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From The Socialist newspaper, 3 November 2021

Sudan - mass protests and general strike against coup

Mass protests against the regime continue in Sudan, photo Lana Hago/CC

Mass protests against the regime continue in Sudan, photo Lana Hago/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Robert Bechert, Committee for a Workers' International (CWI)

The Sudanese military regime is facing massive resistance. Across the country, millions have protested and gone on strike, most recently a two-day general strike that stopped the country.

It is nearly four years since the start of the revolution which, after many casualties, overthrew al-Bashir's 30-year dictatorial rule, and most Sudanese do not want a new dictatorship.

The Neighbourhood Resistance Committees which emerged during the 2019 revolution have been central in organising the current protests. Despite an almost total shutdown of mobile phones and the internet, plus a heavy deployment of security forces, activists handed out leaflets and went door-to-door to mobilise support for protests.

The speed, scale and determination of the opposition to the coup and the willingness to confront the military are all signs of the movement's potential not just to defeat the generals but to go on to complete the revolution.

However, bravery and determination are not enough to secure victory. Events in Myanmar since February's military coup, provide important lessons that mass protests and even strikes do not automatically bring down dictatorships.

If a dictatorship's repressive forces do not split, its downfall is linked to the opposition building its own strength and organisation, consciously trying to split the military, paramilitary and police rank and file, and preparing for an uprising to overthrow the regime.

This coup took place at a time when the civilian component of the joint military-civilian transitional government was losing support, especially because of its implementation of International Monetary Fund demands to cut food and fuel subsidies. The generals saw this as an opportunity to restore their full control. They sponsored demonstrations calling for the removal of what was called the "hunger government" and its replacement by a fully military regime.


This coup threat led to massive anti-military protests, with slogans like: "Either civil power or eternal revolution" and "All power should be in the hands of the people".

Faced with this mounting opposition to their government role, the military tops decided to act and rapidly staged their coup. But this did not cower the movement, nor did the use of force which, at the time of writing, has resulted in at least 15 deaths and hundreds of injured protesters.

The main imperialist powers, terrified of where this opposition can go, are currently using the United Nations to propose that the deposed prime minister Hamdok be brought back to head a government of technocrats, with the military taking more of a background role.

However, while ending direct military rule, this would be an attempt to undemocratically install another pro-capitalist government while keeping the basic structure of the military and capitalism intact. Although this may result in the temporary restoration of some democratic rights, it would not be a fundamental solution in the interests of the mass of Sudanese, which capitalism cannot provide.

Since the beginning of the revolution, the Committee for a Workers' International has warned that the lesson of all modern revolutions is that workers and the urban and rural poor cannot place trust in any pro-capitalist government.

The linking up of the Neighbourhood Resistance Committees and other such bodies could, potentially, lead to a movement that sweeps away military rule and the the whole rotten system. The masses want change. The challenge for socialists is to win support for the idea that this is only possible with a government based on the working class and poor.

Such a government, defending democratic rights while nationalising the key sectors of the economy under workers' control and management, would begin to really liberate the Sudanese people and set an example both for Africa and the Middle East.

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In The Socialist 3 November 2021:


Socialist change to end climate change

Fight for socialism to end climate destruction

COP26 begins - workers strike for pay

COP26 News in brief

Campaigns news

Why I joined the Socialist Party

Fund the fight for a socialist world

Sheffield students tirelessly campaigning for socialist change

Hackney children's centres: Campaigners see through council deception

East London gentrification plans exposed


Fight for a real wage rise for all

Local government cuts set to continue - we need councillors prepared to fight

Race to top for bankers

Fight for a £15-an-hour minimum wage and an end to youth rates

Water companies put profits before protecting our environment

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Tory Universal Credit crumbs no solution to cost of living crisis

Tory plans won't fix social care

Pay freeze lifted for civil servants - prepare now for the struggle for a decent rise

Workplace news

NEU: Strategy needed to bring members together to take national action

Oaks Park school strike spurred on by head's lies

Scunthorpe scaffs strike into fifth week

Unite leaflets supermarkets to build support for Weetabix fire and rehire strike

Plant engineers pay dispute

Fighting sexism

Sexism, safety and the profit system

International news

Sudan - mass protests and general strike against coup

Chile: International solidarity campaign to free political prisoners

Vaccine inequality - the ugly face of capitalism

Hunger strike in Calais for refugee rights

Protests against Sudan coup reach Britain


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