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

Southtowns Water Crisis

Feb 12, 2024

Working class communities just south of Chicago continue to suffer severe emergency conditions caused by a rapidly crumbling network of underground water pipes.

South suburban Dixmoor was plagued with 14 water main breaks in just two weeks, with more breaks expected in the weeks and months ahead. Freezing January temperatures (normal winter weather in Chicago!) triggered the initial breaks. Once these were patched, a slew of new fractures popped up as weather further strained the rapidly deteriorating 70-year-old water delivery system which has been on its last legs for years.

Dixmoor Elementary School District 147 was closed because toilets couldn’t flush and school faucet water was contaminated. Public health officials called a boil order for more than 300 Dixmoor homes, and a larger number experienced basement flooding and other damage.

During the same weeks a similar water crisis was already in progress several communities away in south suburban Robbins. There, a major water main break poured thousands of gallons of water under a gravel pile beneath CSX railroad tracks. Water remained gushing for over two weeks causing flooding of public streets and homes. Repair efforts were obstructed by railroad officials, who restricted access to repair crews on their property so it could maintain its normal freight train schedule.

For years, city and state capitalist politicians have been fully aware of the dilapidated water system, with its miles of corroded and deteriorating pipes. Millions are needed for replacement of these systems. Now that the city mayors are screaming about it, the politicians are pointing fingers at each other hoping to foist responsibility back to these poor communities and elsewhere.

The capitalist system’s political structure again finds itself incapable and unwilling to address even the most basic of society’s needs.