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UNION BLASTS BUSH FOR L.A. RIOTS STANCE

 UNION BLASTS BUSH FOR L.A. RIOTS STANCE
 BEAUMONT, Texas, May 6 /PRNewswire/ -- President Robert E. Wages


of the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union today released the following statement on behalf of the union's executive board which is in session here this week:
 OCAW Executive Board Statement on the Los Angeles Situation
 Sunday's White House statement blaming social programs of the 1960s for the Los Angeles riots last week clearly demonstrates the utter bankruptcy of political leadership in the United States.
 George Bush and his advisors should be searching for meaningful solutions to the deep-seated problems that caused the boilover of frustration, hate and violence. Instead, they can only produce for this troubled nation an outrageous statement reflecting their callous, blame-the-victim philosophy.
 While the violence that occurred cannot be condoned, it's also necessary to recognize that the violence poor people must daily endure at the hands of an uncaring society, including the police, inevitably produces violent reactions. The jury decision in the Rodney King case, unjustifiable and outrageous as it was, must be seen as only the spark that set off the powder keg -- with more sparks sure to follow.
 The White House and the Republican Party have only one objective: getting George Bush reelected. That's why we're witnessing the crassest, most opportunistic playing of partisan politics at a time when courageous, responsible leadership is so badly needed. The people of this country deserve more from its national leaders than a cover-your-ass, damage control reaction to the horrible events of the past week.
 But they aren't reacting to the tragedy and human suffering that unfolded in Los Angeles; they're reacting to Bush's drop in the polls, attempting to turn attention away from his abysmal domestic policies. Why else would a GOP official, referring to the White House campaign against liberal solutions to social problems, say that it "would work a little better if we were running against a 'Great Society' liberal?"
 The spin-control artists of the Bush Administration have no way out except to shift the blame and lay it elsewhere. So they talk about how the Great Society programs of President Lyndon B. Johnson destroyed pride of community and created dependency in urban areas, and how those programs broke up urban family life. What they don't mention is how those programs, which consisted of needed, basic human services to people who wouldn't otherwise have received them, have been so savagely dismantled by the Reagan and Bush administrations.
 "Liberal social programs" aren't to blame. The blame for the unraveling of America rests squarely on Bush and his predecessor Reagan. They're directly and personally responsible for removing basic protections such as health care; cutting education; massively shifting income away from the working poor to the rich; rolling back civil rights gains; and allowing urban areas to deteriorate -- even as they've presided, all the while, over the de-industrialization of the United States.
 Neither political party is demonstrating the kind of leadership the American people so sorely need. It's obvious that virtually all the social problems that plague us -- poverty, racism, sexism, violence, crime, and so on -- are exacerbated by unemployment and underemployment. Yet no national leader, Republican and Democrat, is calling for a policy of full employment. Neither are they calling for a restoration of those "liberal social programs" to protect people from the ravages of an economy that isn't providing enough well-paying jobs for them to live decently.
 The Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union calls for leadership in rehabilitating this country along the lines of the union's current national programs and initiatives. We thus call for leadership in creating a national health care program covering every citizen; in pursuing a policy of economic conversion to create non- military jobs with funds freed up by the end of the Cold War; to create a "Superfund for Workers" to retrain and otherwise make whole displaced workers; and to pursue a "Crusade for a New Social, Political and Economic Agenda for Working America."
 In conclusion, OCAW believes it necessary to warn the American people to expect and oppose another of the Bush Administration's favorite strategies for drawing attention away from its domestic non- agenda -- the strategy of war. Billions of dollars, always available for waging war, somehow become impossible to produce when it comes to providing jobs. The Administration may be looking at war on the peoples of Libya, North Korea or Peru to resurrect Bush's standing in the polls; but it may also end up fighting American citizens in the streets of places like Miami, Newark, N.J., or again in Los Angeles if something drastic and immediate isn't done to solve our festering domestic problems.
 -0- 5/6/92
 /CONTACT: Rod Rogers of OCAW, 303-987-2229/ CO: Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union ST: Colorado, Texas, California IN: SU:


MC-BB -- DV002 -- 6899 05/06/92 08:35 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 6, 1992
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