Berlin, Germany: News about Liebig34
As many people might already know, our lease agreement with real estate speculator Padovicz -who owns more than 2,000 properties in Berlin-, expired at the end of 2018. Since then, we have been living without a contract in the Liebig34, love our house as always and are ready to defend it. Padovicz and the Senatewon‘t get us out of here either, because this is our house! Today we want to update you about our current situation.
What happened so far:
Almost a year ago, in April 2018, we addressed a letter to our house owner Gijora Padovicz in which we announced our interest to stay „legally“ in our house after 2018. There was no reply. In the summer, city councillor Florian Schmidt asked us to initiate a dialogue with the owner. This brought long discussions: too little what could be expected from it, too much whatshould have been discarded from our convictions. Nevertheless, the curiosity, the interest in gaining information and the hope in finding ways to keep and save our house, despite all our reservations,led toa meeting between individuals from the Liebig34 and Florian Schmidt. The later offered to organize a meeting with Padovicz, to which we, as a collectiveagreed to in order to receive direct and concrete information from the owner.
In September, thousands demonstrated to defend Liebig34 against gentrification. At the same time, an apartment in Weidenweg 63 -an empty nearby building also owned by Padovicz-, was occupied. In the same period,Florian Schmidt cancelled a first meeting with Gijora Padovicz only to propose another in October 2018 where a meeting together with individuals from Liebig 34 and Padovicz finally took place. At this meeting, Padovicz expressed clearly his intention to evict us and made clear that no possibility for a negotiation was proposed. Furthermore, he accused us of running a smear campaign against him. The conversation ended without any result but with a clear intention regarding the course of action on his behalf. Shortly after the meeting, in November, Padovicz’s lawyer, Ferdinand Wrobel (who, according to the firm’s homepage, represents „in particular landlords, landowners and property managers“ from the LASCAR office on Kurfürstendamm) filed an action for the eviction of Liebig 34.
The district, represented by Florian Schmidt, has tried ever since to pacify the situation and minimize the obvious risk of escalation the eviction of our house would entail. According to him, the situation in Friedrichshain Nordkiez is to be contained and he is trying to establish a dialogue with Padovicz – without involving us as a collective – towards an agreement that satisfies both parts. We should, of course, keep our mouth shut. In December we were told that there were active efforts in finding a replacement property for Padovicz in exchange for Liebigstrasse 34, so that the Liebig34 collective could remain in its current location.Whether this exchange property was actually a concrete possibility and offer, we don‘t know.What we do know instead is that the Senate is already secretly discussing how we can be evicted as quickly as possible in order to avoid a negative image leading up to the coming elections. Politicians and owners want us to be evicted. At the legal level the case is in process at the court. This will probably be negotiated and decided within the next few months. We don‘t agree with the current state of events. We don‘t agree with the hierarchy and control of state structures. Therefore we won‘t be satisfied with a „legal“ or „political“ decision. We are angry about the fact that our living space is traded as a commodity and that speculation is ongoing. We are angry about the fact that people are being forced into isolation. We are angry about the fact that we should do more paid work in order to be able to afford a roof over our heads. We are angry about the fact that those who have capital can thus also have the lives of others at their disposal and are also protected and strengthened in this freedom of action by the state. We do not only want to save our own ass while the city we love is sold out against the will of the people who live in it, shape it and who suffer from gentrification and repression everywhere.
Geisel, Schmidt and Padovicz sit together at one table. The queer feminists whose house is at stake are not included. An owner who owns half the city and two politicians, three high-ranking cis men who negotiate the future of a queer feminist house as if it belonged to them and not to the people who live in it. But we will stay and fight no matter how their power games will go, because the question of how many cis men it takes to decide on the future of a queer-feminist house project is quickly answered: not a single one!
What we want:
We demand that Padovicz leaves the house to us residents free of charge. In the last ten years we have paid more than enough for the house, maintained it and organized everything in and around it. In 2008, Padovicz bought the house from the residents* of Liebig 34 and only issued a lease contract in order – presumably knowingly – to infiltrate tenancy law for living space. In the meantime, the property has gained considerably in value due to the revaluation of the neighbourhood. How very practical for him, who hasn‘t invested a cent in the last ten years and hasn‘t lifted a finger. For Padovicz, our house is just another potentially profitable property. For us it is a shelter against the impositions of patriarchy and capitalism. A place where we try to live alternatives to these forms of domination beyond the cis-sexist everyday life and the normal state of exploitation and hierarchy. For us, it is a place of resistance.
We demand the expropriation of all real estate speculators! We demand the transfer of the house Liebigstraße 34 to its residents!
We demand the preservation of all threatened projects, because there can only be one common solution!
We demand the abolition of the so-called Berlin line!
We will all stay. Against patriarchy, property and exploitation.
For a liberated society based on solidarity!