In addition to Freiburg, new hubs have developed in the regions of Tübingen, Leipzig/Dresden, Hamburg, Berlin/Brandenburg, and Frankfurt/Hessen. Besides in Freiburg, there are meanwhile also Syndikat offices in Leipzig and Tübingen. Projects and new initiatives discuss and exchange ideas at regional Syndikat meetings, and in (almost) all regions there are people who assume the role of advisor.
At the Syndikat’s general meeting in Frankfurt in September 2003, the original idea of striving for autonomous regional Syndikats in the medium term was modified: the overall context of a collective Mietshäuser Syndikat is not to be abandoned, but further developed across all the regions. After all, it is refreshing and inspiring to pull one’s head out from the swamp of one’s own house project, neighborhood, or region. Simultaneously, due to the increasing size of the Syndikat and its membership meetings, which is felt by many to be accompanied by a tendency toward anonymization, the desire has grown for manageable structures alongside the network as a whole, so that the development of regional structures has increasingly come to the forefront.
Growth and limits
How large should a Syndikat network become? Are there any limits? A hundred, five hundred, a thousand projects? Is there an optimal size? We don’t know, but we are going to find out. Owing to the very decentralized organization of the Syndikat and its largely autonomous house projects, the danger of a concentration of power in the Mietshäuser Syndikat hub is effectively precluded, and regional structures can develop as required by demand and interest. Everybody is happy about each new apartment house removed from the real-estate market, breaking the spiral of increasing prices due to property sales and giving the tenants a chance to follow the path of self-organization. This is why we are always open for new house projects, and welcome and support any such ambitions abroad, as well (see next chapter).
The precept of universalism remains our guiding principle: “the right to humane living space and a roof overhead for all,” which has always been anchored in the statutes of the Mietshäuser Syndikat. As long as the Syndikat network transcends the property lines and the selfishness of individual house projects, there is no real reason to stop at regional or national borders. The solidarity transfer should establish a balance between a lack of resources on the one hand and a surplus of resources on the other, even in the most diverse places. This is an alternative to capitalist investment behavior that uses capital as a lever to earn amounts of money incommensurable with the amount invested.
Who owns the cities?
Actually, we should not even exist, since already our basic approach violates the rules of the market: profit mongering, capital investment, and acquisition of private property are considered the indispensible fundaments for all economic enterprises. But we—the Syndikat and the projects—exist and walk among them: we cavort in the urban undergrowth among building speculators and property sharks, among home-builders, apartment owners, building associations, and capital investment firms. In the fight against expulsion we compete with them for the one or the other property, and play Monopoly on a scale of 1:1. We are working with zeal on the growing network of the Mietshäuser Syndikat. With every new project, another property is withdrawn from the real-estate market and can be permanently secured as “commons.”