Bulletin N° 30 décembre 2022 The title we have chosen to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of Algeria's independence on July 5, 1962 owes nothing to chance .
It refers to this reality that Algeria, colonized by France after its conquest which began in 1830, had to lead with its people a long and murderous war of national liberation to emancipate itself from colonial tutelage and conquer its independence.
It is essential to appreciate the importance and specific character of this war of independence in history in general and in the history of colonialism.
The French State occupied a place and played an essential role in the colonial system .
In these periods of colonization, France was with Great Britain one of the most important colonial powers. Which sheds a special light on one of the causes of the imperialist world war of 1914-1918 with the division of the German colonies between France and Great Britain in 1918: France seizes Cameroon and Togo, La Britain from Nigeria, Belgium from Rwanda and Burundi. In 1938, France and Great Britain alone owned 85% of the existing colonial domain.
The importance of Algeria and the war of independence in the colonial system
In the history of colonialism, Algeria plays a special role for several reasons:
→ First of all , by its status: Algeria is neither a colony (like French West Africa, for example), nor a protectorate (like Morocco or Tunisia). Algeria was conceived, by the leaders of the Second Republic, as a French territory divided into three departments. This is the only case that we know of, with the older DOM/TOM colonies which are still possessions of the French State.
→ Then by the fact that Algeria is a settlement colony . It is the territory dominated by France where the most settlers were sent. The majority of them were recently arrived European emigrants sent by France to colonize Algeria.
Another part were made up of workers and craftsmen deported after the days of June 1848 and after the Commune.
To which must be added a significant number of Alsatians and Lorrainers after the end of the 1870/1871 war.
→ The third reason is essential. The Algerian people, together with the Vietnamese people, led a victorious national liberation struggle. For the other States resulting from French colonial structures, decolonization took other forms, either
⁎ that of the Rassemblement Démocratique Africain led by F. Houphouët-Boigny which left all the room to the former colonial power and only changed the form of colonization "Long live black Africa, Long live the Union of Africans, Long live the 'French Union of Democratic Peoples ' ,
⁎ that of Sékou Touré: Guinea, which voted no in the referendum of September 28, 1958 which instituted the creation of the "Franco-African Community", the answer was clear: "We will not give up and we will never give up our right legitimate and natural to independence…We prefer poverty in freedom to wealth in slavery”
Struggles for national independence everywhere came up against violent repression by the colonizing powers. For France, this was the case in Cameroon and Madagascar where between March 1947 and December 1948 the repression caused more than 80,000 officially recognized deaths, not counting the wounded, the arrested, the tortured.
As Alain Ruscio says "The Algerian war did not start on November 1 , 1954"
" It is with this affirmation, apparently paradoxical, that we must approach this major event of the 20th century .century. In reality, it is from the conquest of 1830 that we must start to understand the accumulation that led to the war of 1954-1962. In fact, the Algerian people have continued to suffer from the colonial situation. Faced with this, resistance has never ceased, whether in the form of a first war, led by Emir Abd-el-Kader until 1847, or numerous insurrections, finally in the form of mobilizations nationalist policies, whether among the immigrant population in France or locally. The insurrection did not arise, indeed, like a clap of thunder in a serene sky. In November 1954 and in the years that followed, the only response found by the authorities was the most violent repression. There followed a war of more than 7 years, murderous for the Algerian people,"
A deadly war for the Algerian people , I will recall the mass displacement of populations by the French army - more than 2 million - parked in "regrouping camps" without accommodation and without resources, the impossibility of maintaining minimum hygiene and the malnutrition wreaked havoc. Every day there were deaths, and particularly among children whose mortality reached 50%.
The Algerian war, following the defeat of French imperialism in Indochina in 1954, marked a turning point in the strategy of domination of the ruling class in France, against a background of the weakening of France in a dominated world. by the imperialism of the United States in struggle against the enemy that was the USSR.
This resulted in De Gaulle's coup d'état in 1958 which was marked by a decline in democratic freedoms, the strengthening of the monopoly character of capitalism and the accentuation of war and repression against the Algerian people.
I think that in the interventions and the debate which will follow, these questions will be largely addressed better than I could do in this brief introduction.
The interests of imperialist France in Algeria
Until the end, by all means and by a murderous repression, the power in France tried to prevent the process of independence from going until its end.
The discovery of gas and oil deposits, the experimental grounds for nuclear weapons in the Algerian Sahara were powerful economic and geopolitical levers to try to limit the independence of Algeria, including by organizing its partition, which would have left to the colonizing power a right of political, economic and military interference.
It is the resolution and the struggle of the Algerian leaders and people that made it possible to overcome these last obstacles, including during the negotiations at Evian, to the full and complete independence that we salute today.
Independent Algeria in a world dominated by the imperialist system
The independence of Algeria, acquired at the cost of immense sacrifices by its people, did not resolve with a wave of a magic wand the crucial questions which it had to face with the serious consequences of colonization, underdevelopment its economy, lack of executives and administrative structures.
It was in the context of the confrontations of the imperialist alliance dominated by the United States against the USSR and the desire of the former colonial power to maintain the interests of French capitalist companies there that it had to evolve .
Today, after the disappearance of the USSR, when capitalism dominates the world, the pressures exerted on Algeria are even stronger and the power in the hands of corrupt leaders weakens the country's resistance to the pressures of imperialism.
This brings us back to a decisive question: that of imperialism today and of the national and international struggle for the overthrow of the capitalist system.Imperialism
To establish its mode of production, capitalism relied on an ideology built around the illusion of freedom and modernity. The freedom of trade and industry, the accumulation of capital that followed, led to the conquest of increasingly vast and increasingly remote territories, in search of raw materials, new markets and new manpower... the resulting competition between states led to a division of the world. This was the era of colonialism: as Lenin wrote in Imperialism, the supreme stage of capitalism, “colonialism is a means of development of capitalism within the framework of its imperialist development ”.
Today, imperialism covers different realities .
Since the beginning of the 20th century and after two imperialist world wars, the domination of monopolies, the fusion of finance capital and industrial capital, capitalist globalization with the processes of delocalization of production, have developed and deepened. For Lenin , "Imperialism is capitalism that has reached a stage of development where the domination of monopolies and financial capital has asserted itself, where the export of capital has acquired a leading importance where the division of the world has begun with the international trusts and where the division of the whole globe between the big capitalist countries ended.This definition is still current, even if we are no longer in the colonial division of the world, multinationals have replaced the monopolies, they are looking for new, abundant and cheaper labor and new, larger markets. Competition between imperialisms is sharpening. The capitalists of the dominant countries seek to extend their spheres of influence to appropriate the natural resources, the material and immaterial communication channels, the labor force and the markets even if it means confronting each other militarily to increase profits. Everything shows that a new stage full of dangers has been crossed, including that of an international war, and this by the very fact of the fierce competition between imperialisms.
As a conclusion
Since the death of Houari Boumediene, with the ousting of Mohamed Yahiaoui, the coming to power of Chadli Bendjedid, despite the short spell in power in the early 1990s of Mohamed Boudiaf then Ali Kafi, Algeria has not has much more to do with what it was, really and symbolically, with all the peoples of the Third World in its struggle for national liberation and at the time of independence. Governments under the orders of capitalism have controlled the country uninterruptedly since Chadli Bendjedid, except during the Boudiaf-Kafi interlude.
However, sixty years later, there are still strong traces of the heritage of those FLN fighters who wanted the Revolution, and PCA fighters.
Traces of the legacy of the socialist period under Houari Boumediene remain. The Hirak movement showed it.
In this initiative and this debate, we want to pay tribute once again to all the fighters for the independence of Algeria and to give our internationalist support to the forces which in Algeria, in the midst of immense difficulties, have not given up and fight for a democratic, social Algeria at the service of its people.