London (AHT) – The right wing backlash against the righteous anger and, yes, rage over the mass incineration of human beings inside Grenfell Tower in the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea has begun. Demonising those who dare do anything other than wave a few placards and sing hymns in solidarity with the victims and survivors is being characterise as tantamount to calling for revolution by apologists for a status quo of rampant inequality, social and economic injustice, and in light of Grenfell corporate manslaughter. They are the real class warriors in Britain. The only difference is that instead of just talking about class war the Tories and their media acolytes wage it — and with venom — on a daily basis. Indeed what is austerity if not an economic and political assault on the poor?
Tory austerity has been and continues as a mass experiment in human despair, wherein people’s worth is categorised solely on the basis of their economic status. Poverty is not a crime, yet the clear inference from a benefits sanctioning regime that is beyond cruel, delivering thousands of people into the arms of destitution and the indignity of having to rely on foodbanks in order to feed themselves and their children, is that the Tories view it as a badge of moral deficiency. Purifying the working class, poor and unemployed with pain has been the prescribed medicine, accompanied by a campaign of demonisation of some of society’s most vulnerable in the pages of a feral, right wing Tory-supporting press, which in a civilised country would qualify as hate speech.
But not only must austerity be rejected on moral and human rounds, but also on economic grounds. The economic crisis caused the deficit, the deficit did not cause the economic crisis. Here the Tories have proved eminently successful in turning a recession caused by individual greed and recklessness on the part of the banks and private sector into one caused by profligate public spending. The result has been the structural adjustment of the state, an ideologically driven project attacking and dismantling the last frontiers of collectivism and collectivist ideas in society, ideas embodied in the ethos that underpins the NHS and welfare state.
Sucking aggregate demand out of the economy by driving down average incomes in the midst of a recession has proved an exercise in self harm, creating a greater gulf between the haves and have nots than at any time since records began. It has ensured that we are yet to fully emerge from the economic tsunami that swept through the world in 2007/08, a tsunami as mentioned that traces its causes to an under-regulated global banking system. It exposed the fatal weaknesses of a sector that had been left more or less to its own devices, akin to leaving a drug addict alone in a house with a cupboard full of crack, existing outside effective political and regulatory oversight.
Instead of punishing those responsible for the economic chaos of 2007/08 the Tories’ vengeance has been levelled against those who were not responsible, and with brutal consequences. How they managed to get away with what has amounted to unleashing a class war will undoubtedly baffle social historians in decades to come. It was almost as if they were inviting an eruption of social unrest, pushing an entire demographic to the brink and in the process confirming that this government was comprised of rich, privately educated sociopaths.
There is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come, and Grenfell leaves no doubt that British society is a utopia for the few and a dystopia for far too many. The victims of this tragedy/disaster/crime died on the altar of a free market that is anything but free. If the mass incineration of people because they are poor is not enough to produce an upsurge of rage then nothing is, and as a society we are lost. That we are in dire need of a radical change in political priorities, replacing a culture of greed and callous cruelty with one of solidarity and compassion, could not be more evident.
How dare they rail against people protesting the atrocity of Grenfell with a ‘Day of Rage’? The real problem they have, in truth, is the way this crime has woken working class and poor people up, not just in London but all over the country, as to who the real enemy is. It is not Muslims, migrants, or any of the other minority groups the Tory press has extended itself in demonising in recent years. No, the enemy of justice and decency in Britain is a Tory establishment who’s own ‘Day of Rage’ is unleashed against the poor each and every day, with the consequences all around for those who choose to see them.
Their day of rage is called austerity.