23 Jan 2021

Sudanese Communist Party

(Al-Hizb al-Shuyui al-Sudani)

The CPS is one of the oldest parties in Sudan. By the 1920s Marxist teachings had already found their way into Sudan through the Egyptian Communist Party. The CPS was formally founded in 1946, ten years before Sudan's independence, and was soon considered as one of the most influential Communist parties in both the Middle East and Africa. At the time it was one of the few parties that also recruited members in the South. In fact, in the 1950s it was the first party to endorse regional autonomy for the South. In the first elections (1953) a CPS member won one of five graduate seats. When the first democratic regime was overthrown by the military in 1958 the CPS was the only party to oppose the new regime. Hence it was forced underground but continued its opposition activities through civil disobedience despite harsh repression. Under the leadership of Abdel Khaliq Mahjoub it played an instrumental role in the toppling of the Abboud military regime in 1964. Hence the first cabinet of the transitional government included a number of CPS-members. However, after the elections of 1965 it was declared illegal again. Yet it continued opposition activities from its strongholds in the universities and labor unions.

In 1969 the CPS supported the May Revolution of leftist army officers led by Colonel Jafaar Nimeri. Its policy of regional autonomy for the South was adopted by the new regime paving the way for the Addis Ababa peace agreement that ended 17 years of war in 1972. The party remained officially dissolved but some CPS politicians entered into the government. However, in 1971 Nimeri accused the CPS of complicity in an abortive coup d'etat led by CPS member Hashim El Atta. Mahjoub, the Minister of Southern Affairs Joseph Garang, labor union leader Shafia El Sheikh and many others were executed like Atta. Due to this wave of repression the party was once again forced to continue its opposition activities underground.

Following Nimeri's downfall in 1985 the CPS soon re-entered the political stage voicing strong opposition to the draconic "September Laws" that Nimeri had introduced in 1983 under the label of Sharia and advocating a secular constitution. In the parliamentary elections of 1986 it won three seats. With other parties it entered into a dialogue with the SPLM/A in order to find a solution for the civil war in the South that had broken out again in 1983. After the military takeover of 1989 the CPS joined the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), an umbrella of parties and forces opposed to the "National Salvation Revolution" rule of General Omar Al Bashir, in a prominent role. It continued its activities from inside the country and published its own weekly newspaper Al Midan clandestinely. CPS secretary general Mohamed Ibrahim Nugud, who has held the office since 1972, stayed inside Sudan in hiding from 1994 until 2006. In a recent interview he stated: "We are still committed to our Marxist orientation. We think Marx's analysis of capitalism in the 19th century was useful and we use his methods as a tool to examine the current situation. We are advocating socialism in a multi-party system."

Official website: www.midan.net

Information Source: www.electionnaire.org

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