, four people are still in the tower, twelve have been already arrested according media report.
More info to be posted as soon as possible.

Communique 11/05/2015
Cibulka evicited…

Hello comrades friends and all the others

Our beloved squat Cibulka was evicted in wednesday 6th of may The police sent “tens of tens” (as described by the media) policemen in heavy armor with a water cannon against ten residents and less than twenty visitors of the run-down building. From those they then picked out residents according to an in advance prepared list and took them in for questioning. One of us got a suspended sentence in speeded-up proceedings, seven others are prosecuted for so called unauthorized use of property. We consider the intervention not only illegitimate, but also illegal according to what is here called legal code of the state. In spite of losing a place to live, in spite of the beating, threats, bullying and contempt from the police, state offices and even “decent” society, we remain free – our fight goes on! [Read More]

Prague: Klinika, anticommercial cultural and social center

201501_Prague_Klinika_demoPrague is just like any other big European city in desperate need of a noncommercial community centre, of a space for cultural events (such as concerts, exhibitions, etc.), educational lectures and workshops, community gardening, cooking, library, and, above all, meeting people from the neighbourhood (or anyone interested) and also a place to support marginalized groups of people (especially people without homes) who are living in stop-gap conditions on the fringes of society.

The building of former lung clinic (that’s why the name “Klinika“) in Žižkov district, which was abandoned, unused and left to decay, was taken over by a group of squatters and activists on 29th of November 2014 in order to create “Autonomous cultural and social centre Klinika“. All the trash including used needles was cleaned out and the first neighbourhood event was organized. But after just 10 days, on 9th of December, the building was violently vacated by police forces. On the 13th of December big demonstration took place (about 1000 people) but after its end police corpses forced everyone to leave the place, several people were injured and had to be taken to the hospital. Since then, we were stuck in endless cycle of meetings with city and state offices and basically forced to wait. [Read More]

Czech squatting weekend in Amsterdam

20150220_Czech_squatting_weekend_in_AmsterdamCzech squatting weekend in Amsterdam, February 20th – 22nd 2015. Klinika on tour!
Friday 20.02.2015 Klinika soli night with food, presentation, discussion & more @ Squatted autonomous space Joe’s Garage http://www.joesgarage.nl/

19:00 Soli dinner (some Czech traditional dish in the vegan style)
20:00 Presentation
21:00 Discussion, maybe some movie about current squatting theme in Czech Republic and maybe some acoustic concert

Some members of Czech squatting movement are coming to Amsterdam to present and discuss about the actual breakthrough in the squatting movement in Czech Republic. On Saturday, November 29th, an abandoned building of a former clinic in Prague district of Žižkov was occupied by a group of activists. Cleaning works, reconstruction and program started immediately. Despite widespread support, including neighbors, politicians, artists, journalists etc., the owner of the house – Office for Government Representation in Property Affairs – withdrawed from negotiations. Regarding to some sources, the “anti-extremist” department of Czech police played an important role in this decision.

20150220_Klinika_Soli_nightAutonomní sociální centrum Klinika (Autonomous Social Centre Klinika /Clinic http://451.cz/klinika/ ) was evicted December 9th after ten days of struggle and hundreds of people participating. Spontaneous demonstrations immediately took place in front and inside of Žižkov city hall and in office of the owner. After a few days, one thousand people demonstrated in support of the autonomous center. The building is now being guarded, but the struggle isn’t over yet. Žižkov councilors agreed that they will start negotiations with the state. The public support of squatting is now the highest in Czech history. The ministers of interior, finance and social affairs publicly admitted the possibility of decriminalization of squatting. We, as a group supporting a project of social centre, are calling for international support! A pressure on Czech state can help us to create a historical success. Every city needs it’s clinic!

Saturday 21.02.2015, Soli concert and party @ DisKontrol, Papaverweg 7, Amsterdam Noord [Read More]

Prague: Autonomous centre Klinika calls for support!

klinika_Jeseniova_60_praha_3As we already informed you in previous article, the squatted autonomous centre Klinika (situated in former clinic owned by state, now in decay and without any real plans how to revive it) in Prague was evicted on 9th of December, despite having support from neighbourhood, people from wider cultural scene and even from council of local municipality, Žižkov. The struggle continues and Klinika needs any kind of support more than before.

While there still were (and still are) some kind of negotiations going on between delegates from Klinika and various state and city organizations, a solidarity happening took place in Prague on Saturday 13th of December. Up to thousand people joined and walked through the neighbourhood in a possitive mood. After the march was finished in front of Klinika, a group of attendees occupied the house for a few minutes, but after they were persuaded by so-called “Anti-conflict team” of the police, they left without any force being used on them. However, the police used this issue as an excuse to displace people from public spaces around the house in quite a brutal way – the organizer of demo was beaten down for no obvious reason, people were pushed to fall down the hill, two ended up in hospital… [Read More]

Prague: Klinika, another city is possible!

20141212_Prague_Klinika_demoIf you have ever visited Prague, you may have spent time in the district of Žižkov. It is well known for being one of the foremost centers for alternative culture in the country. So you would think that a neighborhood with such an important role would be a place thriving with unrestricted art movements and an anything-goes cultural norm. Unfortunately, that is not the current situation in modern day Žižkov. This can be seen no better than in the current situation of the Autonomous Social Centre KLIniKA.

Klinika was established in the beginning of December when a group of activists occupied an old clinical center and decided to change it into something what we still miss in Praha. With a very nicely formulated project they wanted to build an independent social – cultural center based on autonomous principals. The autonomous centre could have the power to create from a devestated clinic a successful, publically beneficial project. Unfortunately, as usual, state authorities with fear and prejudices, dealt with it through no dialogue but with repression. After 10 days Klinika was evicted by the riot police. Moreover, the facts which now we learn lead to the conclusion, that the police have got much more influence than we first expected. [Read More]