Sudan is a country that has and quite literally going through the wars and while there are many groups opposing the military government, both militarily and politically, one of the most influential is the Sudanese Communist Party.
To read the strange tale of Bir Tawil click here.
Who are the Sudanese Communist Party?
Originally founded in 1946 it was a key player it was key player in post-independence Sudan and alongside the Iraqi Communist Party one of the biggest in the Arab World.
In 1971 the party allegedly attempted a coup in the country, which led to the execution of its leaders, as well as its official banning by the not all that lefty Sudanese Socialist Union, which drew influence more from Nasserism than Marxism.
It was eventually overthrown in yet another coup in 1985, from where the Sudanese Communist was for a time at least legalised. This lasted until 1989 when they opposed the dictatorship of Omar Al-Bashir and his Revolutionary Command Council fro National Salvation, which would later morph into the now banned National Congress Party.
Sudan Under Omar Al-Bashir
During the rule of the National Congress Party Sharia law was introduced, the country drifted into a severe civil war in the south, which would eventually lead to the country splitting and South Sudanese independence, but also things such as the Darfur genocide, as well things such as the Abyei Question.
To read about Abyei click here.
The government was eventually overthrown in 2019, but despite promises the military have yet to hand power over to a civilian administration.
The Sudanese Communist Party in modern times
In a 2007 interview, then general secretary of the SCP Muhammad Ibrahim Nugud claimed that the party enjoyed widespread support throughout the country, particularly in places in open warfare with the government, such as Darfur.
Party leader Nugud died in London,in 2012. By then he had served as the party’s general secretary for over four decades. He was succeeded by Muhammad Mukhtar al-Khatib, who remains in power today and is a vocal critic against the current military regime.
Ideology of the Sudanese Communist Party
During the Cold War there were essentially two factions, one of which was of the traditional Marxism-Leninism variety, while the other expressed a desire for Sudanese version of socialism.
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall the party, much like others around the world has become more pragmatic and some would suggest even becoming a “big tent”type of party.
The party is currently one of those advocating for a return to democratic rule, rather than a full on Marxist Revolution and could be compared to say the communists of Nepal in their modern interpretation of Marxism-Leninism, of which they do officially at least still profess.
To read about communism in Nepal click here.
Just how popular are the Sudanese Communist Party?
Although no official numbers are known, it is generally thought that they have strong support throughout the country, something evidenced from the markets of the country, right to directly what people tell you.
I personal brought a Lenin picture on goats skin, while at least a few Sudanese people told me they were communist after seeing my tattoos .
And it is in this context that many people feel is partly why the military do not want to relinquish control of the country. The communist are genuinely string and could potentially win an election, or worse still go head to head against Islamic parties that could and probably would fracture the country even further.
To read about the Sudanese crisis click here.
Quite what the next few years will bring the communist of Sudan or indeed the normal workers of the country no one knows, but we can at least assure you we will be there visiting!
You can check out our next Sudan Tour here.