One Syrian (a refugee, a revolutionary and in daily contact with the revolution) said: We don’t accept recycling of the recycled garbage…two regime leaders in the same day… We accept freedom only…
By Martin Ralph
Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir, after 30 years of dictatorial rule, was forced out by the revolutionary struggle of the Sudanese masses as they marched on the military headquarters on 8 April that started the downfall of the old president.
Their determination and courage forced the military to get rid of the dictator as the lower orders of the military protected the crowds against the government security thugs, who 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, but people are still being shot trying to release the 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 revolution is demanding economic reforms due to the collapse of the economy: the banks don’t function, the price rises in bread and inflation started 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, he sold the country to the highest bidders.
The military tried to impose a month-long curfew, but the masses rejected that ploy.
- rejects any military force in a transitional government.
- rejects any intervention from the “international community” on how the Sudanese should run their country.
- The army must obey the revolutionary people.
- There must be no presence in the army from the old regime.
- The street occupation and revolution will continue until a civilian transitional government is created.
- The people reject any involvement of the Islamic Movement’s military wing.
- The issues of war and peace in the Darfur region, is one of the fundamental tasks of the Transitional Government.
Revolution defeats the dictator
Omar al-Bashir ordered his security forces to attack the 10,000s of protestors who had erected tents, organised food and medical treatment as they occupied the streets outside the military headquarters, 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 100s of refugee camps. Al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court since 2009, but the USA and EU do nothing to arrest him
This armed struggle is part of the uprising that started on 13 December when students took the streets, and masses came out 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), that 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.
They say “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.” www.dabangasudan.org/en
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. 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, that is they used buckets to trap tear gas and plastic bombs fired at the them, they built trenches and barricades to stop the militia vehicles, and women demonstrators handed out food to the army and small numbers of police and army showed sympathy with uprising and some even started to help.
A WhatsApp women’s organisation 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 the 5 March, and strikes of dock workers in Port Sudan.
Fighting continues across the country
In Darfur, 12 April, an upsurge in protests 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 dozens were wounded in a shooting by security officers in Zalingei during their celebration of the fall of President al-Bashir; 37 people were wounded in the shooting by members of the NISS.
Since the sit-in started outside the military headquarters in Khartoum on Saturday April, 35 people were killed by security forces and ‘shadow battalions’ (armed men in plain clothes), according to the Central Sudanese Doctors’ Committee on 12 April.
Imperialism stopped its support for Omar al-Bashir but not 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 have used Sudan for their own interests, some share (and fight for) the spoils of Sudanese resources that include gold, uranium and oil. While 30,000 Sudanese troops remain in the Yemen to support Saudi Arabia.
So, there will be many dirty tricks coming from this set of international community gentlemen and gentlewomen.
Much of the health and education system has been privatised to the extent that many workers and poor people have little or no health or education service and face a life of misery – until the revolution erupted.
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 govern.
There is a burning national question and liberation struggles. All ethnic cleansing has to stop and all refugees 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.
Darfur belongs to the people of Darfur, only they can decide their future, and the liberation army has liberated more areas since December 2018. The general strike reached Darfur.
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 democratic revolution can only be carried through by the masses on the streets, by the 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 in Sudan and interfering.
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. 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!
Only a worker’s 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 East revolutions
As with the present uprising in Algeria, Sudan continues the revolutionary struggle against despotic regimes and for 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 a mural in Idlib, Syria painted by “Syrian Banksy” Abu Malik al-Shami, who is a fighter with the Free Syrian Army, sent greetings to the Sudanese revolution. It says, “Liberty is not a statue anymore. SHE is alive with flesh and blood”. It depicts 20-year-old women who have led chants and singing in Khartoum during the street occupation that confronts the military.
Just last week Syrian fighters from Idlib sent greetings to the Sudanese revolution through a mural that says, “Liberty is not a statue anymore. SHE is alive with flesh and blood”. It is signed by Syrian Banksy, the 22 years-old street artist Abu Malik Al-Shami, who is a fighter with the Free Syrian Army.
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 that has not changed. 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 and Labour have not expressed or urged support for the uprising. And no national union has yet supported the revolution.
Military step down now
Omar al-Bashir to ICC
Release all political prisoners
Dissolve and punish the NISS government security forces
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 for Sudanese workers and people
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