The African National Congress made some points with its two-day general strike and mass demonstrations this week. One is that it speaks for a great many South Africans: the number of workers who stayed away from their jobs was estimated at two million by the employers and four million by the unions. The other is that political violence within the black population undermines peaceful change and is abetted by white authorities who ought to be trying to stop it.
Those points made, the ANC ought to go back to the bargaining process. It might have called symbolically for the end of President F. W. de Klerk's regime during those demonstrations, but meanwhile it needs to talk to Mr. de Klerk and agree on an orderly transition to a regime chosen by all South Africans.
The ANC had to make such gestures when it suspended constitutional talks after the June 17 massacre of 42 ANC supporters in Boipatong Township by Zulu residents loyal to the rival Inkatha Freedom Party. Despite government and police denials of police complicity, a commission headed by a respected judge has begun hearings. That, and the United Nations dispatch of observers to monitor violence, internationalizing the issue, provide assurance the ANC needs to return to the talks.