The Criminals Behind the Grenfell Tower Fire in London

June 19, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |


In the early morning hours of Wednesday, June 14, a horrific fire ripped through Grenfell Tower, a 24-story public housing building in North Kensington, London. Scenes of the inferno engulfing the entire building reached TV screens around the world. Some of the trapped residents threw their children from the buildings, hoping to save them, and some jumped out themselves. Anyone watching this could not help but feel utter horror and pain, knowing that so many people were trapped inside, facing a terrifying death.

Some of the poorest families in London lived in overcrowded conditions in this tower—which stood adjacent to streets lined with townhouses worth tens of millions. Many of the tenants were immigrants, including many from Syria, Somalia and Sudan.

The latest reports are that about 70 people died in the fire. But many people remain in the hospital, and it is not yet clear what the final death toll will be. What IS clear is that this was a mass murder that was almost inevitable, given the condition of the building and the wanton neglect of the owners of the building, despite the fact that many, many tenants in the building had repeatedly complained and sounded the alarm.

People have taken to the streets to protest. People are calling for the resignation of British Prime Minister Theresa May because of her callous and inadequate response to the fire. On June 16, demonstrators heckled May and stormed the local council of the owners of Grenfell Tower, accusing officials of not giving survivors any financial assistance, lodging, or an accounting of the missing loved ones. On Saturday, June 17, hundreds of people gathered outside May’s office, demanding to know why the long-standing safety concerns of the tenants group had been ignored. People are also mad that she didn’t even bother to meet with survivors when she initially visited the neighborhood after the fire.

Investigators are trying to understand why the fire spread with such incredible speed to the top floors. The apartment complex underwent a $13 million refurbishment last year that included new thermal cladding to the exterior, and reports have now surfaced that a banned exterior paneling was used in the renovation and that there had been other cost-cutting measures. Experts think the banned insulation may have been why the fire spread so quickly.

The tenants organization, the Grenfell Action Group, had raised concerns for years about the building’s firefighting equipment and blocked emergency access. Last year, the group warned of “dangerous living conditions” in the tower and said, “It is a truly terrifying thought but the Grenfell Action Group firmly believe that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO.” The KCTMO (Kensington and Chelsea Management Organization) managed the building for public authorities that owned it, and the huge company oversees some 10,000 other properties. Some tenants say that KCTMO was purposely neglecting the building in order to let it decay so that it could be demolished—and replaced with profitable market-rate housing.

According to The Mirror, two women who are now feared dead from the fire, Mariem Elgwahry, 27, and Nadia Choucair, 33, had received letters threatening them with legal action and ordering them to stop their campaign to improve the safety of the building.

There are about 2,500 apartments like the Grenfell Towers throughout Britain. One news report said, “The fire at the Grenfell Tower housing project—its scorched shell looming above one of London’s most upscale neighborhoods—has become a grim symbol of class inequality in a city that has long been a magnet for global wealth.”

There are criminals responsible for the horrific Grenfell Towers fire: the for-profit companies managing the building, working together with government officials. And they are part of a criminal capitalist system. A system under which profit comes before everything. A system that denies people decent and safe housing and instead creates and maintains murderous deathtraps.





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