“The First example of how a revolution should be made”. This phrase by Emma Goldman, an early advocate of free speech, birth control, feminism, and workers’ rights sums up fairly well the book David Porter devoted to the Spanish social revolution of 1936-1939 titled “Vision on fire: Emma Goldman about the Spanish Revolution”.
Although the book is written in English, it is useful to have a look at it from this side of the Med, thus familiar readers of this language could be informed and those interested in the argument can always brush up their knowledge of the English language. Finally, all others could get useful information, whilst awaiting the publication of the book, hopefully, by an Algerian or French publishing house.
The writing style is simple, straightforward and clear. The author’s excellent presentation is based entirely on the writings of Emma Goldman. Although she does not need a presentation, let us give some brief information. An anarchist of Russian descent, exiled to the United States, where she continued her militancy, she returned to Russia during the Russian Revolution of 1917. She was among the supporters of the free Soviets, against their takeover by the Bolsheviks. She tried but in vain to prevent the ensuing dictatorship of a party naturally inclined towards totalitarianism; but she was forced to admit on the spot how Lenin-Trotsky’s policies were Fatal to this authentically popular revolution.
Then, she went to Spain during the country’s social revolution, and got involved again. It should be noted that the adjective used here is “social” as opposed to “political”. There lies the originality of this revolution; It was not intended, according to the Marxist and Bolshevik scheme, to take power of the state, by instituting a so-called dictatorship of the “proletariat”, a new domination of the people. On the contrary, following the Proudhonian – Bakouninian’s anarchist conception, the Spanish Revolution was meant to be “social”. In other words, a change to the basis of society, in its various structures and areas of activity. This has been achieved by creating self-managed, free and autonomous workers and farmers’ associations. In this way, there would be no need for a dictatorial state, neither for its privileged bureaucracy, nor for a “guide” party to which blind obedience would be required, nor for a “genius” leader issuing indisputable decrees, nor for “people commissioners” imposing orders, nor for a “Red” army comprised of military and simple performers (1), nor for a political police Cheka style, nor for prisons, nor for forced collectivization. This is what Stalin and his totalitarian bureaucracy could not admit, lest this authentic social revolution unveil the Bolshevik sham and contribute to its end.
“[Spanish workers] have shown that dictatorship is not essential in a revolutionary period. It is true that those who have enjoyed political freedom in Spain have enjoyed it up to an alarming limit, but I agree with the comrades that there is less danger in the abuses of freedom than in the dictatorship. ” (2)
It is therefore through the writings of this partisan of a genuinely social revolution, her observations and her criticisms that David Porter accounts for this social rupture, the most Original and the richest the world has ever known. Unfortunately, she was the victim of slander, then of armed repression, finally of occultation by the “Communist” Stalinists, not to mention the “Liberals”. These misdeeds were (and the occult remains) as implacable as this uprising was the first authentic revolution in the world. Here is how: its protagonists were who only peasants, workers, small employees and enlightened intellectuals. they were nevertheless animated not by a classic “avant-garde party”, guided by its “genius” chef, but out of their own self-managed organization goals, where self-directed libertarian design was fully assumed. There was the greatness of these protagonists of the people, and there was the motive for which all authoritarians, “Communists”, “Liberals” and Fascists were hostile to. They united to crush what was an ideal example of how to undertake a genuine social change in favor of the oppressed, the exploited and the dominated.
Let us see. These were the enemies that the Spanish social revolutionaries were confronted to. On the one hand, the Fascist army of General Franco, supplemented by some Moroccan proxy; The action of this army was reinforced by the Nazi aviation, which experimented with its first systematic bombardment of civilian population. Finally, Mussolini sent in reinforcement with Italian troops. On the other hand, the Spanish auto managers had to fight against the Russian “Communist” agents sent by Stalin, as well as against their subordinates of the Spanish “Communal” party, including their military columns.
It was a war of several armies coordinated against a people of peasants, workers, employees and enlightened intellectuals. And this war was not directed solely against the popular militias, which were badly lacking in arms and ammunition, but also against their economic, social and cultural achievements.
For it must be known, and this was found by Goldman as by other Witnesses on the spot, these realizations were consistent, impressive, unexpected, exemplary and meaningful. Totally the opposite of the regression and chaos that in Russia, the domination of the Bolshevik party had caused, the binding to a return to capitalism with the N.E.P.
“If ever, writes Goldman, there was a people loving enough freedom to fight for it, to live its daily relations and even die for it, Spanish workers and peasants have shown that they are placed at the highest peak.” (3)
David Porter’s book is not limited to quoting Emma Goldman’s essential writings about the Spanish revolution. He had that precious precaution of providing explanations and notes. These place the excerpts of the activist and theorist in their concrete historical-social context, while proposing avenues of reflection and action regarding the current situation. Finally, David Porter provides titles of books and their authors, thus, the arguments examined are widened and deepened, allowing access to additional information.
The book reflects not only the general problems faced by the Spanish social revolution, but also through its aspects embodied by individualities. Their qualities and shortcomings are exposed, as well as their influence on the conduct of a Revolution (4).
In addition, the author stresses: “The fate of Spanish anarchism should be analyzed at the widest social level, instead of considering only personalities. In fact, the movement had against him the international conspiracy, and the lack of support of the world proletariat to the Spanish revolution. These two factors have caused the essential mistakes in Spain. Although individuals in the movement have made significant mistakes, their positive contribution must not be forgotten.” (5)
That said, it is stated: “But in general terms, anarchists, more than any other people affected by social change, have traditionally considered individual emancipation and the maintenance of personal integrity as important measures of the success of Movement.” (6)
A chapter is devoted to the role of women in the Spanish Revolution: “In the history of the anarchist movement, the emancipation of women was a crucial part of global social transformation” (7)
The author adds: From her (Emma Goldman) viewpoint, the organization of the movement in general, even among the anarchists, encouraged the careerism, petty jealousies and new hierarchies. There is no doubt that these tendencies were, to a certain degree, the result of a masculine predominance in the movement, as due to the organization of the movement itself. ” (8)
In a very interesting introduction to chapter three “the New Society”, David Porter provides explanations on anarchism as a social and human vision; he completes the presentation by considering the reactions of the opponents: as in the past, anarchists suffer most often from a bad image among
the « Progressive from two viewpoints: as destructive negativists or irresponsible dreamers. (..). For such people, the constructive experience of the Spanish Revolution, assumed enthusiastically by Emma Goldman in these pages, should be a welcome relief. It is also an invitation for them to broaden their own policies. (9)
The reading of David Porter’s book accurately reflects his assertion: “Goldman’s ratings are written directly for us in the present. They help deliver this incredibly precious gift from the Spanish people. (10)
Let us hope that this work is finally translated into French, Arabic, Tamazight and Dziriya, so it is informative about the best example of a social revolution in the world.
(1) Here are statements by Buenaventura Durruti, one of the most representative people of Spanish anarchism during the Civil War in Spain: -We will show you the Russian and Spanish Bolsheviks, how the revolution is made and how it is led to its end. At home there is a dictatorship, in your Red Army, there are colonels and generals, while in my column there is neither superior nor inferior, we all have the same rights, we are all soldiers, I too am a soldier. (…) It would not really be worth dressing up as a soldier if one were to be left to govern again by the pseudo-Republicans of 1931; we agree to make great concessions but, let us never forget that we must lead the war and the Revolution. (…) I have been an anarchist all my life, and I hope to remain so. I would regret indeed to become a general and command the men with a military stick. They have come to me voluntarily, they are ready to put their lives on the line for our anti-fascist fight. I believe that discipline is indispensable, but it must come from within, motivated by a common resolution and a strong sense of camaraderie. »
(2) « (The Spanish workers) have shown that dictatorship is not essential in a revolutionary period. It is true that those who are enjoying political freedom in Spain are taking advantage of it to an alarming extent, but I agree with the comrades that there is less danger in the abuses of freedom than in dictatorship. »
(3) « If ever there were a people who love liberty sufficiently enough to struggle for it, live it in their daily relationships and even die for it, the Spanish workers and peasants have demonstrated that they stand at the highest level. »
(4) See chapter TWO “particular individuals”.
(5) « One should analyze the plight of Spanish anarchism at the broader social level instead of solely through looking at personalities. It was in fact the international conspiracy against and lack of world proletarian support for the Spanish revolution which caused the essential mistakes made within Spain. Though individuals in the movement indeed made important errors, their positive service should not be forgotten. »
(6) « But in general terms, anarchists, more than others concerned with social change, traditionally have seen individual emancipation and maintenance of personal integrity as important measures of the movement’s success. »
(7) « In the historical anarchist movement generally, emancipation of women was a crucial part of overall social transformation. »
(8) « In her view, movement organization generally, even among anarchists, encouraged careerism, petty jealousies and new hierarchies. No doubt these tendencies were to some degree the result of male preponderance in the movement, as well as due to the movement organization itself. »
(9) « As in the past, current anarchists most often suffer a bad image among “progressives” on both counts—as either destructive negativists or irresponsible dreamers. (…) For such individuals, the constructive experience of the Spanish Revolution so enthusiastically endorsed by Emma Goldman in these pages should come as a welcome relief. It is also an invitation for them to expand their own politics. »
(10) « Goldman’s assessments are written directly to us in the present. They help to deliver to us this incredibly valuable gift from the Spanish people. »
Now that the political manoeuvres of one and the other have passed, about Jerusalem, let us talk about a simple gesture of a young girl. As in the fatal era of the colonial war against the Algerian people, some French soldiers invaded a house, all heavily armed, without authorization and behaving as arrogant invaders, humiliating the inhabitants of the abode. Previously, they had killed young children, a bullet in the head as witnessed by one of the inhabitants of the burst-in house. By analogy, this story is that of Ahed Tamimi: or the immense solitude of new generations of ancient peoples.
But this young person did not hurl a bomb at the colonial Spadassins, nor fired on them a gust of submachine gun, nor employed a knife. She contented herself with… slapping the most arrogant of them. This person is a young girl, she is sixteen, she is Palestinian, and called Ahed Tamimi.
The latest is that an Israeli military court has extended the detention of Ahed filmed last month slapping soldiers outside her family home, pushing, kicking and slapping the soldiers, who fended off the blows without retaliating. On Monday, the Israeli military court extended her detention for two days.
The psychological effect of this gesture on part of Israeli (and global) opinion was immense. It demystified machismo: a woman slapping a man. It showed an unknown aspect of dignity: a colonized teenager slapping an adult colonizer. It manifested an original form of courage: a civilian only uses its bare hand against the cheek of an armed soldier.
Reaction of the Israeli authority?… Like that of the French colonialists. The young resistant to colonial occupation was thrown into prison, where she is still there.
However, as in France of the colonial era, in colonial Israel, there are fair and honest citizens. Thus, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz published the letter of Ahed Tamimi’s own father. It reads like this:
“My daughter is just 16 years old. In another world, in your world, her life would be completely different. In our world, Ahed is a representative of a new generation of our people, young fighters for Freedom. This generation must lead its struggle on two fronts. On the one hand, they have the duty, of course, to continue the challenge and fight against Israeli colonialism in which they were born, until the day of its collapse. On the other hand, they must face, standing against all winds, the degradation of a stagnant policy, and to this degeneration that has spread among us.
They must become the living artery that will revive our revolution, and that would take it out of the death driven by a culture of passivity inherent to decades of political inactivity.
Ahed is one of those many young women who, in the coming years, will lead resistance to Israeli domination. She is not interested in the limelight currently pointing at her because of her arrest, but by a real change. She is not the product of one of the old parties or movements, and in its actions, she sends a message: to survive, we must frankly face our weakness and overcome our fears.
In this situation, our greatest duty, to me and to my generation, is to support her; by controlling ourselves and not trying to alter this increasingly prevailing new culture by imprisoning representatives of this new generation as well as get rid of the old ideologies in which we grew up. » (1)
In the recent history of all colonized peoples, has there been a people whose struggle is so manipulated by the petty interests of each other? They are none and if any these are as the father of this young resistant explains awkwardly perhaps, just as much as by the indigenous representatives of that land. Did it exist, is there a people so isolated, enjoying only a few actions of solidarity? A people for whom even the United Nations resolutions are not respected, let alone applied about their right of an independent territory? An ancient people reduced to surviving in a Bantustan, without provoking the protests that the Bantustans of the apartheid regime in South Africa had aroused?
In Algeria, some have criticized the Palestinians for their lack of solidarity with the victims of state repression during the various legitimate citizens ‘ revolts, both in Algiers and in the Kabylie region.
Question: In the situation that was and remains for its People could and can it Publicly express its solidarity with the Algerian victims of the indigenous arbitrariness?… Notice please, I have written “The people” and not its “leaders”?… Therefore, is it just and reasonable to deny this colonized people the international solidarity that it lacks so cruelly?
Should it be clarified that this solidarity does not need to be expressed in the name of a religion, a “race”, an “ethnic group”, but simply in the name of the right of peoples to freely dispose of self-determination, to live free and independent on their own territory, according to the resolutions of the United Nation?
Given that in Algeria like elsewhere, most people praise democracy in Israel and, among these people, some deny even the right of the Palestinian people to its territory, per the low United Nations resolutions applications, here is some information.
Speaking of democracy, let us talk about an independent Israeli extra-parliamentary organization, i.e.: The Gush Shalom that holds that:
Democracy made in Israel.”
The only democracy in the Middle East
No Separation between religion and state.
Non-Jews are discriminated against in various regions.
Religious laws dictate the lifestyle of non-religious Israeli citizens.
Still today, 50 years after independence, Israel has no constitution.
30% of the civilian population under Israeli control has no civil rights, not even human rights.
Parts of the education system are controlled by the Secret Service.
80% of Israel’s resources belong to 10% of its citizens.
More than 1,000 persons are detained in administrative detention without a stated reason, and without time limit.
Israel is the only country that has a law that allows interrogators to use torture.
All the channels of the mass media are in the hands of a handful of families.
In Israel the Government has the right to close a newspaper.
To non-Jews are forbidden to buy land that belongs to the State.
Let’s stop this situation!
A different situation is possible!
It is up to us to create a free, secular, Democratic State of Israel, a state that will offer equal rights to all its citizens and peaceful relations with all its neighbours, a state where we shall be proud to live.”(2)
Let us see the nature of the action of the Israeli army against the Palestinians that as for a minority of French soldiers from the era of colonialism in Algeria, Israel also, has an organization of Israeli officers and dissident soldiers. These say:
«We officers and combat soldiers in reserve of the Israeli Defence Forces, which were raised on the principles of Zionism, self-sacrifice and gift to the people of Israel and the State of Israel, who have always served in the front line and who were the first to perform our mission to protect the State of Israel and to strengthen it.
We, officers and combat soldiers who served the state of Israel for long weeks every year, despite the high cost of our personal lives, have been in service in the occupied territories and we have received orders and directives which had nothing to do with the security of our country, and which had the sole purpose of perpetuating our control over the Palestinian people.
We, whose eyes saw the bloody balance of this occupation of the two sides,
We, who have felt how the orders given to us in the occupied territories destroy all the values on which ourselves were brought up,
We, who now understand that the price of occupation is the loss of character of the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] and the corruption of all Israeli society,
We, who know that the territories are not part of Israel, and that all the colonies are doomed to evacuate,
We hereby declare that We will not continue to fight this war of the colonies.
We will not continue to fight beyond the borders of 1967 to dominate, expel, starve and humiliate a whole people.
We hereby declare that we will continue to serve the IDF in any mission serving the defence of Israel.
The missions of occupation and oppression do not serve this purpose-and we will not take any part. “(3)
Officers and soldiers who have complied with this decision are confronted with and might face prison and other retaliatory things.
So, in Algeria and elsewhere, can we not manifest, depending on the possibility of Each, for the indispensable solidarity of the Palestinian people? And this without any infamous opportunism, and whatever the motive and form?
Comments to email@example.com as well as to this site.
Per ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA: It has been seen that language is much more than the external expression and communication of internal thoughts formulated independently of their verbalization. In demonstrating the inadequacy and inappropriateness of such a view of language, attention has already been drawn to the ways in which one’s native language is intimately and in all sorts of details related to the rest of one’s life in a community and to smaller groups within that community. This is true of all peoples and all languages; it is a universal fact about language. This essay of our friend Kadour Naimi elaborates on the many current issues confronting the Algerian people. His wise counsel would be a language: from conflict to cooperation.
A very interesting article has just been published, entitled “Nationalisms and languages, the Balkan experience” (1). It reflects a recent historical case: the appalling wars that have bloodied the peoples of the former Yugoslavia.
The interest of this text is to show how these tragedies were prepared and accompanied by linguistic conflicts all concerned by the idioms spoken by the various “ethnic groups” composing that country. “Ethnic cleansing” had as a substrate and consequence of “linguistic purifications”. The Serbian dominant party emphasized the Serbian language to the detriment of the idioms of the other “ethnic” components of the country. The latter, by reaction, claimed their language as a factor of resistance and affirmation of the value of their own historical-cultural-religious identity.
One reads: The intention is quite simple: to prove at all costs, using not only “ethnic cleansing”, but also “linguistic cleansing”, the thesis that living together is impossible.
The author adds: “Ljubisa Rajic remarked, as a means of communication, the language became a means of national identification, then a symbol of the nation and finally a means of secession.”
In Algeria (and North Africa generally), language conflicts are not characterized by a situation like that of the former Yugoslavia.
However, in this country, social agents, who are currently a minority but a very active one, and with foreign support, are working in a special way.
Some want to ensure oligarchic domination over the whole society, relying on the classical Arabic language and its corollary the Koran, as unilaterally interpreted by themselves and with the support of some Middle Eastern Arab States.
On the other side, other agents aim at a similar oligarchic domination on the Algerian Amazigh parties; for purposes of advancing the “Amazighe identity; they claim the independence and formation of a sovereign State (2).
And behind these two ideological tendencies are, of course, the various imperialisms, including that of the hegemonic USA.
These two internal Algerian forces are characterized by the so-called “superiority” of their own “ethnic group” (thus its “culture”, whose language is the expression), to the detriment and exclusion of the other “ethnic group” (hence of its culture and language). Reciprocal contempt and hatred, on the pursuit of exclusive dominating power.
Between these two forces pretending to caste supremacy, lies the people, in its two parts, linguistically Arabic and Amazighophone.
The popular component Amazighophone claims the legitimate right to the use of its language, however in a democratic way. As for the Arabic popular component, it remains indifferent about the right to promote its popular mother tongue, the Dziriya, as in the case of the Amazigh Countrymen’s claim for their mother tongue.
Above this situation, the holders of the State (3), the main political parties as well as most of the intellectuals, of various tendencies, ensure, however, to avoid that the linguistic problem is transformed into a separatist ethnic confrontation. As in any conflict or war, the party that pays the price in blood and in tears is the down below people, whatever its “ethnicity”. And the party that benefits from it is a caste, regardless of its “ethnicity”.
Confucius had said, that in essence: “Learning from the mistakes of others is useful; but it’s even better to learn from one’s own mistakes.”
To avert any peril in the “Yugoslav” way, it is indispensable that in Algeria as in any other geographical area of North Africa where there might be a problem of language or idiomatic instrument as well as all related inherent culture and history of each other becomes a means of living together in a harmonious way, that is in total freedom and solidarity to one another.
One has said and continues to say much on that date. But it seems to me that something was not expressed, at least not sufficiently and not clearly. So, I shall try to make my modest contribution on November 1st, 1954 from the people standpoint . It is not that of a historian nor that of an expert but of a private citizen who in his childhood and youth, lived through what were the consequences of this fundamental date. All I could say would be subject to my knowledge of history, hopefully as relevant and sufficient as one would like it to be but nevertheless giving insights to spark off detailed clarification.
On the social side, going back in the distant past, when agriculture was dominant, it seems that Algeria, unlike other countries in Europe and Asia, has not lived autonomous peasant revolts, spontaneously triggered by the exploited, and led by them in a self-managed manner, or against foreign occupation or against indigenous feudal or against both.
The revolts that we are told of by historians, since antiquity, have been always decided, organized and led by representatives of the ruling elite. Its purpose was primarily that of safeguarding its interests, either against a foreign invader or a native rival.
Massinissa to Emir Abdulkader, resistance to the invaders were decided, organized and led by elites. They formed, in one way or another, an oligarchic caste, in that it initially defended their caste interests, which then coincided with those of the people.
Culturally, either, Algeria (nor Tamazgha) had no intellectuals clearly opposed to a dominant caste. Augustine served the dominant church, slaughtering “heretics” who were challenging, especially because they denounced an oligarchic domination and the ensuing enrichment that stemmed off it. Indeed, Ibn Khaldun’s fundamental work, is, implicitly a critique of the dominant caste, but no frontal and radical criticism against them.
Algeria and Tamazgha have not had their Diogenes of Sinope (Western ancestor of the libertarian conception), their Epicurus, Socrates, their Mozi, Zhuangzi their (Asian ancestor of the libertarian conception), their Al Hallaj (questioning the religious vision of the Muslim dominant caste), their Giordano Bruno (questioning the religious vision of the Christian dominant caste) etc. These intellectuals have one way or another criticized in words and deeds, the dominant castes of their time, starting from a favourable view of the exploited people, and for some, recalling its self-directed action.
However, Algerian and Tamazghan historians, novelists, poets and artists usually focus on resistant elites (and virtues), never mentioning resistant peoples. It seems that in Algeria and Tamazgha, dominant caste and dominated people constituted an integral unit without internal contradictions. That is only where the dominant caste acted, it would have done:
1) only against a foreign invader, but never in a context of conflict between ruling caste (eg between Massinissa and Jugurtha between Emir Abdelkader and other tribal leaders or regions);
2) only for the people, and not, first, to defend its interests as dominant caste.
This retrospective chart seems to illustrate Algeria and Tamazgha’s recent history. Let us limit ourselves to Algeria.
In 1926, the North African Star:
Admittedly, a certain Messali Hadj, an activist worker became its undisputed leader. He had sympathy for the French Communist Party with leanings towards Marxism. What does this mean? That this ideology is, in its own way, as for the previously mentioned castes, that of an elite that knows better than the people it claims to defend in overcoming their servitude.
Noting that Messali’s wife, the daughter of a French anarcho-syndicalism activist, i.e. libertarian, hence the people looking after themselves and not leaving it to a “scholarly elite “, through its own forces, helped in that by intellectuals who put themselves at its service, and not bring the people to their service.
For the couple though, the Marxist elitist spirit overcame the libertarian one to the point where Messali became the “Leader” that we know, surrounded by his “bureaucratic cadres”, a Central Committee, a Political Bureau, etc. as per any Marxist model a pseudo-manager. However, at the service of a colonized nation, of a colonized people. And in this background, the distinction between “rich” and “poor”, bosses and employees, remained secondary. You had to put up a united “front” against the colonial enemy but still, under the direction of the “enlightened elite” which was the only one to take any decisions.
And, as the Algerian people was in its majority Muslim, the religious element was introduced as an ideological mobilization factor.
After the North African Star, came the MTLD that lead to the FLN and November 1st, 1954, with the outbreak of the national liberation war.
The spirit of an elite pseudo-manager, thus authoritarian, remained and was strengthened.
It manifested itself in a tragic way, as in 1949, with what was called the “Berber crisis”. Leaders on behalf of a vision “Arab-Islamic” murdered secular Amazigh activists. Few considered this conflict as under the term “ethnic” between Arabic and Amazigh-speaking peoples. Personally, if I am not mistaken, I would like to see first, as hidden behind the “ethnic” term, a more important cause: that of a confrontation between a secular and ethnic-religious ideologies. The former was more favorable to the interests of the exploited Algerian people , without distinction of linguistic expression. Instead, the second view was more favorable to the Algerian elite caste, there, too, without distinction of linguistic expression. Proof is that the murders of Amazigh leaders did not alienate most Amazigh activists of the “national cause”, that to first break free from colonialism.
Thus, the November 1st, 1954 statement was first the initiative of a group of activists, that later met with opposition from the ruling bureaucratic caste in the nationalist movement, when betting on the mobilization of the people for armed struggle.
This mobilization has not been easy and was the result of two complementary actions. First, ideological work among the people, for a consensus. On the other hand, some form of coercion against not only the pro-colonialist opponents but also against all recalcitrant members of the exploited peoples.
It is then not these, whether from cities and / or countryside, that initiated the uprising against the colonial system, but surely a group of committed nationalist militants.
To obtain the broadest consensus needed, all social forces available in the nation were united in a common force: hence the label of “Front”.
So, the elite part of the Algerian people, Arabic and Amazigh, extend their social importance in the process. And the people stayed and became more of a mere instrument of action, as it were the armed wing led by an elite.
Then the contradictions within the national liberation movement have appeared and increased. At the point of reaching the attempted solution: The Congress of Soummam and the 1956 Charter. The authentic representatives of the exploited people made their voices heard. And this should be noted, as a unit: solidarity with Arabic and Amazigh speaking Larbi Ben M’hidi and Abane Ramdane (pictured above).
Issues discussed “Military / Civilian,” “Inside / Outside”, religion / secularism, democracy, etc., reflected the contradictions in the anti-colonial liberation movement, between the People dimension (the Algerian people “lower echelons” of the social ladder, that of workers, whether Arabic or Amazigh) and that of the bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie.
The result is known: by violence, including murder, representatives of the two classes have defeated and conquered hegemony in the national liberation movement.
The military coup of the summer of 1962, to seize state power, was only the logical consequence and manifestation.
The fundamental question
I now come to the fundamental question that all arise: But how is it that on November 1st, 1954 gave birth to a society so contrary to its aspirations?
The answer seems easy, clear and logical: because the people was an instrument, run by sincere friends at first and then, subsequently, manipulated by its untrue friends.
Why have they recovered the national movement in their favor and to the detriment of the people? Because this was never an autonomous master of its political action and armed struggle.
How to explain this deficiency? By the fact that the sincere friends of the people, Larbi Ben M’hidi and Abane Ramdane, did not, despite their goodwill and sincere love for their people, thus found the solution to make the people master of its action. Certainly, Ben M’hidi would have said: “Throw the revolution in the streets, the people would take hold of it. “But when the revolution was actually thrown in the street, in spontaneous popular and autonomous protests, in 1960, very quickly the bureaucratic apparatus of the FLN mastered and controlled the movement, putting it to his advantage.
From all that has been said, one must conclude that the Algerian people has never, in its history, had the opportunity to act independently, as always being led by leaders who were able to assure it that autonomy of action. Certainly, Ben M’hidi and Ramdane are true children of the people, but they were not able, despite their efforts put its fate in its own hands. Obviously, these two leaders were, despite themselves and despite their will, the specific historical circumstances of products. These have always been dominated by a pseudo-managing elite, at the expense of social self-management by the people themselves.
And yet, at independence, the miracle occurred! Following the abandonment of businesses and farms by the colonialists and their indigenous owners accomplices, and in the absence of a new state (with its bureaucracy and its “elite leaders”), workers in towns and countryside have taken their destiny in their hands: they were able to carry on operating their production units, and second miracle, quite positively for that matter!
The causes of this double miracle remain, to my knowledge, still lacking explanations.
So, November 1st, 1954 is all that: a generally straight-managed action where the people was simply a maneuvered instrument, and a surprising self-managed actor.
What is regrettable is that the Algerian intellectuals generally focus on the first aspect, embellishing it, and therefore totally obscuring to the second aspect. And yet these intellectuals claim to speak in favor of the exploited people. Is it not because these intellectuals, despite themselves, remain prisoners of a pseudo-manager authoritarian elite mentality? (1)
An objection could be made; other peoples have lived through their own national liberation war, in under a pseudo-run direction, but did not meet with similar situation of the Algerian people. Take the most obvious example: the Vietnamese people. Its heroic anti-colonialist and anti-imperialist was led by a Marxist elite. And, logically, the result of the victory was the establishment of a dominant elite caste. So much so that even General Giap, who left power, unhappy criticized vainly the anti-popular outcome.
Therefore, what is it all about? That in Algeria, a caste that took advantage of the national liberation war proved even more parasitic than the Vietnamese one. One explanation is that Vietnam experienced in its past, peasant and workers’ revolts, acting in a libertarian way, but not in Algeria. Hence the arrogance of the Algerian ruling caste.
Let us ask ourselves those ultimate questions for reflection, being aware of their potentially provocative appearance, but beneficial in the end given the current situation in Algeria: would the best result of November 1st, 1954 be the national liberation or the emergence of social self-management?
And perhaps the best way to commemorate that date would it be to focus on the relinquish foreign colonialism, or what needs to be done for that or the liberation from indigenous colonialism?
Originally posted on MENA Solidarity Network: By Anzar Atrar and David Karvala At 4 am on Saturday 21 August, Spanish authorities took Mohamed Abdellah —along with around 30 other Algerians— from the migrant custody centre in Barcelona and deported him. This was bad news for all of them, of course. But Abdellah, an Algerian anti-corruption…
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Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.