LONDON — Thousands of working people joined a silent march through North Kensington June 14 marking one year since a massive fire destroyed the Grenfell Tower block, killing 72 people and leaving hundreds homeless. While the big-business media repeated police reports of 5,000 participants, organizers more accurately estimated 12,000. The Grenfell inferno was a disaster waiting to happen, a result of the callous indifference of government and local authority officials and building managers. The fire started on the fourth floor and spread rapidly after it caught onto cladding installed on the building’s exterior that was a known fire hazard. There were no sprinklers in the building.
Similar cladding still covers over 300 housing blocks, both public and private, and hospitals and schools.
The North Kensington procession culminated a day of commemorations of the catastrophe — a product of capitalist social relations — showing the determination of survivors of the fire and other working people to keep fighting. They are demanding housing for the majority of surviving residents who are still in temporary accommodation, for holding accountable those responsible for the Grenfell disaster, and for government action to make other buildings safe.