What should be understood about Grenfell Tower is that it is a low-income housing tower located in North Kensington, on the western edge of Inner London, surrounded by rich neighbourhoods.
Grenfell Tower residents had already organized as an association called Grenfell Action Group and repeatedly raised fire safety concerns with the property management, Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organization (KCTMO), for years before the fire. No action was taken.
In 2013, a series of terrifying power surges was experienced for weeks in the building to the extent that smoke was coming out of electrical appliances and light fixtures. Many electronics and appliances were destroyed by the surges, and the issue was never resolved to the residents' satisfaction. Ongoing complaints and calls for fire safety improvements were ignored by KCTMO.
There was a single staircase running through the entire 24-storey building, 120 apartments, with one entrance and one exit. There was no sprinkler system, fire extinguishers were outdated, stairwells were filled with garbage and old mattresses, and residents reported hearing no fire alarms to alert them to the fire.
The only instructions residents had ever received from property management was to stay in their apartments in case of a fire.
Recently, the building was given a 8.7 million pound "facelift" so the area's rich residents wouldn't have to put up with an eyesore. New paneling was put on the exterior of the tower to "prettify" the building, and it is being said that the type of paneling used contributed to the fire, spreading it along the outside of the building and ensuring that residents became trapped inside.
It has since been revealed that the flammable paneling used is actually banned in the U.S., Europe, and the U.K. The flammable version was used to save money.
These are the unfortunately, tragically, prophetic words from the Grenfell Action Group in a post from November 2016:
"It is a truly terrifying thought but the Grenfell Action Group firmly believe that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO, and bring an end to the dangerous living conditions and neglect of health and safety legislation that they inflict upon their tenants and leaseholders. We believe that the KCTMO are an evil, unprincipled, mini-mafia who have no business to be charged with the responsibility of looking after the every day management of large scale social housing estates and that their sordid collusion with the RBKC Council is a recipe for a future major disaster."
A list of previous blogs by the Grenfell Action Group has also been posted, outlining its multiple calls to property management to take action on safety issues, all of which fell on deaf ears.
This tragedy at Grenfell Tower is yet another horror show symbol of the Pluto in Capricorn years. Many homes, businesses, and communities have been destroyed by the gentrification steamroller, creating surface-level appeal for the ultra rich and pampered at the expense of those with less wealth and fewer resources.
In this most tragic of cases, the exterior of Grenfell Tower was made to look pretty for the area's rich residents while covering up the rot, neglect, and corruption going on within. This is a common Pluto in Capricorn theme. This rot, neglect, and corruption, this crumbling and inadequate infrastructure, are allowed to fester (beneath the beautified surface) until a devastating event happens like this fire.
Not a penny of that 8.7 million pounds was spent on a sprinkler system, proper fire alarms, fireproofing, or fire escapes. (A sprinkler system for the entire building would have cost 138,000 pounds.) None of it was put toward fixing the electrical or replacing appliances in the building, with that terrifying history of power surges and unknown damages caused.
It was a superficial change covering up chronic neglect and corruption by management and government in order to please the people who really matter - the affluent. It was a superficial change attempting to cover up an entirely corrupt power structure, which failed repeatedly on multiple levels.
It is rarely a single corrupt and reckless action that leads to a tragedy like Grenfell Tower. It's a series of corrupt and reckless actions spread over years, coming from multiple layers of illegitimate hierarchical authority. It's an entire culture of so-called authority figures dropping the ball, looking the other way, making devastating and dangerous decisions that adversely affect others. It's an entire culture of people just plain not caring about anything other than the bottom line, while being compensated handsomely for bringing down misery on others.
It's this entire culture, this entire pyramid-scheme of illegitimate power, that Pluto in Capricorn is exposing for those who wish to see:
In addition to the criminal neglect and mismanagement from KCTMO, the City of London under Mayor Boris Johnson closed three fire stations in the area, part of a broader programme of fire station closures in the city which compromised safety.
Again, there were warnings about these horrific decisions.
From Fire Brigades Union regional secretary, Paul Embery:
"Mayor Boris Johnson will have blood on his hands. It will be only a matter of time before someone dies because a fire engine did not get to them in time. You cannot close 10 fire stations and slash nearly 600 firefighter jobs without compromising public safety.
These proposed cuts are dangerous and wrong. If they are implemented, they will undoubtedly jeopardize the safety of Londoners and firefighters alike."
The Conservative government in power at the federal level, headed by Teresa May, sat on a report for four years that said low-income tower blocks were safety hazards.
The Conservative government also voted down a recent amendment that would make it law for landlords to make their rental properties fit for human habitation. Seventy-one of the Conservative Members of Parliament who voted the amendment down are landlords themselves.
Here we see a group of low-income residents that did everything within its (too limited) power. The people organized into the Grenfell Action Group and made relentless petitions to property management over the course of years to improve fire safety.
Just as the Mercury in Gemini square to stationing Neptune in Pisces became exact (June 13), the fire broke out. Despite all the communication and prior warnings to property management (Mercury/Gemini) about fire safety problems, the building residents and the City of London itself were left with a mass victimization (Neptune/Pisces).
This was the culmination of multiple communication blockages that occurred simply because the residents' words were chronically ignored, downplayed, and not taken seriously by the people with power who were in positions to do something about it.
The words (Mercury/Gemini) of those who are powerless (Neptune/Pisces) within the current power schemes. Their words (Mercury/Gemini) being scattered and nullified, made invisible, unheard, like screaming under water (Neptune/Pisces). Difficulty in making oneself heard or understood (Mercury square Neptune) - in this case because the people in positions of authority simply do not want to hear or understand.
Under the current system, those without money and the (false) power it brings are easily shunted aside, swatted away like an annoying mosquito buzzing in one's ear...
Mercury in Gemini square Neptune in Pisces.
Words take work. They take energy. Often painstaking work and energy. So does organizing. And all that precious energy and effort was wasted by an impenetrable authoritarian establishment that does not listen, does not act, does not adapt its ways to the feedback from those directly affected by its decisions.
This type of establishment, unfortunately accepted widely as the best way of organizing ourselves, is insane, plain and simple. To take the decision-making power away from the people who are directly affected, putting it in the hands of people who don't understand and won't understand, who ultimately don't really give a damn, is insane.
Neptune and Pisces are associated with devastation, victimization, contagion, and karmic accidents/tragedies that have a broader collective root. They are associated with institutionalized living, such as this low-income tower block. And they are also associated with proliferation and dispersion, including into the collective psyche. I hope this Mercury-Neptune square indicates that the words of the residents will now proliferate and proliferate and proliferate until the public knows with no uncertainty the horrible injustice that was allowed to happen here, until those responsible are held accountable, including via criminal charges, and until the necessary changes are made to buildings around the world. This did not need to happen. It should not have happened.
We are connected around the world by blogs, media, and social media (Mercury/Gemini), and the warnings and words of the residents are now spreading far and wide (Neptune/Pisces).
Unfortunately, it seems there will be only a government-controlled inquiry of the Grenfell Tower fire, rather than a full public inquest. This takes another layer of power away from the public and from the surviving victims and families of the dead, keeping it all tightly controlled by the Conservative government in power.
The Sun in Gemini was forming a mutable t-square at the time of the Grenfell Tower fire, opposing Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius and squaring Chiron in Pisces.
This indicates a very immediate confrontation with the truth (Sagittarius) about the establishment (Saturn). The Sun in Gemini is shining a light on the outdated (retrograde) philosophy (Sagittarius) of the authoritarian establishment (Saturn), while also showing the acute pain, misery, wounding, and victimization (Chiron in Pisces) caused by this outdated authoritarian establishment.
The Sun in Gemini is shining its light on the corrupt will of the current power structures, a will that is forced upon people who must live under dangerous rules and decisions made by illegitimate and incompetent hierarchies.
These are bodies in mutable signs in tense and difficult aspect, illustrating the lack of adaptability, lack of movement, and lack of permeability within the current, top-down authoritarian structures.
With Neptune and Chiron in Pisces involved, there is an element of the ubiquitous. These are issues that go beyond location, beyond that North Kensington neighbourhood (Gemini).
The fact of the matter is - this isn't just an unfortunate and isolated event. This can happen anywhere, any time, and it will happen, it will keep happening, until action is taken, until the rot and corruption are overturned, until the entire Capricorn-run-amok, "money rules above all" mindset is eliminated (Pluto).
We have to wholeheartedly reject a mindset the prioritizes money over human life because we know that these are not the true rules governing life on Planet Earth. These are man-made rules, rules set up to benefit the few over the many.
We are on the brink of disaster as far as low-income housing almost across the board on Planet Earth. Bedbugs, vermin, faulty wiring, faulty appliances, inadequate heating and cooling, fire hazards, toxic mould, crumbling structures, safety hazards of all varieties. Homelessness is epidemic as rents and real estate prices remain ridiculously over-priced in many areas.
It's all designed for the highest bidder, and life continues to get more and more difficult for those without means.
One of my first stories as a journalism student in the late 1990s was about a real estate corporation, aptly named Boardwalk Equities, buying up all the low-income housing around the university, doing cheap, superficial renovations, and then jacking the rents up. This company made its fortune that way and continues to hold a monopoly (again, you can't make this stuff up) on housing in many areas where low-income people live. When oil was in "boom phase" rather than "bust phase" (where it is now), Boardwalk Equities literally doubled the rents on their bare bones apartments in Calgary, Alberta, in order to cash in.
The same situation is going on pretty well everywhere, as low-income housing is bought up by private investors and converted into cash cows. But there are few areas where this money-driven transformation is more mind-boggling than in highly-inflated London, where Grenfell Tower stood among all the over-priced abodes. Low-income housing in London, called council housing, has been gobbled up by real estate speculators and converted into high-end homes for the well-heeled, reducing the already-inadequate amount of affordable housing in the city. Over the past 20 years, the population of London has increased by 1 million people while the number of affordable housing units has dropped by one third.
We need change. We need change everywhere. We need affordable, alternative housing options for people of any income level. Land needs to be affordable and accessible for people of all income levels. Existing landlords and property management need to care as much about the safety of their tenants as they do about their own family members.
But that's not what we have.
We have the standard stranglehold of fake, phony, fiat currency with people reinforcing and benefiting from a violent, unjust, and deadly system.
The primary way to make money in this type of system is to cut corners. So this is what they do, ultimately leading to something horrific like the Grenfell Tower fire.
It doesn't matter which party is in power. The entire money scheme, the entire establishment power structure, is rotten to the core. But it's the poor and those who lack resources who are victimized most by it, not those who are truly responsible for the way things are (dys)functioning.
I don't see the solutions coming from the establishment.
The methods to improve fire safety in all low-income tower blocks were there - they just weren't utilized. The methods to make low-income housing habitable and safer for the people renting it are already there - they just aren't being enforced or utilized.
Solutions are already there for homelessness and the lack of low-income housing - tiny homes, cob homes, Earth ships, shipping container homes. You can create a home with a 3D printer for $10,000.
The technology is there. The political will is not. And under an intentionally-stratified system of Global Government, it never will be.
We have to keep working on the vision of what could be, even when our hearts are in the dust. Because the solutions are ultimately going to come from people helping themselves and each other, from people sharing ideas and techniques, from people using the power they have to build whatever they can. There's a critical mass that has to be reached before the momentum takes over and better ways start to become more accessible and available to people across the board.
Some of my vision involves:
- an understanding that as a human society, the basics of living must be accessible and available to everyone, regardless of income level. Until this is the case, the society is a failure.
- an understanding that fiat currency and wealth do not measure the true value of a human being and that income stratification/inequality is built right into the current system
- affordable land and basic housing that is available and accessible for people of all income levels: the basics are within reach for anyone; if you'd like more than the basics, you can work towards that
- the ability to work to pay for your home and land doing things that are beneficial to others/the community from within your ability, including work that can be done by people with disabilities
- tiny home communities, cob home communities, communities built with 3D printers, converted shipping container homes, other cheap and accessible alternative building methods made widely available
- options for people who prefer a more nomadic life; decriminalization of that way of living
- safe, clean, affordable, alternative energy that is controlled by individuals for their own homes/usage
- enough land area to grow/raise one's own food, if desired, or access to food from local farms or market gardens for those who do not wish to "do it themselves"
- investment in train networks and other public transportation, making public transit networks convenient, widespread, and appealing
- communities/neighbourhoods that are designed for people's preferences: some may be walking only, some may be walking/cycling/transit only, some may be individual vehicle only, or other mixes. Some communities could be completely private, others could have more interaction.
- communities that have options for natural human interaction: common areas, common kitchens or outdoor cooking areas, marketplaces, areas for music, dancing, or games, etc., all within walking distance
What is your vision as far as building better living/housing situations for the people on this planet?