Action in solidarity with Grenfell survivors

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On 22 November, the Revolutionary Communist Group held its third public meeting since the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower in June this year. The meeting was held at the Maxilla Social Club in north Kensington. This venue has opened its doors to every kind of gathering for the last six months and we would like to thank Joe Walsh for his kindness and support.

Of course, this is not the only meeting place. Notting Hill Methodist Church is a centre of support for the neighbourhood. So too is a large area under the railway bridge and Westway overpass, opposite the burnt-out Grenfell Tower. This has been cleaned and furnished as a permanent social space. It was established by local people as an area of remembrance and for candle-lit vigils. It has a huge Wall of Truth with statements from the community, a Garden of Remembrance, refreshments, seating, warm clothes, pianos and a library as well as an altar and several large and beautifully painted murals.

There are many charities and support groups working with the resident groups in this community. For our part the Revolutionary Communist Group has held regular street stalls outside Ladbroke Grove and Latimer Road tube stations and through petitioning we have met and talked with hundreds of local people including survivors, neighbours and families of the Grenfell residents about their experiences and concerns. These include:

  • Rehousing in the area – which has still not happened for the majority of tenants made homeless by the fire.
  • Whether or not Kensington and Chelsea council and the TMO will face criminal charges.
  • Rydon, the company that manufactured the flammable cladding on the tower – to face criminal charges for supplying a combustible material.
  • Anger that Rydon continues to be made council partners in development contracts all over London.
  • They note that so called ‘regeneration’ is in fact an excuse for social cleansing and privatisation.
  • They have no faith in the Public Inquiry and call for a People’s Inquiry led by the community.

The meeting was well attended by nearly 50 people, both locals and housing activists from across London. The ‘Stop the Merger’ campaign attended and encouraged action. Genesis and Notting Hill, two large and wealthy housing associations, are planning a merger which will affect 170,000 residents. That same morning the Revolutionary Communist Group supported the campaign’s picket of the landlord’s Homes Conference at Olympia.

We all know that it took the Hillsborough Campaign 28 years before criminal charges were brought against those responsible for the deaths of 96 people. And, as with Grenfell, the community was treated with disrespect and ignored. Not this time!

It was clear during discussions that action was needed and the meeting concluded with two planned events.

  • Monday 27 November, 7.30pm, action to demand criminal charges against Councillor Rock Feilding-Mellen, former deputy leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council. Meet at Latimer Road tube. More details on arrival.
  • Wednesday 6 December, 6pm, demonstration outside Kensington and Chelsea council meeting, Town Hall, Hornton Street, W8 7NX.

Bring drums, whistles, pots and pan – we will be loud and bold!

Suzi Rose

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 261 December 2017/January 2018