Sudan Dossier: One Year of War: Destroying the Social Fabric of Revolution

May 19th, 2024 - written by: Marwan Osman and Eberhard Jungfer

One year of war in Sudan. In order to commemorate and to provide solid information partly from friends who have been part of the revolution, some of them still being on the ground, RLS and have been working on a dossier which we will jointly publish on our respective sites, on a rolling basis. The dossier consists of ten articles on the situation after one year of war.

This introduction provides a summary of the articles, which will be published as part of the dossier, in the 3rd part of this introduction. In the 1st part, we recount the history of the Sudanese revolution. It started so hopefully in December 2018, and resisted the Coup of October 6, 2021, and could only be defeated by the two generals who started war against the social fabric of the revolution. Why is it that this revolution was so deep and strong? Answering this question means to dive deeper into that social fabric, which means focusing on the social constitution of the "ordinary people" who made the revolution.[1] In the 2nd part, we characterize the war as a counter-revolutionary war attacking this very social fabric. It is not merely a war between two mad generals, and it is not only about territories, resources, enrichment, and foreign interests, as it is often being assessed. It is a war on the civilian "ordinary people", and their aspirations for a better life.

RC Building

Omdurman, the office of the Banat Neighbourhood Committee became a cemetery

The Social Fabric of the Revolution

It is not long ago since academic Sudan studies began to focus on the history of "ordinary people". A book which was recently published in Paris, Ordinary Sudan, 1504–2019, is worth mentioning in this context. Most historians have written about intellectuals, politics, parties, institutions, and repression. Sudan has a rich history of anti-colonial struggles. It is grounds of the first Communist Party in Africa, and revolutions took place in 1964 and 1985.

Sudan had a very strong and pioneer trade unions movement. The Railways Trade Union and Gezira Scheme Farmers Union were the most prominent in Sudan, with a long experience of confronting the authorities since colonial days. The Sudanese trade unions played a key role in toppling the first military regime of General Ibrahim Aboud (1958-1964), when all came together under the Corporations Front. They also brought the second military dictatorship of Nimeiry (1969-1985) to its end, this time under a wide alliance of trade unions called Associations Front.

The 1964 Revolution took place mainly in Khartoum and Omdurman, and the political agenda mostly concerned the postcolonial ruling “effendiyya” class. It was more a political than a social revolution. This was different with the Intifada of 1985. The Intifada started with student’s demonstrations, but one day later the urban poor population joined in, and a General Strike and demonstrations took place in all major cities.

The background of the 1985 Intifada was a famine in the periphery, and IMF interventions which caused higher bread and fuel prices. It was similar in various Maghreb countries. This “bargaining by riot” forced the regimes in Sudan to keep prices relatively low over the years, even the years during the authoritarian Bashir regime (1989-2019).

By 1985, the ruling “effendiyya” class had learned to control social uprisings by staging the conflict as a political theatre. The dictator stepped down, elections were held, the traditional Islamist parties won, some cronies enriched themselves, some Islamist charity was installed, besides training camps for Islamist militias, and 4 years later a new dictator gained power for the following 30 years. This is the scenario which the political elite, the clerics, the security apparatus, and the army, wanted to stage again in 2019. But at that time the social movement was too strong, and there was no way for political arrangements. Hence, they waged war on the social fabric.

1989 and the 1990s: Islamism and Resistance

The Islamist's 30 years rule (1989-2019) destroyed the trade unions and repressed civil society organizations. The escalation of the war in South Sudan, the longest in the African continent, started by declaring Jihad against the uprisings in the South. This added a new dimension to a war which started as a war against marginalization and inequality in terms of sharing power and wealth.[2] The acceleration of the process of Arabization and Islamization of the non-Arab ethnicities had already started during the first military regime of general Ibrahim Aboud in the early 1960s, and continued in the 1980s after Sharia (“Islamic law”) was adopted by the second military regime of Nimeiry (1969-1985).

After the fall of the so-called Iron Curtain in Europe, the Sudanese Communist Party was struggling to maintain its unity. It led to the so-calledGeneral Discussion about Marxism and the Question of Sudanese Revolution, as well as about internal roles of the party, notably the principle of democratic centralism. This resulted in severe splits within the party, weakening the left wing, the major opponent of the Islamists. It is worth mentioning that the student’s leftist movement was far stronger than the political parties, due to the long tradition of freedom of speech in the Sudanese universities. Thus, they kept the struggle against the regime very much alive.

From the very beginning, there was resistance to the Islamists military coup in 1989, as the doctor’s trade union called for strike on the second day of the coup. The Islamists were well aware of the important and historical role of the trade unions, and hastily drafted a new law against trade unions, to limit their effect and deprive the Sudanese people from this effective tool of resistance. As a result of the firm security grip and brutal repression, the civil resistance became confined into the walls of universities and students movement.

In the mid of the 1990s, several Sudanese political parties (National and Democratic Association), including for the first time the SPLM (Sudan People's Liberation Movement), gathered in Asmara, Eritrea and produced what is known as the Asmara Conference For Crucial Issues. They adopted and declared armed struggle against the Islamist government. This move didn't lasted long, as the alliance soon scattered due to political differences. During the rest of the 1990s, Sudanese political resistance was hibernating, except for the armed struggle of SPLA (Sudan People's Liberation Army).

The 2000s were marked by the emergence of Darfur armed movements. The Islamists turned towards fomenting tribalism in Darfur and started to recruit Arab tribes of Darfur to fight non-Arab ethnic groups, specifically Fur, Zaghawa and Massalit. This initiated the notorious Darfur genocide and ethnic cleansing.

The resistance to the Islamists in Sudan took two different forms. Armed movements in the peripheries, Nuba Mountains, south of the Blue Nile, Darfur and Eastern Sudan on the one side, and a peaceful path in central and northern parts of the country.

Excursus: On “Tribalization”

Sudan as a country is divided by tribalism, especially the rivalry between “Non-Arab” and “Arab” ethnicities. Being unfamiliar with the history of Sudan, this might sound like a familiar story of ancient hatreds exploding in violent Africa. But what happened in South Sudan only looked like that on the surface. In fact, the main ethnic groups there, Dinka and Nuer, were not fighting some endless feud; they had not been at each other’s throats before the introduction of the colonial rule. The groups were fighting over control of the brand-new state. They sought the spoils of rule, which they understood to be the province of their respective ethnicity. Whoever rules — meaning whoever has enough guns and money to maintain a loyal fighting force — can funnel cash, real estate, jobs, business opportunities, contracts, and protection to their own ethnic group. That is how things work in South Sudan, thanks to colonial modernity.

After the British established their colonial rule in the early twentieth century, they politicized ethnic boundaries, reconstituting cultural differences as tribal differences. The inheritors of this colonial mentality govern as the British did, not as their ancestors did. The territory of what is now Sudan and South Sudan has been home to an impressive human diversity for at least half a millennium, but only for the past hundred years or so has this diversity been a source of conflict. This is a result of the logic of indirect colonial rule. Beginning just after the turn of the twentieth century, and with increased urgency and concentration in the 1920s, British colonial authorities tribalized Sudan, erecting legal and physical barriers between groups that previously intermingled in spite of their cultural differences. The British hemmed groups into borders that had not formerly existed and installed a system of chiefly rule invented by colonial administrators. This was done to prevent the colonized from developing solidarities beyond the tribal.[3]

The Oil Boom and the Aftermath

The early 2000s were the years of genocide in Darfur, but at the same time, these were the years of the oil boom, especially after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) with SPLA in 2005. A “Higher Education Revolution” had already taken place in the 1990s, but now there were jobs, and opportunities not only to visit colleges and universities, and join student’s organizations, but also to move to cities and towns, move into neighbourhoods which could be described as “new middle class”. There were many families with illiterate parents, that nonetheless described themselves as middle-class. The well-educated youth did not loose their understanding of mutuality, and stood connected to their families, and to face-to-face familiarity. We think that this is one of the important “moral grounds” for the students’ activism in the neighbourhoods.

2011 was a decisive year in the history of Sudan. Most people in the MENA region think of this year as the year of the Arab Revolution, which was a global game changer. In Sudan this was only of importance for leftist and student circles. Inspired by the Egyptian revolution, groups like ChangeNow and Grifna (We Are Fed Up) were founded. But the main turning point in Sudan was the separation of South Sudan. This resulted in the loss of of the oil-revenue, as more than 85% of the oil fields are located in South Sudan. The disappointment with the South Sudanese voting for separation was fundamental. In the following years, the new middle classes and the working classes suffered, the peripheries were left to their own means of reproduction, but the most affected were the lower classes who had settled in the cities. Job opportunities were lost, and prices for bread and fuel soared without compensation. In addition, many university graduates were degraded into unemployed youth.

This led to the uprising of the poor in 2013, which took many of the political groups by surprise. The protests started in Nyala, Darfur, South Darfur, and immediately reached Khartoum and Omdurman via Wad Madani. The uprising was a great disruption, since the initiating actors were the poor "ordinary people", newcomers, and migrants. Bashir called Hemetti and his militia to protect his regime, and they shot down scores of protesters. Many of the political activists who had tried to help organizing the uprising were imprisoned.

2013 – 2018: Elements of Social Revolution

The first Resistance Committees (RCs) were founded during the September 2013 protests in Khartoum. Originally they were just small cells dedicated to mobilization for protest, dominated by students and young graduate political cadres.[4] The years after the 2013 uprising saw a turn by left-wing political organisations, including the Communist Party (CP), towards grassroots neighbourhoods. Additionally, the continuity of women’s struggles was decisive, as well as ongoing students’ protests. Protests took place in the years 2014, 2015, and 2016.[5] The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), which played an important role in the first stage of the revolution, was founded in 2013.

Looking back to the years after the 2013 uprising, we think that, besides inflation and scarcity of everything, the following elements are important for the 2018 revolution.

Neighbourhood structures

After 2013, the resistance was transformed due to the formation of the RCs (Resistance Committees). At the very beginning the RCs confined themselves to provide major services for neighbourhoods. They kept growing and gaining ordinary people's trust. Near the end of the decade, in December 2018, with the declaration of austerity measures and the lifting of subsidiaries of major commodities,[6] the RC’s political role shifted. Protestors needed to be organized in their daily confrontations with the security apparatus. During the peak of the protest movement in early 2019, thousands of such committees were founded. Magdi el-Gizouli highlights that they “combined the emancipatory potential of a popular movement with a radically democratic structure, rare in a political field dominated by ad hoc bodies with limited representative credentials”.[7]

The work of the RCs varied, depending in the composition of respective neighbourhoods. While RCs in middle-class areas centered discussions, and tended to make political compromises, the ones in poorer neighbourhoods tended to be more radical. El-Gizouli wrote about the informal economy of “The Republic of Kalakla”: “Kalakla has its share of the young unemployed, with an over-representation of university graduates, chronic students and school dropouts. Many are engaged in the so-called informal economy as peddlers, hustlers, petty traders, brokers (of sorts), fixers and handymen. All are enmeshed in social and economic networks that are built on trust and the exchange of services and benefits […] Kalakla’s ‘niggers’ operate in a moral economy predicated on a measure of redistribution and solidarity, and hence their coordinated efforts to shield their class compatriots from police violence”.[7] In cases like this, the youth were committed street fighters, making radical social demands, and not trusting politicians.

Women’s Struggles

Women in Sudan suffered the most due to the Islamists’ repression manifested in Public Order law, which was mainly directed against them. Added to this was the Sudanese patriarchal structure of society. Maybe this is why the percentage of the women who participated in the December Revolution was considerably exceeding men (Women’s Revolution). Given the long and deeply inculcated heritage of Sudanese women’s organization (Sudanese Women’s Union), an organization founded with the dawn of post colonial state, and the first woman being elected as a Member of Parliament in the so-called Arab world, this was a great victory for the Sudanese women’s movement. Building on a such long history of struggle, women in Sudan were able to put ferocious resistance to the Islamist authorities and to take the leadership of the December Revolution, as noted in the above mentioned participation in the demonstrations, and expressed in the trending hashtag at the time: #join_the_committee, and their demands of equal gender representation during the transitional period.

Overcoming Tribalism

The postcolonial state reproduced the colonial heritage of tribalization under the ideology of “Arab” and Islamist supremacy. Tribalized conflicts were initiated and used for the clearing of oil fields, land grabbing, and clearing of pastures for the export of cattle. Especially the “Black” peasants lost their fields and were driven into refugee camps.

However, in the 1990s and 2000s, people could and did move, and their mobility was a fundamental feature of the Sudanese social fabric. Hundreds of thousands moved from South Sudan, and from Nuba Mountains, Kordofan and Darfur, to Khartoum. They resettled in the huge makeshift areas there, and reproduced the sociality of their villages, side by side with emigrants from Ethiopia and Eritrea. But also the smaller towns grew considerably. This mobility was bridging the rift between centre and peripheries.

With the expansion of education (higher education revolution of the 1990s), many of the Sudanese youth were able to attend higher education institutions. Apart from the poor quality of education in these institutions, they brought youth from different parts and tribes of Sudan together. So did the camps of the compulsory military service. Finally, the sit-in at the military headquarters during the revolution was a great festival of tearing down tribal borders.

Arrival of the train from Adbara


Given the aforementioned heritage of freedom of speech and political activity at the universities, that margin of freedom fostered student movements during the 2000s. It culminated in the Opposition Alliance winning students’ union elections in some universities, which had historically been Islamist domains.

In 2016, as part of the privatization process, the Islamist government attempted to privatize the historical buildings of Khartoum University. This led to the establishment of the Khartoum University Graduates Congress, aimed at stopping the sale of these buildings. Soon this Congress played a wider political role and called for general strike and civil disobedience. On 27th of November and 19th of December 2016 their calls were successful and brought a glimpse of hope that the Islamists could be defeated.

2018 – 2023: The Revolution

The first spark of the revolution ignited in Mayirnoo, a small town south of the Blue Nile, famous for its strong political leftist CP, and its Fulani population. From there it spread to other parts of Sudan. The demonstrations were consistent for almost four months until the fall of Al-Bashir on 11th of April 2019. This revolution was again initiated by “ordinary” and tribalized people, and spread by leaps and bounds to numerous cities. The revolution started from the margins, with people demanding security, bread and water.

As the movement moved into the cities, many political actors jumped in, and the demands were transformed into political slogans for freedom, peace and justice. After internet shutdowns, coordination efforts by the Sudanese Professional’s Association (SPA), and the coordination of decentralized resistance by RCs became increasingly important. RCs popped up not only in Khartoum and its village-like suburbs, but in many places across the country. At the end of 2022, around 8000 RCs existed across Sudan as well as about 100 coordinating committees, one in each city, seven in Khartoum and one in the refugee camps.

During the sit-in in front of the military headquarters from 6th of April to 3rd of June 2019, the common spirit of the people was fostered. After the RSF stepped in and dispersed the sit-in, committing fatal shootings and rapes, numerous demonstrations took place as well as a general strike from 9-11th of June. In August 2019, the Military Council was forced to resume negotiations with the civilian actors, the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC). This resulted in the signing of the Constitutional Document and led to the Hamdok government (August 2019 — October 2021).

The second wave of revolutionary activity has been well summarized by Sara Abbas and Shireen Akram-Boshar (2022):[8]

“On October 25, 2021, the military seized power once again, declaring a state of emergency and beginning a campaign of terror in an attempt to reclaim full control of the country. This sparked a second wave of revolutionary activity. In this wave, the leadership of the resistance shifted from its 2019 center—the Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA)—to neighborhood-based resistance committees across the country. The committees stood in clear and steadfast opposition to the military, as well as to attempts by regional and western powers to return to the power sharing agreement of 2019. The resistance committees’ two loudest slogans, which the Sudanese street adopted as its own, encapsulated their position on the political situation: ‘Going back is impossible’ and ‘no negotiation, no partnership, and no legitimation’ with the military.”

In January 2022, the RCs proclaimed a "Year of Resistance". Hamdok resigned. Another wave of protests followed in June. Several RCs started issuing political charters, “based on widespread consultation of their neighborhoods, regions, and with other revolutionary bodies in their areas. The charters did not only link the question of social and economic inequity, war and political repression, and the extractive colonial state and its post-colonial iterations, but they also charted out a bottom-up process of participatory democracy that contrasted sharply with the various power-from-above models championed by the military, by civilian elites and by western powers”.[8]

At the end of 2022 a race took place between the military and the RCs. The military and FFC signed another agreement, the Framework Agreement on the transfer of power, but no one — except some international actors — trusted that process at this point. Meanwhile the Coordination of RCs had finalized the Revolutionary Charter, with a clear time table how to take power through revolutionary councils. It was widely published in January 2023. They visualized a real chance to push the military back into the barracks. Three months later, SAF and RSF began fighting each other. The revolution was Caught in the Crossfire.

War as Counter-Revolution: the Destruction of the Social Fabric

From the beginning, the war was more than a war between two generals. It was a war against the revolutionary spirit, and a war against the social fabric of revolution. The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) stood for a renewed nationalist Islamist military regime, for the old liaisons with Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and the old commercial trade networks. Whereas the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) stood for a “neoliberal privatized version of an army in the third world”, based on warlordism and Arab racism, but also for a model of extraction and militarized farming on behalf of the Emirates. “The RSF had to manage its cash economy in terms of its investments, and it needed to find a purpose for these fighters.”[9] But both of them, like-minded in this respect, saw the agency of ordinary people as their enemy. As a neo-liberal proverb says, defeat the people, and the winner takes it all.

The early days of the war resulted in the destruction of much of the infrastructure, like bridges, power stations, or hospitals and schools, while the RCs remained strong. They built up emergency rooms for medical care, social kitchens, and schooling rooms. In addition, they looked for safe routes for people to walk out of the conflict zones. They tried to maintain an atmosphere of civilian self-defense.

But in June 2023, the Massacre of Geneina took place. ”Arab" militias killed thousands of "Black", mainly Massalit inhabitants and refugees in that city, inclusively Khamees, the governor of East Darfur state. Hope was fading. The atrocities on civilian populations were a grave signal indicating the deep counter-revolutionary impact of the war. RSF-associated militias cleared a whole neighbourhood inhabited by Massalit popolation, called the males slaves and shot them. They raped the women, looted and set fire to the houses, set up roadblocks to enforce the tracks of people who fled.[10]

These were the first means of destruction of the social fabric: destruction of neighbourhoods, killing, exploitation, looting, fire and rape. Building roadblocks to attribute “tribe” to people. People were being reduced to their “tribal” identity, led to a re-tribalization of society.

In July 2023, Omdurman became the next theatre of war. Again looting and rape were executed, when the "Arab " militias entered the Omdurman neighbourhoods. Once more the RSF selected along the lines of "Arab" and "Black". The women, who had been so active in their neighbourhoods and on the streets, were pushed back into the houses or forced to look for shelter outside the city. The SAF, on the other side of the river, threw bombs on neighbourhoods and public places. The bombardment of Omdurman market was one of the most cruel examples.[11] In August, the war zone expanded to Khartoum, leading to the expulsion of millions. 75% of the people left the city and fled to the north, east, or south.

In October, RSF took over Nyala, the capital of the South Darfur state, which many observers considered to be a decisive breakthrough. Later the RSF took over North Kordofan and Gerzira without much fighting. In December 2023, they took over Wad Madani without resistance. Hundreds of thousands had to flee again, moving through checkpoints set up by RSF, or by Islamist fighters associated with SAF, and by SAF themselves. Especially activists and people who had not aligned with one of the warring parties were being sorted out, interrogated, and sometimes forcibly disappeared. Everyday life became militarized. The last RCs were forced to side with those who were controlling the respective area, and their humanitarian activities suffered from the lack of supplies. In the absence of the state, they often were the last communitarian actors, however helpless.

Meanwhile, 60% of what used to be "Sudan" is a conflict zone. No water, no food, no electricity. A generation of children and youth is lost. In Gezira, which was the bread basket of Sudan, much of the agricultural infrastructure has been destroyed, which will have a long term effect.


Source: WOZ

During the last weeks, SAF has begun with the recruitment of fighters, including women. This is the next step of the counter-revolutionary procedure: forcing people to take sides against their will and interest, either RSF or SAF, no escape; and sacrificing themselves to military discipline and obedience.

In addition, the following (incomplete) counter-revolutionary measures are documented:

Starvation: SAF is arbitrarily withholding deliveries of food aid. With regards to RSF, they import weapons but no food. Depopulation is what offers integration into the capitalist global system without a social fabric.

Extraction and land grabbing: It would be interesting to update the list of land-grabbing projects in Sudan. Like in Ukraine, this is implemented more smoothly in times of war. In Gezira, a curious thing is happening: RSF have driven out much of the population, including all the refugees from Khartoum. They have "disinvested" by looting. Now the SAF-government steps in: they sell much of the territory (held by RSF) to the Emirates (who are funding RSF).[12] With that money, they want to buy drones from Turkey and Iran. War industry, Emirates and big capital will be the winner.

Humanitarization: After destruction, international players come together for funding. In the Paris Conference, more than 2 billion € have been pledged. The EU’s foreign policy chief highlighted that the war in Sudan “has triggered the worst humanitarian crisis in the world”. This is correct, but EU contributed in triggering this crisis. A parallel meeting with Tagadum (representatives from old political parties, former FFC) took place, while the basic structures on the ground were left out. Humanitarization will safe lives, and this will calm down the conscience of the donors. The former revolutionary crowd is being sentenced to life in camps. NGO-governance will take over. After the military, NGOs and humanitarian actors will be the winners of this war.

Umniah speaking from Riad Neighbourhood, Khartoum

The Articles in the Dossier

The article by Muzan Alneel, The Sudanese Revolution in Crisis, has already been published. Muzan sees Sudan on the way back to dictatorship. She recalls the years of resistance, when the political order was open, and speaks about the loss of popular support for the RCs. Indeed, international actors, including UN, have never supported the revolutionary civilian structures on the ground. They presently choose the generals, and the politicians of Tagadum who reside in the cities abroad, as their partners. Muzan does not hide her disappointment that the RCs have not been able to maintain basic political structures on the ground, and have no representation in the international context.

From a camp in White Nile state, close to the border to South Sudan, we received an article by Tahani Ajak, about the recruitment of soldiers and militiamen in the camp. We will edit and publish her article soon.

Regarding external actors in the war, the article by Saskia Jaschek, More than a Domestic Conflict, has also just been published on the RLS homepage. Saskia's article sheds light on the complex entanglements of this war, the various regional and international actors that have a stake in the conflict, and their manifold — sometimes overlapping, sometimes conflicting — interests in it. It gives an overview of the most important entanglements, with a special focus on EU and Germany. The author summarizes: "At their core, (the various connections, interests, and alliances in the current war in Sudan) are struggles for hegemony and supremacy of nation-states, paired with policies of enclosure and capitalist interests that are guided and satisfied by actions of extractivism and a global war economy."

Andreas Bohne has written an article with the title The War in Sudan Is Causing Mass Hunger. Andreas states that without a ceasefire, the situation could soon spiral out of control — indeed, it has already spiraled: "According to the United Nations, more than 12,000 people have died in the fighting so far. Of the 10 million displaced, 1.7 million have fled to other countries. […] Caught between the warring factions, hunger is now spreading among the civilian population. Due to the destruction of infrastructure, many are no longer able to provide for themselves. The war has now largely brought agricultural production to a standstill, and both warring parties repeatedly block access to humanitarian supplies."

Sara Abbas presents another article in the dossier, on Mediation and "Peacemaking". Sara writes about the history of failed, western mediated and backed peacemaking in contemporary Sudan. She argues that while mediation actors have ostensibly sought to broker political settlements that put Sudan on the road to peace and democratic change, in reality they have centered military actors, extending their hold on power and as such, deepening the crisis of governance rather than resolving it.

Adam Babiker has written about “The State of Horn of Africa Migration During the Sudan War”. His article will be the next to be edited. Adam is based in Gedaref state, and the Etiopian labourers who used to come to East Sudan for seasonal work are being discussed. Adam writes on Sudan as a hub of transit, and the changing routes caused by the war. The war has led to suffering of Sudanese civilians, refugees, and migrants alike.

Regarding the emigrants fleeing Sudan, Narjes Torchani will write an article on Sudanese refugees, with short statements by women in Cairo, refugees in the North of Egypt, in UAE and in Tunisia. Of the 10 million displaced, 1.7 million crossed the borders to neighbouring countries, most of them to Chad and South Sudan, where they stranded in the refugee camps. Those who made it to Egypt, and the Arab countries, or Europe, are more middle class. Just very few “ordinary people” are making their way to Libya and Tunisia and try to cross over to Italy.

The authors of this intro will arrange a written interview with Muzna Alhaj and Osman Abdallah, about the history and actual situation of the RCs. We know well that the RCs are in a situation of severe crisis, and suffer from neglect on the international political stage. Nevertheless, we value information on the RCs as a very central topic in this dossier. We consider them to be world heritage of revolutionary movements.

Three more articles will be added to this series: one article on Feminist Struggles and Movements, and articles, with authors to be named, on Parties and Class Dynamics, and on the Economy of War and Starvation.

Further Reading

Timeline Sudan

Revolutionary Charter, and Comment by Muzan Alneel

Collection of Press Articles: One year of War in Sudan

AJE 11.04.24: After a year of war in Sudan, what is the situation now?.

ACLED 14.04.24: Situation Update | April 2024 One Year of War in Sudan.

NYT 15.04.24: One Year of War in Sudan: How Two Rival Generals Wrecked Their Country.

Guardian 17.04.24: Increasing number of villages torched across Sudan shows conflict is intensifying - report.


Berridge, Willow and Justin Lynch, Raga Makawi, Alex de Waal (2022): Sudanss Unfinished Democracy. The Promise and Betrayal of a Peoples Revolution, London (Hurst: African Arguments).

Mandani, Mahmood (2020): .Sudan: Colonialism, Independence, and Secession, Book Chapter in Neither Settler nor Native (Havard UP).

Vezzadini, Elena and Iris Seri-Hersch, Lucie Revilla, Anael Poussier and Mahassin Abdul Jalil (Eds.)(2023): Ordinary Sudan, 1504 2019 (De Gruyter).

For a good overview in German, see:
Schmidinger, Thomas (2020): Sudan, Wien (bahoe books).

On Darfur:

Flint, Julie and Alex de Waal (2008): Darfur. A new history of a long war, Zed Books.


Abbas, Sara (2021): The Sudanese Revolution’s Second Act.

Abbas, Sara and Shireen Akram-Boshar (2022): The Future of the Resistance Committees in Sudan. A Roundtable with Abdelsalam Mindas, Muzan Alneel, and Magdi el Gizouli.

Abbas, Sara (2023): In Sudan, the Revolution Is Caught in the Crossfire.

Alhaj, Muzna (Interview, 2022): Revolutionary Organizing in Sudan.

Baldo, Suliman (2017): Border Controls from Hell: How the EU’s migration partnership legitimizes Sudan’s “militia state”.

Barfus, Reta (2023): How the European Union Finances Oppression.

Bernal, Victoria (1997): Colonial Moral Economy and the Discipline of Development: The Gezira Scheme and "Modern" Sudan.

el Gizouli, Magdi (2020): Mobilization and Resistance in Sudan’s Uprising.

Kurtz, Gerrit (2024): Machtbeziehungen in Sudan nach dem Fall Bashirs (SWP Studie).

Mustafa, Azza and Sara Abbas (2020): Learning from Uprisings: Sudan’s December Revolution, in: Saab (2020): A Region in Revolt, Mapping the Recent Uprisings in North Africa and West Africa, Ottawa and Amsterdam.

Thomas, Edward and Magdi el Gizouli (2021): Creatures of the Deposed: Connecting Sudan’s Rural and Urban Struggles.

de Waal, Alex (2019): Sudan: A Political Marketplace Framework Analysis. World Peace Foundation occasional paper.

UN (2023): Final Report of the Panel of Experts on Sudan Pursuant to Security Council Resolution 2676 (2023).

1 السودان حروب الموارد والهوية، محمد سليمان (Sudan, wars of resources and identity (2010), p. 168.

2 Mahmood Mamdani (2020): Neither Settler nor Native, Harvard University Press.

3 Magdi el Gizouli (2020): Mobilization and Resistance in Sudan’s Uprising.

4 Schmidinger (2020), p. 137.

5 For a short history of IMF – Sudan-relationship, 1986 – 2022, see Magdi el-Gizouli on his blog,

6 Magdi el Gizouli (2020): Mobilization and Resistance in Sudan’s Uprising.

7 Magdi el Gizouli (2020): Mobilization and Resistance in Sudan’s Uprising.

8 Quoted slightly changed from Sara Abbas and Shireen Akram-Boshar (2022): The Future of the Resistance Committees in Sudan.

9 See FN 9.

10 Adam Benjamin (2023): Marketing War, An Interview with Maghdi el Gizouli, on Phenomenal World. We do not agree with El-Gizoulis analysis that “the proximate reasons for the war do lie in the barracks, in a dispute over command and control”. However, in this interview El-Gizouli gives a very insightful account on the economy of war, as regards RSF.

11 UN (2023): Final Report of the Panel of Experts on Sudan Pursuant to Security Council Resolution 2676 (2023).

12 At the present moment, the same thing is happening in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur. 40.000 people have fled their homes. The number of villages destroyed in targeted fires is rising. See Guardian 17.04.24: Increasing number of villages torched across Sudan shows conflict is intensifying - report.

13Statement des RC von Kararri / Omdurman. Wir halten diesen Bericht, der sich auch auf das sudanesische Finanzministerium beruft, für vertrauenswürdig


  1. We use this term as a reference to Asef Bayat's book, Life as Politics (2010). For a deeper discussion on this term, see the Bringing Ordinary People Back into Sudan Studies, the introduction to the book Ordinary Sudan, 1504–2019 by Iris Seri-Hersch, Elena Vezzadini und Lucie Revilla. From our perspective, the term is more appropriate than "working class" of "laboring classes", because it includes the modes of reproduction of these people as a revolutionary factor.

  2. السودان حروب الموارد والهوية، محمد سليمان

    (Sudan, wars of resources and identity (2010), p. 168.

  3. Mahmood Mamdani (2020): Neither Settler nor Native, Harvard University Press

  4. Magdi el Gizouli (2020): Mobilization and Resistance in Sudan’s Uprising

  5. Schmidinger, Thomas (2020): Sudan, p. 137.

  6. For a short history of IMF – Sudan-relationship, 1986 – 2022, see Magdi el-Gizouli on his blog,

  7. Magdi el Gizouli (2020): Mobilization and Resistance in Sudan’s Uprising

  8. Quoted slightly changed from Sara Abbas and Shireen Akram-Boshar (2022): The Future of the Resistance Committees in Sudan.

  9. Adam Benjamin (2023): Marketing War, An Interview with Maghdi el Gizouli, on Phenomenal World. We do not agree with El-Gizoulis analysis that “the proximate reasons for the war do lie in the barracks, in a dispute over command and control”. However, in this interview El-Gizouli gives a very insightful account on the economy of war, as regards RSF.

  10. UN (2023): Final Report of the Panel of Experts on Sudan Pursuant to Security Council Resolution 2676 (2023).

  11. At the present moment, the same thing is happening in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur. 40.000 people have fled their homes. The number of villages destroyed in targeted fires is rising. See Guardian 17.04.24: Increasing number of villages torched across Sudan shows conflict is intensifying - report.

  12. Statement by RC Kararri / Omdurman. We consider this report, which also refers to the Sudanese Ministry of Finance, to be trustworthy