Workers Vanguard No. 995
3 February 2012
All UN, African Union Troops Out of Sudan, North and South!
South Sudan: Independence and the Bloody Legacy of Imperialism
JANUARY 25—Barely six months after attaining independence, South Sudan is being torn by renewed warfare between the cattle-herding Murle and Nuer tribes. Estimates of those killed range as high as 3,000. The newly formed government of South Sudan, whose secession from Sudan capped a multi-decade armed struggle against northern oppression, is itself a mélange of officeholders from the Nuer, Zande, Shilluk Dinka and other peoples. There is also a continuing threat of military conflict with Sudan. As independence approached, armed groups were battling Sudanese government forces in the South Kordofan and Blue Nile border states, which remain part of Sudan. Those groups had formerly fought with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM)—the main force in the struggle for southern independence. Fighting along the border had become so severe by last month that the South Sudan government, based in the capital Juba, warned that it was on the brink of war.
The border region is a complex mosaic of ethnic groups with loyalties divided between North and South. Sudan’s northern rulers in Khartoum have not been shy about their intention to annex whole chunks of this territory, which is particularly rich in oil and fertile soil. Currently oil from South Sudan and border areas like the Abyei region is piped to the North, refined there and exported. With Khartoum and Juba yet to reach agreement on sharing oil revenues, the landlocked South has struck a deal with Kenya to build a pipeline to its Lamu port. On January 23, South Sudan started shutting down oil production, some 350,000 barrels per day, accusing Sudan of seizing $815 million worth of crude.
The existence of South Sudan’s government is based mainly on aid from the U.S. and other imperialist powers, which see in this deeply impoverished country—one that lacks the most basic modern infrastructure—the potential for fabulous profits through looting its oil reserves. The U.S. also aims to counter the influence of the Chinese deformed workers state in South Sudan and the broader region. Already the imperialists are administering state affairs in Juba through so-called “non-governmental organizations” and aid agencies while policing the border area through United Nations and African Union (AU) troops, part of a 30,000-strong UN/AU force in Sudan and South Sudan. In addition to beefing up the American diplomatic presence in Juba, the Obama administration announced in October that small contingents of U.S. special forces would be deployed in South Sudan as well as Uganda, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The U.S. Air Force has also been flying drones based in southern Ethiopia and Djibouti as part of a proxy war against the al-Shabab militia in Somalia and to attack targets in Yemen.
In a January 2011 referendum, the people of southern Sudan voted overwhelmingly for independence. The referendum was stipulated by an imperialist-brokered 2005 peace agreement between Khartoum and southern rebel forces, ending a civil war that had raged intermittently for more than 50 years. Given the overwhelming popular support for independence, as proletarian internationalists we support secession and the establishment of a separate state for the South Sudanese.
At the same time, we do not give the least political support to the SPLM, now the bourgeois ruling party. Nor do we pretend that the Dinka, the Nuer and other tribes are anything more than, perhaps, an embryo of a nation at the very earliest stages of formation. There must be no illusions that the rulers of the South will be fundamentally different from the bourgeois regimes in Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia, which have brutally repressed trade unions, subjugated minority tribes and fattened their purses with the spoils of the state bureaucracy.
Championing the equality of all nations, Marxists understand that upholding the democratic right to self-determination is particularly important in enabling the working class of oppressor states to mobilize for the overthrow of its own bourgeois rulers. As V.I. Lenin, the principal leader of the proletarian 1917 October Revolution in Russia, pointed out in Critical Remarks on the National Question (1913): “To throw off the feudal yoke, all national oppression, and all privileges enjoyed by any particular nation or language, is the imperative duty of the proletariat as a democratic force, and is certainly in the interests of the proletarian class struggle, which is obscured and retarded by bickering on the national question.”
This applies with full force in regard to Sudan’s historic oppression of the South Sudanese, a pre-national group of disparate peoples who largely were brought together through the many years of armed struggle against the North. It is of vital importance that the proletariat in Sudan oppose any attempts by its bourgeois rulers to strangle South Sudan and put it back under the northern yoke. Unlike in South Sudan, there is a small but historically militant proletariat in the North that has the potential to be mobilized in revolutionary struggle as part of the fight for a world socialist order. One particular demand that workers organizations in Sudan must champion is that the hundreds of thousands of southerners living there have the same citizenship rights as northerners. By the same token, workers in Egypt—the country with by far the largest proletariat in North Africa—should defend the Sudanese minority there, who suffer systematic discrimination and such murderous violence as the 2005 massacre of at least 23 refugees by security forces in Cairo.
As revolutionary Marxists, we demand the withdrawal of all UN and AU troops from Sudan and South Sudan and an end to imperialist sanctions against Khartoum. It is particularly important for the American working class to demand: All U.S. special forces out of Africa! At present, there is no military conflict between the UN/AU troops and the Sudanese government. However, this could change. For example, Bloomberg.com (18 January) reports that with the conflict in the states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile exacerbating the threat of famine, the White House is considering launching an “aid” operation in the border region without Khartoum’s approval, posing a possible military conflict between Sudan and U.S. imperialism.
In any military conflict over South Sudan between imperialist forces—e.g., the U.S., UN and its AU adjuncts—and Sudan, the question of the independence of the South Sudanese would be subordinated to the struggle against imperialism. In that case, the workers of the world must stand with Sudan against the imperialists without giving any political support to the reactionary Khartoum regime of Omar Hassan al-Bashir.
Sudan’s Multiple Conflicts:
A Legacy of Colonial Rule
Southern and northern Sudan were first drawn into a single political economy in the 1820s when joint Turkish and Egyptian forces, in search of gold and slaves, invaded the country, defeated the Sudanese kingdoms of the central Nile valley and established Turko-Egyptian rule. Before the Turkish-Egyptian invasion, southern Sudan had been largely unaffected by the succession of kingdoms that ruled the North, whose southward expansion was effectively halted by the Dinka and the Shilluk kingdoms. As Douglas Johnson wrote in The Root Causes of Sudan’s Civil Wars (2007):
“It was only Egyptian power which was able to penetrate beyond these into the Upper Nile basin, bringing in its wake European, Egyptian and northern Sudanese merchants and adventurers for the commercial exploitation of the South.... The incorporation of the whole of the South as the state’s exploitable hinterland, the intensification of racial stratification and the widespread identification of people from the South with low status were thus consequences of the economic and political system of Turco-Egyptian colonialism.”
All Sudanese peoples have their primary roots in black African tribes. In physical appearance, the black population in the North, which has intermixed for many centuries with Arab settlers and traders, is very similar to the black Africans of the Sudanic belt that cuts across the continent from the Red Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. However, the elite of the central Nile valley, including Sudan’s bourgeois rulers, identify themselves as Arabs and seek to impose that identity throughout the country, holding sway over the myriad of ethnic minorities.
About 70 percent of the population in Sudan are Muslims. In South Sudan, the majority of the cattle herders, fishermen and poor farmers follow various indigenous African religious beliefs, while most of the small number of professionals were educated in missionary schools and belong to Christian denominations. Arabization and Islamization of the kind that transformed the North did not extend to the South. Contact between the two parts of the country was largely characterized by hostilities, ranging from centuries-old invasions by slave-hunters from the North to attempts by successive governments to expand their domain southward.
Islam was first brought into the country by itinerant Arab traders during the seventh century but did not spread widely until the 15th century, when the indigenous ruling classes of the Sudanic kingdoms adopted Islam to avert an Arab invasion from Egypt. It was Turko-Egyptian rule that dragged Sudan into the larger Islamic world of the Ottoman Empire. In 1885, when British-ruled Egypt still held Sudan, a revolt led by the Mahdi, an Islamic religious leader, achieved independence. The Mahdi established a brutal theocratic state based on sharia law, a precursor to today’s reactionary Islamist regime.
After a three-month siege of what is now Khartoum, the Mahdi’s forces stormed the city and executed British governor-general Charles Gordon. In revenge, British imperialist forces under Herbert Kitchener slaughtered tens of thousands of Sudanese. Britain finally seized Sudan in 1898. It was the imperialist “scramble for Africa” in the latter part of the 19th century that shaped the current borders of Sudan and other countries, as rival European powers tore the tribal structures and agrarian societies of the continent apart. Setting the stage for decades of ethnic and religious bloodletting, Sudan was artificially carved out of a myriad of peoples, with more than 400 ethnic and linguistic groups lumped together within its borders.
Through their colonial policy of divide to better rule, the British exacerbated regional, religious and racial divisions among the population. In 1922, in what became known as the “Southern Policy,” the British administration declared that the South would be considered “Closed Districts,” thereby segregating the area into what some commentators, dripping with racist contempt, called an “anthropological zoo.” Islamic proselytizers were banned while Christian missionaries were welcomed to convert southerners and teach them English. Use of the Arabic language was discouraged, as was the wearing of Arab clothing. Arab merchants were repatriated to the North, and all Egyptian and Sudanese Muslim officers were withdrawn and replaced with British officers. Interaction between the peoples of the North and the South was not allowed.
The “Southern Policy” kept the South hideously backward economically, as the British concentrated resources, roads and schools in the North. The trend was continued after Sudan achieved independence in 1956. Successive regimes in Khartoum neglected the South as well as Darfur, Blue Nile, South Kordofan and other provinces, while focusing investment in the economy, infrastructure and social services in the central Nile valley, the so-called Golden Triangle. The pattern of unequal development had a marked effect in blocking the social and political integration of the undeveloped regions. Thus northern and southern Sudan remained ethnically, economically and culturally distinct, with hardly anything in common.
The deep racism against the peoples of the South is itself a heritage of ancient social conflicts, reinforced by British colonial rule. Racism is deeply embedded in northern Sudanese elite culture and is pervasive through the use of the pejorative epithet abd (Arabic for “slave”) for a southerner. It has its roots in the centuries-old practice of slavery, which continued until modern times. The pagan and Christian kingdoms of northern and central Sudan were active in raiding their southern hinterland for slaves. The Muslim kingdoms established along the Blue Nile and the central Nile valley in the 16th century raided the Ethiopian foothills, the Nuba Mountains and the White Nile plains, incorporating slaves into their armies. Under Turko-Egyptian rule, the whole of southern Sudan was opened up for slave raids and for the exploitation of resources.
By 1860, an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 slaves were sent north every year. Slave-raiding and trade continued during the Mahdist regime. And while the British rulers gave lip service to the abolition of slavery, the colonial authorities in Sudan allowed slave-raiding to continue. While the practice of slavery mainly died out at the time of Sudan’s independence, slave-raiding was revived in the civil war against the SPLM and others in the late 1980s-early ’90s, when militias backed by Khartoum kidnapped and enslaved more than 15,000 women and children from the South.
Sudan’s Independence and the Outbreak of Civil War
Western bourgeois media portrayed the civil war in Sudan as “Arabs against Africans” or “Muslims against Christians.” While neatly fitting into the anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racism of the imperialists’ global “war on terror,” those scenarios covered up the actual roots of the conflict. These included, not least, the legacies of Turko-Egyptian and British rule and the historic enslavement of southern peoples, imperialist machinations in the anti-Soviet Cold War and conflicts over resources, especially oil. Far from being the product of a “clash of civilizations,” the southern struggle has been driven by resistance to economic domination and cultural and political oppression. The fact that southern independence fighters were joined in the 1980s and ’90s by non-Arab Muslims in the North—e.g., the Nuba of South Kordofan, the Ingassana of Blue Nile state and the Bega in the Eastern Region—refutes the claim that the war has been a conflict of Muslims against Christians.
The seeds of the southern struggle were sown as the departing British imperialists began to hand over administrative posts to northerners in 1954. The proposal for a federalist government was scrapped, and southerners were excluded even from administration of the South itself. In the eyes of southerners, northern rule was a transfer of colonial control from the British to the South’s traditional enemies.
Rumbles of discontent began soon after northerners assumed administrative posts in the South, triggering an armed rebellion in the city of Torit in 1955. In the aftermath, the central government unleashed a campaign of terror and bloody repression, summarily executing mutineers, arresting and torturing civilians and burning down villages. In brutally retaining the South within Sudan’s borders, Khartoum pursued ruthless methods of Arabization and Islamization that included forced conversions. The government expelled all foreign Christian missionaries in 1964 and took over their schools. Arabic was imposed as the only official language of administration and increasingly introduced as a medium of school instruction. State funds were advanced to build Islamic religious schools and mosques, and the Sabbath was changed from Sunday to Friday. As the South experienced an influx of Muslim clergy and Arab teachers, traders and army and police agents, southerners living in the North were subjected to discrimination and pogromist violence.
In the face of bloody repression, a guerrilla struggle broke out in the South in the late 1950s, developing into a full-blown civil war. Southern fighters were able to widen their military activity and inflict heavy casualties on the Sudanese army, largely through the supply of weapons and military training by Israel. In 1972, the central government agreed to negotiate with the guerrilla fighters. The two parties signed what became known as the Addis Ababa agreement, which provided for regional autonomy of the South, and hostilities ceased for the next eleven years.
This situation changed with the discovery of oil in the Upper Nile province, one of the areas under dispute today. In the early 1980s, Khartoum moved to redraw the agreed-upon borders to exclude some oil-rich areas from the southern autonomous region. In addition, the government imposed sharia law over the entire country, despite southern protest, in 1983. In response to these developments, the SPLM and its SPLA guerrilla force were formed under the leadership of Colonel John Garang. A fully fledged second round of war was touched off that would continue to rage for the next 22 years.
While the first civil war was confined to the South, the second extended to several northern territories. Exploiting the grievances of oppressed ethnic minorities in the North, many of them Muslim, the SPLM/A claimed in its 1983 Manifesto that it was fighting not for secession but, as one historian describes, for “liberation of the whole country from the tyranny of the minority elite of riverine Arabs” (Jok Madut Jok, Sudan: Race, Religion and Violence ). Dropping references to southern independence was at bottom a tactical ploy designed to win support from not only oppressed northern minorities but also African bourgeois regimes that opposed the breakup of Sudan. Those regimes were well aware that they ruled countries carved out by the imperialists without regard to ethnic and national makeup, creating an unending source of internal conflicts.
The SPLM/A succeeded in recruiting many minorities to its ranks, enabling it to extend the war to parts of the North and open new fronts in the Nuba Mountains, the Eastern Region and the southern Blue Nile state, capturing wide territories and disrupting oil production. In 2005, the central government—exhausted militarily and economically and feeling pressure from Washington—agreed to sign the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which stipulated autonomy for the South and a referendum on self-determination, along with a sharing of oil revenue. Abandoning its northern allies, the SPLM dropped its demands for “liberation” of the whole country along with its stated commitment to a secular Sudan. The scrapping of sharia law was confined to the South as the SPLM agreed to give up opposition to its imposition in the North.
Cops for Imperialism
For all but eleven of the 56 years since independence from Britain, Sudan has been ruled by a series of ruthless military regimes. The bourgeois ruling class has needed military rule to subdue the cauldron of myriad restive ethnic groups that took up arms against the central government at different times. The conflict in Darfur set groups of Muslim nomadic peoples, backed by the central government in Khartoum, against a largely farming Muslim population, resulting in mass slaughter and displacement. Last year, an offensive by the Sudanese army against rebel groups in the Nuba Mountains, South Kordofan and the Blue Nile provided the “save Darfur” crowd, which is mainly composed of liberal celebrities, the American Christian right and Zionists, an opportunity to renew their call for escalating UN/imperialist intervention in Sudan.
Throughout its history, the UN has served as a fig leaf for the U.S. and other imperialist powers. To list but a few examples: the 1950-53 Korean War, which took the lives of upwards of three million Koreans; the 1960 military intervention in the Congo, under the cover of which the CIA and Belgian imperialists assassinated nationalist leader Patrice Lumumba; the 1990s starvation sanctions against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. The AU as well marches to the beat of its imperialist overlords. As we wrote in polemicizing against the pro-imperialist “save Darfur” campaign (“No to UN/Imperialist Intervention in Sudan!” WV No. 877, 29 September 2006):
“The dominant members of the UN besides the U.S. are those very European nations—Britain, Germany, France—that along with Belgium historically bled, enslaved and exploited Africa, carving it up to suit their imperialist interests. Britain itself conquered Sudan through the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people. Calling on the imperialists to bring peace and freedom to Darfur is like expecting the fox not only to protect the henhouse but to deliver the feed.”
The U.S. labels the Khartoum regime as a supporter of “terrorism” and has enforced economic sanctions against it for the past 15 years. But today’s “terrorists” were yesterday’s CIA assets. In the 1980s, the blood-soaked military regime of Gaafar Nimeiri was the third-largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid, mainly in the form of modern weaponry and other military assistance, as the Reagan administration cultivated Sudan as a regional counterweight to Qaddafi’s Libya and Soviet-backed Ethiopia. For the U.S. at the time, the southern rebels were a “communist” organization set up by the Soviet Union to destabilize a pro-Western regime. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991-92, U.S. attentions shifted southward. After giving substantial aid to southern fighters, Washington played a major role in bringing about and enforcing the 2005 peace agreement.
Behind the imperialists’ support for South Sudan is their eagerness to improve their position in the heart of the continent and tap into oil, minerals and other resources. After the peace deal, the U.S. began pouring millions of dollars into southern Sudan to bolster the regional government and to “build and transform the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Southern Sudan from a guerilla army to a professional military force” (Foreign Policy in Focus, 17 May 2010). General Carter Ham, head of the U.S. African Command (AFRICOM), visited South Sudan twice in the six weeks that followed its declaration of independence.
In no small part, U.S. interests in Sudan and the broader region are determined by the imperialists’ drive to counter the growing influence of the Chinese deformed workers state. Beijing has struck numerous agreements with Sudan and other African countries, through which China’s state-owned industries are supplied with raw materials. China has invested heavily in Sudan, building roads, pipelines, bridges, dams, hospitals and an oil refinery. The state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation is the largest foreign investor in Sudan and South Sudan’s energy sectors, accounting for half of their oil exports.
The International Communist League calls for the unconditional military defense of China against imperialism and internal capitalist counterrevolution. From that standpoint, as we explained in “Hue and Cry over China’s Role in Africa” (WV No. 987, 30 September 2011), we support China’s right to trade in order to procure what it needs to further its development. We recognize, however, that the Beijing Stalinist bureaucracy’s trade programs are driven not by proletarian internationalism but by its own narrow nationalist interests. Our article pointed out, “Opposed to the perspective of international proletarian revolution, the CCP regime has accommodated imperialism…while militarily and politically supporting ‘friendly’ bourgeois rulers in Africa and elsewhere who brutally repress workers and the rural and urban poor.” We call for proletarian political revolution to oust the Chinese Stalinist bureaucracy and replace it with a government of workers and peasants councils committed to the struggle for world socialism.
A stark demonstration of the Chinese Stalinists’ conciliation of imperialism is China’s role in UN “peacekeeping”—i.e., murderous repression and the imposition of imperialist diktat. Today, of all the permanent members of the UN Security Council, China is the largest contributor of forces to UN “peacekeeping” missions. We demand that China end its participation in UN military missions.
For Permanent Revolution!
South Sudan is one of the poorest and least developed places on earth. The degree of social misery defies description. Most of the population ekes out a living on less than 75 cents a day. One in ten children die before their first birthday. An estimated 80 percent of adults, including 92 percent of women, cannot read or write. The billions of dollars expected from oil revenue are not about to trickle down to the desperately impoverished masses, while the corrupt ruling elite will be gorging itself on the spoils. The weight of backwardness is enormous, modern industry scarcely exists, and there is no working class to speak of.
Key to the fate of the masses of South Sudan is the struggle for proletarian revolution in Sudan and beyond. There is a small but combative Sudanese proletariat consisting chiefly of oil, textile, dock and rail workers. With only scant manufacturing industries, the bourgeoisie consists mainly of generals, government ministers, contractors and merchants. While lording over an impoverished population, the Sudanese bourgeoisie is utterly subordinated to imperialism. The Bashir regime is currently on the outs with Washington. But less than five years ago it was hailed by the U.S. State Department as a “strong partner in the war on terror” as it secretly worked with the CIA, assembled a network of informants to spy on insurgents in Iraq and detained suspects as they passed through Khartoum for interrogation by U.S. agents (Los Angeles Times, 11 June 2007). Bashir, who took power in a 1989 coup, has murdered, imprisoned and tortured thousands of Communists, workers and secular nationalists.
Yet the reformist Workers World Party (WWP) in the U.S. acts as apologists for the Bashir regime, constantly promoting its supposed “independence” from Washington. In a 9 January 2011 article on its workers.org Web site titled “U.S. Seeks to Influence Sudan Referendum,” the WWP opined, “The division of Sudan and the intensification of military conflict can only enhance the capacity of the imperialist states to set the terms for the future of the region.” The WWP’s backhanded support to Sudan’s oppressive retention of the South was a real measure of its political support to Bashir’s blood-drenched rule. In the age of imperialism, the colonial and semicolonial bourgeoisies can exist only as middlemen and brokers for imperialism, and Bashir is just that.
In a world economy dominated by the imperialist powers, the economically backward, neocolonial African countries have no chance of achieving significant economic and social development. The key to achieving social equality and qualitative economic progress in backward countries is provided by the perspective of permanent revolution developed by Leon Trotsky. As shown by the October Revolution of 1917 in Russia, in countries of belated capitalist development only the seizure of power by the proletariat, supported by the mass of poor peasants, can achieve key democratic tasks such as agrarian revolution on the way to beginning the socialist reconstruction of society. To lay the basis for achieving socialism—a society of material abundance—requires the extension of proletarian revolution to the major advanced capitalist countries, which possess the technological and other material wealth necessary for all-around development.
Short of the dictatorship of the proletariat, there can be no liberation for the Sudanese masses, North and South, from the yoke of imperialist domination and mass poverty. At the same time, any perspective for socialist development in Sudan is crucially dependent on the fight for workers revolution in neighboring Egypt, with which Sudan shares a long and tortured history, and South Africa, which along with Egypt has the greatest proletarian concentration in Africa. Above all, the struggle for the socialist transformation of Africa must be linked to the fight for proletarian power in the imperialist heartlands.
Bitter Lessons of History
To peel the Sudanese proletariat away from poisonous bourgeois nationalism and religious reaction requires the forging of a Leninist-Trotskyist vanguard party. This can only be done by drawing the lessons of history, including the crushing defeat suffered by the proletariat under the leadership of the Stalinist Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) in 1971.
Founded in the mid 1940s as an offshoot of the Egyptian communist movement, the Sudanese Movement for National Liberation, later the SCP, rapidly established itself as a mass party, becoming one of the largest Communist parties on the continent. Historically, it was second in size and influence only to the South African Communist Party. The hegemonic party of the proletariat, the SCP also had a broad following among the intelligentsia and urban petty bourgeoisie as well as peasants, enabling the election of several party members to parliament. In Sudan’s patchwork of myriad national, ethnic and religious minorities, the SCP was about the only political organization with a base that cut across national and religious lines, with supporters in both the North and the South. It is also credited with electing the first woman to parliament in Sudan. However, following the Menshevik/Stalinist schema of “two-stage revolution,” the SCP subordinated the militant proletariat to an allegedly “progressive,” “anti-imperialist” national bourgeoisie.
The SCP broke with the Egyptian communists over their support to the bourgeois-nationalist regime headed first by Mohammed Naguib and then Colonel Abdel Nasser. The SCP called Nasser & Co. “running dogs of American imperialism” while indulging in class collaboration on its own terrain, either supporting or participating in several bourgeois governments. Due to its role in leading a general strike that brought down the military regime of General Ibrahim Abboud in 1964, the SCP and its supporters were awarded a majority of ministerial positions in a transitional bourgeois government. As it became increasingly mired in class collaboration, the SCP accommodated to the northern rulers’ insistence on enforced unification. The SCP dropped its earlier call for self-determination for the South in favor of the demand for regional autonomy—i.e., keeping the South oppressed within a unified Sudan.
After general elections were held in 1965, one of the new parliament’s first acts was to dissolve the SCP and expel its parliamentary deputies. The demise of the SCP came at the hands of Colonel Nimeiri, who took power in 1969 with the support of SCP military officers. Nimeiri soon turned to the right, throwing SCP officers out of the military regime and jailing key party leaders. After the SCP staged a failed coup in 1971, the majority of the party leadership was executed and thousands of SCP cadres were imprisoned. In 1985, the underground SCP was a leading force in a general strike against Nimeiri. But the SCP never broke from the treacherous “two-stage” program. The SCP’s criminal betrayals in disarming the working class and tying it to its exploiters fostered an atmosphere of despair and a sense of defeat that paved the way for the ascendance of the Islamic fundamentalists who now rule the country.
Today the SCP is a shadow of its former self. The party has been reduced to the status of a junior partner in the National Democratic Alliance, an umbrella of all the parties opposed to the current regime, including an Islamic fundamentalist faction that split from the ruling National Congress Party. As shown by bitter experience in Sudan and elsewhere, “two-stage revolution” ends with the bourgeoisie murderously repressing the Communists and their working-class base, while the second “stage”—socialist revolution—never comes.
In almost all of sub-Saharan Africa there are only marginal pockets of industrialization. Nevertheless, there are oil workers in Nigeria, Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Sudan; dock and rail workers in Kenya; miners in Zambia and the Congo. Such isolated but potentially powerful sections of the international proletariat must become a human link to the industrial proletariat of South Africa and Egypt, which are key to a revolutionary perspective on the continent. For that to happen, revolutionary workers parties must be forged throughout the region that break the proletariat from the bourgeois-nationalist regimes, opposition parties and reactionary religious forces to which it is presently politically subordinated. The International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist) is dedicated to building such parties as sections of a reforged Fourth International, world party of socialist revolution.