The Spark

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

The “city that works”
– for a few

Jan 2, 2006

On Monday, December 19th, following a night of zero degrees, a 92-year-old woman and her 63-year-old son were found dead, wrapped in blankets in their freezing cold house on Chicago’s Northwest Side.

The police came by, but told the press that the two had died accidentally, due to the cold and coronary arteriosclerosis. The spokeswoman for the police said they would not investigate further, since the house is the owner’s responsibility.

Peoples Gas was outside the house on Tuesday, but its workers refused to comment on what they found. Was the gas shut off, was the furnace broken, had they turned the gas off to save money? We aren’t told and the city could care less.

The deaths of these two people followed at least three other cold-related deaths. In Chicago, as elsewhere in the country, the price of gas has gone up sharply. Social workers have warned that the high price of gas and extremely cold temperatures could be deadly for the old, infirm and poor.

This is the same Chicago where 465 people died of heat-related causes in July 1995. The city did nothing then to see that those in a dangerous condition were supplied with air conditioners or moved to safer conditions.

Of course not – government is not run to protect the population. Chicago politicians have other priorities – there is a steady stream of developers who need tens of millions of dollars in subsidies.

Chicago is called the City that Works. It does for the rich, but for the elderly and infirm, you’d better have the money or you’ll freeze to death.