Sudanese teachers launched a massive and highly successful strike on Thursday. It’s for a pay rise, but also against the “contempt” shown to workers by the regime in place since the military coup. The strike is set to continue on Monday and Tuesday.
The Sudanese Teachers Committee (STC), which is organising the action, says it will see strike committees “in permanent session”. A striking teacher told Socialist Worker, “We are sure that our action has an effect. It raises up the people’s vision for change and it gives a new belief that progress is possible.”
The STC said on Thursday, “The reports received from the field committees in the localities of Khartoum state and all the other states of Sudan documented an unparalleled response to the strike call. The strike covered cities and villages. We emphasise the overwhelming success of the strike on the first day, reaching 99 percent participation in many states. But in a number of localities in Khartoum state, the response percentage has reached 100 percent.
“A cloud of goodness roamed Darfur and Kordofan and covered the White Nile, Al Jazeera, Sennar, Blue Nile, Khartoum, and the northern states. It was proof of the teachers’ adherence to their rights and their understanding of their demands and the path of taking them to the end.
“The teachers of Sudan today wrote the most beautiful letters of struggle. Today’s epic was conclusive evidence that what unites us as teachers is enough to put us in the place we want, and increased the understanding of parents.
“We look with admiration and satisfaction at the support of all entities for this strike. And we also hope that our strike will be a building block for the unification of all the living forces of the people.”
For weeks the regime has been turning the screw on activists and the local resistance committees that have led opposition to the regime. The teachers have shown how to hit back, using the power of organised workers to weaken the generals. This is the power that can force the military out and put in place an alternative based on the resistance committee and the networks formed by striking workers.
The strike comes after anti-coup marches took place in 12 cities across Sudan on Tuesday, international women’s day. In the capital Khartoum, police responded with tear gas, rubber bullets, stun grenades and live fire—injuring at least 54 people.
Police also stormed the Military Hospital in Khartoum where protesters were being treated. Security forces threw a stun grenade into the hospital compound and then arrested some of those seeking treatment for their injuries from earlier in the day.
At least 1,000 protesters have been arrested since 25 October, including 148 children. As well as political repression, economic hardship is hitting ordinary Sudanese people hard. The increasing poverty undermines further the military regime of general Abdel Fattah al‑Burhan. And the political struggle is boosted by the bitterness at unaffordable basic goods.
The Sudanese currency is collapsing against the US dollar. That means imports are hugely more expensive. The price of fuel in Khartoum rose 25 percent last week. Transport companies are putting up charges, increasing the cost of many other goods. The prices of vegetables and other foodstuffs are soaring. Some pharmaceutical companies have stopped all sales.
It’s time to drive forward the resistance, and the teachers’ strike gives hope of a new chapter of resistance if it is built on.
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