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

Killing Fields of Los Angeles

Mar 11, 2024

The mortality rate for the homeless living on the streets of very wealthy cities like Los Angeles more than tripled in ten years, according to University of Pennsylvania researchers. This study found that more than 2,000 unhoused people died in Los Angeles in the last year, meaning an average of nearly six deaths a day, turning being homeless into a death sentence.

Housing costs are very high in Los Angeles: the rent for a two-bedroom apartment is around $2,900. The wages are too low: the minimum wage is around $17 an hour. Businesses relentlessly seeking ever-increasing profits cause these high rents and low wages.

For this reason, many workers live together in cramped environments or far away from the county. And it is very easy to lose your job. For this reason, the number of homeless has been soaring over the years. Los Angeles County now has more than 75,500 homeless people, making it the home of one of the largest homeless populations in the U.S.

Once someone loses their housing, everything else immediately starts to fall apart. First, finding a new job becomes very difficult. After they are thrown into the streets, daily worries of lacking any shelter, struggling to find food to survive, and defending themselves against violence suck workers into desperation, hopelessness, and mental illness.

This often leads to drug and alcohol addiction, one of the leading causes of death for homeless people. Homeless people also die because of heat and cold exposure, traffic injuries, homicide, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and malnutrition. Such deaths might have been avoided if the homeless had access to a home, food, or preventative medical care. Even a minor infection can easily be deadly after healthcare is lost.

This high number of homeless deaths is “comparable to something like a natural disaster or war,” pointed out one researcher. Yes, these homeless deaths are the consequence of the class war waged by the rich against us, the working class.