Anti-Imperialist Front

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Anti-Imperialist Front
الجبهة المعادية للإستعمار
President Hassan at-Taheer Zarouq
Secretary-General Abdel Rahman Abdel Rahim
Founder 1952
Newspaper Al-Midan
House of Representatives (1953)
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The Anti-Imperialist Front (Arabic: الجبهة المعادية للإستعمار‎) was a political movement in Sudan, founded in 1952.[1] The Anti-Imperialist Front was organized by the clandestine Sudanese Movement for National Liberation (i.e. the Communist Party).[2] The communists decided not to try to register their own party ahead of the 1953 legislative election, preferring to launch the Anti-Imperialist Front as their legal umbrella organization.[1][2]

Leadership[edit]

Hassan at-Taheer Zarouq was the president of the Anti-Imperialist Front, Abdel Rahman Abdel Rahim was its secretary-general. Both were teachers by profession.[3] Dr. Izzudin Ali Amir was another prominent leader of the Anti-Imperialist Front.[4]

Profile[edit]

The membership of the Anti-Imperialist Front included both communist cadres and unaffiliated sympathizers.[1] The organization, whilst generally identified with the communists, rejected the claim that it was a communist movement.[3]

The Anti-Imperialist Front advocated for independence for Sudan, opposed a union with Egypt and called for guarantees for democratic rights such as freedom of expression and organization.[5][6][7] By raising democratic demands through the Anti-Imperialist Front the Sudanese communists were able to win sympathies amongst non-communist professionals, particularly journalists.[6]

The organization also ran evening schools for adults.[3]

Press organ[edit]

The Anti-Imperialist Front published the twice-weekly newspaper al-Midan ('The Forum').[8] Hassan at-Taheer Zarouq served as the editor of the newspaper.[9]

1953 election[edit]

The Anti-Imperialist Front won one seat in the 1953 election (held by Hassan at-Taheer Zarouq).[10][11][12] Hassan at-Taheer Zarouq was a schoolteacher, who had been dismissed due to his political activism. He was elected from the Graduates' Constituency.[13] As a Member of Parliament, Hassan at-Taheer Zarouq was an vocal critic of Ismail al-Azhari's National Unionist Party cabinet.[6]

Struggle against the al-Azhari government[edit]

In early 1955 the Anti-Imperialist Front joined the Independence Front (a coalition of opponents to az-Zahari, including the Umma Party). Through the participation of the Anti-Imperialist Front, the Independence Front gained more influence in urban areas as workers' and students' movements became active in the Independence Front.[7][5] The Anti-Imperialist Front broke away from the Independence Front in September 1955.[7] In November 1955 the Independence Front tried to oust al-Azhari through a vote in the House of Representatives. The Anti-Imperialist Front refused to support this action, and Hassan at-Taheer Zarouq abstained from voting. The Anti-Imperialist Front explained its position that it struggled for principles, rather against any particular individuals. Instead, the Anti-Imperialist Front called for a national unity government. This move alienated the Anti-Imperialist Front from both the government and the other opposition forces.[7]

When the al-Azhari cabinet was followed by the government of Abdallah Khalil, the Anti-Imperialist Front retained its oppositional stance.[6] Again, the Anti-Imperialist Front sought to build a broad, national front. However, such a front did not materialize as the People's Democratic Party (whom the communists had identified as a potential key partner) aligned with the Umma Party instead.[7]

Suez Crisis[edit]

During the 1956 Suez Crisis, the Anti-Imperialist Front sent volunteers to help the Egyptian side (including its general secretary). As Gamal Abdul Nasser emerged as an anti-imperialist leader, the Anti-Imperialist Front reversed its previous opposition to Egyptian-Sudanese unity.[14]

In February 1957 the Anti-Imperialist Front and the Sudanese Workers' Trade Union Federation began campaigning against the introduction of a U.S. aid programme.[15] The Anti-Imperialist Front struggled against the electoral law passed by the Umma-PDP coalition in June 1957, claiming that the law had been tailor-made to guarantee an Umma Party victory in the coming elections. The Anti-Imperialist Front again called on the PDP to break its alliance with the Umma Party, and join a coalition with the National Unionist Party.[16]

1958 election[edit]

Ahead of the February 1958 elections, the Anti-Imperialist Front joined hands with the Federal Party (based in southern Sudan). The Anti-Imperialist Front raised demands for a federal Sudanese state, which would recognize both Islam and Christianity as official religions and where both Arabic and English would be official languages.[15] The Anti-Imperialist Front, contesting the 1958 election, failed to win any seats.[17]

1958 coup[edit]

Following the 1958 coup d'état, the Anti-Imperialist Front was dissolved.[4] Many of its leaders were arrested, including Dr. Izzudin Ali Amir. He was, however, released in September 1959.[4][18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Sidahmed, Abdel Salam. Politics and Islam in Contemporary Sudan. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996. p. 44
  2. ^ a b Niblock, Tim. Class and Power in Sudan: The Dynamics of Sudanese Politics, 1898-1985. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987. p. 201
  3. ^ a b c Fabunmi, L. A. The Sudan in Anglo-Egyptian relations: a case study in power politics, 1800-1956. Longmans, 1960. p. 334
  4. ^ a b c Oron, Yitzhak (1960). Middle East Record Volume 1, 1960. The Moshe Dayan Center. 
  5. ^ a b Sidahmed, Abdel Salam. Politics and Islam in Contemporary Sudan. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996. p. 56
  6. ^ a b c d Warburg, Gabriel. Islam, nationalism and communism in a traditional society: the case of Sudan. London: Frank Cass and Company Limited, 1978. p. 99
  7. ^ a b c d e Warburg, Gabriel. Islam, nationalism and communism in a traditional society: the case of Sudan. London: Frank Cass and Company Limited, 1978. pp. 100-101
  8. ^ Kirkpatrick, Evron M. Year of Crisis: Communist Propaganda Activities in 1956. New York: Macmillan, 1957. p. 215
  9. ^ The Middle East, Vol. 7. Europa Publications., 1959. p. 285
  10. ^ مركز الدراسات الاشتراكية .مجموعة وثائق الحزب الشيوعي السوداني (1961-) 1969 - 1999
  11. ^ National Electoral Commission. تاريخ الانتخابات في السودان
  12. ^ Salih, Mohamed Abdel Rahim Mohamed. African Democracies and African Politics. London [u.a.]: Pluto Press, 2001. p. 85
  13. ^ Niblock, Tim. Class and Power in Sudan: The Dynamics of Sudanese Politics, 1898-1985. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987. p. 69
  14. ^ Warburg, Gabriel. Islam, nationalism and communism in a traditional society: the case of Sudan. London: Frank Cass and Company Limited, 1978. pp. 141-143
  15. ^ a b Warburg, Gabriel. Islam, nationalism and communism in a traditional society: the case of Sudan. London: Frank Cass and Company Limited, 1978. p. 105
  16. ^ Warburg, Gabriel. Islam, nationalism and communism in a traditional society: the case of Sudan. London: Frank Cass and Company Limited, 1978. p. 102
  17. ^ Warburg, Gabriel. Islam, nationalism and communism in a traditional society: the case of Sudan. London: Frank Cass and Company Limited, 1978. p. 103
  18. ^ Newsweek, Vol. 52. 1958. p. 65