THE HORROR felt by millions of people after the Grenfell Tower inferno which claimed the lives of so many men, women and children, immediately turned into anger in the hours and days after the fire as it began to emerge that the disaster could have easily been prevented.
Cuts to the fire service, a refusal by the government to implement recommendations to install sprinkler systems in all tower blocks, and the use of cheap flammable cladding and insulation all contributed to the Grenfell Tower disaster.
As everyone knows, Grenfell was not an accident waiting to happen, but a direct result of the policies of a government and a ruling class who exploit the working class to make their profits, and who deregulated away safe housing construction in order to make even greater profits.
We now know that there are Grenfells waiting to happen in tower blocks across the UK. A total of 181 high-rise buildings across 51 local authorities failed the fire safety test on their cladding.
Now, we find that sixty tower blocks have failed the new fire test, including nine local government-owned blocks in Salford.
The nine blocks, built in the 1960s, were re-clad recently with shiny coloured panels, and insulation to ‘cut energy bills’. In fact, nine potential death traps were created. The police investigating the Grenfell Tower fire now say they have ‘reasonable grounds’ to suspect that corporate manslaughter offences ‘may have been committed’.
It means senior executives from the council and the tenant management organisation that ran the block are likely to be ‘interviewed under caution’. Organisations guilty of the offence of corporate manslaughter are liable to an ‘unlimited fine’.
David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham, whose friend Khadija Saye died in the fire, said the punishment for corporate manslaughter, a fine, would not ‘represent justice for the Grenfell victims and their families’.
He added: ‘Gross negligence manslaughter carries a punishment of prison time, and I hope that the police and the CPS are considering charges of manslaughter caused by gross negligence’ – a jailable offence.
In fact, the scale of the crime demands that those responsible should be tried for murder. The living nightmare of mothers throwing their children out of the windows in a desperate attempt to save them has been burned into the consciousness of the population.
The class divide in Kensington and Chelsea is particularly sharp as working class families have been languishing in dilapidated housing, set up as fire death traps, because the council and building contractors are too cheap and too greedy to make them safe.
Also in the dock is the capitalist system itself which is the source of the furious drive for profits at whatever cost it takes to make the working class produce them. Everyone knows that this system makes its profits from the superexploitation of the working class, from the 18-hour shifts of the 19th century and the Tolpuddle Martyrs, to the millions of zero-hours contract workers and the anti-union laws of the 21st century.
It is this race for profits that produced the Grenfell Tower inferno. Capitalism is now in the dock and it has been found guilty. The sentence must be carried out by the working class and its trade unions. The answer to the Grenfell fire is to bin the Kensington and Chelsea Tory council and form a Council of Action of tenants, trade unions and youth in Kensington and Chelsea to take charge of permanently rehousing the survivors, dispensing the millions of pounds of aid that has been collected from ordinary people.
In all the areas threatened by the huge fire risk, Councils of Action must be formed to take charge of the crisis situation and to mobilise the millions of workers for a general strike to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers government and socialism.
This is the only way forward. This is the only way that those responsible for the Grenfell inferno and all of the actions that have been taken against the working class will be brought to justice.