‘We don’t accept recycling of the recycled garbage…two regime leaders in the same day… We accept freedom only…’
So says a Sudanese refugee, in Britain, who has been in daily contact with the revolution.
Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir, after 30 years of dictatorial rule, has been forced out by the revolutionary struggle of the Sudanese masses. A march by ordinary Sudanese on the military headquarters on 8 April saw his downfall, after many months of struggle.
Their determination and courage forced the military to get rid of the dictator as the lower orders of the military protected the protesters against the government security thugs, who has started to shoot at the crowds. Lt General Awad Ibn Ouf, the Defence Minister, said on 11 April that a military council would run the country for a two-year transitional period. He also promised to release all political prisoners. However, people are still being shot trying to release imprisoned fighters in many parts of the country.
The military coup was rejected within hours by those occupying the streets outside the military headquarters and by country-wide protests. The movement is demanding economic reforms due to the collapse of the economy. The banks are not functioning and the price of bread has risen – it was inflation that sparked off the revolution. The rail system has been destroyed by the regime and great fertile areas have gone into decline. Just recently the dictator sold the Port of Sudan to the UAE for an enormous sum which has been met with protests.
The military tried to impose a month-long curfew, but the masses rejected that ploy.
Some of the demands which come from revolutionaries inside the struggle include:
- rejects any military force in a transitional government.
- rejects any intervention from the “international community” on how the Sudanese should run their country.
- rejects any involvement of the Islamic Movement’s military wing.
- will continue the street occupation until a civilian transitional government is created.
- The army must obey the revolutionary people.
- There must be no presence in the army from the old regime.
- Solving the issue of war and peace in the Darfur region is one of the fundamental tasks of the Transitional Government.
Movement defeats the dictator
Omar al-Bashir ordered his security forces to attack the tens of thousands of protestors who had erected tents and organised food and medical treatment as they occupied the streets outside the military headquarters in Khartoum. The lower and middle orders of the army protected the people and came out with their machine guns to stop the militia attacks.
Many of the soldiers had friends and family in the streets and there were joyous greetings of civilian and soldiers, sailors and the air force. When some soldiers got wounded tanks and army trucks with heavy machine guns left the barracks to confront al-Bashir’s militia.
The security and militia forces included mercenaries whose origins go back to 2003 (and before) when the genocide started against the people of Darfur and Nuba Mountains, who have been waging a liberation struggle against the regime ever since. The government killed 500,000 people and created 2.5 million refugees (internally displaced people) and hundreds of refugee camps. Al-Bashir has been wanted by the International Criminal Court since 2009, but the USA and EU have made no effort to arrest him.
This armed struggle is part of the uprising that started on 13 December 2018 when students took the streets, and the masses followed on 18 December.
Organisations of the revolution reject the military government
Women, youth and unions have led the struggle since December. Among the main organisers of the uprising is the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA). The SPA has rejected the attempt by the military high command to seize power for a “transitional period”.
The SPA, which represents a wide range of professions, including doctors, teachers and journalists, and is a major force behind the uprising, called on protesters camped outside the Ministry of Defence to stay in the streets.
“Our revolution continues towards its goals. Only complete acceptance of the will of the people and the revolutionaries will end our sit-ins and protests. That means the handover of state power to a democratic civilian transitional authority charged with the task of implementing genuine democratic transformation. Today our sit-ins and demonstrations are continuing and our people will come out to protect the revolution and correct its course.”
A Declaration of Freedom and Change was agreed in January 2019. It is a set of demands adopted by a wide range of groups opposed to Bashir’s dictatorship in January 2019. The declaration calls for an end to genocidal wars, justice for those displaced, the dismantling of the one-party regime, empowerment of Sudanese women and more state funding for health, education and the environment.
Leading up to these recent events great numbers developed their own means of defence. For example some men and women became ‘bucket people’ – they used buckets to trap tear gas and plastic bombs fired at them and built trenches and barricades to stop the militia vehicles. Women demonstrators handed out food to the army and along with small numbers of the police some in the army started to show sympathy with uprising and even started to help.
A WhatsApp group of 400,000 women that had started to discuss social and personal questions relating to male chauvinism developed into a national wide organisation that exposed government and police informers.
There was a general strike, such as on 5 March, and strikes of dock workers in Port Sudan.
Fighting continues across the country
In Darfur, an upsurge in protests on 12 April resulted in violence and the death of nine people, including a child, in various towns. People were shot as they tried to release political detainees from National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) prisons.
Seven people were killed and 37 were wounded in a shooting by security officers in Zalingei during their celebrations of the President’s fall.
As of 12 April, 35 people had been killed by security forces and ‘shadow battalions’ (armed men in plain clothes) since the sit-in outside the military headquarters in Khartoum started, according to the Central Sudanese Doctors’ Committee.
Imperialism continues its support for the regime
The imperialist powers told the Sudanese regime that Omar al-Bashir had to go. The British (one of the original colonial occupiers), the USA, the EU and many others have material interests in Sudan, alongside China, Iran, the UAE and Saudi Arabia. All have used Sudan for their own interests, some share (and fight for) the spoils of Sudanese resources that include gold, uranium and oil. Meanwhile there are 30,000 Sudanese troops still in the Yemen to support Saudi Arabia’s proxy in the civil war there as part of a reciprocal arrangement with the al-Bashir regime. We can expect many dirty tricks to come from the gentlemen and gentlewomen in the ‘international community’.
Hunger for change and demands grow
There are many burning questions and as in all revolutions the hunger for change increases, while demands grow.
Those who brought the downfall of Omar al-Bashir must be the ones who run the country through a democratic provisional government. There are many organisations of the revolution and they must be the ones who govern.
There is a burning national question in Sudan. All ethnic cleansing has to stop and all refugees must have the right to return home, to their lands such as in Darfur, and they must be helped to re-establish their villages and their lives.
A recent demonstration in South Sudan (that broke away and formed another country in 2011) shouted to the participants on Army’s HQ sit-in, “We decided no divide.” All the Sudanese nations must be able to decide their future including South Sudan.
The workers must be able to organise and have full rights for their organisation without any repression or government control. They must have the right to strike and to demonstrate.
What is a bourgeois democratic revolution can only be carried through by the masses on the streets, by their actions and by their decisions – but it will have to confront the business and political interests of those inside Sudan and the USA and EU countries – who both supported the old dictatorship. The USA has control of some oil fields, the EU wanted the flow of African migration to the European continent stopped – by any means. Germany led the way on that, but the British government gave full support.
Imperialism is interfering in Sudan
The EU is so rotten that it publicly supports genocidist regimes. For over two years the EU poured money into the Sudanese government for them to control refugees and hold them in detention. Much of the money went to the security forces to buy weapons to repress the Sudanese people – so the EU helped arm the genocide!
The EU in a recent statement said that the al-Bashir regime is capable of a “a peaceful, credible, legitimate and inclusive process that will allow Sudan to carry out essential reforms.” It was a deep betrayal of the aspirations of the Sudanese people, and their extraordinary sacrifices.
Only a workers’ government can guarantee the demands of the masses. There are signs that having been smashed by Omar al-Bashir (when he imposed ‘Islamic unions under his control) the workers’ organisations in the ports and elsewhere are coming back to life.
The situation remains very dangerous, but the revolution continues to advance.
North Africa and Middle Eastern revolutions
As with the present uprising in Algeria, Sudan continues the revolutionary struggle against despotic regimes and democratic rights of the Middle East that started in 2010. Russia understands the need to defeat the Sudanese revolution as they supported Assad in Syria by bombing the Syrian revolution. Omar al-Bashir met Assad at least twice in Syria in the last year. He was flown there by the Russian air-force.
Just last week Syrian fighters against Assad from Idlib sent greetings to the Sudanese revolution through a mural, it says, “Liberty is not a statue anymore SHE is alive with flesh and blood”. It is signed “Syrian Banksy” and refers to the 22-year-old women who has led chants and singing in the occupation that confronts the military.
International solidarity is needed
A great number of Sudanese are spread throughout the world and have been leading many lively demonstrations.
Trade unions and social movements should do all they can to support the demonstrations, demand that their governments end all trade and aid with the present regime. Unions at all levels must raise international support and help the self-organisation of the Sudanese.
New networks of solidarity have emerged and continue to grow in many countries. We call on all union and social struggle organisations at all levels to support the revolution.
In Britain the reformist organisations have hardly said a word. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader has not expressed or urged support for the uprising. And no national trade union organisation has yet supported the revolution.
Military step down now
Omar al-Bashir to ICC
Release all political prisoners
Dissolve the NISS security forces and trial responsible for armed attack on the uprising.
Return of all internally displaced refugees
Equal rights for all Sudanese peoples including Darfur and Nuba Mountain
Public ownership of all resources
Rebuild Sudan under the control of the organisations of the revolution
For a Sudanese workers’ and rural workers’ government
End all trade and aid to Sudanese regime
Build international solidarity with Sudanese workers and people
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