Following the military coup last October, the temporary puppet regime has fallen while the people struggle for genuine democracy.
One slogan from the streets and the press rises above the rest in the ongoing revolution in Sudan, “no negotiation, no partnership, no legitimacy.” That is, no negotiations with the military coup, no partnership or shared governance with the coup, and no aspect of legitimacy in the military rule.
In a world where the rich sell us out with climate change in their pursuit of profits, a world that maintains military-backed empires combined with racist police systems to wage war at home, revolutions and mass uprisings for change are of incredible importance. Those of us working to change the world today can not only learn from current events in Sudan but can simultaneously be contributing to changing the world by acting in solidarity with the Sudanese people.
I last wrote about events in Sudan for The Ledger this past November titled “Sudan Resists the Coup”( https://thetacomaledger.com/2021/11/15/sudan-resists-the-military-coup/) when the military ended its power sharing agreement with the civilian government and took full control of the state via a coup. The popular struggle preceding and following this counter-revolutionary coup have only grown since then.
The uprising I detailed in that article quickly resulted in international pressure for the military rulers to compromise. Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, ousted in the October coup, was invited to return to his position.
Charlie Kimber from the Socialist Worker, a British newspaper, explained, “The US, Britain, Saudi Arabia and the United Nations all backed Hamdok in the hope he could blunt the anger against the generals. But most of the pro-democracy forces saw through him.” There was and is no popular support for Hamdok, a neoliberal described in “Sudan Resists the Coup.”
This puppet regime could not last as it had zero legitimacy; Hamdok resigned from office at the start of the new year.
Sudanese activist Marine Alneel told Democracy Now!, a news publication, that while “in 2019, many people were displeased with the partnership, now mostly people are outright rejecting any form of partnership with the military.”
And yet what does Hamdok call for as he steps down? The same thing the United Nations is pushing for: Negotiations with the military.
Various states and forces, like the International Monetary Fund and the United States, have an interest both in Sudan’s mineral reserves and overall stability in the region. Popular struggle, on the other hand, puts these things at risk. They want an end to the protests but with a government they can count on to maintain policies friendly to international capital.
Regional despots too are concerned, lest their own people rise in struggle against their rule. Egypt, for instance, has thrown its weight behind the UN’s calls for negotiations.
But again, the people of Sudan are clear. They say, “no negotiation, no partnership, no legitimacy.”
This difference between the peoples’ cries for democracy and the calls for compromise from various countries and the mainstream news is, arguably, neocolonialism.
It is, at the very least, implicitly racist for the western powers and media to dismiss the people of Sudan, while explaining compromise and negotiation as the answer.
The coup forces continue to repress the popular struggle but fail to deter the activists. Organized both in neighborhood and regional committees called the resistance committees, the revolution continues.
The resistance committees are, in places, showing what an alternative form of government could look like. Organized democratically, raising up feminist and anti-racist demands like opposition to the anti-Darfur scapegoating, and genuinely popular, it is possible to imagine an alternative to compromising with the military or settling for the limited political democracy we are familiar with.
One can start to imagine a social democracy rooted in the activity and decisions of the Sudanese working class forming within these committees.
While international powers like Israel and the US will continue to push for stability, those opposed to modern colonialism and racism should reject their elitist framework. Support the people of Sudan in their struggle for liberation.