One year ago yesterday, dozens of people were allowed to burn to death in London. In the heart of the wealthiest city in one of the richest countries on Earth, an entire community went up in flames over the course of a night as scores of working class families, the majority of them comprised of people of colour, were torn apart by the legacy of decades of neglect. Hypnotised by the ideology of austerity and the free market and contemptuous of those citizens it considers an unworthy underclass, multiple successive governments repeatedly cut corners and ignored calls for better fire protection. As one policy and government led to another, they formed a direct causal link that culminated in the horrors of 14th June 2017. Grenfell Tower is located in a borough (and city) of huge wealth disparity. It stands, now a blackened husk, within spitting distance of some of the most expensive properties on the planet. It stands as a symbol of everything that remains rotten and deadly about modern capitalism—an ideology of exploitation, racism, and death. The system allowed the people of Grenfell to burn. It has allowed those that escaped death to suffer, still yet not providing them with proper, sustainable housing. It failed them every step of the way.
But though the system might want them quiet, subdued, and accepting, the people do not comply. Their spirits do not go gently into the good night. In the shadows of oppression and pain you will always find the embers of resistance and empathy burning fiercely, and last night the people of London gathered to pay their respects to those who lost their lives in Grenfell, to show support for those still suffering from the fallout of that night, and to show that despite those responsible for this horrific crime have yet to suffer the consequences.
Lets also remember that this was not some unforeseen tragedy, people actually living in the tower repeatedly warned about the risks/dangers/hazards several times and were ignored #Grenfell— Akala (@akalamusic) June 14, 2018
Emma Dent Coad and Jeremy Corbyn at the Grenfell march pic.twitter.com/qCQkKTSJwW— Dawn Foster (@DawnHFoster) June 14, 2018
Tonight we joined Grenfell survivors and bereaved families and local residents for the silent march to commemorate the loss of life of a year ago today.— Richard Burgon MP (@RichardBurgon) June 14, 2018
At Maxilla Social Club and on the march, there was an incredible positive feeling of community togetherness despite the grief pic.twitter.com/69YLA7Bsnm
One of the most touching and powerful displays was impromptu, unexpected. As people gathered in the streets, clad in green to commemorate the victims, a tube train slowed down on a bridge overhead, its driver door already open. As the train halted to a stop in between stations, a working man, ferrying Londoners across the city, leaned out and waved a green flag and shouted messages of solidarity.
The driver’s name is Harvey Mitchell.
Some have asked after the tube driver who made a lovely gesture, stopping his train, tooting his horn and flying a green flag in solidarity with the #Grenfell community. TfL support Harvey Mitchell's actions and this afternoon he was interviewed for BBC News #GreenForGrenfell pic.twitter.com/KEValkSZXS— I was a JSA claimant (@imajsaclaimant) June 14, 2018