د. إبراهيم الكرسنى / اكاديمي و باحث اقتصادي / سلطنة عمان

لقد قصدت من إعادة نشر هذا الحوار، إشراك المهتمين بهذا الموضوع الحيوي الهام فى إثرائه وكذلك لحفز المهتمين من الشباب لمواصلة التقليد الحميد الذى بدأته الأخت فاطمة بابكر فى إجراء البحوث الميدانية حول هذه الشريحة الإجتماعية و الإقتصادية الهامة لسبر غورها ورسم معالم الطريق السليم المفضي لصياغة برنامج سياسي و إقتصادى يفعل من دورها الموضوعي فى زيادة معدلات التنمية فى البلاد، وبالتالي

يضمن مساهمتها الإيجابية فى إنتقال البلاد إلى مرحلة تنموية تكون مختلفة نوعيا من تلك التى تعيشها البلاد حاليا، و جديدة بحيث تفجر طاقاتها الكامنة و من ثم إستغلالها أفضل إستغلال لمصلحة الغلابة و المساكين من أهل السودان الغبش !! كما آمل فى الوقت نفسه أن يتمكن أحد المهتمين من ترجمته إلى العربية وذلك تعميما للفائدة. أخيرا لابد من أن أشير إلى الدمار الشامل الذى يمكن أن يحدثه رأس المال الطفيلى على التركيبة الإقتصادية و النسيج الإجتماعى فى السودان إذا ما قيض له السيطرة على مفاتيح الإقتصاد، كما هو حادث الآن ، و الذى حذر منه هذا الحوار قبل خمسة وعشرين عاما بالتمام و الكمال… فتأمل !!

The question of whether a Sudanese national bourgeoisie can be identified which is capable of serving as a reliable ally of the oppressed classes in an anti-imperialist campaign, as the first stage in an anti-capitalist struggle, is one which has engaged the Left in Sudan for several decades. F.M. Mahmoud takes up the issue, first surveying the stance of the Communist International in earlier decades and thenlooking at more recent literature focused on the African context. She then explores the political affiliation and orientation of the indigenous bourgeoisie in Sudan throughout the colonial and post-independent periods. On the basis of its demonstrated practice she questions the validity of assertions that a national bourgeoisie exists which is truly anti-imperialist and nationalin orientation and with whom alliance would serve any (lasting) progressive ends. I. Kursanyoffers a contrasting view, asserting that sections of the bourgeoisie with clearly distinguishable interestscan be identified and that alliance with the ‘national’ section is not only possible but necessary. We offer these views as part of an ongoing and clearly important debate.
INDIGENOUS SUDANESE CAPITAL — A NATIONAL BUORGEOUSIE?
F.M Mahmoud

The role of the national bourgeoisie in the colonies received attention as early as the Second Congress of the Third International in I920.Lenin never considered the national or the industrial bourgeoisie as capable of playing a leading role in the national democratic revolution. On the contrary, he pointed out that the bourgeoisies of colonial countries very often worked in harmony with the imperialist bourgeoisie after the success of national liberation movements. But he did suggest that insome instances the bourgeoisie in oppressed countries might support national movements and serve as an ally in the struggle of workers and peasants against imperialism.At the same Congress the Indian Marxist Roy distinguished between the bourgeois democratic nationalist movement and the mass movement. Roy stated that

The popular masses of India are not fired with a national spirit. They are exclusively interested in problems of an economic and social nature…The elements exist in India for creating a powerful Communist Party. But as far as the broad popular masses are concerned, the revolutionary movement has nothing in common with the national-liberation movement.

Roy was emphasizing internal class struggle in the colonies while Lenin was stressing the importance of the rising national bourgeoisie in a broad based anti-imperialist struggle. Despite this difference the Congress adopted both positions unanimously and the discussion at the Fourth Congress in 1922 maintained the positionarrived at in 1920. As Gordon puts it,
the tension of a choice remained and the relatively undeveloped state of the socialist movement made the practical choice adopted one of alliance with the national bourgeoisie.

Around the time of the Fifth Congress in 1924 the term ‘national bourgeoisie’ began to be used in official, although generally only as an equivalent of’ ‘indigenous bourgeoisie’. The national bourgeoisie in China, for example, was seen by Stalin as having already split into a ‘compromising national bourgeoisie’ and a ‘revolutionary bourgeoisie’. In practice, however, and in the interests of promoting an international united front, any group opposing the international bourgeoisie was welcome as an ally. The ‘Manifesto to the Peoples of the Eastconcluded accordingly by sending fraternal greetings to the Kuomintang which ‘was forging a great and bright future for the people’.
A fundamental shortcoming of the early contributions to the discussion on the national bourgeoisie was that the participants, except perhaps the Indians, lacked first-hand experience of colonial societies. Early theorizing and prescription seemed, therefore to have limited relevance to some concrete situations. A case in point is the inapplicability of formulations positing the centrality of a feudal structure given that many African societies lacked this feature altogether. Ultimately a great deal of confusion was to result from differing emphasis of the communist spokesmen from Europe and those from the Third World. The concrete situations in the colonies seemed to be regarded as subordinate to those of Western Europe, particularly in the 1930s when the fascist menace was mounting and popular fronts characterized the activities of revolutionary movements in Europe.

This confusion was compounded after the Second World when the national liberation movements intensified their struggle against imperialism. There emerged an exaggerated appraisal of the role of the local bourgeoisie and a search for a national bourgeoisie even where no such class existed. The manner in which some communist parties identified and labelled this class can perhaps be exemplified by the Indonesian experience. Although the country had no indigenous capitalist class, but only a burgeoning number of small proprietors, the Communist Party supported Sukarno as a representative of the in 1965/6 can be seen as a result of unconditional collaborationist policies of the

progressive national bourgeoisie. The massacre of thousands of Indonesian CommunistsCommunist Party, which exaggerated the role of the national bourgeoisie to the detriment of the independence of the revolutionary organizations. In the contemporary period this confusion reached such disturbing proportions that some Communist parties voluntarily decided either to liquidate the party in favor of petty bourgeoisie organizations such as in the case of Egypt in 1964 or tosubordinate the working class party to such organizations as was the case of Syria and Iraq.

Moreover, over-generalized as it was, the theory did not identify the basis of the national bourgeoisie. It was not clear whether this bourgeoisie should be identified by its economic activity, i.e. agricultural, industrial, etc., or on the basis of its degree of nationalism or the level of its alignment with foreign interests

The Question of the National Bourgeoisie in Recent Literature
In the lastdecade or so the question of the national bourgeoisie has once again received attention from Third World and European Marxists. Andre Gunder Frank, Samir Amin and others have discussed the question in the framework of the ‘periphery-centre’ relationship. Hamza Alavi has dealt with it in the context of an analysis of the nature of the postcolonial state.
In his book, Capitalism and Underdevelopment in Latin America, Andre G. Frank concluded that national capitalism and the national bourgeoisie do not, and cannot, offer any way out of underdevelopment in Latin America.
According to Frank:
If there is to be a ‘bourgeois’ democratic revolution at all and if it is to lead to a socialist revolution and the elimination of capitalist underdevelopment, then it can no longer be the bourgeoisie in any of its guises which is capable of making this revolution. The historical mission and role of the bourgeoisie in Latin America — which was to accompany and to promote the development of its society and or itself — is finished. In Latin America, and elsewhere, the role of promoting historical progress has now fallen to the masses of the people alone; and those who would honestly and realistically serve the progress of the people must support them in achieving progress for and by themselves.

For Frank the national bourgeoisie, however dependent in the international economic sphere, invariably retains dominant influence in national institutional spheres. Yet, the growing presence of multinational corporations signifies a trend towards a decrease in its vis-à-vis the foreign bourgeoisie The important point is that for Frank the fate of the two bourgeoisies are inter-dependent and cannot be separated

Writers in Africa such as Colin Leys and John Saul have viewed the African bourgeoisie as dependent just like its counterpart in Latin America. They propose that the dominant class in the developing African countries is still the foreign bourgeoisie. Their analyses confirm Franz Fanon’s remark: …This native bourgeoisie… will realize, with its mouth watering, that it lacks something essential to the bourgeoisie: money. The bourgeoisie of an underdeveloped country is a bourgeoisie in spirit only.

The Frankian dependency approach is useful in that it brings out sharply the dependent nature of the Third World bourgeoisie and its inability to play the classic historical role of the European bourgeoisie. Nevertheless, Frank’s approach has been subjected to various criticisms, not just as regards its internal logic, but also with respect to the sorts of conclusions and strategies which may be inferred fromthat logic. Usta Patnaikhas queried the suggestion of the Frankian model that, since all peripheral countries are capitalist, the only possible immediate program of the revolutionary party within them must be a socialist revolution. Jairus Banaji and Hamza Alavi have contended that Frank’s model leads to the questionable conclusion that we have now a global capitalist system that operates identically everywhere. Basing his analysis on this account of the dissimilarities between the two systems, Amin concludes that the periphery is faced with transcending the capitalist model, as it can never catch up with it. Therefore, the only option open to the countries ofthe periphery is a strategy based on self-reliance. On the political level he suggests that, while in the centre the masses are integrated into the system, in the periphery the system has forced the masses out (marginalized them), making possible its rejection by the latter. Unlike Frank, Fanon, Saul and Leys, Amin does not specify the role of the national bourgeoisie, leaving this for the concerned groups in the periphery to determine according to the prevailing objective and subjective conditions. His model thus fails to provide a specific position to be adopted by the peripheral revolutionary movement with regard to its own local bourgeoisie.
In a manner quite different from that of Amin and on the bases of the Kenyan experience, Nicola Swainson has also criticized the dependency theorists. It is her contention that following Independence a substantial capital had accumulated in the hands of the Kenyan indigenous bourgeoisie, who moved with the aid of state power from the sphere of exchange to that of production. Swainson argues that far from being auxiliary to international capital (as initially suggested by Cohn Leys for example) the Kenyan bourgeoisie has successfully used its connections with the Kenyan state to establish itself in direct competition with foreign firms.
According to Swainson, it is the movement from the sphere of exchange to that of production in competition with foreign capital which qualifies the indigenous bourgeoisie as ‘national’. This, however, is open to question because it disregards the means by which the indigenous bourgeoisie accumulated capital in making its move to production. As Swainson herself asserts, many of these capitalists used the state to effect the change. Can it be assumed then that the nature of the post-colonial Kenyan state is national? If the post-colonial state in Kenya was itself a bourgeois dependent state, then capital accumulated with its assistance cannot be said to lead to the growth of an independent national bourgeoisie. It is the way capital is accumulated and the conditions under which it operates, not the amount of that capital or where it is employed, that determines the
independent nature or otherwise of the local bourgeoisie.Writing about Ghana, Paul Kennedy has approached the question of the local bourgeoisie along lines apparently similar to those adopted by Swainson. Kennedy asserts that the local Ghanaian bourgeoisie is in competition with foreign capital in both imports-substitution industries and government contracts. But, as with Swainson, no political role for the Ghanaian bourgeoisie is specified even though Kennedy’s concluding remarks emphasize that a local capitalist class has emerged in Ghana and that it represents ‘…an economic and political force that cannot be ignored’. Though it may have some validity, the contradiction between local and foreign capital emphasized by both Swainson and Kennedy should not mislead us. In the final analysis, such as a contradiction should only be seen as subsidiary to that between capital and labor, Moreover, it is important that characterization of an indigenous bourgeoisie as national or otherwise cannot be done in isolation from an analysis of the class nature of the state.
The nature of the colonial and post-colonial states is adequately described by Hamza Alavi who argues that
The bourgeoisie revolution in the colonies was already accomplished by the imperialist bourgeoisie, which created in the colonies a bourgeoisie state and bourgeoisie property and a bourgeoisie legal and institutional apparatus precisely as an integral and necessary complement to its economic domination. Those who speak of the national democratic revolution in the colonies misconceive the problem by overlooking this- in neither Russia nor China was such a bourgeoisie state established by the imperialist bourgeoisie.
The significance of Hamza Alavi’s contribution lies in the fact that he pinpointed one of the major historical facts that have deeply affected most Third World countries, the neocolonial nature of the post-colonial state. Most of those who have discussed the question of the national bourgeoisie emphasizing its progressive role have overlooked this matter of the nature of the state.
The imperialist ties of the post-colonial state and the central role it plays in the process of capital accumulation in the Sudan, and probably elsewhere, poses another crucial question: which class, or classes, control the state and direct it to serve its interests, not only by using its apparatus and funds but also by its repressive institutions and confiscation of democratic liberties. Any viable strategy that attempts to draw up a blue-print for the break with capitalism must, of necessity, not only define the social forces that are capable of completing the transitional period and paving the way for socialism but also indicate the nature of the state and the level of the influence of the bourgeoisie (both local and foreign) over it.
Given that the working class, allied with the poor peasants, constitutes the cornerstone of these forces, the problematic question is the definition of the role that other forces might play during this transitional period. It is within this context that the roles of the national bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie are being discussed amongthe revolutionary forces in the Sudan.

Conceptualizing the Role of the National Bourgeoisie in Sudan
The organized struggle against capitalism in Sudan started in the 1940s. For approximately three decades the literature of the Sudanese revolutionary movement with regard to its strategy and tactics seems to have been geared towards the abolition of the various disparities that

characterize the political economy of the country and distinguish it from Western capitalism.
Our concern here is with tactics concerning the national bourgeoisie. Since the Communist Party of Sudan (CPS) is the most influential revolutionary organization in the country and one of the leading CPs in Africa and the Middle East, the role it specifies for the national bourgeoisie in the process of breaking away from the capitalist systems is of considerable importance.
The program of the CPS clearly emphasizes the leadership of the working class in alliance with the peasants, especially the poor peasants. The program of the party divides the transition to the socialist revolution into stages, the immediate one being the national- democratic revolution.
With regard to the role of the national bourgeoisie, however, the Communist Party literature seems to be inconsistent. Prior to 1977 the party distinguishedbetween two sections of the national bourgeoisie: one connected with imperialism and one exclusively involved with national capital and the local marker. In the book Marxism and Problems of Sudanese Revolution the Party clearly states that it is the agents of foreign capital and the industrial capitalists who have proved to be enemies of the national-democratic revolution and who can therefore play no role towards it fulfillment.
In 1977, however, there was an apparent retreat from this position when a Central Committee meeting approved a document entitled ‘External Questions and Tasks’ which stated:
…concerning the national bourgeoisie, we stand for drawing it into national democratic alliance by a program which does not jump over the present stage by posing socialism as the immediate goal or advocating prematurely the total liquidation of capitalist social relationships. The program should oppose the domination of foreign monopolies, invite the participation of the national bourgeoisie in implementing the development plan and direct its investment to productive spheres which serve the interest of the national economy.
This position poses certain problems. The national bourgeoisie is assimilated into the vague category of the ‘allied strata’ in the same document, and appears as the class with which the party is proposing to ally for revolutionizing of the bases of production. But questions need to be posed in relation to the alliance with the national bourgeoisie in the course of the national democratic revolution. When the national bourgeoisie, in its entirety and without distinction, is drawn into the national democratic alliance, will it accept a program that opposes the domination of foreign capital? This question acquires a special significance in contemporary Sudan where foreign capital operates through finance and partnerships with the indigenous bourgeoisie. Will not their participation in the democratic alliance affect the very nature of any plan that might be formulated to direct and coordinate economic development? How will the national bourgeoisie react if the program clashes with its profit-making interests? What will happen to existing private or even state capitalist establishments which are already dominated by foreign capital and which are not oriented to fulfill the needs of the Sudanese people? The changes in the relations of production which the Party proposes as first steps towards socialism, no matter how gradual they might be, will involve, as the Party accepts workers’ control or, at the least, participation. Will the national bourgeoisie not react against such developments, given the role they played in destroying the 1971 regime, and given the progressively developing relation between local and multinational capital in the various fields of investment?
It teems that the earlier analysis by the CPS was the more adequate, since it gave specific details as to which, among the various sectors of the bourgeoisie, were aligned with neo-colonial capital. Yet even this early analysis was deficient. For while it was suggested that there were unaligned sections among the national bourgeoisie who could be included in the national-democratic alliance, no specific basis for their identification was ever laid down.*
Evaluation of the more recent position of the CPS should take account of the expansion of capitalist activities in the contemporary period as compared with 1967. For, in view of the increase in the bourgeoisie connections with foreign capital in recent years, the retreat from the l967 classification is even more significant. Recent developments which have a direct bearing on the matter include: (1) the involvement of the present government with foreign aid and investment, and (2) the alliance of all the bourgeois parties with the government, in the intended creation of a new single party, combining Nimieri’s Sudanese Socialist Union, with the bourgeois parties, thereby unifying state and private capitalists. These developments necessitate a sharper and more acute definition of the social forces that may be expected to stand up to the increasing ferocity of the combined local and foreign bourgeoisies. The 1977 position of the CPS is certainly not in line with these developments.
The relationship between the Sudanese bourgeoisie and imperialism is not a new phenomenon. Its roots go as far back as the early days of colonial rule. This alliance has always been manifested in the political affiliation and activities of the Sudanese bourgeoisie.

The Bourgeoisie and the Anti-Colonial Struggle
After the suppression or the various revolts against the colonial rule that took place during the years following the British invasion, organized opposition was led mainly by educated Sudanese. In the early I 920s the ‘Sudanese Tribal Society’ was founded. The ‘White Flag League’ was established in 1924 and played a central role in the anti-colonial demonstrations during that same year. An interesting fact is that both were initiated by army officers.
At this stage the Sudanese agricultural capitalist were clearly opposed to the anti-colonial movement and were in complete alliance with the colonial system. Among the members of a delegation that went to England in 1919 to congratulate King George V on the British victory in the First World War were Sayid Abdel Rahman Almahdi and Sayid Ali Almirghani, both landlords and religious leaders who were to become prominent agricultural capitalists. As a token of complete surrender to the colonial rulers and abandonment of his father’s revolutionary heritage, Sayid Abdel Rahman presented what was reputed to be Almahdi’s sword to the King of England. The delegation were rewarded with knighthoods by the British monarch, and Sayid Abdel Rahman soon afterwards regained Abba Island, where he planted cotton, and was given government contracts and other agricultural licenses.

*In his 1970-71 prison notes, the former secretary of the CPS who was assassinated by the Junta in 1971 discussed the question of the democratic alliance briefly and clearly stated that the alliance does not include big capitalists but only the petty bourgeoisie (handicrafts) and small industrialist and retail traders. He clearly stated that the democratic revolution necessitates the eventual liquidation of capitalist relation. These notes were circulated in 1973 as a basis for the discussion within the party as a guiding document for the program that is to adopted by the forthcoming fifth Party Congress During the nationalist revolt against colonial rule in 1924 the religious leaders, together with the main spokesman on religious affairs within the colonial regime, sent a memorandum to the Governor-General condemning the Egyptian and Sudanese national movements.
The editor of Alhadara magazine, winch was owned bySayid Abdel Rahman Almahdi, Sayid Ali Almirghani and Sayid Shareif Al-hindi wrote a long passage on the 1924 anti-colonial demonstrations in the Sudan: ‘The White Flag League should know that it is embarrassing the entire country. Those who demonstrated were the poorest and of the lowest strata of unrecognized members of the Sudanese Society.’ ‘He went on so say that
‘…the storm created by the scum of society disturbed people of status, merchants, businessmen and the men of good origin’.
He concluded that there was nothing wrong with the British system and that the Gezira Scheme was the best solution for the economic problems of the Sudan.
The religious leaders were joined by the notable traders, leading native administrators and civil servants in condemning the demonstrations and the White Flag League. They went further and made clear their choice of England as a guardian of the Sudan in order to develop the country until it acquired self rule.
The anti-colonial movement continued to expand, however, and in 1938 educated civil servants founded the ‘Graduates Congress’, membership of which was restricted to intermediate schools graduates. It attracted a membership of about 1,180 and gained support both locally and among Egyptian political circles. Until this point the capitalists had no organized parties and they now started competing for the support of the Graduates’ Congress.
It was only during the Second World War, when the anti-colonial movement was at its peak, that the bourgeois parties were founded. It was in the mid-1940s as well that the Sudanese working class began to express itself politically. In 1946 the Workers’ Affairs Association, was organized, mainly from railway workers. The CPS was also founded in 1946, soon to be followed by Tenants and Farmers Associations. The Ashiqqa (literally blood brothers) Party was founded by Ismail Alazhari in 1943 in consequence of a split between the Mahdist and the Khatmiya Islamic sects over strategies for attaining independence. In response to the fact that separate negotiations with the British were being carried on by the pro-Ansar (Mahdist) graduates, the Khatmiya-affiliated graduates joined together to form the Ashiqqa Party and succeeded in 1944 in gaining control over the Graduates’ Congress. The following year saw formation of the Umma Party by the Mahdists. Hence the two major bourgeois parties which would continue upon Sudan’s political scene for several decades had already been formed by this time, each in association with one of the two major Islamic sects in the country, the Umma party with the Mahdists and the Ashiqqa with the Khatmiya sect.
The Khatmiya, whose ties with Egypt dated back to Turko-Egyptian rule, lost favor with the British after the rise of the Nationalist movement in Egypt, and the Mahdists came to be considered by the British as the ‘true’ spokesmen of the Sudanese people. The rise in Mahdist fortunes went hand in hand with the British policyof consolidating a Sudanese capitalist class to support the British interest.
The Umma Party was thus the direct representative of British interests,
while the Ashiqqa Party, whose composition comprised a wider spectrum of educated civil servants and urban sections of the community, was more opposed to British colonial rule.
The split between the two parties with regard to complete independence and unity with Egypt reflected the different interests of the leadership of each of these parties and particularly the different fractions of capital in operation at the time. Those whose trade interests were linked with Egypt and who tended to be associated with the Ashiqqa, wanted unity with Egypt, while the Umma, whose agricultural export activities were linked with Britain, wanted independence in association with Britain.
In an attempt to drive a wedge between the Sudanese parties, the colonial rulers made a deliberate pre-emptive move in March 1946 by announcing the right of the Sudan to self-determination. They proposed a period of transition to last for some 20 years. Predictably, the Umma Party accepted the plan, while the Ashiqqa and other smaller unionist groups were not satisfied and boycotted all the institutions formed under the plan, such as the Advisory council and the Legislative Assembly.
The Sudanese bourgeois parties did not question the structures of the liberal democratic systems; it was taken for granted that the Sudan should adopt a Western type of parliamentary system. At the first elections for a transitional government in 1953 the political atmosphere favored by the NUP (the core of what had formerly been the Ashiqqa party); since it clearly opposed the British, as did the mass of the Sudanese population. By this time the trade union movement was active and a new left-wing movement, the Anti-Imperialist Front (AIF), had been organized, comprising the CPS and supported by trade unions, farmers’ and tenants’ unions, women’s union, student unions etc. This movement favored a tactical alliance with petty capitalists and its members voted for NUP candidates throughout the country, except when the Front had a candidate of its own.The elections gave a clear majority to the NUP. Fifty-one NUP representatives were returned as against 22 Umma Party members, while the AIF had one seat in the House of Representatives, the remainder of the Parliament’s 97 seats were taken by the representatives of the South and other minor parties. The NUP attained complete control over the parliament, and the government was formed exclusively from NUP members. As a result, however, of joint pressure from the two religious sects, the Ansar and the Khatmiya, the SUP was persuaded to form a coalition government in January 1956, though in the event the coalition lasted only a few months. A split in the NUP in 1956 led to the formation of a new political group, the PDP. While NUP membership tended to he dominated by petty capitalists, educated civil servants and the urban masses, the PDPwas dominated by the Khatmiya religious leadership and big capitalists, particularly agricultural ones. The PDP (Khatmiya) quickly joined in alliance with the Umma Party and succeeded in bringing down the NUP government. Subsequently a government was formed with an Umma party Prime Minister.
This new coalition government was itself soon put to the test when, after the failure of the Eisenhower Doctrine, the Americans offered aid to the Sudan in a new and more direct form. The Umma and their new allies, the PDP, were in favor of acceptance, the position not only reflected the common, cross-party interests of the agricultural capitalists, but also revealed the links of the leaderships of both parties with neo-colonialism, The NUP, together with CPS and the mass movement, organized a front demanding that the American aid to be rejected, The Umma and the PDP, fearful of losing a vote of confidence in Parliament over the issue, handed over state power to the right-wing section of the army in November 1958. Predictably, the military government soon accepted the American aid.
The expansion of state capital during the period of military rule, l958-l964, disturbed the leading capitalistswithin the two parties, particularly those in the Umma. The pattern of investment during this period suggests a competition between these capitalists and the top state bureaucrats, who were entering fields of business such as industry and contracts. This brought about competition between the bourgeoisie parties, who were no longer in direct control of state power, and the military government. The Umma, who first sent letters, as did the PDP, praising the new regime, eventually joined the Opposition Front organized by the CPS, the trade union movement and the NUP against the military Junta. In 1960 and 1961 this front sent memorandums to the military government demanding democratic freedoms
The Opposition Front, however, did not last for long, in part because the bourgeois parties resisted proposals to organize mass struggle against the military Junta in the form of a general strike. The bourgeois parties were frightened by the expansion of leftist elements, and, realizing the extent of the economic problem the regime was facing at the time, tried to avert the possibility of a radical government first by joining the bandwagon of opposition with the left, but then by retreating to form their own right-wing alliance, which even included the non-mass-based Muslim Brothers organization.
In 1964 a mass revolt followed by a general strike (proposed by the CPS since August 1961) brought the military regime to an end. A new government was formed comprising not only the bourgeois parties, Umma, NUP, PDP and the Islamic Charter, but also the CPS and representatives from the Tenants and Farmers’ Unions and Workers’ unions. For the first time in the history of the country the CPS was legally recognized, the trade union federation (banned during the military regime) was re-established and, more important, workers’ unions in the private sector succeeded in gaining official recognition. Labor unions were thus formed even in small private sector establishments.

The expanding organization and success of the trade union movement and the establishment of private sector labor unions constituted a clear threat to capitalist interests and disturbed the bourgeoisie.

The Umma Party incited the Ansar Sect to demonstrate violently against the transitional government and threatened to use force. The bourgeois parties were thus able to pus the Prime Minister to resign and hurriedly organized general
elections along the old lines for a new parliamentary government. The new elections returned 11 Communists to the parliament. But the threat of slogans raised at the October mass revolt, such as nationalization and circumscription of the state apparatus, enhanced the reaction of the bourgeois parties and provoked them to rake action against the CPS members who continued advocating these revolutionary slogans within the parliament. In November 1966 the Umma, PDP, NUP and Islamic Charter formed a bloc to ban the CPS and dismiss its members from the parliament. Through a majority vote they succeeded in amending the constitution to this end.
It is important to understand why, for the first time since its formation, the NUP stood with the other bourgeois parties on this issue. What was the difference, for example between this issue and that of American aid? The answer is to be found, not in the substance of the issues but, in changes that had taken place in the composition of its leadership. Between 1956and 1966 the bourgeois and petty bourgeois elements within the NUPhad grown at strength in the shadow of foreign investment. Leading capitalists within the NUP had controlled the Ministry of Trade in several governments during this period and NUP members had managed to obtain lucrative import licenses; many of them had become agents of foreign companies. Several traders within the party had re-invested in industry, and many of their supporters among the civil servants had invested in contracts, and other services. It seems evident that the new capitalist interests of the NUP leadership led them to develop a political orientation similar to that of the rest of the bourgeois parties.
From 1963 onwards, as economic conditions worsened and living standards of the poor deteriorated, the leftist movement gained back some of the ground it had lost. Internal stability was increasingly shaken by the war or the South and by increasing repression, and the external situation was worsened by the impact of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. The drain on resources represented by the Civil War in the South, which consumed 20-30 per cent of the government budget, and the decline in foreign aid after the Arab-Israeli War led to considerable deficit financing. During 1964-1969 the foreign debt doubled, reaching $260 million. Inevitably economic pressure fell heaviest on the poor; indirect taxation on basic commodities brought in over $153million in 1968/69, in contrast to only $22 million in taxation of income. All these factors weakened the government and set the stage for the military coup which occurred in May 1969.The coup was organized by the Free Officers Organization comprised of middle and lower ranking officers, which had been active within the armed forces in opposition to the first military regime (1958 1954). The governing body of the new military regime was composed of a Revolutionary Council, whose 10 members included two communists. A Council of Ministers composed of 21 Ministers, four of whom were well known members of the CPS, was also appointed. The Prime Minister himself was the prospective candidate of the Left for the presidential elections that were supposed to take place in 1970. The constitution was annulled and all political parties, including the alreadybanned CPS, were dissolved. The declared program of the 1969 military government was in line with the demands of the left.

The announcement of socialism as a goal and the apparent nature of the governing body terrified the capitalists, and private investment declined drastically in 1969/1970. Although the bourgeois parties were all opposed to the regime, the Umma Party constituted the most prominent opposition to the coup d’etat in its first year.
Together with the small, extreme rightwing organization of the Muslim Brothers (Islamic Charter), the Umma Party staged a counter revolt against the regime in Match 1970 at their base in Abba island. The military junta, squashed the revolt and the leader of the Ansar Sect — grandson of Almahdi — was killed in the process together with hundreds (some say thousands) of his followers.
The Abba revolt was immediately followed by the confiscation of all the property of the Almahdi family. This was in turn followed, in May 1970, by sweeping nationalizations and confiscations, which included banks and trading, agricultural and industrial firms. The declared objective was to break the economic power of the leadership of the bourgeois political parties. Some of the nationalized firms, however, had already transferred their capital outside the Sudan. Moreover, the new boards of directors appointed by the state proved to behave little differently front the previous ones. The end result was that the majority of the enterprises taken over by the state incurred heavy losses through mismanagement and profiteering.
The nationalization was an isolated, hurriedly enacted political decision designed to isolate the CPS, historically the main proponent of the nationalization of the means of production, and to secure mass support for the regime. The CPS openly criticized the way the nationalization was implemented; objecting in particular to the fact that nationalized firms became state capitalist concerns with no workers control or participation in the running of the enterprises.
The regime was soon to bow to the right-wing pressure, however, and had to face the fundamental class contradictions of the society, it had to make the choice of either co-operating with the original base to which it appealed and pursuing a ‘socialist’ path or retreating to a capitalist policy. The choice made reflected the wavering class nature of the regime as well as the strength of the pressure of the capitalist class and its links with international capital.
This was manifested first inthe decision of 16 November 1970 by the Revolutionary Council to oust three left-wing members from its own ranks. Secondly it was reflected in its withdrawal of the unified Labor Law, which would have equated private sector workers with those of the state sector and restricted the capitalists’ ability to dismiss workers at will. Finally, the right-wing course of the regime culminated in April 1971 with capitalists and bourgeois parties organizing a festival under the guise of ‘national unity’. This came two months after CPS leadership and cadres had been imprisoned as a result of an address by General Nimeirion 11 February 1971 which promised to ‘crush’ the communists. At the same time, mass organizations such as Women’s and Youth Unions were dissolved and government organizations with appointed leaderships were created to replace them. All these measures were meant to lure Western and conservative Arab governments to resume foreign aid to the Sudan and contacts had already been made with Lonrho, the British multinational corporation, on possible ventures. In July 1971 a group of pro-communist army officers carried out a bloodless coup and declared their intention to reverse the right-wing shift in government policies, to fight neo-colonialism, etc. The events that followed revealed the true nature of the capitalists and the completeness of their alliance with international capital. The new regime lasted on three clays and was crushed by direct foreign intervention in which Lonrho played an instrumental role.

As Cornje, Ling and Cronje (1976) relate, this was facilitated by the role played by Khaleel Osman, one of the three richest capitalists in the country. Khaleel accumulated his capital in Kuwait in partnership with Alsabah, the Amir of Kuwait. and the Gulf International Corporation. When he came back to the Sudan in the 1960s, he acquired about 10 industrial establishments under the local branch of Gulf lnternational. Moreover, prior to the July coup, he was trying to introduce large-scale operations in collaboration with Lonrho. In June a Lonrho mission arrived in Khartoum for negotiations. In July a ministerial delegation went to London to negotiate the resumption of a £10 million British credit for the Sudan, which had been halted the previous year because of the nationalisation of British banks and other interests. Lonrho and Khaleel Osman helped the Sudanese to negotiate the credit. A week later, when the 19 July coup took place, Lonrho’s jet (a Mystere) was sent to Belgrade to fly the Defense Minister and his party secretly to Cairo and Tripoli, where the counter coup was organised.

The 19 July coup was crushed on 22 July. The counter coup took place in a blood-bath in which the army elements suspected of participating in the coup were shot and the leadership of the CPS were assassinated. During the reign of terror that followed, thousands of citizens were rounded up in jails and detention camps throughout the country. The civil service was purged, allegedly of communists but in fact many sympathisers were also affected

The events that followed, with regard not only to British interests is general but to Lonrho and Khaleel Osman in particular, showed the newly reinstated regime’s recognition of the role they had played. The £10 million loan was approved and lonrho was appointed as the purchasing agent for the Sudan government, with a commission rate fixed at 10 times the previous rate (0.22 per cent). Khaleel Osman negotiated schemes for the joint production of sugar with Lonrho and the government as well as a private textile factory for Gulf International.

The 1971 events in the Sudan revealed that the Sudanese capitalist class, which was nurtured by international capital, had in this instance transcended the national boundaries in its efforts to control the state and change governments at will and was also willingand able to collaborate with international capital to safeguard the capitalist path of developmentinthe Sudan.

The immediate results or the government’s drift to the right in the years that followed were the encouragement of foreign investment and a substantial increase in foreign aid from capitalist countries. Another significant result was Western pressure on the Southerners to reach an accord with the regime on the basis of regional self-government. The agreement was reached under the auspices of the World Council of Churches and Emperor Haile Selassie in March 1972, although the declaration of regional self-government for the South had been in existence since 9 June 1969. The implementation of the original declaration had faced numerous difficulties which were eagerly smoothed out after the clear right-wing shift in 1971.

The increase in foreign aid started immediately after the 1971 coup. The United States started by opening a credit worth $18 million to Sudanese wheat importers. The IMF granted a credit of $40 million. Britain gave f25 million, most of which in fact never left London and was used to compensate nationalised British firms and to purchase British products. The Saudi regime supported the shift to the right and offered a $200 million loan to the Sudan. In return the regime signed an agreement covering joint exploitation of the Red Sea bed. They also started various other schemes in partnership with the state and the private capitalists.
Internally, the regime revived the slogan of national unity, originally initiated by the right, to permit the bourgeois parties to participate in the government’s single party and its organisations. In 1972 and 1973 most of the nationalised private business establishments were returned to their previous owners and generous compensation and bank facilities were given to them.

The bourgeois parties (Umma, NUP and PDP) reached a reconciliation agreement with the regime in July 1977, brought about through the mediation of two capitalists.

Their secondary contradictions resolved, the capitalist forces in the Sudan were to unite in the face of the rising consciousness of the masses. This left the CPS alone as the organised opposition to the present political system in the country.

A survey of 100 Sudanese businessmen conducted by the author in the late 1970s showed 38 per cent to be affiliated to the Umma Party, 30 per cent to the PDP and 16 per cent to the NUP. The breakdown indicates the continuing predominance of the Umma Party, which, as noted earlier, was the main representative of the rich capitalists throughout the colonial and early post-colonial period. If anything, it would be expected that the pattern would be even more pronounced in future since among the younger businessmen with secondary and post-secondary education surveyed, a vast majority (75 per cent) belonged to the Umma Party.

Prior to Independence it was possible to relate the Umma Party to the agricultural bourgeoisie and the NUP Party to trade. Asubsequent pattern of overlapping reinvestment has made such identification impossible. The local bourgeoisie has scattered its investment over all sectors, whilst retaining, on the whole, its political affiliations, The Umma, together with the PDP, have continued to be the main representatives of the rich businessmen. The NUP has moved gradually towards the right as leadershiphas come under the control of the capitalists affiliated to it.

In addition to their party affiliations, the businessmen studied also had varied relationships with the state apparatus; 78 per cent knew the present Ministers and Deputy Ministers personally; 32 per cent were found to be close friends of Ministers and prominent army officers in various periods since 1956; 8 per cent were members of ministers’ families, 8 per cent had influence in banks, either through membership of the boards of directors or through members of their families working in banks and 8 per cent had partnerships with ex-ministers or employed them as senior executives in their establishments. Capitalist interests were thus not only safeguarded on the micro level through the control by the bourgeois parties or the state but also on the micro level through personal relationships developed since 1956.

Conclusion
The political history of the Sudan. analysed from a class perspective, reveals that the capitalist class had no major contradictions with the colonial system. Its organisations originated when the struggle for national liberation crystallised and conflicts between the bourgeois parties (during the colonial period) were an outcome of the subsidiary contradictions between the various fractions of capital. The handing over of the government by the bourgeois parties to the reactionary faction of the military in 1958 was a reflection of the strength of the mass protest against the infiltration of neo-colonialism and the failure of the parliamentary system to contain it .

The short-lived alliance of the bourgeois parties with the trade union movement and the CPS in opposition to the military government before the October ‘revolution’ may he explained as a consequence of their acute unease over increasing state capitalist investment. Feeling threatened by this development, the bourgeoisie entered into a tactical alliance with the revolutionary movement to regain state power. But they did so only because they were confident of their ability to contain or suppress the movement after the success of this immediate strategy. The alliance of all the bourgeoisie parties against the CPS and the Front soon after October ‘revolution’, and the banning of the CPS in 1966, reveals the primary common interests that all the bourgeois parties had with each other. The vital role played by the local capitalist class in collaboration with international capital, in the events of July 1971 reveals the truly dependent nature of the Sudanese bourgeoisie and its opposition to any attempts to radicalise the political system. Their subsequent alliance with multi-national capital and the government in 1977 marked a new turning point in the dependent nature of the Sudanese bourgeoisie. Its opposition to radical change and to the mass movement has taken a fierce, violent and direct form.

Is it conceivable then that such a bourgeoisie could play any role in the breakaway from capitalism? Indeed, can it even be said that a national bourgeoisie existed in the Sudan during the colonial period? At that time, and in contrast to the cases of India, China or Turkey, there was no industrial bourgeoisie in the Sudan. The only indigenous capitalist elements in the productive sector were in agriculture, and they have been allied with imperialism from its creation to the present. The commercial bourgeoisie in the Sudan on the other hand had minor contradictions with the agricultural bourgeoisie and was part of the anti colonial struggle until after Independence in 1956 when it allied completely with the imperialist bourgeoisie.

It may be suggested that the term national is not in fact applicable to elements of indigenous capital during the colonial period. Both the established entrepreneurs and those newly recruited from the state bureaucracy were motivated by capitalist interests rather than national considerations. This was expressed politically through their party affiliations and the positions they took in the political struggle throughout the period under study.
After Independence an industrial bourgeoisie did develop in the Sudan under the sponsorship of the state which it controlled. This industrial bourgeoisie developed from the ranks of former commercial and agricultural capitalists in close connection with neocolonialism and the post-colonial state. But even if we were to concede that this bourgeoisie succeeded in accumulating capital with the assistance of the state and in competition with foreign capital as suggested for Kenya and Ghana by Swainson and Kennedy, and that it does not lack money, contrary to what Fanon suggested, it would still be necessary to scrutinize the proposition that it is capable of playing a national role with contemporary developments in mind. Given that the interests of capitalism in the Sudan are so intertwined, economically and politically, with those of foreign capital and that the consciousness of the masses has increased, the capacity of indigenous capital to perform an independent and effective role is so limited as to be almost non-existentIt is within this context that dependency theory offers a theoretical framework for the analysis of the peripheral bourgeoisie. Samir Amin’s contribution is too generalised to be of much help in analysing specific situations in the peripheries. By proposing that the proletariat of the metropolis exploited that of the periphery he contradicts his own proposition that capital has consolidated internationally and on a world scale to become one unified force. It is thus not surprising that no specific strategy is given for the suggested breakaway from capitalism, other than the equally generalised proposition of self reliance.

Andre Gander Frank is more specific with regard to political strategy. His main premise is that the peripheral bourgeoisie is dependent and has a vested interest in the perpetuation of dependency. He clearly concludes that the bourgeoisie, in all its forms and guises, is incapable of playing any role in the democratic revolution if the latter were ever to take place. The origin and development of the capitalist class in the Sudan confirms their dependent nature in all sectors of their activity. Their political affiliations provide further evidence that they have had a vested interest in the continuity of the dependent capitalist path that has charcterised the economy of the Sudan. Although further and more comprehensive studies of the various layers of the capitalist class are needed to arrive at definitive conclusions, no evidence of a possible progressive role for the Sudanese bourgeoisie be visualised this far.

In view of all this, it is difficult to understand the retreat of the CPS from its former(1967) analysis of the bourgeoisie. Given the considerable increase in local and foreign capitalist enterprise, together with attempts to unify capitalist forces in the country on the political level with the apparent blessing of international capital, it is hard to conceive of circumstances in which this bourgeoisie would relinquish its former position and stand for any change, however mild, in the relations of production.

THE ROLE OF THE NATIONAL BOURGEOISIE IN THE
NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION

lbrahim Kursany
The elapse of a quarter of a century after the political independence of the Sudan has produced no radical social improvement. In fact, the general living standard of the mass of people has actually deteriorated. The state has failed to provide the basic services which are essential ingredients of any dignified human life: the provision of housing, clothing, food education, drinking water and medical services to the working people. This, we would argue, is a consequence of an acceptance and active sponsorship of a capitalist structure. The choice of the ‘capitalist’ road breeds increasing inequality and procures very little development for the mass of the population.

The dominance of the capitalist mode of production in Sudan manifests itself in the economic as well as the political domination of the capitalist class. The Sudanese capitalist class however does not constitute a homogeneous group of individuals. Different sections, with different economic interests, sometimes conflicting in their nature. are the striking feature of this class.

Historically, the capitalist class started its capital accumulation within the sphere of distribution. While most were in retail trade, a few directed their capital to foreign trade, Dealing in export-import, particularly of gum-Arabic and livestock, they developed strong links with foreign capital.

A much larger section of the commercial capitalist class is comprised of those who deal in retail trade, confine their activities to the domestic market and have no links whatsoever with foreign capital. During the late fifties and sixties many of this group shifted their investment away from the mercantile sphere and towards the productive sectors of the economy, mainly agriculture and ‘light industry.

The section of the capitalist class for whom the productive sectors to the economy constitute both the origin of their income as well as the final destination of their investment, we designate as the national bourgeoisie. Their economic interests are opposed to those of foreign monopoly capital as well as the local comprador bourgeoisie. The political power of this section of the capitalist class is reflected in the bourgeois political parties inthe country which have dominated the state machinery up to May 1969, namely the Umma, the National Unionist and the People’s Democratic Party.

Between 1969 and July 1969political power rested in the hands of the military officers who allied themselves with the Sudanese mass movement as against that of the comprador capitalist class, but this alliance was short lived. Subsequent to the 22 July 1971, the state machinery has been dominated by new social forces: the commercial comprador capitalist class and foreign monopoly capital. The last decade witnessed the flourishing of the former and the stagnation of the national bourgeoisie.

The political domination of the comprador capitalist class has been accompanied by a similar domination in the economic field. This section of the capitalist class has depended almost completely on the state apparatus for the generation of its income. That income has in turn been virtually wasted through conspicuous consumption, importation of luxurious items and residence outside Sudan for most of the year.

The absence of both political and economic democracy in underdeveloped capitalist countries is largely responsible for the parasitic capitalist class which depends on the bureaucratic apparatus of the state for its very existence as well as for increasing its income and rate of capital accumulation, This class characteristically avoids investment in the productive base of the economy in favour of directing its investible surplus to the‘quick’ profit-making projects like residential buildings. It tends, moreover, to transfer a substantial proportion of its economic surplus outside the country toward destinations considered politically and economically stable such as the advanced capitalist countries. Often it goes into partnerships with multinationals, depending on their technology and hard currency and emulating the lifestyle of those in the West. It is for this reason that we regard this section as constituting a comprador class.

This picture, however, must not blind us to the other face of the coin, namely the existence of another section of the Sudanese capitalist class. This section has a genuine interest in investing its economic surplus in the productive sectors of the Sudanese economy and has no intention whatsoever of either emulating the lifestyle of the capitalist class of the advanced countries or spending most of its money and time outside Sudan. This section we consider to be the national part of the Sudanese capitalist class. The interests of this section are, to a great extent, in direct contradiction with those of the parasitic comprador section of the capitalist class as well as those of foreign monopoly capital.

For this reason we think it would be a serious mistake to formulate a development strategy for the Sudan built on so misleading a conclusion as that of Dr Mohmoud who has declared all of the Sudanese capitalist class to be a comprador class. By so doing, she has failed clearly to recognise the differences which do exist between the different fractions of the Sudanese capitalist class. Instead of correctly rejecting the capitalist path which has failed to generate rapid economic as well as social development, Dr Mahmoud has rejected the Sudanese capitalist class altogether and denied them any role in the socio-economic development of the country at the present stage .

This line of thinking follows closely that of the dependency school, best known by the works of A.G. Frank. This school argues that in order to overcome backwardness and liquidate underdevelopment, ‘periphery’ countries must terminate their relations with and eliminate their dependence on the advanced capitalist countries, It calls for weakening the alliance of the social forces which back the development of capitalism as a mode of production in underdeveloped countries. In pursuing this objective they argue, the masses should direct their struggle against capitalism and the bourgeois class and not against any other mode of production, since for them, no other exists.

We object to this school’s analysis and conclusions for two reasons. Firstly, it sees the basic problem of the underdeveloped countries in their link with the advanced capitalist countries. Hence it concentrates its discussion and analysis on the sphere of exchange. This is why it has failed to categorise or even define satisfactorily what exactly it mean by capitalism. We see a fundamental deficiency in this school’s theoretical analysis of capitalism because for us capitalism is to be understood essentially at the level of production. Secondly, by characterising the entire capitalist class of underdeveloped countries as having comprador characteristics and by the call for an immediate socialist revolution, this school has removed any possibility of an intermediate stage such as that of the national democratic revolution resting on all anti-imperialist interests. The dependency position has thus denied the slightest chance for any role being played by the national section of the capitalist class or even the petty-bourgeoisie at the present stage of development, Any alliance with the latter, it argues, amounts to the betrayal of the mass of the population, if not political suicide. We think this conclusion is politically damaging; the national as well as the petty-bourgeois does have a positive role to play at this stage in the light of the antagonism of their economic interests with those of foreign monopoly capital.

The state has played a crucial role in the development and increasing economic and political domination of the comprador section of the Sudanese capitalist class and of foreign monopoly capital over the working mass of the people and indeed over the national bourgeoisie. This is why we cast grave doubts concerning the validity of Hamza Alavi’s formulation of the state exhibiting relative autonomy and mediating between several riding classes in post-colonial societies (“The State in Post-colonial Societies: Pakistan and Bangladesh”, New Left Review 74, JulyAugust, 1972). In the Sudan the present post-colonial state has completely sided with and is serving the interests of the comprador bourgeoisie against the national bourgeoisie. In these circumstances, proximity to political power replaces productive investment as the main source of income.
We believe that present trends as regards development and class formation will not be reversed without the active involvement and participation of the state but a state of a different nature. It must be a national, democratic and progressive state in respect of its class basis. By national we mean it should represent the economic interests of all social forces opposed to the interests of foreign monopoly capital, i.e. it should have an anti-imperialist character. These social forces are the workers, peasants, soldiers, revolutionary intellectuals and the national section of the Sudanese capitalist class. By democratic we mean that the state must represent the political will of all these social forces but its leadership must rest in the hands of the alliance of the workers and poor peasants, who constitute more than 90 per cent of the Sudanese people. But this state will not be democratic unless it guarantees the basic democratic rights of the working people of the Sudan including the right of free speech, free association, free assembly, free trade unions, free press, formation of political parties and the right to strike. All members of state legislative and executive bodies must be freely elected. The choice of the electorates should be respected by the different state bodies. This will be assured only if the electorate have the right not just of electing their leaders but of removing them from office in the event of corruption, inefficiency or betrayal of their cause. This mechanism is the only one, in the context of Sudan, which will provide a built-in system of checks and balances to safeguard the interests of the poor working mass of people, release and develop the creative abilities of the Sudanese people and prevent the development of any bureaucratic tendencies within the state machinery. By progressive we mean also it must be secular. That is to say the Sudanese state should be based on a non- religious constitution and must respect all the religious and ideological beliefs of its citizens irrespective of their colour of skin, race or geographical location.

This state apparatus, in order to be effective in carrying out the national democratic programme, must be based on the leadership of the broad alliance of the workers and peasants of the Sudan, It is on their positive participation in all the economic decision-making and executing bodies which depends on the successful development of the country. This is because the real choice which is facing the Sudanese people is no longer between national democratic development or capitalist development but rather between national democratic development, which will form the basis for the transition to socialism, or capitalist underdevelopment.