Sudan: the pre-revolutionary development of Resistance Committees.

Resistance Committees have proven central to the anti-coup protests organised across Sudan since 25 October. Indeed, as Raga Makawi has explained, ‘even the Sudanese Professionals Association [the leading political force through the 2018-2019 protests] has taken a back seat and seems to have reduced its role to backing up the resistance’s positions’. If the Committees’ political leadership against the continuity regime is new, neighbourhood-level organisation is a long-established feature of Sudanese politics: see the activities of the Sudanese Women’s Union in the early 1960s, for example. [1] However, outside the country itself there is perhaps the assumption that the Committees’ appearance is both recent and ‘spontaneous’. Contrary to such an assumption, below is an argument for the necessity of the Resistance Committees made in November 2017, a full 13 months before the start of the movement that forced the exit of Omar al-Bashir, to which the Committees were so important. It was published by al-Maydan, the Sudanese Community Party-affiliated paper. 

Note that the plural of peoples (الشعوب) is employed throughout the original text.


The Resistance Committees are one of the means through which the genius of the people – their revolutionary political power – is expressed. The Committees are a vital tool for the overthrowing of dictatorial, totalitarian regimes, the need for which grows more each day. When the people, alone, face either a military or a civilian dictatorial regime, it is through the Resistance Committees that they will wage their struggle and achieve their goals. 

Established by the people, the Resistance Committees are where daily issues are discussed, and where the masses defend their interests, aims, and aspirations: they are the baseline organisation for learning political and democratic practices. It is for this reason that Resistance Committees must be raised in every neighbourhood, village, city, university, school, et cetera: without such a Committee, the people will be unable to unify around any decision they might take. Any uprising against the dictatorial regime, weighing as heavily as it does on the people, will begin with discussions at the Committee level; it is there that decisions over the overthrow of the dictatorship will be taken and unity generated. 

Sudan 06-19 #4‘, Abushariaa Ahmed, 2019

As to the Committees’ composition and activities in the current Sudanese context: they must be central to the debates and daily concerns of the masses, with practical steps taken to establish such Committees (or revitalize already-existing ones) in order to grapple with and fight for the fundamental issues, concerns, and aspirations of the masses – and to pressure the regime to respond to those demands. The Committees are the parliaments of the people, expressing their worries, desires, aspirations, and hopes. And, just as the Resistance Committees are the responsibility of the political parties, professional confederations, and movements, so are they the responsibility of the people as a whole: a responsibility and a duty on all citizens whose interests conflict with those of the regime is to initiate a Committee wherever they find themselves

The immediate task is to constitute Resistance Committees, and with them foster spaces of political activism, pursue everyday struggles, escalate resistance, and work towards the people’s aim of restoring democracy and defeating dictatorship. The following might go without saying: the Committees are the backbone of that larger battle, just as they are of the daily struggle. Indeed, the opposition’s daily political claims will not be grounded in reality except via the Committees.

[1] Ali Ibrahim, Abdullahi (2010) ‘The House That Matriarchy Built: The Sudanese Women’s Union‘. South Atlantic Quarterly. 109 (1): 53-74.

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