Tag Archives: Milton Keynes

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.

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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‘.

 

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.

Say “no” to imperialist intervention in Libya!

Members of Milton Keynes Stop the War Coalition held an emergency protest to oppose the imperialist military intervention into Libya. More than 100 Tomahawk cruise missiles bombarded Libya within the first day of bombing.

We held aloft our banner saying “No war in our name”, distributed leaflets and collected signatures to a petition calling for an end to military intervention. We chose to stage our protest in Midsummer Place where many people would see it and a high proportion agreed with us that, while Gaddafi is clearly a reactionary dictator, imperialist intervention is not the answer. The Libyan people themselves are the ones who must settle accounts with Gaddafi. Indeed for the last few years the West had been getting along fine with Gaddafi and was happy to do all sorts of deals with him. Their hypocrisy regarding Saudi intervention to crush the democracy movement in Bahrain was also commented upon by members of the public.

Sadly our protest was brought to an early end. Midsummer Place, along with many other spaces in Milton Keynes, masquerades as a public space. It was made clear once again (this is not the first time campaigners have been moved on) that this is not the reality. After a while security were called for and they insisted that we cease our protest (which it must be said was not obstructing or inconveniencing anyone). The owners of these privatised spaces are happy for you to use them to come and shop, but when something more social than the atomised exchange of commodities is attempted on their premises it is never long before security (or even the police) arrive. One day the people of Milton Keynes will have to claim these spaces as their own.

To hear more about the CPGB’s political position regarding the imperialist intervention into Libya, click here to listen to one of our podcasts.

A good start

While we have a long way to go from here, Dave Isaacson argues that the anti-cuts movement in Milton Keynes has made an impressive start

The past week has been an important one for the anti-cuts movement in Milton Keynes. Here the left and anti-cuts activists seem to have united to build a single campaign around the local Coalition of Resistance group (MK COR) to oppose the cuts. Those involved in the group’s activities, as well as individuals, include members of Counterfire, the Socialist Workers Party, Communist Party of Great Britain, the Greens and Labour lefts. The group is also supported by a range of trade unionists and the Milton Keynes Trades Council. None of the left groups is dominant and all seem to be cooperating well so far.

Tony Benn speaking in Milton Keynes. © David Isaacson.

On February 18 MK COR hosted a public meeting attended by a fantastic 400 people. The headline speaker was the veteran Labour movement campaigner Tony Benn, who made a nonsense of the coalition government’s claim that “We are all in this together”. The cuts will hit the poorest and most vulnerable the hardest. He also explained how the mass movements which fought for trade union rights and universal suffrage had at times found it necessary to go against the laws of their day. However, his economic solutions were Keynesian, not revolutionary.

Speakers from the rail union Aslef and the Communication Workers Union joined student activist Feyzi Ismail, Dot Gibson of the National Pensioners Convention, Paul Brandon (chair of Right to Work), and Neil Faulkner (Coalition of Resistance steering committee) on the platform. The latter three spoke most militantly and most clearly about the fact that this was a class conflict. While Paul Brandon insisted that we must do more than simply get rid of this government, his vision only extended as far as a movement militant enough to force a Labour government to act in our interests.

Around 400 people attended the meeting at Jury's Inn, CMK. © David Isaacson.

Neil Faulkner was the clearest in outlining a way forward for the movement. He was not afraid to speak openly about the difficulty of the task ahead of us: “Don’t be under any illusions … we are going to have to fight very hard.” The TUC protest on March 26 is just a start. We must build a wave of strikes, occupations and further protests on the back of that movement. He was also clear that a challenge to the whole system of class rule was needed.

Many speakers referred to the inspiring examples of the the mass uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and across the Arab world. Paul Brandon, amongst others, spoke of creating our own Tahrir Square in London on March 26. It is absolutely right that we draw inspiration from these and other struggles across the world. But we need to do more than that. As well as organising locally and nationally to oppose capitalist austerity we must link up and coordinate joint actions globally.

Protesting outside MK council offices. © David Isaacson.

Four days after this public meeting, on Tuesday February 22, around 60 people attended a vocal protest organised by MK COR when Milton Keynes voted through its cuts budget. We marched and chanted outside before taking our arguments into the council chamber itself. From the public gallery both official questions and militant heckles were thrown at the councillors. As we fully expected the councillors refused to challenge central government and voted through a cuts budget. However, the decision not to close the libraries in Stony Stratford and Woburn Sands immediately should be considered a small and temporary concession brought about by the energetic and popular campaigns to save them. They remain under threat and we must continue to make the case for keeping them open and opposing all of the cuts.

Both the protest and public meeting forced the attention of the local media onto opposition to these devastating cuts. There is an opposition to these cuts and it is getting organised. This is clearly only the beginning. As services are wrecked and workers are made redundant, we can expect the anti-cuts movement to deepen its roots. Already 299 job losses have already been announced by the council, with another 400 likely to follow soon.

We need to build a united mass campaign which includes all those who want to oppose these cuts. Within that campaign the revolutionaries need to ensure that a clear alternative to the whole capitalist system is articulated. So far, particularly for a town like Milton Keynes, which has little by way of a tradition of protest, we have made a good start.

Video coverage of the MK COR public meeting can be seen on the Milton Keynes Citizen website, here: http://www.miltonkeynes.co.uk/news/videos/tony_benn_cuts_are_meant_to_hurt_ordinary_people_1_2438209

Milton Keynes Coalition of Resistance public meeting, February 18

Milton Keynes Coalition of Resistance Conference, February 2011

Friday, February 18 · 7:00pm – 9:00pm @ Jury’s Inn, Midsummer Blvd, Milton Keynes
*NO CUTS, NO FEES, NO SACKINGS*

*MAKE THE BANKERS PAY*

Speakers Include:
Tony Benn (President of the Coalition of Resistance)
Paul Moffat (CWU Eastern Regional Secretary)
Mick Whalen (ASLEF District Organiser)
Dot Gibson (National Pensioner’s Forum)
Neil Faulkner (National Steering Committee Member Coalition of Resistance)
Feyzi Ismail (Student from the SOAS occupation in London)
Anita de Klerk (MK Coalition of Resistance)

www.mkcor.blogspot.com