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

You Can Freeze to Death

Jan 21, 2002

On January 6, Aaron Thomas Jr., a 63-year-old man, was found dead from the cold. In October 1998, Peoples Gas Company had shut off the gas at his previous residence because he was behind on his bills. When he moved into his new place in December 2000, the company wouldn’t hook up the gas since he hadn’t paid his old bills. He has been without heat ever since.

Thomas is not the first person known to have died from lack of heat this winter. He is the tenth in a year that has been mild so far. There are three more months to go in the winter.

It’s outrageous in this day and age with all the modern conveniences that people freeze to death in the middle of a big city.

Chicago is a city which gets cold every winter. No surprise in that. No reason that there aren’t measures already taken to prevent people from going without heat.

The gas company, of course, will say that there are programs set up to prevent this–well if so, when they shut Aaron Thomas’s heat off, why didn’t the gas company implement them? When he applied for heat in a winter month, why didn’t they call on one of these programs to pay off his bill, so he could start fresh?

No, they stood on their right to make as much profit as possible–and let an old man die.