What happened at Grenfell Tower is a crime, a criminal affair that is now under everyone’s eyes.
The deadly machine of profit-making subcontracting neatly slots into abysmal national fire and building legislation. Add to this waves and waves of budget cuts to reveal once again the overriding logic of cutting corners to make a quick buck on the skin of those who don’t have enough money and resources to fight back. This logic runs deeper and wider than the disaster at Grenfell across all the other tower blocks to embrace the whole edifice of this deeply unjust city.
The true crime of the Grenfell Tower is the contempt with which council housing residents, here and elsewhere, have been and continue to be treated by those in charge of deciding if they deserve to live in decent, secure homes. Or if they deserve to live, full stop. ‘It’s always the same who die in fires‘, as our French friends in Droit Au Logement (Right to Housing) say.
The anger of people has been articulated forcefully on the streets. And even in sadness and anger, people are speaking out, eloquently, passionately. Their voices and their actions are shaking the grounds of the arrogance and spite of the cowards who pass themselves of as our rulers, or so-called building professionals and consultants, or so-called councillors, administrators or their contemptible Deputy Leaders or Cabinet Members for Housing, Property and Regeneration. Silence and threats must not and will not stop us any more.
The aftermath of Grenfell is a growing tremor, a sustained shout for justice, justice for the victims of this horrific and entirely avoidable disaster, but beyond it, justice for this profoundly unjust city, for the deep wounds of long-term discrimination and contempt, the smugness of the inviolability of those who profit from the death industry of indecent housing.
And in the absence and silence of any institutional response, solidarity has shown the power of self-organisation, of love, of mutual support.
Those people need homes, and there are hundreds of empty perfectly decent ones left empty for speculation. Public opinion is shifting.
Don’t say it was a terrible disaster, say let’s start today to destroy the edifice of injustice so that it will never happen again.
We are in mourning still, crying still daily but we are angry!