On Saturday 20 October the CPGB-ML took part in a protest organised by local residents and housing activists in Cambridge to stop the demolition of Montreal Square, a group of 18 houses built in the 1920s for railway workers. The area is now owned by Cambridge Housing Society who plan to knock down the 18 houses and replace them with 32 flats.
At 2pm on the Saturday the local residents and campaigners assembled at Donkey Common, where a short rally was organised. Speakers from the residents’ association outlined their plight and their determination to stay put and were joined for ten minutes by local Labour MP Daniel Zeichner who stressed that he hoped the residents’ views would be taken into consideration. Comrade Lionel, a local CPGB-ML activist, spoke about the social cleansing of Cambridge and the need to strengthen the ties between all sections of working class in Cambridge who are victims of the housing crisis. He pointed to the struggle of boat dwellers who themselves are under notices of eviction. Comrade Katherine from the CPGB-ML gave a message of solidarity from the party which pointed to the fundamental justice of the cause of Montreal Square residents, and the CPGB-ML members then joined with others in taking over Mill Road (a busy shopping street) and marching the contingent back to Montreal Square for a final rally. Videos of the speeches and rally can be found on the CPGB-ML twitter account and you-tube, and the text of a leaflet addressed to the Cambridge public is included below.
“The Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) is proud to work in the campaign to defend Montreal Square from profiteers and we salute residents and campaigners for the magnificent work done so far to fight the threat of eviction and demolition.
“According to think tank Centre for Cities, house prices in Cambridge are the third highest in Britain. The average cost of a city home is just shy of half a million with many luxury houses worth well over a million pounds. Centre for Cities calculates that the top 6% of earners living in Cambridge take home 19% of the total income, whilst the bottom 20% of earners take home just 2%. It’s clear that there are two classes of people living in Cambridge, the rich and the poor. The Communist Party stands in defence of the poor, we are a party for the working classes, and the working classes in Cambridge need a Communist Party to organise their resistance to the money men.
“If you are a high-flying millionaire entrepreneur operating in Cambridge’s so-called ‘Silicon Fen’, the cluster of 4,700 tech and life science firms with a £12 billion annual turnover and a cosy relationship with the university, then life is sweet.
“But if you are one of the thousands living in poverty, under threat of homelessness and dreading the arrival of Universal Credit, the picture is very different. Local people watch aghast as all around them working class estates are bulldozed to make room for luxury flats, house prices are driven stratospheric by an influx of well-heeled hipsters, and property speculators build houses for students whilst young workers are priced out of the city. The ugly offspring of the union between the corporate world of Amazon and Apple and the hallowed groves of academic circles turns out to be yet more social cleansing, tidying away the inconvenient poor.
“There can be no permanent solution to the housing crisis under capitalism. It is only socialism that recognises housing as a primary social need, not as an opportunity for some capitalist to make his fortune. Workers must protect the houses we have, and fight for a socialist future. Join the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) today.”