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December 01, 1989 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-12-01

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4

i .

OPINION

.
,,,

Page 4

Friday, December 1, 1989

The Michigan Daily

Understanding the meaning of South Africa's recent reforms:

No

time

for

celebration

f

by Solidarity
In the last two months, the South
African regime has integrated four neigh-
borhoods and opened once all white
beaches; allowed a rally sponsored by the
outlawed African National Congress
(ANC) and released some of the ANC's
most prominent figures, including Walter
Sisulu. New South African President De
Klerk is being hailed as a reformer, and
appears poised to assume a perestroikan
mantel as the African Gorbachev.
But the clothes don't fit, and the main-
stream media's adulation of De Klerk
notwithstanding, he is no reformer, let
alone a visionary. Rather, he is a man
who, under enormous economic and polit-
ical pressures, gives ground as slowly as
possible in an effort to save what he can
of white privilege. De Klerk's concessions
take place in the context of a strong resis-
tance movement to apartheid at home and
of a crippled economy, itself the conse-
quence of sanctions against the regime
won by anti-apartheid activists abroad.
The resistance movement, spearheaded,
by the ANC and the Congress of South
African Trade Unions (COSATU), is a vi-
tal force in South African politics. Their
boycott and general strike during the 1988
municipal elections, followed by another
general strike and almost daily protests
leading up to this past September's elec-

tions exposed yet again the racist and ex-
clusionary nature of a regime that contin-
ues to deny the majority of its citizens the
right to vote.
De Klerk was elected with the support
of just 6 percent of all South Africans.
This narrow base of support underscores
his isolation from a population that con-
tinues to demand basic human and social
rights, despite efforts to repress its upris-
ings in the early 1960s, in 1976, and in
1985.
Meanwhile, international sanctions have
isolated South Africa still further, both
diplomatically and economically. South
Africa itself admits that real income is 15
percent lower than it would be without
sanctions. Real growth is down to under 2
percent. Moreover, the price of gold - a
key component in the country's economy
- has been slumping. And to top it off,
South Africa owes the international bank-
ing community $8 billion by next June,
$3.6 billion in 1990-1991, and $1 billion
a year thereafter.
Or perhaps we should say would have
owed. For in the same week that Sisulu
was released, the banks struck a deal with
South Africa whereby it must pay only $
1.5 billion of its debt over the next four
years. In exchange for a small token re-
form gesture, that is, De Klerk has just
earned four more years of breathing room
for apartheid, even as the banks prepare to

turn the screws tighter in countries such as
Argentina and Venezuela.
De Klerk will take full advantage of that
breathing room unless we support Black
South Africans as they struggle to asphyx-
iate his regime. Even as he released
Sisulu, De Klerk was in the process of
closing down the New Nation, an anti-
apartheid newspaper edited by Sisulu's
son. Even as he "allows" large protest
marches that would otherwise happen
anyway, his government proves all too
willing to continue shooting and killing
demonstrators, as it did yet again in Port
Elizabeth this past weekend. And even as
he proclaimed his willingness to discuss

lations," a withdrawal of all troops from
the townships, and universal suffrage,
"exercised through one person one vote on
a common voters role." These precondi-
tions, accepted by the Organization of
African States and the Non-Aligned
Movement and expected to be accepted by
the U.N. during its special session on
South Africa in December, are not nego-
tiable, for the very good reason that ele-
mentary human freedoms are every human
being's right.
But even fundamental rights - should
Black South Africans get them - will
mean little unless production is organized
and shared in South Africa in a radically

'Even as [De Klerk] "allows" large protest marches
that would otherwise happen anyway, his govern-
ment proves all too willing to continue shooting and
killing demonstrators, as it did yet again in Port
Elizabeth this past weekend.'

not certain of your life or anything else."
To alleviate such suffering, white South
Africans will have to surrender their eco-
nomic privileges as well as their political
ones - and we will need to demonstrate
consistent and strong solidarity with the
ANC and COSATU as they continue to
insist on the necessity for armed struggle
until a political and economic redistribu-'
tion of power takes place. This support
will be especially crucial in the immediate
future, as changes in Soviet foreign policy
and the ongoing opportunism of U.S. for-
eign policy place increasing pressures on
the ANC to compromise its socialist prin-
ciples.
Given South Africa's enormous dispari-
ties, capitalism without apartheid cannot.,.
solve the country's problems any more
than can De Klerk's plan to end petty
apartheid while protecting the institutional
mechanisms of white power. Both of these
compromised "solutions" substitute
rhetoric for substance. A genuinely free.
South Africa will require transformations
worthy of the words that clothe them.
Solidarity is a non-sectarian and inde:
pendent socialist organization of activists
committed to building social movements
and the Left in the United States.
DnP_

Black voting rights, De Klerk has made
clear that he wished to preserve "minority
rights" - a euphemism for white privi-
lege.
Amidst these maneuvers, anything less
from the United States than full support
for the ANC's list of preconditions for ne-
gotiations is not enough. The ANC calls
for a release of all political prisoners, a
suspension of the 1986 "emergency regu-

more equitable way. Two-thirds of all
Black South Africans earn less than is re-
quired for subsistence. The infant mortal-
ity rate has consistently been estimated at
between 94 and 124 per 1000 births during
the 1980s. Unemployment is over 20 per-
cent, and as high as 50 percent in areas
where Blacks are concentrated. As one
poor woman near Cape Town puts it, in
such a situation, "you suffer - you are

Ir

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Where the optimism of a murdered Salvadoran Jesuit went wri

!.{ 111U lVM 1 "r
U.S. undermines peace

r"zx:

Vol. C, No. 61

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, M! 48109

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All other
cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion
of the Daily.
Choices for distribution requirements:
From 1,504 to442

DISTRIBUTION REQUIREMENTS
were begun by the college of LSA in
order to guarantee a broad liberal arts
education. Courses carrying humani-
ties, social science, and natural science
distribution were designed to help stu-
dents appreciate fields outside their area
of specialization. For four years, the
LSA curriculum committee has been
reviewing designations with a view
toward narrowing these requirements.
A subcommittee directed by Political
Science Professor Lawrence Mohr pre-
sented Associate Dean Meiland with a
set of recommendations designed to
make distribution "more coherent."
They proposed to end an "anarchic
system" in which "almost everything
counted toward distribution" and said
changes would "make it easier for stu-
dents to choose."
Beginning last year, departments had
to justify a course's distribution desig-
nation according to new guidelines set
by the college. Despite vehement ob-
jections from many faculty, all depart-
ments eventually complied and the
courses carrying distribution credit
have dropped from 1504 to 442.
The policy does not affect LSA stu-
dents first enrolled before Fall 1989,
who will continue to have credit
awarded according to the list published
in the old (1988-89 and earlier) LSA
Bulletins. It is this year's first year stu-
dents and their successors who must
use a shorter list published in the cur-
rent (1989-90) edition. There is an ap-
peal procedure by which a student who
really wants a course to count can fill
out a permission form from the appro-
priate department, have it signed, re-
turn it to the LSA counseling office,
and wait for a reply. If the student's
CRISP date hasn't passed already
when it arrives, and if he or she has the
time and inclination to deal with that
kind of hassle just as finals are coming
up, then there's no problem.
The policy really runs into difficulty
in the way its guidelines affect the phi-
losophy behind a distribution require-

Another danger is what Psychology
Professor Lorraine Nadelman calls the
"multifaceted, ambiguous" nature of
the guidelines. The curriculum commit-
tee can call any class it likes fundamen-
tal and a 1986 memo from the Anthro-
pology Department warns them that, "It
is all too easy to assume that hu-
mankind's important achievements are
those of our own tradition." In an an-
gry letter to Associate Dean Meiland,
American Culture Professor James
McIntosh protests what he calls "an
especially unfair and wrong-headed"
tdecision to deny American Studies 410
(Hispanics in the United States) social
science credit and adds that excluding
courses devoted to minority perspec-
tives "would not only threaten enroll-
ment in these courses but would also
encourage undergraduates not to dis-
tribute their education in courses
specifically devoted to perspectives
different from those in the dominant
culture in the United States." The De-
partments of Women's Studies and of
Afro-American and African Studies
have been required to exclude over 70
classes from humanities and social
science credit. Clearly, the drive for
"coherence" is leading to uniformity
and limiting choices available to stu-
dents.
It's clear the policy was not moti-
vated by concern for students. Students
don't need more rules which impose
convenience on them; they need to have
the kind of options open to them which
a "diverse" university is supposed to
provide. Student representatives to the
curriculum committee are outvoted nine
to three and its tactics are blatantly un-
democratic. Departments were pres-
sured with a moratorium on distribu-
tion designations until they concluded
their negotiations with Professor Mohr.
Associate Dean Meiland permitted only
committee members he knew would
defend his policy to discuss it with
Dean Steiner. The meetings are closed
in order to protect members from being
"hounded" by students and observers
from The Michigan Daily are excluded
out of fear that "early reporting of is-
sues" would "alarm students before

by Franz Schurmann,
Pacifica News Service
Only a few months ago, Father Ignacio
Ellacuria, rector of the Central American
University in San Salvador, spoke hope-
fully of a possible end to his country's
civil war. "We have to give Cristiani a
chance," he said.
To the army and the right wing, this Je-
suit and his colleagues were
"Communists." Within hours after the
rebels of the Faribundo Marti National
Liberation Front (FMLN) attacked San
Salvador, the army surrounded the
campus. Within days, armed men in
military uniform killed him, five
colleagues, a cook and her daughter.
But to many others at home and abroad
Ellacuria was a thinker, passionately de-
voted to his adopted country, and a sea-
soned analyst of the Salvadoran political
scene. In an August interview in the
Managua journal Pensamiento Propio
published by fellow Jesuit Xabier Gorosti-
aga, Ellacuria remained optimistic about
growing political repression. "Cristiani has
no part in it, unlike Duarte," he insisted.
Logic acquired in years of Jesuit train-
ing, not sentiment, led him to the view that
just maybe an end to the war could be
worked out between the insurgent FMLN
and the ARENA-dominated government.
ARENA, the ruling party, consists of three
factions, he noted in the interview. First is
the "death squad wing," which dominated
during the bloody 1980-82 period. But
now, he argued, they are in the minority.
The second "military" faction, headed
by Col. Roberto D'Aubisson, is close to
the Armed Forces who in turn are linked
to the U.S. Embassy. Cristiani, Ellacuria
claimed, had launched "a serious process
of dialogue with the FMLN which had
caused splits within his party." But, so far,
he had the support of the High Command
within the U.S. Embassy.
The third "civilian" faction is headed by
Cristiani, and it was the latter's aim to

"turn them all into civilians." Cristiani had
wanted to launch rapid business-led
economic development in El Salvador -
a program backed by the Bush
Administration.
If Cristiani's drive toward
civilianization was one reason for hope,
Ellacuria also laid out two others. He did
not believe that an "insurrectional
explosion about which the FMLN
endlessly dreams" would come about.
"This is perhaps (our) main divergence of
view with the FMLN," he noted.
Lastly, he spoke of the U.S. role which
he saw as "the most decisive for Central
America and the Salvadoran political pro-
cess." He felt that there had been a posi-
tive change from Reagan to Bush, and the
Salvadoran Armed Forces would do noth-
ing to undercut Cristiani.
If Ellacuria had survived the attack on
his life, he would undoubtedly be trying to
figure out the flaw in his analysis. It began
unravelling even before the current rebel

Current U.S. policy was put together in
1984 when Christian Democrat Napoleon
Duarte was elected president. That policy'
consisted of three components: first, a
commitment not to let El Salvador fall to
leftist forces; second, a strategy to upgradd
the Salvadoran Armed Forces to enable
them to win a war against the FMLN; and
third, consensus to end human rights vio-
lations by the government and the right,"
wing.
Yet Ellacuria believed the Bush Admin-
istration was impressed by the peace pro
cess launched by the Central American
presidents. Like Cristiani, Bush may have
been leaning towards something more than
just "talks" with the FMLN. The key ob-
stacle that may have pushed the White
House back towards a hard-line stance
was the Salvadoran Armed Forces.
Convinced total victory was still possi-
ble, the Armed Forces agreed only reluc-
tantly to talk with the FMLN, and insisted
that there be no negotiations. The FMLN,

'Many Salvadorans believe the U.S. is central to the
country's destiny - "the key to the puzzle of the
Salvadoran conflict," as Salvadoran writer Francisco
Rivera put it.'

offensive against the cities, when the
FMLN announced on November 2 the
suspension of peace talks with the gov-
ernment.
The FMLN said their move was made in
response to the bombing on October 31 of
the national workers union headquarters,
in which ten top leaders were killed and
many others injured.
Yet until his death, Ellacuria believed in
Cristiani's sincerity. Most likely, he would
have blamed a shift in U.S. policy for
undermining the thrust towards peace he
had come to believe in. Not just Ellacuria
but many Salvadorans too believe the U.S.
is central to the country's destiny - "the
key to the puzzle of the Salvadoran
conflict," as Salvadoran writer Francisco
Rivera put it.

on the other hand, sure of their own
strength, wanted negotiations and not just
talks. Faced with intransigence in the gov-
ernment and a toughening line in Wash-
ington, they struck to show their power
and force a breakthrough at the bargaining
table.
Ellacuria may have been right in his
evaluation of Cristiani, but he overesti-
mated Cristiani's power to deliver on the
peace talks. More fundamentally,
Ellacuria may have overestimated Bush's
willingness and ability to push for a
peaceful rather than a military solution to
the Salvadoran conflict. The only factor
now that could justify his optimism would
be public outrage in the U.S. over his
murder were to finally crack the five-year-
old Congressional consensus on El
Salvador.

0

4v:{SRi :"iYENNE M NEE 3 ei: :"i> E EE
::$> '.:: s s:r::i ;; :: :: ::i"iii=}:::::i : :: :i::;j:j :;:: : :::;.i:is :"" ':<r::::

Daily has
gone to the
dogs
To the Daily:
"MX missiles in Michigan."
"Berlin Wall falls." This is
front page news. "Dog runs
away for four days." This is
not. ("Some Campus Frater-
nity Pets Suffer From Ne-
glect," 11/30/89) We appreciate

insight.
Secondly, these dogs receive
proper care, both physically
and emotionally. They are well
fed, clean and healthy, and there
are seventy people to give
them love and attention. As a
matter of fact, when I spoke to
Buck, our elder dog, he re-
marked that he thinks that hav-
ing people around all the time
is much better for a dog than
being alone for hours at a time,
which is the fate of many fam-
ily-owned dogs.
Another matter which should

and it would be extremely diffi-
cult to find a dog that has not
done this at least once in its
life. We do "give a crap about
this wonderful dog", and per-
haps the Daily should investi-
gate more deeply and report on
more than hearsay the next
time it writes an article on any-
thing, especially something as
pressing and important as the
treatment of someone else's
dog.
- Andy Greenberg
November 30
rU"%%I "4 JL . A

nally come together to cele-
brate a common pride. But I
guess I should've limited my-
self to making friends only
with the people who were in
the same college as me. Be-
cause, as you've told me, those
are the only people I should
want to graduate with anyway.
Then you gave me the an-
swer why you did it You're
doing this for my own good.
You told me that I wanted a
more personal graduation. You
didn't aate me, but I guess
that's okay. Because I would've

6

0

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