Zwangsräumungen Verhindern Wien (Stop Eviction Vienna) is a group emerging from the autonomous radical left in Vienna in opposition to the myth of Rotes Wien (Red Vienna). This myth centers a romanticization of the social-democratic Municipality of the 1920s and 1930s, which became famous for it’s solution targeting a extensive housing crisis, by building enormous amount of social housing. Municipality owned buildings like the Karl-Marx-Hof (Karl-Marx-Court) stretching for over 1 km in length, providing over 1 thousand apartments for 5 thousand inhabitants mark the cityscape of Vienna. Even today we can still feel the benefits of this era, since we are already provided with what many other groups are fighting for: like extensive social housing and (partial) rent control for private rent sectors by law, to name a few. Therefore Vienna represents for many non-Austrian cities and groups a milestone, a positive point of comparison.
Yet for us, Vienna represents what happens to social(-democratic) achievements if these achievements operate in a society organized by and through a capitalist logic. While there is an extensive supply/existence of social housing, rent in social apartments is dictated by law and does not depend on a personal/household income, creating a threshold and excluding people in need. Also, the privatisation of social housing is only prevented by social democratic mayors and therefore vulnerable to external forces and elections. The private housing sector is partly completely unregulated, creating volatile situations for tennants, especially if individuals face multiple forms of discriminations.
By organizing direct action, like demonstrations and civil disobedience, educational events and renters unions we fight against the commodification and as a result of that, exploitation of basic human needs as well as all forms of discrimination enabled by the housing sector. We see evictions as an extreme outcome of commodification of living conditions, as the peak of the iceberg so to speak. As an anti-authoritarian group we try to find forms to organize from the bottom up and focus on building solidarity to fight against the individualization that the capitalistic system forces us into.
No houses without people, no people without houses!
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