In Poland, the nurses have been on strike, demanding higher wages. (Nurses, like teachers and others who work with people receive outrageously low salaries.) They have occupied the Ministry of Health and held many demonstrations and blockades yesterday. They blocked the borders with Germany and Belarus, blocking the railway on the Warsaw-Berlin line.
Anarchists went by to lend support to the nurses, who, despite the freezing cold, kept a very nice, lively demonstration. Later we were invited to the nurses' HQ where we were asked for ideas and to continue support for them nationally on a greater scale.
One anarchist is a nurse and he says that it's not a very radically-minded atmosphere among them, but we hope that a few people will like our ideas and, of course, it's good that people don't think we're provocatuers and that our participation might help. It turned out that the people we met with had been following the anarchists' actions in the press and liked them.
BTW, one funny thing is that a lot of nurses are using the black flag in their protests. They're obviously using it for different reasons, but it looks nice.
In Konin (middle of Poland), where the blockade of the Moscow-Berlin line took place, the nurses received 300 zl raise (they demanded 500) the next day after the protest, and came back to work. A blockade of a highway in Warsaw is now taking place.
The Anarchist Federation is planning to organise blockades by the end of the week of the so-called "Kasy Chorych" ("Sick Funds") which were created by the government as a tool for driving money out of the health care system, and for diverting responsibility from the government. We will demand the closing of the Kasy, and the management of nurses and doctors over the funds of the hospitals.
The farmer's union Samoobrona famous for its blockades of the whole country has announced it will join the protest of the nurses.
Hundreds of nurses have blocked two bridges in Warsaw today and clashed with police. Protests are expected to escalate even during christmas. On wednesday the negotiations with the government begin. Some anarchists and leftists have participated in todays streetfighting, but in rather small number. The reactions from the nurses have been from very positive to very negative, some reacted very positively to radical ideas, some were very pacifist mided.
People from other FA groups in other cities are joining, but it is expected that the number of activists participating will not be big.
No funds for the sick funds!
We had enough! We don't accept that our taxes serve to sustain corrupt politicians, who do not know any other language of dialogue except repression. We don't intend to feed thieves any longer. It's clear, that the "Funds for the Sick" were designed exclusively to make stealing of public funds even easier. Now the government can put the blame on the funds, and the funds can put the blame on the government. This cynical way of avoiding responsibility is a plain insult in the face of nurses, doctors and patients.
Enough! Only those who really help people deserve our money. Higher wages are due only to those who execute socially useful jobs. Today, raises are due to nurses first of all. We can no longer tolerate a situation where the money from our taxes is wasted, and the people on whom we depend with our lives and our health do not have enough money to even sustain their family. We demand fair wages for the nurses and not scrap-money. We demand that the "Funds for the Sick" be liquidated and that the control over the finances of the health care system is transfered in the hands of the medical personel!
The time has come to remember that the Solidarity movement of the 80's wasn't a struggle for a system based on injustice and theft. No one wanted a system where social protests would be pacified by new incarnations of the ZOMO [Motorized Squads of Citizen's Militia - stalinist riot police]. Today - same as always - the only chance of ordinary people is a common fight against injustice enforced by government under all its forms.
Help the nurses and yourselves!
Organise protests and solidarity actions!
"The strength of the people and human freedom resides in associations. Where the associations are numerous and varied, human life is free of police administration and all attempts of the government at limiting freedom are met with invincible resistance. Where there are no associations, the police rules unchallenged, administers all and everything, with complete disregard for the needs and interests of the inhabitants. Without associations, people are not able to oppose the violence of the government. They are at it's mercy."
Yesterday some hooligans made a direct action in solidairty with striking nurses by padlocking the doors of the Kasa Chorych which deals with paying the nurses.
Unfortunately even though three exits have been locked, the guards inside have managed to get out and to break the locks in 15 minutes. The media ignored the incident. But that's normal, the beginnings of the Chechnya campaign were tough as well. If the protests continue past christmas, we have a chance to get in sync. The government has offered 203 zl money per nurse to the "Funds for the Sick", which would mean they would get 70zl and the rest would be taken by the bureaucracy. The nurses refused of course.
Meanwhile blockades of border crossings with Czech and Ukraine continued. FA is preparing to participate for a christmas party in front of the ministry of health, which is still occupied by nurses. (Everybody has been stealing teabags and sugar from work to provide for anarchist catering).
In Krakow, the talks of anarchists and nurses were brutally interrupted by a squad of police who removed the anarchists from the occupied administration building.
At noon yesterday, the nurses have organised a christmas party in the middle of the street in front of the ministry of health which is still being occupied by their collegues. The police didn't dare to remove the tables with christmas dressing which were effectively blocking the street. Even pigs spoke with human voices yesterday.
Anarchists organised warm tea for everyone except the police, we brought a christmas tree and gave out some leaflets. We exchanged wishes of success in the strike with the nurses, in return they wished us that we stay always true to anarchist ideas.
An escalation of the nurses' actions is planned on friday if the government keeps ignoring the demands.