Grenfell two years on: where's the justice? London RCG protest outside Kensington and Chelsea town hall

On Wednesday 26 June, RCG comrades and supporters demonstrated outside a public meeting of the council that has ultimate responsibility for the death of 72 people in the Grenfell fire of 14 June 2017, but has never been held to account for its criminal negligence of the local community both before and after the disaster. Two years on, there are still households from the Grenfell Tower who have not secured permanent, safe and suitable accommodation within the borough, and hundreds more from the surrounding buildings which are still not safe. The soil around Grenfell remains toxic, and homelessness across the borough is increasing – yet this is the richest council in London, with hundreds of empty homes.

The protest was addressed by speakers from the Focus E15 campaign, that fights for housing in east London, and Architects for Social Housing, who have consistently called for those complicit in turning Grenfell Tower into a death trap be held to account. Two years ago, in the immediate aftermath of the fire, hundreds of rightly angry and grief-stricken members of the community occupied the town hall, demanding justice. Since that time, no real pressure has been put on the council to meet even the most basic demands of the working class of North Kensington. We continue to demand criminal charges against the guilty, decent homes for all, and a people’s inquiry into the Grenfell Fire.


Stifle, demobilise, deradicalise – a lesson in opportunism

On 15 June the Revolutionary Communist Group attended the ‘Justice4Grenfell’ (J4G) national demonstration at Whitehall, to mark the second anniversary of the west London fire in which 72 people were killed.

With only around 200 people present this dismal affair was the result of two years of controlling, deradicalising opportunism. As we argued in FRFI 267, ‘The horrors of the Grenfell fire could and should have been a launchpad for a militant class struggle – in an area of London with a history of resistance against state racism and repression. The RCG is amongst those who fought to allow the voices of those demanding justice, action and accountability to be heard. The possibility of building such a movement was derailed by opportunist forces who, consciously or otherwise, ended up serving only the interests of the state. These are the forces which time after time will attempt to interpose themselves between the working class and its enemies.’


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Ealing Labour council adopts IHRA despite pro-Palestine resistance

Anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism

On 11 June, Ealing became the last council in London to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-semitism, a definition that seeks to censor criticism of the racist, Zionist state of Israel and silence those campaigning in solidarity with the Palestinian demand for statehood.


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RCG pickets the Guardian headquarters in London

RCG pickets the Guardian, 10 May 2019

On 10 May, members and supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Group picketed the offices of The Guardian media group in London. This action was organised to protest against the coverage of events in Venezuela, particularly by The Guardian's Latin America correspondent Tom Phillips and his predecessor Rory Carroll, as well as other journalists working for the British media group. This coverage has played the role of manufacturing consent for US imperialism in Latin America, by spreading lies, misinformation and propaganda in support of the recent illegal coup attempt against the socialist government in Venezuela and its democratically elected leader, Nicolas Maduro.

Those who attended the picket gave speeches on an open platform, condemning the media company, and chanted, 'Tom Phillips, tell the truth! Don't support the fascist coup!'. Speakers drew attention to the vicious propaganda blitz of 30 April-2 May that was carried out by Phillips, Carroll and others on the pages of The Guardian simultaneously with the failed putsch of the US stooge Juan Guaido. In response to our picket, the company's security team locked the front doors to the building. When we attempted to enter the building to deliver a written statement condemning the newspaper's Venezuela coverage to the International News Desk, we were barred from entering. We demanded that staff responsible for Latin America coverage come out to meet the protesters and receive the statement in person, but this was also declined. The written statement, addressed to the International News Desk, was left with security staff.

The action received publicity from Venezuelan filmmaker Pablo Navarrete, the UK Venezuelan Embassy and Venezuelan public broadcaster VTV:


The RCG recognises that a key task of solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution for socialists in Britain is to challenge the lies and distortions of British journalists and media platforms such as The Guardian and the BBC. These ostensibly 'liberal' news outlets play a key role in softening up public opinion in Britain to accept the murderous sanctions, economic warfare and political destabilisation which is waged against the Venezuelan people by the openly imperialist US government.

Imperialist hands off Venezuela! No more media lies! Down with US imperialism!


London RCG supports Extinction Rebellion week of action

On Monday 15 April, environmental campaign group Extinction Rebellion (XR) launched an international week of action, with thousands of people coming out around the world to demand action in the face of the climate crisis. Some of the most significant protests were in London, where XR activists set up road blocks and protest camps at five sites in central London – Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, Parliament Square, Waterloo Bridge and Piccadilly Circus. Many of these sites were held by thousands of people for more than a week, with XR agreeing to end their occupations for now on Thursday 25 April. 


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Viva Cuba! Viva Venezuela! Demonstration at Trafalgar Square, 9 March 2019

RCG at Trafalgar Square, 9 March 2019
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On Saturday 9 March, members and supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Group, along with all the brigadistas preparing to go to Cuba on a solidarity brigade in April, came together in Trafalgar Square to celebrate 60 years of the Cuban Revolution and demand an end to the US Blockade. We demonstrated against the implementation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act due to come into effect on 19 March, as threatened by US President Donald Trump in an escalation of sanctions against Cuba. We say loud and clear: No more blockade! No to imperialist intervention in Venezuela! Expose the lies of the British media! All strength to the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela and the democratically elected President Nicolas Maduro!


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Youth strike for the climate, London 15 February 2019

Strikers occupy roads around Trafalgar Square

Thousands of youths – school pupils and students – along with their teachers, parents and activists, took to the streets of London on 15 February in a spontaneous outpouring of rage, optimism and political energy. Their target was Westminster and they demanded radical change to urgently save the planet and end climate change which is senselessly destroying their futures. The RCG attended this in solidarity with striking students and to highlight the need for socialism to save the environment. The Labour movement and its hangers-on were taken by surprise, and had almost no presence on the streets, while thousands of youths blocked roads, climbed onto monuments and demanded drivers turn off their engines. There were no organised speeches or A to B marches. The youth, without illusions or investments in the present corrupt system, reminded older generations how to disobey.


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BBC - no more lies about Venezuela! Report of London RCG protest, 2 February 2019

RCG protest at BBC Broadcasting House, London, 2 February 2019

On 2 February 2019, as a US-backed coup was underway against the democratically elected president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, the Revolutionary Communist Group with Hands Off Venezuela and other supportive comrades and groups joined together to protest outside BBC Broadcasting House in London. This British media institution, like other so-called 'liberal' outlets has been instrumental in softening up public opinion to support the imperialist attack on Venezuela.

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Comrades and activists from the Venezuelan and wider Latin American community spoke on the platform to denounce the BBC coverage which has cast the coup leader Juan Guaido as a force for democracy and a freedom fighter, when in fact he has been nurtured by Washington's regime change apparatus. This is another example of the US empire's constant interference and terror in Latin America which seeks to undermine any attempt at building socialism and independence. Once again US imperialism can count on the voice of British imperialism, the BBC, to spread lies and misinformation which assist the imperialist plans.

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Imperialist hands off Venezuela! BBC, no more lies!

Join us on 13 February at the Union Tavern, Lloyd Baker St, London for a public meeting on the lies and distortions of the 'liberal' media such as The Guardian, the BBC and other institutions:


Camden Councillors defend use of Prevent officers and IHRA to police free speech on Palestine

London RCG comrades and supporters protest outside Camden Council, 21 January 2019

On 21 January 2019, members and supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Group held a demonstration and presented a formal petition to a full meeting of Camden council. We demanded:

  • the release of information surrounding the council’s outrageous decision to send Prevent counter-extremism officers to an RCG public meeting in September;
  • a new vote at Camden Council to repeal the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, which was endorsed by the council in 2017, now that it is clear that the definition is being used to curb free speech.

In an unusual display of cross-party unity, Camden’s Tory, Liberal and Labour councillors lined up to defend IHRA and the cover-up over the use of Prevent officers to monitor political meetings.


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Confront The Guardian's lies over Latin America

London RCG comrades picket the Guardian, 21 December 2018

The Revolutionary Communist Group held a midday picket outside the offices of the Guardian and Observer newspapers on 21 December 2018. This was a protest against the blatantly hostile coverage of Venezuela, Nicaragua and, as always, Cuba, that these papers have carried out over the years. The prejudiced and ill-informed journalism that distinguishes these publications is a political attack on those nations which are attempting to oppose US, European and British imperialism. Moreover, the reports carried are bad journalism and completely fail to examine  where the opposition to socialist governments is coming from, how they are funded and what the policies and agendas are for reaction in Latin America. They fail to explain why the IMF and World Bank structural adjustment programs were so devastating for millions and why there is now an attempt to reimpose them.


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Tower Hamlets PSC and its supporters shut down free speech on Palestine

On Wednesday 21 November members of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and other allied groups demonstrated once again their complete bankruptcy in the fight to build a real movement in solidarity with Palestine. At a protest outside Tower Hamlets Town Hall against the Labour council’s adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, which labels criticism of Israel as a racist state anti-Semitic, members of Tower Hamlets PSC, Unison, the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), Free Speech on Israel (!), the Tower Hamlets Jenin Friendship Association (THJFA) and Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) colluded to deny the RCG the right to speak. When the discussion in the council chamber on IHRA was ended with no action from the council, RCG supporters heckled the council and spoke about the use of the IHRA definition to shut down free speech and Labour’s craven acceptance of this. Not only did the organisations of the opportunist left not support us, but they asked the council speaker to read a statement publicly dissociating themselves from the interruption. Spineless cowards like these, desperate to maintain respectability and their links with the Labour Party, will never put up a real fight for Palestine, free speech or anything else, and must be exposed. 


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Extinction Rebellion: report from London RCG

RCG comrades at the Extinction Rebellion event, 17 November 2018

On Saturday 17 November, comrades of the RCG supported the Extinction Rebellion event. This was an event called to indict the British state's criminal inaction in combating climate change and to demand immediate climate justice.


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The National Unity Demo 17 November 2018 – Unity with whom?

London RCG at the National Unity Demo 18 November 2018

On 17 November London RCG comrades joined the march billed as a ‘National Unity Demonstration Against Racism and Fascism’. It was organised by Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) with the endorsement of leading Labour Party figures and sponsorship of the Trades Union Congress. SUTR and the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) have been building for this event for months; the stated purpose was to show that the British left and labour movement are united in the face of attempts by the far right to rebuild in Britain and internationally, especially the several large rallies in support of far-right idol Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (‘Tommy Robinson’) that were held in London over the summer. SUTR stressed that it was absolutely paramount for all anti-racist and left organisations to come together in the style of the SWP-led Anti-Nazi League (ANL) that formed in the 1970s and re-formed in the 1990s, and defy a rising racist threat.


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Tower Hamlets Labour council attempts to shut down free speech on Palestine

Tower Hamlets Labour council has called on the police to intervene against a planned demonstration outside the town hall on 21 November, which is being mobilised for by the Revolutionary Communist Group, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Tower Hamlets Jenin Friendship Association in support of Palestine and against the council’s recent adoption of the full IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, which restricts criticism of Israel on the grounds of anti-Semitism.


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No silence on police violence!

The 2018 UFFC march

RCG comrades joined the weekend events called by the United Families and Friends Campaign (UFFC) on 26 and 27 October in London. These consisted of a Conference entitled Interrogating State Violence: Custodial Deaths, Justice and Resistance, sponsored by Birkbeck Law department, 4WardEver, Migrant Media and Centre for Research on Race and Law, and the annual march to remember all those who have died in custody.


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Defend solidarity with Palestine! Report of picket at M&S’s flagship London store

RCG picket M&S on Oxford Street

On Saturday 6 October members and supporters of London Revolutionary Communist Group picketed Marks & Spencer on Oxford Street, the flagship store of a key British sponsor of Israeli apartheid. An informative picket was maintained on the door of M&S to urge shoppers to boycott the chain which is a historic financer of Israeli development and retailer of Israeli produce, including produce grown on illegally settled land. Israeli barbarism would not be possible without the support of businesses such as M&S.


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Zionism is racism! London meeting on Palestine, Zionism and Labour held in the face of attempts at censorship

On 21 September, London RCG held a successful public meeting entitled ‘Labour, Corbyn and anti-Semitism: why is solidarity with Palestine under attack?’. This followed a victorious campaign against Zionist attempts to get the meeting banned with baseless smears that it would be anti-Semitic. The meeting was vindication of our refusal to back down in the face of Zionist attempts at intimidation following the shameful passing of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism by the Labour Party NEC. The attempt to ban the meeting was led by ex-Labour councillor and Director of Public Affairs of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Phillip Rosenberg. Sections of Camden’s Labour Council participated in the attempt to associate Palestine solidarity with anti-Semitism, with the Camden Counter-Extremism team even sending along two council officers to monitor the meeting. It is clear that sections of the Labour Party are now on the offensive to use the IHRA definition to shut down free speech on Palestine. This meeting was a significant victory against this, and an assertion of the right of Palestine campaigners to characterise Israel as a racist state.


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UPDATE: Victory in fight against Zionist censorship of our London meeting on Palestine!

Update: 20/09/18

Thanks to a large number of supporters who phoned or emailed the Kings Cross and Brunswick Neighbourhood Association, the organisation has agreed that we can hold our meeting on Palestine scheduled for Friday 21 September at its centre. On 19 September, we received the following email from Nasim Ali:


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Report: Zionists organise to disrupt a Saturday afternoon picnic

Zionist demonstrators in Holland Park

On Saturday 25 August, members of the West London branch of the Revolutionary Communist Group along with supporters held an informal picnic at Holland Park to share food and discuss our Palestinian solidarity work in the area.  After we set up, a group of Zionists arrived and sat down about ten metres away. They then began to tear around the park chanting anti-Palestinian slogans, dancing and waving the Israeli flag while taking pictures and filming our picnic.


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London protest in solidarity with Gaza - 19/05/18

Following the horrific massacre of more than 60 Palestinians in Gaza by the racist Israeli state on Monday 14 May, supporters of the RCG and Victory to the Intifada in London came together with other supporters of Palestine to call for an end to all British support for Israel. The lively rolling picket targeted shops with links to the Zionist state, speaking out, petitioning, and spreading information about supporters of Israeli occupation and violence on Britain's high streets. 

The protest met at Barclays bank on Tottenham Court Road, highlighting the British bank's longstanding support for the state of Israel, and its continuing support for the arms trade. Barclays quickly closed its doors, and many customers expressed their outrage having discovered the bank's role in the oppression of the Palestinians. The protest then moved off down Oxford Street, highlighting other businesses which have trade, financial or ideological links with Israel. Other targets included Carphone Warehouse - which stocks Motorola phones -, Boots, the clothes shops Zara and H&M, HSBC, and finally Marks & Spencer's - one of Britain's biggest corporate sponsors of Israel which the RCG and Victory to the Intifada have picketed consistently since the outbreak of the intifada. (See below for information on these shops links to Israel).  


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QMUL students occupy against education cuts

On Monday 12 March, students at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) in east London began an occupation of the prestigious Octagon building – a Grade II listed building used by the university for holding major events. The occupation is in protest against huge cuts to bursaries for students from low-income families, and in solidarity with the long-running UCU strike over cuts to pensions. Students, including supporters of the RCG, have been in occupation since then, organising to put pressure on the university management over these issues. The occupation is one of 13 current student occupations all over the country, including the University of Sheffield, Kings College London, Cambridge, Bath, Exeter, Reading, Dundee, Aberdeen and York.


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No such thing as intentional homelessness – Sara must stay in Newham

Robin Wales, head of Newham Labour Council since 1995 and Labour Mayor of Newham since 2002 is facing the end of his reign. Rokhsana Fiaz is standing against him for the Labour mayoral candidacy and the results will be announced on Friday 16 March after local Labour members have voted. This situation came about after a trigger democracy process which has forced Wales to accept a challenger for the first time. All Newham wards voted for someone to stand against him. Wales is running scared and after decades of vicious treatment of working class people in the borough, he now proclaims himself a socialist leading a radical council. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Focus E15 Campaign has been working with Sara, a mother of two young children in Newham. Her story is outlined on the Focus E15 website here. Since she refused to be moved to Birmingham, Newham Council says she has made herself ‘intentionally homeless’ and has discharged their duty to house her.


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Seven months on: No justice for Grenfell survivors

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Fortress democracy: all residents are searched on the way into council meetings

Report on RBKC council meeting, 24 Jan 2018

24 Jan 2018 - West London RCG and supporters attended the latest full council meeting at Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) town hall, where the Council was due to give an update on its response to the Grenfell fire. Over previous months RCG members have collected 1,500 signatures from the people of Kensington, demanding for survivors to be re-housed immediately, for criminal charges to immediately be brought against those responsible, and for a People’s Inquiry led by the local community. We came to the council meeting to submit the petition on behalf of the many who signed it.

Maintaining and building protest at these meetings remains crucial. According to the North Kensington Law Centre, more than seven months after the fire, only 54 households made homeless now have permanent accommodation, and 98 households are still in emergency accommodation. This is despite the famous pledge by Prime Minister Theresa May that they would be rehoused within three weeks.


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Grenfell: Silent Walk - 14 Dec 2017

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Thursday 14 December marked six months since the tragic fire in Grenfell Tower. During the day there was a memorial service at St Paul's Cathedral, which was followed in the evening by the monthly Silent Walk. 

Members of the RCG attended the Silent Walk. Up to 2,000 people attended – survivors, families of the bereaved, community members and supporters, some holding green candles, others photos of the victims, giant green hearts and placards with various slogans. Outside Ladbroke Grove station fire fighters from Red Watch, North Kensington fire station lined the streets and were thanked by the crowd.


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‘Justice 4 Grenfell’ - letting Kensington and Chelsea Council get away with murder


Since the Grenfell Tower fire six months ago the Revolutionary Communist Group has maintained a regular presence on the streets of north Kensington in solidarity with the demands of survivors and local residents. Without real pressure built on the streets, Kensington and Chelsea Council will continue to get away with murder. We have held an open mic on our weekend stalls outside Ladbroke Grove and Shepherd’s Bush stations, and protests outside the monthly meetings of the criminal Kensington and Chelsea Council. We have held demonstrations outside not only KCTMO – the management company that oversaw the lethal and cut-price refurbishment of the block – but the homes of individual councillors who have consistently failed the survivors of the disaster. Through these actions we have stood in solidarity with those who have lost everything and who continue to demand decent, local rehousing, criminal charges against those responsible and accountability for the systematic destruction and neglect of council housing in the borough.


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Grenfell: RCG joins North Kensington residents in mobile street action against RBKC councillors

Local residents confront Cllr David Lindsay - Photo: Peter Marshall, MyLondonDiary

On Monday 27 November RCG comrades organised with local residents of North Kensington and allies from Focus E15 and the campaign against the Notting Hill Housing/Genesis merger to conduct a mobile protest of the homes of several councillors of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC). Around 50 people participated, bringing with them banners, placards, pots, pans, fairy lights and an open microphone to mount a loud street action demanding criminal charges for those responsible for the Grenfell Tower fire and the immediate rehousing of survivors, the majority of who remain in inadequate temporary and emergency accommodation almost six months on. The protest was organised at a meeting with local residents the week before.


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Join us for actions in solidarity with Grenfell survivors - hold those responsible to account!

Justice for Grenfell

On 22 November, the Revolutionary Communist group held its third public meeting since the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower in June this year. The meeting was held at the Maxilla Social Club in north Kensington. This venue has opened its doors to every kind of gathering for the last six months and we like to thank Joe Walsh for his kindness and support.

Of course, this is not the only meeting place. Notting Hill Methodist Church is a centre of support for the neighbourhood. So also, is a large area under the railway bridge and Westway overpass, opposite the burnt-out Grenfell Tower. This has been cleaned and furnished as a permanent social space. It was established by local people as an area of remembrance and for candle-lit vigils. It has a huge Wall of Truth with statements from the community, a Garden of Remembrance, refreshments, seating, warm clothes, pianos and a library as well as an altar and several large and beautifully painted murals.


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RBKC council meeting 25/10/17 - Justice for Grenfell!

On Wednesday 25 October, comrades from the Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG) joined members of Class War and opponents of the proposed merger of Notting Hill Housing and Genesis to protest outside the meeting of Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) council at the Town Hall in Kensington. Despite the gravity of the situation, the meeting had a low attendance, as did the demonstrations outside. The continued neglect and contempt for the needs of survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire by the council demands strong opposition, which makes the lack of political organisation by left-wing groups and activists particularly striking.  


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