July 10, 1986 | Executive Memorandum on Africa
the epoch of the world transition from capitalism to socialism and within the context of the struggle against imperialism." The document discusses the breakdown of consensus among the white ruling elite'. noting.that "there appea rs to be a proliferation of new groupings which consider themselves to be part of the forces for change." Then the document cautions that these new groups "cannot necessarily be embraced as part of ... the revolutionary forces." The meaning: the Communist Party is willing to use these groups for what they can offer, and then cast them aside. This, of course, is what communist parties have done in a dozen other countries since 1945. The Politburo study states candidly its view of these liberal South African reformers: "Let us be clear. The 'liberal' bourgeoisie seek transformations of the South African society which go be@ond the reform limits of the present regime but which aim to preempt the objectives of the revolutionary forces .... They seek transformat i on through negotiation and not the kind of conflict which would culminate in a revolutionary seizure of power." That is, the liberal reformers seek peaceful, negotiated change. This does not serve the interests of the Communist-ANC liberation front, becau s e it does not allow for the seizure of power by the revolutionaries. Though it is essential for the liberation front to be seen by the international community as sincere in its desire for peaceful change, this must not divert attention from the the main g o al: "Nor must a genuine desire to project a-public image of 'reasonableness' tempt us to paddle softly on the true nature of the liberation alliance and its revolutionary socioeconomic objectives .... The main thrust of our present strategy remains a revo l utionary seizure of power." The talks which so far have taken place between the ANC and reformist elements in South Africa therefore are only tactics in a much broader strategy. What the Communist Party confidentially has been telling its members is that t he'only real negotiations the Communist-ANC liberation front is interested in are surrender terms. Before that, there is-to be no real negotiation and no real compromise. The Reagan Administration must understand this when reviewing its'policy toward the ANC. It may rediscover what it has known to be true all along--that when it comes to negotiation with the ANC, the best negotiation is no negotiation.
William W. Pascoe, III Policy AnalystFor f urther information: "The Role of the Soviet Union, Cuba, a nd East bermany in Fomenting Terrorism in Southern Africa," Hearings bcf ore the Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, 97th Congress, 2nd Session, March .1982. Alan Cowell, ".Wild Card in South Africa: Communist Party," The New York Times June 26, 1986.