- Created: Saturday, 17 June 2017 15:15
- Written by FRFI
Justice for Grenfell! Safe and secure housing for all!
(updated 19:06, 17/06/17)
The Revolutionary Communist Group stands in solidarity with the residents of Grenfell Tower following the devastating fire that destroyed so many lives, loved ones, homes and possessions. The ‘official’ death toll is so far confirmed at over 50, but it is clear that the real figure could be anything up to 200. There are no words to express our sympathy and horror at what has happened.
The response of the government and Kensington and Chelsea council has been completely inadequate, covering up for the crimes against working class housing that have led to this disaster and offering nothing significant in the way of support to those affected. The promise of a Public Inquiry is a whitewash aimed at delaying the real questions that need to be answered. Why was non-fireproof cladding - which is banned in the US and much of Europe and was a major factor in the 2009 Lakanal House fire in Southwark that claimed six lives – used in the Grenfell renovations that turned the building into a tinder box? There is no guarantee an inquest will provide the necessary answers either. The inquest into the Lakanal fire took four years and the only result was a fine on the council that residents then had to pay. The inspiring self-organisation of Grenfell residents and their neighbours must be supported and organising a People’s Inquiry into the disaster, led by local working class people, could be the next step.
- Adequate, safe housing at social rents for the survivors of the fire. The council needs to requisition the many empty properties in the borough – the richest in London – to ensure residents are properly and immediately housed and a social space must be opened to allow local community self-organisation. If the council refuses to open up these spaces, then the people should do it.
- Kensington and Chelsea council has failed to organise any adequate emergency response and the entire senior team should be sacked immediately and the entire Tory-run council should resign.
- The entire executive of KCTMO should be sacked and face criminal charges. The council must take back control of its housing stock from KCTMO.
- A People’s Inquiry, led by the community, with a working class jury, must investigate the fire.
- All residents of the Grenfell Tower must be equally entitled to rehousing and compensation, regardless of immigration or housing status. This must not become an excuse for immigration checks.
Decent housing is a human right!
Meanwhile, across London, there are many more ‘disasters waiting to happen’. London councils – both Conservative or Labour – have neglected, demolished and sold off publicly owned homes on a mass scale. Many people have been forced into unsafe, overcrowded private rented accommodation; others have been driven out of London altogether through a process of social cleansing. As long as the drive for private profits dominates the housing sector, there will be more tragedies like Grenfell. The contempt for the needs of working class people, for the poor, for migrants, that created that tragedy are being repeated in boroughs like Lambeth, Haringey, Croydon, Newham, Southwark and Hackney. We need Grenfell to be a wake-up call to all those fighting for decent housing against vicious, arrogant councils and politicians. We must build our struggle against this disgusting, crisis-ridden system that has claimed so many lives.