Mbeki's Communist Past

Article excerpt

ITEM: After describing South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki as "an ardent disciple of globalization" in the April 14, 2004 edition of the Christian Science Monitor, staff writer Abraham McLaughlin wrote, "But now the man who was trained as a classical economist in Britain is hinting at socialism." McLaughlin continued, "So Mbeki may start drawing on another part of his past--one that includes meetings at a Soviet dacha once used by Joseph Stalin and charter membership in the politburo of the South Africa Communist Party." And he added, "He's campaigning on a 'people's contract' that would make Franklin Roosevelt proud."

ITEM: On April 14, 2004, the New York Times published a report by Michael Wines expressing fear that African National Congress leader Thabo Mbeki's expected re-election victory might result in "an extended detour toward one-party rule." Wines pointed to Mbeki's claim that such a concern was "a fictional threat" that had been created by a white minority.

AHEAD OF THE CURVE: In November 1982, the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism published the names of the leaders of South Africa's Communist-dominated African National Congress (ANC). Next to the name of Thabo Mbeki appeared the notation "Chief, Politburo." This information was published in the September 4, 1985 issue of The Review of the News, a predecessor of THE NEW AMERICAN.

Mbeki became South Africa's president in 1999 when he succeeded Nelson Mandela, an ANC leader who had previously boasted that he was a Communist. "We communist party members are the most advanced revolutionaries in modern history," Mandela wrote prior to his 1964 trial. Over the years Establishment-led newspapers such as the Monitor and the Times have generally ignored the Communist backgrounds of South Africa's leaders--the recent Monitor article cited above being a refreshing exception.

The May 30, 1994 issue of THE NEW AMERICAN noted "the dominance of the South African Communist Party (SACP) in the new regime" taking power in the newly installed government in South Africa. Among others we cited Communist Mbeki, who was the "First Deputy President" in the new government. …