By Yossi Schwartz, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 03.06.2019, www.thecommunists.net
On Saturday the Sudanese military killed one protester and injured at least 10 others in Khartoum. The protesters held a sit in demonstration outside the army head quarter. The army was shooting at thousands of demonstrators who have attempted to stop security forces from closing down the main street outside the military headquarters in Khartoum.
The military toppled Bashir on April 11 after months-long protests led by the Alliance for Freedom and Change against his dictatorial rule of three decades.
Those who already declared that the Arab Spring is dead and the different centrists who have turned their back on the Arab revolution have shown how little they understand of the period we live in. this is a period where the masses had enough of decaying capitalism and the capitalist ruling classes are in crisis in many countries. The masses are ready time and again to fight for a revolution, but they lack a revolutionary working class leadership.
The events in Sudan are going to influence the situation in Egypt. There is a strong historical link between Sudan and Egypt. The name Sudan is a short name for the Arabic full name: bilad as-sudan - ”land of the blacks”.
After the kingdoms of Egypt were united around 3100 BC, the pharaohs extend their rule as far as Aswan. By about 1500 BC the pharaohs extends their rule as far as modern Merowe. The country the pharaohs knew as Cush. Later on the land was known as Nubia.
In 1821, the region was occupied by the Ottoman viceroy of Egypt, Mohammed Ali, and Sudan became an Egyptian province. The Sudanese led by Mohammed Ahmed the Mahdi were able to defeat the British imperialists in 1885.
Between 1899 and 1956 Sudan was an Anglo-Egyptian Condominium. After WWI the Egyptian ruling class serving the British imperialists demanded the incorporation of Sudan within Egypt – but they were opposed by British masters. After Nasser and the other officers took power in Egypt in 1952, Sudan won its independence.
A coup in 1969 brought to power a colonel in the army, Gaafar Mohamed el-Nimeri, who establishes a one-party rule by the Sudanese Socialist Party, a kind of a Stalinist party. In 1983, worried of the pressures of the masses, Nimeri amends Sudanese law and imposed an Islamic legal code, the sharia. Two years later he was toppled by his chief of staff.
In 1989, the general in command of another coup was Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir who has ruled Sudan until last month. At first through what it was known as a Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation, a body closely linked to the NIF (National Islamic Front), the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. In the 1996 elections, Bashir was confirmed as the president. The NIF, the only permitted party, own all 400 seats in the national assembly.
Last week the ruling military council that defend the capitalist system announced that it would disperse the sit-in outside the army headquarters.
Al Jazeera reporter Mohamed el-Shahed writes that “on Friday, spokesperson for the Transitional Military Council (TMC) said in a televised speech that legal action would be taken against what it called "unruly elements" at the encampment outside the defense ministry.”
In the last few days a number of protesters, including a pregnant woman, were shot dead.
After the protest movement removed from power the dictator Omar al-Bashir the militants demand that the army generals who took power hand the political power to a civilian government. The question is, of course what kind of a civilian government? A government that will serve the workers, the poor peasants and other oppressed layers of society or the capitalist class and their imperialist masters?
“Last week a two days general strike took place in Khartoum. The National Umma Party the main party of the protest movement, the Alliance for Freedom and Change rejected the call for a general strike announced by some opposition groups. The Umma is led by former prime minister Sadiq al-Mahdi, whose elected government was toppled in the 1989 coup. He is also an Imam of the Ansar, a sufi order that pledges allegiance to Muhammad Ahmad, the Mahdi. Sadiq Al-Mahdi said any such decision for a general strike should be taken by a council of leaders of the protest movement. Such a council was still not in place and "will be composed in a meeting on Monday", he said. But the generals who seized power have resisted calls from protesters and to handle the political power to a civilian rule. Thousands of demonstrators remain camped outside the army headquarters in central Khartoum demanding that the generals step down.” (1)
“The Freedom and Change alliance, the group that is leading the protest movement, has been negotiating with the generals regarding a political transition, but talks have stalled. Al Jazeera Media Network said Sudanese authorities had shut down its Khartoum bureau. The decision also included the withdrawal of the work permits for the correspondents and staff of Al Jazeera network with immediate effect.” (2)
Clearly our Sudanese sisters and brothers have learned from their experience with different military coups not to trust the army. It is an important lesson but the question is how to develop the struggle in order to remove the generals without losing to civilians who will continue to exploit and abuse the masses.
The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) has repeatedly warned against the danger of a crackdown of the army. We said “No trust in the army command and the old elite! Continue the Revolution!” (3)
The army will continue to kill and injure unless the generals will be stopped. To stop them, it is necessary to form armed civilian militias and at the same time to develop close relations with the soldiers, the sons of the workers and the poor peasants, to bring them on the side of the masses.
There is an urgent need to focus on the demand for a Revolutionary Constitutional Assembly controlled by the workers, the poor peasants and other oppressed layers of society. In addition it is necessary to fight for a workers and poor peasant government committed to the expropriation under workers control the oil industry, mines and gum.
For this to happen it is necessary to build a revolutionary working class party.
3) RCIT: Algeria and Sudan: Two Important Victories and a Warning. No trust in the army command and the old elite! Continue the Revolution! 11 April 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/first-victories-in-algeria-and-sudan/; see also RCIT: Sudan: Bring Down the Regime of Omar al-Bashir! Organize Committees of Action! For a General Strike and Popular Insurrection to bring down the Regime! For a Workers and Poor Peasants Government! 28 December 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/sudan-bring-down-the-regime-of-omar-al-bashir/
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