The political economy of crisis in the Sudan 1973-1985
This thesis examines the political economy of the Sudan to reveal the nature and causes of the 1973-85 particular crisis in that country. The 1973-85 crisis is placed within the historical context of recurrent crises which have characterised the independent Sudan. It is argued that political and economic crises have occurred over the period 1956-1985 and several common features of these crises can be identified to constitute general political and economic trends. In their turn, they have characterized the general crisis since independence in 1956. The general crisis facing the Sudan is an organic crisis of transformation. Twenty nine years have elapsed between the Sudan becoming independent and 1985, the end of the period under study. The problems of transforming the inherited colonial economy and structures have remained on the national agenda since then, without resolution. The study of the colonial political and economic legacy provided an important component of the thesis as it reflected on the process of the articulation of the capitalist mode of production and the pre-capitalist modes of production which had prevailed in the country before the re-conquest of the Sudan in 1898. Political, institutional and market interrelationship affected the nature of the Sudanese economy, class structure and class struggle. The nature of the colonial state as an authoritarian and relatively autonomous state left its features in the political economy of the country. In trying to understand the crisis both in its particular and general manifestations the thesis examines the nature of the post-colonial state and its historical development. The colonial heritage of the country and the concrete class struggle gave the post-colonial state its nature and constituted its crisis. In revealing the nature of the post-colonial state a ruling power bloc is identified. That power bloc was composed of the religious and tribal aristocracy, the bourgeoisie and the military and civilian bureaucracy. The thesis argues that the crisis of the post-colonial state is a crisis of hegemony. The failure of the dominant power bloc, a fraction or a class of it to establish its hegemony is the main cause of the crisis of the state and the particular form of that crisis: the military civilian governments alterance in power. The post-colonial state's ability to use coercion was legitimately limited and its tendency towards authoritarianism was challenged by the urban democratic movement and the effective regional forces, especiallyt he Southern Sudanese. The politics of ethnic conflicts were closely related to the composition of the ruling power bloc as Northern, and of Arab Islamic culture. It was in the politics of ethnic conflicts that coercion was widely used against the Southern people. The civil war which struck the country twice contributed to the crisis of the post-colonial state. The essence of crisis of the economy is found in the crisis of agricultural production both in its irrigated and rain-fed sub-sectors. Though the nature of the crisis in both sectors is found in the process of articulation of capitalist and pre-capitalist modes, the result of the articulation process is different in both sub-sectors. Within this context the particular 1973-85 crisis is studied. The particular crisis is a continuation of the general post-colonial-crisis, yet distinguishable. The military bureaucratic fraction of the new petty bourgeoisie which dominated the state during the 1973-1985 period failed to establish its hegemony and ruled the country through an authoritarian state. The failure to build an alliance with the urban democratic movement in the North between 1969 and the July 1971 coup d'etat was a turning point in the history of the Nimeiri regime. The National Reconciliation of 1977 did not reach its logical conclusion by widening the base of the regime. The promulgation of Islamic Sharia Law in 1983 did not promote the regime's quest for legitimacy and remained to be an additional tool of repression. The study of the economic crisis of 1973-85 revealed that it was a continuation of the general crisis, as well as a particular crisis of simple and extended reproduction that resulted from specific policies of the regime. The regime failed to transform the structure of the economy. Despite the expansion, the economy remained unevenly developed, export-oriented, with weak inter-sector and inter-regional linkages; liable to be severely affected by intemational crises and moderately benefiting from international booms.