Martin Ralph – ISL/Britain
As we write the Sudanese revolution, which began at the end of 2018 and overthrew Omar al-Bashir, is alive and has fought the military coup of 25 October every day with mass demonstrations, street occupations and blockades.
“We appeal again to the resistance committees in all districts and all revolutionary political, professional, rights defender’s forces in all the cities and villages of Sudan to come together and occupy the streets and barricade them, and to continue all forms of civil disobedience and complete strike until we defeat the coup reaching to what our people deserve under the flags of Freedom, Justice and Peace.” Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), including doctors and teachers which played a leading role in the 2019 revolution against the al-Bashir dictatorship.
The military coup was led by Sudan’s Transitional Sovereignty Council (TSC)* chairperson Lt. Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan and Commander in Chief of the Sudan Armed Forces, who declared the State of Emergency after the military seized power.
Millions of workers, youth, women and rural workers throughout Sudan responded with massive mobilisations in many cities, towns and rural areas, including workers areas such as Atbara, Port Sudan and Khartoum. On 30 October, “Marches of Millions” was called throughout Sudan. The masses were supported by marches throughout the world and support grew from militant trade unions like CSP Conlutas and Black Lives Matter in Britain.
The resistance to civilian/military government never went away. Protests have been going on since 2019. On 30 June 2021 protests took place against the austerity measures demanded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Fuel and bread subsidies were removed in June 2021, shortages of basic goods and services and a spike in food insecurity. Food and transportation costs surged and inflation is approaching 400 per cent. In the capital, Khartoum, placards read “Bread for the poor”, “No to (IMF) policies.”
The protests also demanded elections for the government, the end of the TNC and condemned the lack of action in bringing those responsible to trial for repression against protestors in 2019.
The USA and many others speak against the coup but they create the IMF policy of reform that and implemented by the civilian/military TNC. The IMF is a central arm of imperialism supported by the USA, EU and UK. While for its own reasons the military carried the coup, the civilian part complied completely with the IMF. Those leaders are no friends of the protests that have been taking to the streets for more than a year.
The coup took place just days after the “Marches of the Millions” throughout Sudan on 22 October. For example, in Omdurman, thousands of people marched from seven neighbourhoods towards the Parliament building along the Nile. They chanted slogans rejecting the rule of the military. In Khartoum, tens of thousands of people from various neighbourhoods occupied El Sitteen Street to demand civilian rule. Members of Resistance Committees in El Jereif, east of El Sitteen Street, called for the cancellation of “the partnership of blood” between the military and civilian components of the government. Demonstrators in Khartoum North gathered in El Muassasa Street in support of the democratic transition.
The capitals of the five Darfur states also had Marches of the Millions demanding civilian rule. The army replied with tear gas, sound bombs and bullets, many people were injured, detained and some were killed. On 23 October, actions continued, including roadblocks in the capital and elsewhere. So the resistance was rising before the coup.
These rising, pre-coup, protests were against the civilian/military rule that has led to workers and people suffering due to economic decline, high prices, and scarcity of food and fuel and high prices. While the TSC “governed” the Arab para-military forces in Darfur continued their rape of women, burning villages and farmland belonging to the non-Arab Darfur people. The leader of this brutal force was Lt. Gen Mohamed Dagalo ‘Hemeti’. He became the Sovereignty Council Deputy President in 2019! He should be arrested and put on trial and not be the second military command of the army and in the government.
The 2019 agreement meant a civilian government council should be created by the end of 2021 something the military did not want. The military are an integral part of the capitalist class and own at least 200 companies. A civilian government, being pushed by the revolution from below, might force the removal of those companies from military control.
The military is part of the capitalist class
The civilian-military government called the Transitional Sovereignty Council (TSC)*, is a product of the Sudanese revolution in 2019 that forced the old dictator Al-Bashir from power. This so-called peaceful process diverted the revolution from increasing its power. But it was not destroyed.
In Sudan, the military that owns many companies is more than a pillar of the ruling elites and the big capitalist owners. They are part of the capitalist class and great capital. They are also linked to governments such as Saudi Arabia. The leaders were involved in the dictatorship and the genocide in Darfur.
As history teaches us from Chile to today, whenever a government of civilians has military leaders inside it, it is a preparation for counter-revolution such as we see today in Sudan.
Continue the revolution of December 2018
It has been reported by Sudanese refugees that the resistance committees are very strong in the working class and middle-class neighbourhoods. They continued from 2019 and have grown stronger, they have elected leaderships in many cases and are fighting alongside the trade unions (that are active both in the public and private sectors).
The Sudanese Workers Alliance for the Restoration of Trade Unions (SWARTU) issued the following statement on October 26, in response to the coup,
“There is no alternative but to continue the struggle, bring the downfall of the coup, mobilise our masses and achieve the complete demands and aspirations of the December revolution.
“The coup of parasitic capitalism was instigated by the warlord, Hemeti, and Burhan, the Al-Bashir Security apparatus, and the rest of the warlords who traffic in the suffering of their people, and the political brokers who come in every colour and shape.”i
The revolution is finding renewed energy. It will have to go much further to meet mass demands which include:
- Overthrow the military coup and handing over full power to civilians;
- Release all the protestors arrested by the military;
- All coup military council members for urgent and immediate trials for the military coup and repression since 2019;
- No dialogue, no negotiation with the military coup council and all members of the Security Committee and the rejection of the international dialogues;
- Bread for the poor;
- End violence against women;
- End the Arab para-military groups (Janjaweed) put them on trial.
On arming the revolution SWARTU says this, “Our message to the honourable non-commissioned officers, the rank-and-file of the armed forces, the officers in the armed forces, the police, and the armed movements, is that they abide by their duty to protect their people and align themselves with the cause of the democratic transition. They should not point their guns at the bare chests of the daughters and sons of Sudan, who stand proud with determination and the yearning for freedom, justice and peace.”
We think that every effort should be made to help organise with the rank-and-file of the army. They defended the mass occupation outside the military HQ in 2019. Now they should be encouraged to form soldier committees and make alliances with the resistance committees.
The power of the revolution is shown by the 60 Sudanese ambassadors who refuse to support the coup, while the USA, EU and Britain are against the coup, Russia and China support the military. They all fear the revolution and respond in different ways. Russia is aiming to get a military base in Sudan that would allow four warships. China is building what capitalist influence it can. But there is a scramble for Africa by imperialism each vying for control. The USA has an economic plan for Sudan for its own profit, the EU has funded the detention centres for refugees inside Sudan and given hundreds of millions to the JanJaweed – because it is an effective controlling force.
The IMF’s policy has only worsened the economic conditions of the majority of Sudanese and has favoured Abdel Fattah al-Burhane’s takeover. He was supported by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, loyal allies of the US in the region.ii But on the 4 November Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed a statement urging a return to restore the civilian government – doing as they are told by the USA.
International support for the revolution
The revolution has many international supporters. Very important is the Egyptian mobilisations against their President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and opposition to the Sudanese military coup.
We call internationally on trade unions, social movements and political parties to support the renewed Sudanese revolution and demand the cancellation of all of Sudan’s foreign debt without accepting the IMF dictates. Cancel the foreign debt, without that Sudan will never recover and be increasingly controlled by the foreign multinationals, banks, governments and the IMF.
Rush protest letters to Sudanese Embassies calling on the military to immediately cease all forms of repression and exit the government. (In London use http://www.sudan-embassy.co.uk/contact/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
All refugees are welcome here, let’s build with the Sudanese diaspora in every city to support their revolution.
The revolution can win full workers and mass democracy
To carry through their demands, the revolution will have to find a way to defend themselves with arms against the military and the Janjaweed. They will have to arm the revolution, if not the result can be seen in Chile when Pinochet established the dictatorship.
SWARTU demands include:
Overthrow and uproot all the forces that oppose democratic transformation, and who serve the interests of parasitic capitalism and its international and regional masters, must be held accountable for all their crimes, for their corruption
- Engage in civil disobedience and a general strike until the downfall of the counter-revolution
- Build an independent democratic union bloc
- Liquidation compromised institutions and agencies and repeal all regional and international alliances
The success of the developing programme raised by millions also depend on the working class becoming the leader of the revolution with many allies in the rural areas and huge numbers of revolutionary activists.
But a revolution also needs a revolutionary party and a revolutionary international struggle and party.
The trade unions, resistance/Neighbourhood committees, the armed resistance and all fighting social groups (active in many cities and towns across Sudan). A fighting council of workers and oppressed organisations will have to overthrow the regime and create workers control and a government of workers and the oppressed created.
* The 14-member Transitional Sovereignty Council (TSC) forms the head of state for a 39-month transitional period that is to be followed by general elections. The TNC council is composed of six civilians, five military representatives. For the first 21 months, it was agreed that a military member chairs the TSC – Abdelfattah El Burhan is the Chairman. In the remaining 18 months of the transitional period, the council was to be chaired by a civilian member.