Category Archives: Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes protest against the bedroom tax: a photo report

Around 40 protesters held a demonstration against the governments plans for a ‘bedroom tax’ on Friday March 15 afternoon in Milton Keynes. These government plans are yet another blatant attack on the poor – an act of outright class warfare on the part of this government of millionaires. It was heartening to see such a response from people in Milton Keynes. There will be another protest against the ‘bedroom tax’ on Saturday March 30 in Bletchley from 11am outside the old Co-op on Queensway.

All photos © David Isaacson 2013

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Protest against bedroom tax in Milton Keynes, UK.

Protest against bedroom tax in Milton Keynes, UK.

Protest against bedroom tax in Milton Keynes, UK.

Protest against bedroom tax in Milton Keynes, UK.

Protest against bedroom tax in Milton Keynes, UK.

Joining forces against war and expulsions

Milton Keynes Hands Off the People of Iran and the local Stop the War Coalition group joined forces for a meeting on the threat of war against Iran reports Dave Isaacson (this report was originally published in the Weekly Worker).

Moshé Machover (left) and Dave Isaacson at the meeting. Photo: © Brian Robinson.

Comrades from the Hands of the People of Iran campaign in Milton Keynes have responded to the recently escalating sanctions and war threats against Iran by working closely with the local Stop the War group to build opposition to any imperialist intervention. We worked together to organise a joint Hopi/STW public meeting to discuss these issues on Monday May 28.

Over 20 people attended, which for a town such as Milton Keynes is reasonable. The meeting was addressed by Israeli socialist Moshé Machover, who is also a member of the Hopi steering committee. He gave an excellent opening, looking at the reasons why policymakers in the US and Israel want to see a change of regime in Iran and why some actively favour the methods of war to achieve such an aim. Moshé examined the long-term strategic interests of Zionism in Israel in particular. He argued that these interests flow from the fact that Israel is a certain type of colonial settler state, based upon the total exclusion of the indigenous population, to the extent that this can be achieved (unlike some other settler states such as South Africa and Algeria, where native peoples were needed for their labour-power).

With Israel’s determination to scupper any hopes that Palestinians have for an independent sovereign state on the one hand, and the Zionist nightmare of ‘demographic peril’ (the fear that the growing Palestinian population will increasingly outnumber Israelis) on the other, the very presence of the Palestinians is intolerable to Zionism. Comrade Machover explained that the solution that many Zionists have longed to put into practice is to simply expel the Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza: ie, ethnic cleansing.

Indeed the current Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, is on record telling students in a speech at Bar-Ilan University in November 1989 that “the government had failed to exploit politically favourable situations in order to carry out ‘large-scale’ expulsions at times when ‘the damage would have been relatively small. I still believe that there are opportunities to expel many people’.” Israeli provocations that lead to a regional conflagration involving Iran and the US could create just the “politically favourable situation” Netanyahu wishes for – a sideshow while they ethnically cleanse the Palestinians.

Moshé’s talk was well received and there were some very interesting questions which prompted further discussions on issues such as the current conflict in Syria, Israel’s own development of a nuclear arsenal, and an assessment of the Occupy movement. One speaker expressed scepticism about the scale of the ethnic cleansing Moshé argues Israeli politicians would like to carry out. He felt that such a thing would just not be acceptable in this day and age. Moshé responded that it is precisely our job to make sure that such acts are made unacceptable, and indeed made impossible, through our collective opposition. To achieve such aims we need political organisation and a programme.

Everybody I spoke to left feeling that the meeting had been a success. Everyone took home Hopi literature and many bought a copy of the Weekly Worker or of Moshé’s new book – Israelis and Palestinians: conflict and resolution. As well as Hopi and STW, the local Palestine Solidarity Campaign branch was also present with a stall. These are all good signs that people are taking the issues seriously and want to learn more.

As Moshé explained at the end of the meeting, this summer is a particularly dangerous one for the Middle East. We must keep a close eye on the situation and do all we can develop the ideas and organisation we need to pose an internationalist and socialist alternative to imperialism and Zionism. Hopi is very clear: we stand in solidarity with the Iranian people – not their regime – and oppose all sanctions and war threats. In Milton Keynes we will continue to work closely with the local STW group (which incidentally displays none of the sectarianism towards Hopi that we have experienced at a national level). It is also worth mentioning our gratitude to Milton Keynes trades council, an affiliate of Hopi, who financed the meeting with a £100 donation.

Audio files of the opening speech and answers to questions at the meeting are available to listen to on the HOPI website. Thanks to Brian Robinson for producing the recordings.

Public meeting: no war on Iran

The Iranian people – devastated by sanctions and subjugated by their own regime – have much to fear. Israel is rattling its sabres. The American public are clearly being prepared by the Obama administration for an attack on Iran. UK parliamentarians are unsurprisingly supine in their acquiescence towards imperialist intervention. For our part, as communists, we are stepping up our efforts to convince people of the necessity of opposing both any future attack, and the sanctions that are currently devastating the people of Iran. It is these people in Iran who, being overwhelmingly at odds with their regime, must be the ones to settle scores with the likes of Khamenei and Ahmadinejad. Progress will come as a result of revolt from below, not imperialist intervention from above. US, or Israeli, attacks would be a disaster.

In response to the growing threat of war against Iran activists from the Milton Keynes Stop the War group and the Hands Off the People of Iran campaign have got together to organise a joint public meeting setting out the case for opposing the war threats and sanctions on Iran. The meeting will take place on Monday 28th May at 7.30pm in Fishermead Trinity Centre, on Fishermead Boulevard, Milton Keynes, MK6 2LA. The speaker will be Moshé Machover who is on the steering committee of Hands Off the People of Iran and a founder of the Israeli socialist group Matzpen. Please put the details in your diary and let others know about it too. It is hugely important that we build the biggest possible voice to counter the war threats and stand in solidarity with the people of Iran.

On the weekend of April 21-22 there is also a weekend school that Hands Off the People of Iran are hosting at the University of London Union on Malet Street in central London. This is an excellent opportunity to examine in more depth the issues behind the war threats. There will be a number of speakers over the weekend including Iranian socialists, John McDonnell MP, Moshé Machover, and NUJ President Donnache De Long. Full details are on the HOPI website.

Fight for decent affordable housing for all – join the lobby of MK Council on March 13

At the next full meeting of MK Council on Tuesday March 13th a motion calling for the building of more council housing “to meet expected need.” MK Defend Council Housing campaign has called a lobby of this council meeting to “help convince them it’s time to build a new generation of first class council housing so as to provide the secure, genuinely affordable, decent and accountable housing desperately needed.” MK CPGB support this lobby and encourage others to join it at 6.30pm on March 13th outside the Civic Offices, and from 7pm in the council chamber’s public gallery.

There is a Facebook event page for the lobby here: http://www.facebook.com/events/345569582154115/

There is certainly a significant need for new housing in Milton Keynes, but the question of what type of housing is also vital. While we certainly wish to defend existing council housing stock from any attempts to undermine it, we have to say that much of this housing leads a lot to be desired. Please look at the following Weekly Worker article for a discussion of housing fit for the working class: ‘Not rabbit hutches, but houses fit for the revolutionary proletariat‘.

 

Protest against workfare slave labour in Milton Keynes this Saturday, March 3rd

Protesters close McDonald's on Oxford Street, London

The campaign group Boycott Workfare have called a national day of action against workfare for this Saturday, March 3rd. The Coalition of Resistance is calling for the biggest, loudest and most direct protests possible on that day.

As part of this national day of action, in Milton Keynes there will be a protest outside McDonald’s, at The Point, in central Milton Keynes from 1pm. Please come along and join this protest against slave labour. We have already seen the massive pressure that public protests of this type can have on companies like McDonald’s that are highly conscious of their brand image. Lets pile the pressure on until all companies have withdrawn from this abhorent scheme.

Reading Marx’s Capital in Milton Keynes

A small group of activists and academics in Milton Keynes are coming together to undertake a collective study of Karl Marx’s important work on the functioning of the capitalist system, Capital. Anybody else who is interested in joining us in studying this book can email milton.keynes@cpgb.org.uk for more information. Our first meeting will take place at 5.30pm in the Cellar Bar at the Open University on Thursday 9th February.

To get a feel for the sorts of issues we could be discussing you could have a watch of this video introducing a series of video lectures by David Harvey on reading Marx’s Capital.

November 30: Milton Keynes rally in support of striking workers

Join the rally in support of workers striking to defend their pensions.

Assemble: 12 noon outside MK Council’s Civic Offices, Silbury Blvd, CMK on November 30th. Bring placards, banners, and something to make a noise.

We will also be visiting workers on their picket lines in the morning of November 30th. If you want to come along too then please get in touch.

You can also download leaflets and a poster for the rally to give to friends, family and workmates.