On September 10, ZSP held a picket at a bar called "Brave New World" on Nowy Świat street in Warsaw. The picket, part of an ongoing campaign against precarity, temporary work and trash contracts, followed some controversy around the working conditions of barstaff at the joint run by a bunch of over-promoted liberals from a think-tank / cultural cabal known as "Krytyka Polityczna". The bar also hosts discussions which attracts a liberal / cultural milieu that is consistantly trying to pass itself off as some sort of "new left", despite the fact that it promotes economic liberalism in an even proportion to moderate doses of social democracy.
We published an article by our comrades describing how they recruit barstaff to illegally work on mandate contracts on minimum wage. Although such conditions are rather widespread, we are pissed off by the hypocrisy of these pseudo-leftists who organize lectures on various problems of poverty but who have poor and illegal labour standards themselves. (If they pay at all. We also know they take advantage of their famous reputation to get volunteer labour while at the same time, prominent members of the think-tank are quite well-off indeed.) In the meanwhile, they maintain quite high prices in their bar, making it affordable only for the elite but they got a sweetheart deal from the city for a huge space in the one of the most expensive places in the city. The liberal scum pay only 12 zloties per meter (less than 3 euros) while other bars on the street pay around 350 zloties (85 euros per meter). With such favourable and essentially publically funded rents and such high commercial prices, you would think it could afford to pay its barstaff a living wage.
The 7 zloties an hour the barstaff make is not enough to buy a drink in that bar or a coffee in the Starbucks across the street. Across the street from the bar, people living in houses rebuilt after the war with public funding are evicted from their lifetime homes because they cannot afford to pay the rent, exceeding many times the rate paid by the arrogant elite of Krytyka, exceeding many times the wage of the barstaff. Then, with absolutely no sense of irony at all, the publically subsidized liberals invite other liberals to discuss things like gentrification or labour precarity.
After the article was published, there was some discussion on Facebook and an ignoramous from Krytyka made rather sickening comments. The result was that even other liberals was astounded by the hypocrisy of those people and an opinion piece appeared in the main paper in Poland, along with a copy of the whole discussion on the paper's internet site. (The position of Krytyka was labelled to the right of Thatcherism.) Krytyka answered, defending itself, despite the fact that it is clearly using trash contracts illegally.
The main political magazine in Poland, Polityka, also weighed in on the topic, publishing an article on the Precariat, which is featured on its cover. Among other things, it claims that if these precarious working conditions will continue to spread, the anarchist movement will grow in response.
After some days of public debate on the issue, we were able to go there on a Saturday night. The streets were crowded with people and many leaflets were distributed. Many people stopped to speak about the situation and many had heard about the problem and said they supported the action. After we handed out the leaflets, we went inside to bar to agitate but found the atmosphere hard to tolerate.
Looking at their upcoming events which include talks by neoliberal politicians, liberal political sell-outs and various pretentious frauds, we suppose we could go there and find something to protest most of the time but we don't want to waste too much time on such poseurs. In the meanwhile, we are informing workers there and elsewhere on the street about their rights and showing them instructions on how to sue their bosses to establish a working relationship. Unfortunately, most workers are too afraid to do this while they are working and only do this after they are fired and they try to claim benefits that they lost. Former employees of this bar, of which there are many (because of high staff turnover) can also do this and claim money owed, among other things, for vacation they did not get or overtime payments.