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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #295 - Read: Nedjib Sidi Moussa, " Algeria. Another history of independence » (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Wed, 26 Jun 2019 08:38:15 +0300

On 1 st November 1954, the uprising broke out in Algeria. Three days later the French government banned the Movement for the Triumph of Democratic Freedoms (MTLD), the main Algerian independence party. Its charismatic leader, Messali Hadj, veteran of the anticolonial cause, was then under house arrest in the Vendée. ---- In reality, the insurgency had not been fomented by the MTLD but by its " activist " fringe , tired of the party's stagnation, and who saw the taking of arms as a vital shock to revive the independence struggle. ---- The majority of the party, under the leadership of Messali Hadj, was to reform under the name of the Algerian National Movement (MNA), while the activists generated the National Liberation Front (FLN). During the following months and years, the MNA tried to regain control but, to the amazement of Messali and his followers, convinced of their historical legitimacy, the FLN continued to gain ground. And blew the blood to reduce his competitor to silence: assassinated leaders, maquis MNA eliminated by the FLN, until the complete massacre of 300 villagers messalists ...

This fratricidal war killed nearly 4,000 people and 6,000 wounded until 1962. And the French state took advantage of it by exploiting certain cadres of the MNA who placed themselves under his protection.

All of this is relatively well known. What is less so is the political orientations of the MNA. The historian Nedjib Sidi Moussa studied them in their evolution. The impression that there is left is that of a political party distraught by its rapid decline, sometimes adopting positions to break its isolation or to stand out from its hegemonic rival. He thus focuses on his relations with the Trotskyist PCI (an alliance of " outsiders "), its evolution on the national question (should the new Algeria be restricted to an " Arab-Muslim " identity , or be more inclusive), its fluctuations on the Palestinian question or its timid progress on the emancipation of women, notably through its union appendix, the Algerian Trade Union of Algerian Workers (USTA).

After independence, the Algerian Republic proscribed the Messengers and erased the MNA from history books for twenty years. It was not until 1982 that ex-President Ben Bellah, ostracized after the 1965 putsch, exhumed the memory of Messali Hadj. The memory of Messiah will then regularly surface, despite government censorship. To recall his memory was to recall the possibility of pluralism in the Algerian revolution.

William Davranche (AL Montreuil)

Nedjib Sidi Moussa, Algeria. Another history of independence , Puf, 2019, 328 pages, 22 euros.

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