The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Setting Poor Populations against Each Other

Jun 26, 2023

Chicago has never had enough housing to accommodate its poor residents. A 2022 survey said that over 65,600 are struggling with homelessness in this city. But just this year, nearly 10,000 new migrants have arrived on buses from the South. The crisis is reaching staggering proportions, as nearly 6,000 of the newly arrived migrants are still desperately seeking shelter.

Existing programs to aid the homeless are deteriorating as the small number of city-provided shelters are already overflowing, and few new ones have been provided.

While government officials claim they are working to provide additional shelters, they most often send newly arrived migrants to poor and working-class communities, hoping that churches and public buildings will share their facilities, and that compassionate individuals will open their homes and apartments to the new arrivals. New migrants are sent to public schools that have been shuttered; or to Park District facilities where existing programs have been either cancelled or relocated.

Residents are upset because city funding for the neighborhoods and social services have already been slashed, and adequate additional funding is not provided for the care of the new migrants being sent.

In response to the crisis, the city’s capitalist politicians do what they do best—point fingers at each other and the communities they supposedly represent. As a result, racial tensions and animosities are being stoked. All this was on display at a recent Chicago City Council meeting where a proposal for additional funding was under discussion. A hostile argument broke out and politicians hurled racially charged taunts and accusations at each other and the communities impacted.

They say the crisis will be solved if working class communities “open their hearts and homes” and make “new sacrifices.” All the while bending over backward to avoid discussion of the real solution: to go after the ever-growing profits and tax breaks of the banks, corporations, and local developers that the politicians serve.