sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
[personal profile] sabotabby
Apparently I am not completely desensitized to horror, which comes as a relief in a strange way. I'm just full of rage—at the acquittal of Philando Castile's murderer, at the barring of Black Lives Matter activists from testifying about the impact of cops in schools, and, most acutely, at the completely preventable tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire.

The latter is, to me, the starkest depiction of austerity and late-stage capitalism in action. The residents called for repairs. Labour called for tighter safety regulations. Boris Johnson literally told them to go stuff themselves. The cladding, which was probably a major factor in the deaths of 100 or so people, was installed not to protect the building's tenants—low-income, many of them racialized, many of them Syrian refugees—but to hide the unsightly nature of the tower from wealthy neighbours.

I kind of get why people lose their shit over terrorist attacks and mass shootings, but this gets me more. There's a lot we can do as a culture to reduce terrorism and mass shootings, and of course we tend to do the opposite of that, but even in a perfect world, not every act of senseless violence would be preventable. Norway still produced Anders Breivik—even a utopia would have its madmen.

But a situation where you have people saying, "this tragedy is going to happen if you don't fix the thing," and those in charge do not fix the thing, because money is more important than human lives—that is totally preventable and entirely foreseeable. There was an obvious, simple way to prevent those 100 deaths, if our civilization valued people as much as it valued profits.

There are death tolls to tell you how many people died because of communism. There are no tallies of deaths under capitalism, as if starvation because of collectivization is somehow less preferable to starvation because of austerity, or a firing squad is worse than a fire.

This is the very heart of my politics. This is why I fight, even though it doesn't affect me, even though I don't really know how to, even though I'm exhausted. Sometimes fury is the only thing that keeps me going.

Date: 2017-06-16 11:35 pm (UTC)
springheel_jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] springheel_jack
I can't believe the cladding thing, because buildings that use that stuff have been going up like roman candles for years. Like a dozen cases. It's a known danger. It's illegal most places now. They made it illegal two years ago in Dubai! After about their sixth major high rise fire. They're even forcing buildings that already used it to remove it.

Basically that refit at Grenfell must have been about the last place in the world still using that shit. I could not believe it was legal in the UK fire code. Just flat could not believe it.

I knew about that stuff before this, because of all the big fires. Me! How can they say they didn't know?

And that it was okay to have one staircase, one unblocked exit door, no sprinklers, and no working alarm. The fires in the Mideast didn't kill nearly as many people because they had alarms and exits.

The US is shit but even we aren't that shit.

Date: 2017-06-17 12:59 am (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
Yeah. Yeah. It was just....they were poor, and had nowhere else to go (I heard the housing budget got cut and then they couldn't get people out of unsafe buildings because "then they'd all be homeless" -- so, your life for your shelter?), and nobody cared. People in power are now going to care, some, now that they're dead, but it's like their lives were 'worth' nothing. That's "the starkest depiction of austerity and late-stage capitalism in action," absolutely, just as you say.

Date: 2017-06-20 04:17 pm (UTC)
the_axel: (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_axel
The Tories don't care. Thatcher demonstrated that not caring about poor people doesn't lose elections.

At most, they might claim to care, wring their hands a bit, and then when the media attention has moved on, they'll remove further safeguards in the interest of profit.

Date: 2017-06-22 03:45 am (UTC)
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
From: [personal profile] frandroid

Date: 2017-06-17 01:40 am (UTC)
ironed_orchid: pin up girl reading kant (Default)
From: [personal profile] ironed_orchid
Furious rage is the proper response to the Grenfell fire. Anything else does not do justice to those who were killed and those who are now homeless.

Date: 2017-06-17 01:52 am (UTC)
smhwpf: (BuffyAnne)
From: [personal profile] smhwpf
Right there with ya.

Late stage Capitalism, but it feels like early/mid stage Capitalism. People dying in hundreds because the Bourgeousie don't give a shit and they're undeserving poor or whatever.

My dad lives in a tower block like that, with a similar big housing association running it that treats its tenants like inmates.

Rage is the only proper response.

Date: 2017-06-17 10:24 pm (UTC)
pofflewomp: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pofflewomp
I get very upset by the malignant paternalism of the big housing associations. When I was setting up a foodbank a few years ago I spoke to people at a few (Origin comes to mind) and was not happy with their condescending attitude towards tenants. Mine is the Peabody Trust. They seem to train their managers and other staff to be aggressive, rude and threatening on purpose.

Date: 2017-06-17 03:16 am (UTC)
the_siobhan: It means, "to rot" (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_siobhan
The Grenfell bullshit fucking enrages me. I want people to go to jail over this. I know they won't.

Date: 2017-06-17 05:41 pm (UTC)
xturtle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] xturtle
I am just a ball of pissed off at most of this week's news. That fire is by far the worst of it, though.

RIP Philando. I'm not sure how much made it out of local news, but he worked at a fucking elementary school and was beloved by the kids there. He was killed because, from a passing glance, his nose was broad enough to make him resemble a suspect in a robbery. No speeding ticket, he was literally stopped for being a black man with a wide nose. The asshole cop who shot him changed his story three times. But 500 school children get a life lesson in how the criminal justice system works, so hopefully their generation will be smart enough to burn it the fuck down.

Date: 2017-06-17 10:17 pm (UTC)
pofflewomp: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pofflewomp
I kind of want to point out that we aren't necessarily poor here in social housing in London: generally our rent is equal to or higher than UK average and until it has been sold off bit by bit 40-50% of central London housing has been social housing: it is how normal Londoners live rather than separate housing for the 'poor' and its residents tend to be a mix of working and middle and professional classes. It does seem this tower block housed more working class than professional though. I just point out this about social housing here because the false image of social housing as some kind of segregation of disadvantaged people has been used to allow governments to turn it into just that.

I've been avoiding much of the Grenfell news as it is just unbearable, but I got the impression it is part of the privatisation of social housing and subcontracting. The cladding used was already banned in the U.S.. Rather like Atos.

Date: 2017-06-17 10:32 pm (UTC)
pofflewomp: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pofflewomp
When I was pregnant I spent ages in the local archives trying to research an article idea I had for some histories of local social housing, hoping to raise local consciousness of how huge a part of our community and also how huge a proportion of housing here it is (most of the housing in the tourist centre, the West End (Soho, Covent Garden, Chinatown, Theatreland and all), where I grew up - 15 minutes' from where I am now - is or was social housing. I met a woman there from Defend Council Housing, a campaign group from the 80s onwards, who was putting together all her material documenting campaigns over the decades. Lots of squats became successful social housing, like one I lived in as a child (now taken over by one of the big baddier housing associations) and my dad's housing co op (now part council run but still with some co operative independence).
I got too ill in pregnancy to get far unfortunately. I should try to get back to it somehow. Natalie Bennett was blogging about the same thing before she became Green Party leader as she lived in different social housing blocks here for decades.


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