The Grenfell Tower Inferno and Anarchism

“Let me be absolutely clear: the support for the families on the ground in the initial hours was not good enough. People were left without belongings, without roofs over their heads, without even basic information about what had happened, what they should do and where they should go to seek help. That was a failure of the state, local and national, to help people when they needed it most.”

Theresa May

It’s not often we quote politicians but on the Grenfell blaze, Theresa May was right. It was a complete failure of both the national state and government and the local state, Kensington and Chelsea Council, they failed to provide anything like adequate provision to the Grenfell survivors, but not just in the initial hours but for days to come. But it went beyond that. Both the national and local state were deeply implicated in the fire itself, with the cutting of fire services, the ignoring of repeated warnings by residents about the likelihood of a fire.

On the other hand, we had a great upsurge of grassroots solidarity, with volunteers from across London and as far away as Birmingham, bringing support and supplies, linking up with survivors and local community groups. They provided food, drink, clothes, bedding, toys and toiletries in vast amounts. When Camden Council ineptly moved tenants out of council blocks after panicking about fire risks, they again, like Kensington and Chelsea Council, treated them appallingly, failing to provide them with adequate information, and alternative housing, and generally treated them with the same contempt as Kensington and Chelsea Council. Local councils, whether Tory or Labour, have utter contempt for social housing tenants and for the working class in general. Camden Council failed to even provide water to the now homeless tenants, and this was left up to Grenfell volunteers who arrived to provide water.

There is a stark contrast between the response of the national and local state, and the emergence of grassroots voluntary organisation. This is not the first time this has happened after catastrophes, far from it. It illustrates the power of ordinary working class people to organise support networks. Another example is the creation of grassroots health centres in Greece with the collapse of the State health services.

This is anarchism in action. We must look more and more to this kind of grassroots organisation in the future as capitalism seeks to strip away social services in line with its strategy of austerity.

 

Advertisements

8 comments

  1. redstroke10

    How do I get involved with your group, I am a committed anarcho communist, I agree with your aims and principles. What’s next? Is there a meeting soon I can attend?

    Like

    • Anarchist Federation - London Group

      Can you make this?We will be holding a post-Bookfair Meeting on 31st October for all our contacts . 7pm at Common House, 5e Pundersons Gardens, London E2
      Introducing the AF: Why join the AF rather than other organisations?
      1. Discuss why people are anarchists and why do they want to get involved in changing society- individuals in big group or small groups if more people
      2. What principles do we need and what strategies to fulfil our aims?
      3. What the AF does- principles and strategies, what we do, how we work
      4. How we are different from other groups, eg Labour Party, Leninists, Plan C, Sol Fed
      5. Questions

      Like

  2. Pingback: Forget the Judge Led Inquiry – Grenfell Needs a People’s Inquiry | Freedom News
  3. Anarchist Federation - London Group

    Next public meeting:Next public meeting of London Anarchist Federation:
    The Anarchist Movement in Modern Spain
    Report back on factfinding tour of Spanish anarchist movement by AF member
    7pm Thursday August 31st at Common House, 5e Pundersons Gardens, London E2 (nearest tube Bethnal Green. Plenty of time or discussion, refreshments

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s