Socialist Worker

Grenfell residents debate demands to make sure tragedy never happens again

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2561

Marching for justice on the Peoples Assembly demonstration last Saturday

Marching for justice on the People's Assembly demonstration last Saturday (Pic: Socialist Worker)


Residents are in turmoil in the wake of the fire at Grenfell Tower—but from that turmoil they’re fighting to make sure such an event never happens again. 

At a meeting of over 100 people in North Kensington last night, Tuesday, people began formulating specific demands in their fight for justice. 

The blaze at the west London tower block showed the contempt the Tory government and local council have for working class people. Their demands include totally restructuring local democracy in the interests of ordinary people. 

London’s Labour mayor Sadiq Khan has called for commissioners to be appointed to take over the running of Kensington and Chelsea council. Some speakers at the meeting argued that would be a mistake. Lucy said, "We need to have accountability.

“We need to have a snap local election.” 

Another person added, “We've been managing the situation ourselves, I don't know where the council have been.”

One of the main demands was to call for a local election.

Speaker after speaker slammed the election of Tory Elizabeth Campbell as the new leader of the council after Nicholas Paget-Brown’s resignation. Her leadership of the council is already on the rocks after 24 hours.

Presided 

Campbell presided over the 2014 decision to ram through £1.3 million worth of cuts to children's services. She was a member of the council leadership that waved through the deadly Grenfell Tower refurbishment.

Other speakers backed up the call for bringing the council down. Moyra Samuels, who chaired the meeting, argued, “We need to make our presence felt at the next cabinet council meeting on 19 July.” 

One speaker argued that grassroots strength could force justice from the people at the top.” Look at the Stephen Lawrence inquiry,” they said. “Sir William Macpherson was a right wing judge that the Lawrence family didn't want. 

“But they forced him to acknowledge institutional racism through their strength of organisation.”

Another speaker gave an impassioned plea for undocumented migrants from the tower to be given amnesty so they could seek help without fear of deportation. “I love all the people in that building, it doesn't matter where they came from,” they said. 

“I lost all my friends. My friend on the 12th floor told me she was trapped—she was too scared to try and escape.

“I am missing her, I love her. I love all the people in that building.”

The people at Grenfell Tower are victims of a capitalist system that treats working class people with contempt. The fight for justice goes on. 


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