'Good' MPLA vs 'Evil' UNITA?
'Good' MPLA vs 'Evil' UNITA? Yash Tandon IN the otherwise scholarly and well informed article by M R Bhagavan ('Angola: Survival Strategies for a Socialist State', August 6) there are two what we would regard as very serious flaws-one is an analytical flaw, and the other, linked with it and to some extent stemming from the first one, a political/ ideological flaw. (1) At the analytical level, if Bhagavan set himself the task of analysing the class character and ideology of the ruling MPLA party, then he should have done the same for what he describes as the 'rebel' party, namely the UNITA. Just because UNITA's leadership had some time in the past decided to solicit South African help (and continues to get this help) does not excuse Bhagavan from not telling us something about the class character of UNITA. (2) At the political/ideological level, Bhagavan should have at least examined the merits of the argument that, instead of seek- ing a militarist solution to the civil war now waging in the country for the last 13 years (ever since independence, that is) MPLA should seek some kind of political accom- modation with UNITA. As for the class basis of the MPLA, Bhagavan gives us some idea by analysing the institutions and structures of the party and how its members are recruited. Indi- catively, he looks at the class composition of the 'province assemblies'. Borrowing his data from Wolfers and Bergerol, he says that "the social (class) breakdown of the province assemblies was 40 per cent workers, 30 per cent peasants, and 10 per cent each for the three other groups-combatants and security workers, workers in state machinery and intellectuals.