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Accepted Paper:

„We are just Revolutionaries!” – Political Subjectivities of the Sudanese Neighborhood Resistance Committees  
Saskia Jaschek (Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies)

Paper Short Abstract:

This paper discusses the political subjectivities of the neighborhood-based grassroots organizations of the Sudanese Resistance Committees. The paper discusses the power relations at play by focusing on the attached meanings of being a ‘revolutionary’ or an ‘activist’.

Paper Abstract:

This contribution analyzes the political subjectivities of the lijān al-muqāumā (English: Resistance committees, short RC) in Khartoum, Sudan. The RCs are neighborhood-based grassroots initiatives that organized the resistance during Sudan’s December Revolution 2018/19 and resisted the military coup d’état in October 2021. Today, with more than 5,000 RCs nationwide, they provide emergency aid in Sudan’s civil war.

Until the outbreak of the war in 2023, RCs organized and coordinated street protests to bring down the military regime. Further, they organized community events, e.g., during Ramadan and memorials for the martyrs. Other events, such as symposiums, film screenings and music shows, aimed to educate the community. Within days after the war, they shifted their activism to humanitarian aid.

Based on one year of ethnographic data collection on political subjectivation within Sudan’s revolutionary movement resisting the counterrevolution in the capital Khartoum, the paper analyzes the contested and often opposing subjectivities of being nāshīd (activist) and thawrī (revolutionary). By analyzing the terms' embeddedness into Khartoum's social, political, and cultural context, the paper draws out the different power relations, especially class relations, that are manifested in these labels and simultaneously (co)produce them as subject forms.

I argue that the RC's subjectivity of being revolutionaries offers an emancipatory view of activism that challenges its boundedness to Western normative understandings.

Panel P238
Becoming/ being an activist: reflections on a key political subjectivity of late capitalism
  Session 1 Friday 26 July, 2024, -