Article from ROAPE Volume 10 Number 26
Road to Jouda
From the early 1950s, tenant farmers in Sudan sought to alter the arrangements governing their contributions to and returns from agricultural operations in government and private schemes. The main vehicle through which they hoped to realise this change was collective union activity. Repeated attempts by tenant farmers to gain formal recognition for their organisations from the colonial government, however, proved unsuccessful. Following the election of a transitional government in 1953, tenant farmers' hopes were raised and they intensified their efforts to obtain the new government's endorsement of their unions. As events were to show, however, the government was neither able nor willing to grant any group (least of all the farmers) the immediate fruits of its victory. It was preoccupied at the time, moreover, by pressure from indigenous agricultural capitalists in Egypt for and against negotiating the Nile Waters Agreement. In the meantime the tenant farmers' movement, with support from Sudanese workers and other radical forces within society continued to strive for its members goals. The collision of the conflicting forces of the tenant formers and agricultural capitalists led to an incident of horrific proportions. Here Taisier Ali describes that tragedy and the events leading up to it, placing the crisis in the wider context of the relation between class conflict and the state.