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Sudanese people's struggle against the military dictatorship

By Cassandra Swart

Dallas, TX – On April 11, Omar al-Bashir, the military leader of Sudan for over 20 years, from 1989 to 2019, was deposed in a military coup. The coup occurred amidst largescale protests calling for the overthrow of al-Bashir, demanding democracy and an end to austerity measures enacted by the government in response to the country being over $60 billion in debt to the International Monetary Fund and France.

The protests were largely led by the National Consensus Forces (NCF), an alliance consisting of political parties including the Sudanese Communist Party, the Sudanese Baath Party, the National Umma Party, and the Sudanese Congress Party, amongst others, with the Sudanese Communist Party being the largest and most active party.

The NCF, along with the Sudanese Professionals Association, an association of 17 different trade unions, and the Sudan Revolutionary Front, a rebel group against Omar Al-Bashir, came together and formed the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), a wide coalition against the rule of Omar al-Bashir.

A military junta created after the overthrow of Omar al-Bashir held on to power, promising a “transition” to democracy sometime in the future. That military council leader, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, commander of the ground forces of the army under Omar Al-Bashir, faced strong opposition from groups who participated in the Sudanese revolution, most notably the Sudanese Communist Party, and protests continued after the formation of the military junta.

On June 3, 2019, the Sudanese military, along with a pro-government paramilitary known as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), composed of former Janjaweed members, an ultranationalist paramilitary that fought on the Sudanese government's side in the Darfur War, opened fire on protesters against military rule in Khartoum, killing over 100 demonstrators.

In response to these protests, the military agreed to the formation of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan, a ruling body composed of five representatives of the FFC and five representatives of the military to theoretically share power equally amongst the two groups. In reality however, the military exercised greater control of the Sovereignty Council than the FFC, with Abdel Fattah al-Burhan serving as its chairman. The Sovereignty Council's deputy chairman was Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, nicknamed Hemetti, the commander of the Rapid Defense Forces, and richest man in Sudan after he used the RSF to seize control of Darfur's gold mines and establish the Al-Junaid Gold Mining Company.

The Sudanese military junta enjoys strong support from the United States, who pretend to care about “democracy” in Sudan while at the same time, offering training to the military, as well as offering a military partnership to Sudan through the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM). The military junta is also supported by the Zionist entity of Israel, which the military junta normalized relations with in exchange for a military partnership with the United States, and a lifting of Sudan from the U.S. “List of State Sponsors of Terrorism”, a list made to attempt to delegitimize governments which don't align with U.S. imperialist foreign policy.

The military junta of Sudan discarded Sudan's historical support to the Palestinian struggle in order to ally closer with the United States. On January 25, 2021, senior AFRICOM leaders met in Khartoum for two days with members of the Sudanese military to discuss details of a new military partnership between the United States and Sudan, all while the Sudanese military was participating in bloody repression against protesters for democracy in the country.

The Sovereignty Council appointed Abdalla Hamdok, a liberal politician as prime minister of Sudan. Hamdok held relatively nominal power in comparison to the military, which still retained control of most state institutions in the country. Hamdok used his position as prime minister to pass a series of reforms relating to agriculture and women's rights. On October 25, 2021, Hamdok, his cabinet, and many of his supporters were detained by the military, and the Sovereignty Council disbanded. The coup by the military resulted in mass protests, led largely by the Sudanese Communist Party and the Sudanese Professionals Association, who also encouraged workers to go on strike across the country against the military's attempt at gaining complete control of the country.

On November 21, 2021, Hamdok was reinstated as prime minister and his cabinet freed from prison after a political agreement with the military formulated by the United States to attempt to internationally legitimize the military junta.

The agreement reinstated Hamdok as the prime minister in name only while the military still remained in control of the country. The agreement was lauded by the U.S. as well as other Western imperialist nations such as the United Kingdom, Australia and the European Union as a triumph of “democracy” while groups opposed to the military junta in Sudan, such as the Sudanese Communist Party saw through the agreement, and condemned Abdalla Hamdok's capitulation to the military junta in exchange for being released from prison while bloody repression continues against protesters.

The Sudanese Communist Party and the Sudanese Professionals Association have called for a continuation of mass demonstrations and strikes to demand an end to the military government. “It was clear to the masses from the beginning of the December Revolution in 2018 that our struggle does not have the sympathy of international agencies, the media and governments of Western or other African countries. But the people and people’s movements across the world are standing in solidarity with the Sudanese people who will continue to fight on,” stated Osama Saeed, a protester who is also a member of the Sudanese Communist Party.

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