Thursday, July 20, 2017

Grenfell Tower fire victims speak out.

Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

Survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire comment.

The fire was the result of social cleansing, just like ethnic cleansing, removing people from an area for economic and political reasons. I remember when my dad first got out of the army and some years later when we had moved to Oxfordshire my mum complaining that she felt military people were discriminated when it came to the council housing list. Back then she thought it was a great opportunity to get on it. I am not aware enough to know all of the pitfalls of the council housing project that began after the war but I do know that a lot of these homes were good homes.

With council housing, communities were secure, working class people grew up together, lived in one place for a certain amount of time. It wasn't like the US where living in social housing is considered charity, you are a failure, not owning your own home. Grenfell is in the richest borough in Britain, I think, the Queen lives there perhaps she never noticed the poverty and inequality in her neighborhood. The authorities dragged her down there for a bit, got on TV and that's probably the first and last time she'll visit that place. She would never make a decision to do such a think herself, she's oblivious to the real world.

The capitalist offensive needed to drive these people out, until that was possible, throw a few million taxpayer dollars at the building to pretty it up a bit so it doesn't affect property values too much or offend the rapacious middle class and the tourists.  Spent $13 million and never even put sprinklers in it. 

We always remind readers, and we should always remind ourselves that these tragedies, Grenfell, here in the US, Katrina, the West Texas explosion, the BP spill are market driven disasters, they are, as far as working people and the environment is concerned "system" failures, all of them the result of conscious decisions made by human beings and political parties representing class interests. 

In all of these situations, it is not legislation, the courts, the political representatives of the capitalist class that can resolve them or prevent them it is the direct intervention of the working class as a class for ourselves. We can  stop their system from functioning. We can shut down their profit making machine. We can and must in the last analysis own and control the mechanism's and resources that allow society to function. 

As the guy in the video says, only their community came to their aid.  This process has to be broadened so that the working class as a national and global community can come to the aid of humanity and build a safer, more secure and productive future for us all.

We have the organization and existing structures to take that road. We are burdened with a leadership that in its conservatism does not see another way, that in its own collective consciousness accepts the status quo. Most importantly, it  does not believe that the working class can govern, can build something different. Having no alternative to capitalism they suppress the working class, hold back the movement for fear it will shatter their world. For them, the working class in motion can only lead to chaos.

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