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The Grenfell Murders? The Violence of Exclusion and Neglect

By Williamwatkin @wwatkinbrunel
The Grenfell Murders? The Violence of Exclusion and Neglect
I am writing a piece on the Grenfell Tower tragedy, one year later.  Here is the pitch so far.  Looking to place this first as a piece of journalism.  But after that will also expand on the ideas here in my blog. Then they will form part of my current book project: Biovolence: The Coercion of Life in the Age of Terror.  If you are an editor and are interested in the full piece let me know.
In 1976 the French philosopher Michel Foucault gave a celebrated lecture where he outlined a new theory of state power.Instead of a state ruling though threats to life, he argued, modern states ruled by making promises about life.If ancient sovereign power made death or let live, modern biopower, as he called it, made life or let die.At the same time as presenting a new theory of power, Foucault also effectively invented a new idea of violence.If a state’s role is to protect the lives of its citizens, and to enhance and prolong them, then any state that fails in this duty, is committing an act of violence, the violence of exclusion and neglect, the violence of letting die.He went as far as to call the neglect of life on the part of the state a form of murder.
A year after Grenfell, while most commentators speak of the neglect of the victims and the survivors, few would agree with many of the survivors that the 72 dead murdered, perhaps viewing this as overly emotive, too extreme.Yet on Foucault’s terms the violence of exclusion and neglect on the part of a state whose power is based on the promise of protection and enhancement of the life of its citizens resulted in precisely that, a kind of murder of neglect.
The Grenfell Murders? The Violence of Exclusion and Neglect
The article will look again at the details of Grenfell from the perspective of the violence of exclusion and neglect, building the murder case so to speak.
Here is the case for the prosecution:
·   The failure of social housing bodies and councils to secure the safety of the inhabitants
·   The choice of cladding to effectively make the towers more attractive and thus invisible
·   The issue of poverty in one of London’s richest boroughs
·   The absence of Theresa May in those crucial first hours
·   The treatment of the survivors immediately after the fire, in particular as regards rehousing
·   The fate of the survivors one year later
·   The ticking time-bomb of over 100 other towers using the same cladding in the UK alone

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