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(en) [Cntait-info] APOLOGY FOR THE ALGERIAN INSURRECTION by Jaime Semprun (fr)

From cntait-info@rezo.net
Date Tue, 29 Apr 2003 20:40:00 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E

Quevedo said about Spanish people : « they haven't been able to be
historians but they deserved to be ». This is still right concerning the
1936 Spanish revolution : others have written the history of the events.
It's too early to write the history of the insurrection that started in
Algeria during spring 2001, but it's not too late to defend it ; in other
words to fight the deep indifference, puffed up with historic recklessness,
as we see it in France.


To illustrate the importance and the significance of this uprising, one
just need to relate the acts and declarations of the insurgents. Put
together according to their most universal and true meaning the facts gives
a picture of the situation from which a terrible morality is emerging :

The dignity, the understanding and the courage of the algerian insurgents
condemns the abjection in which people of the modern countries are living,
their apathy, their petty worries and their sordid hopes.

The young rioters fought police and gendarmerie [military police] forces
during several weeks shouting : " You cannot kill us we are already dead !
". Treated as half dead by the Algerian society they knew that they had to
destroy it to start living. ("Our answer to the nothingness will be to
destroy its sire, » declared one of them in July.) Since April 21st, mainly
in Kabylie, but also since June 10th in Kenchela (in the Aures), since the
11th in Skikda (north of Constantine) and since the 16th in all the eastern
part of the country (at Oum El Bouaghi, Batna, Tebessa, Biskra, El Tarf
etc.), they erected barricades, cut roads, assaulted gendarmerie and police
stations ; they attacked a prefecture headquarters (in Tebessa, two
ministers were inside the building), burned or vandalized many courthouses
(in Ouacifs the 'Justice Court', recently built, was reduced to ashes),
some tax offices, post offices and state corporation offices, political
parties headquarters (at least thirty two), banks, social security offices,
communal parks, etc. The list is of course uncompleted, and even if it were
complete, it would only give a vague idea of the scale of the movement.

At least we see that the insurgents undertook to clear the land from all
"material expressions of the State". ( The "Monde Diplomatique" had the
civic stupidity to suavely blame the rioters for finishing off the "public
services" and the newspaper asked if, by doing so, "the crowd of the
castoffs of society" is not participating in "its own weakening".)

When Peoples are recovering from submission, things that were usually
supported are not anymore. After some many other killings committed by
police and the military, the murder of the student in Beni Douala, on april
18th , provoked three days later the first riots. In Amizour, near Bejaïa,
the population start insurrection on the 22nd after the arbitrary arrest of
three students. In Khenchela, on the 10th of June, an officer who shows
off, driving a large car, calls a young woman with contempt. Attacked by
the young people who ran to defend the women, he cries out : "But what is
going on with you today ?" and the answer is "Everything changed." He get a
good hiding, his car is destroyed. One hour later, he comes back with
thirty soldiers dressed in civilian clothes, armed with automatic rifles.
After a pitched battle, the soldiers have to retreat, but the riot spread
in the whole town : barricades are erected, the city hall, the tax office,
Sonelgaz corporation's headquarter, the prefecture and two chain store are
turned upside down by the people shouting : "this is the way for Chaouis !
" The whole city is devastated.

When the routine of oppression is not tolerated anymore, the extraordinary
becomes normal. During these weeks, these months, nearly everyday a
gendarmerie brigade was attacked or harassed ; and usually several at the
same time. Military barracks were besieged ; a blockade was imposed to the
gendarmes who were forced to launch raids for supplies. Those who accepted
to have any relation with them, even strictly commercial, were boycotted,
put in quarantine and punished.

Some hotels were burned, as well as villas, cafe, restaurants, and stores,
targeted because they belonged to dishonest officials or various
wheeler-dealer-businessmen. There were numerous destructions but it seems
that there has been few looting. Thus, for example, in Kherrata on may 23rd
the large stock of goods found in the house of a gendarmerie ex-officer
were immediately burned. Everyone expressed its grievance, it's concerning
housing, water, industrial nuisance, monopolizing of all sorts that the
corrupted were systematically exposed to public condemnation and treated as
scoundrel. To start dealing with the vital problems posed by dilapidated
state of the country, it was necessary to fight firstly those who prevent
the people to take care of the problems.

The population settled the authority hash, with officials close at hands,
the mayors were mainly targeted. Beyond those skirmishes, the project of a
complete expropriation of the expropriators was taking shape. Still marked
by ambiguities, that ended when the movement broke with the labour
unionists, a declaration of the popular comity from Bejaïa's Wilaya
(prefecture) declared to the political power on July 7th : "Your
gendarmes, symbols of corruption, are only useful to kill, repress and
traffic. That is why they have to leave immediately. Concerning our
security, our brave vigilance committees are perfectly dealing with it :
they are our pride." It goes on, reminding that the citizens' problems "are
assumed by our neighbourhood and villages' delegates and by labour
unionists delegates who are working in an assembly called popular comity.
Isn't it Direct Democracy ?"

The insurrection, or at least its more advanced organisation, was limited
to Kabylie. Nevertheless, it has to be called Algerian insurrection because
the Kabyle insurgents themselves called it Algerian and tried to extend it
and they refused the berberist identity argument in which their enemies
wanted to disguise them.

It is useless to raise interrogation, as a overnmental "inquiry commission"
and moralist journalists did, to know if provocative activities of the
gendarmerie could have provoked the riots ; as if the existence of algerian
State and its bloody repression is not a permanent provocation ; and as of
the population need special justifications to revolt. The insurgents took
up the term "hogra" by which the Algerians name the arbitrary of authority,
its privileges and corruption, its contempt. In fact fighting the hogra,
meant fighting the State itself.

What would be left of a state without privileges or corruption, a state
that could not use arbitrary and scorn ? In Algeria more than anywhere
else, nearly nothing : the only public service that really worked in this
country, since forty years, is torture and political assassination. While
conspiring one against the other in order to appropriate power and oil
income, the State gangs never stopped conspiring together against the

As declared one of these political decision-maker after the repression of
October 1988 riots : "During thirty years, we were able to tear each other
apart, to fight each other. However, we never abandoned an expelled leader,
even by simply visiting him. Because we were united by the certainty that
our children have to take over from us. We knew that if this law was broken
off, it would be the end for us, because the street would not be satisfied
with one head but would take all." (Cited by Jose Garçon in the preface of
Djallal Malti's book : La Nouvelle Guerre d'Algerie, 1999)

Through so many purges, eliminations, manipulations, so many negotiations
"where they were at daggers drawn", so many covered up executions and mass
killings, the real and unique continuity of Algerian State (in continuity
with the FLN) is police. As early as 1956, the forming bureaucracy
organized itself around the FLN' s secret services (base of the coming
'Securite Militaire').

The assassination of Abbane Ramdane in December 1957 points out their
definitive victory over those, who wanted to use ideology to control the
masses and to justify the coming bureaucratic and dictatorial system. Since
then in this mixture of police terrorism and "revolutionary" phraseology,
there is less of the second and more of the first one. The execution
becomes the usual procedure to solve conflicts, not only against the M.N.A
of Messali Hadj, but also inside the F.L.N itself.

Since 1958, the officers of the services were formed in KGB schools in
Moscow. [Former President] Boumedienne [.] had himself been assistant of
Boussouf, the organizer of FLN' s interior police. And we know that the
generals, who are part of the Mafioso authorities in Algeria, most of them
"deserters of the French Army" (in other words very lately converted to the
anti-colonial struggle) went during the sixties in Moscow to gain other
skills (at KGB or Frounze academy) ; with this double formation, by
colonialism and Stalinism, they kept their methods of pacification (or
eradication), in the tradition of the worst atrocities of the French
colonial army, and their manipulation and provocation techniques. It is
well known in Algeria but not in France, because the Algerian state as all
sorts of collusions, especially in the medias, where it is not necessary to
hire all journalists to propagandize : the false left conscience and the
"complex of the colonizer" are sometimes enough, even if the Algerians
Services largely bribe and not only political parties.


For the bureaucrats who cynically glorified the masses in their slogans
("Only one hero, the people"), the Algerian masses have only been human
material available for their operations and scheming, cannon fodder, sent
to be massacred by the French army and then directly massacred. The intact
resolution of the rioters, when they already had dozens of dead in their
rank, gives a clear testimony of the hatred accumulated years after years
in Algeria (and particularly in Kabylie) against the repressive state. "No
forgiveness, never !" has been the most popular slogan. The claiming
platform adopted at El-Kseur required "the immediate leaving of gendarmerie
brigades" from kabylie.

According to Le Monde Diplomatique , it was the only "clear" claiming of
the rebels. But even in that case it would have been a sort of program for
an Algerian revolution. Such a requirement completed by the demand for
the"effective control of all state executive functions and of security
corps by the democratic elected institutions", was giving the movement the
goal to dismantle the "special armed detachment" which are the main
"material expression" of any State, and that is in Algeria, nearly the only
functional "expression".

To effectively dismantle, to organize the retaking of state power by the
people, by the masses "who substitute their own force to the force
organized to oppress them" (Marx about La Commune). Even if only
accomplished on a part of the territory, it cannot be accomplished without
a revolution in all aspects of social life. And this was what the
insurgents tended to do when they besieged the gendarmeries, isolated them
and put them in quarantine, separated them from society in order that
society separates from them. This is the example of separatism that Kabylie
gave to the rest of Algeria.

The existence of such a movement in itself disclaims all the stinking
political lies omnipresent in Algeria since so many years. The real
subversion started to dissipate the sticky haze of police fictions and to
put everybody in its place : "we refuse to show solidarity with those who
are destroying state property" declared a representative of F.I.S. (Islamic
Salvation Front)

In Portugal in 1974, people used to say, "truth is like oil". Today in
Kabylie we say : "Truth is like a cork." Direct antithesis of any state
lie, the insurrection was not satisfied in asking the truth (the
conclusions of governmental enquiry commissions were denounced by advance,
and their dissolution war one of the claim of El-Kseur platform), it
imposed the truth every time possible by denouncing the imposture "live".
Regarding that aspect, one of the most beautiful moments, was the women
demonstration in Tizi-Ouzou on May the 24th . The women demonstrating
started by rejecting the very official "association of widowed and
daughters of the martyrs of independence war" to join to their
demonstration, then they expelled by insulting her Khalida Messaoudi,
adviser and in her own words "militant companion" of Bouteflika
[president-dictator]. She just left the R.C.D and pretended to come here to
get a new political image : "As she was trying to slip into the procession,
jeering raised. "Khalida out", shouted some women. "Khalida Lewinski"
screamed others. She had only just been evacuated to Alger." (Liberation,
26th-27th may 2001.)

Finally, after manifesting in such a way their contempt for the
media-democratic auxiliaries, they did not saved the berberist and they
also prevented followers of the autonomy of Kabylie to join the

The dismissal of all the political representations was constant during the
insurrection, and it was one of the most slandered aspects of it. The
offices of the two parties (RCD and FFS) that could hope to get a profit
from such a movement were among the first to burn in Tizi-Rached, as well
as the bank, the social security building and the tax office, on April 26th
. And even during the June 25th demonstration in Tizi Ouzou, for the third
anniversary of the execution of the singer Lounes Matoub, we heard among
the slogans besides "a kabyle is a kabyle, its enemies are the gendarmes",
"no F.F.S, no R.C.D".

The most discredited was for sure the R.C.D, despite its resignation from
the government in the end of April (RCD' s leader Sadi qualified the entry
in the government in December 1999 as a "political event constituting at
the same time a success and disruption") it was impossible to forget its
long time collaboration with the military clan of the 'eradicators'.
Concerning the FFS, less compromised with the authorities, it opened
people' eyes by presenting, on the 12 of may, to Bouteflika, to the army
chief of staff and to the chief of D.R.S (former Securite Militaire), a
'memorandum' that consisted of offering their services to organize a
"democratic transition".


The most outstanding aspect of the Algerian insurrection is its
self-organisation. The hostility toward political parties and "any
proximity with power", the distrust with any uncontrolled representation,
the refusal to be, once more, rank and file for political schemes ; all
that resulted in the spreading and coordination of villages and
neighbourhood assemblies, rapidly recognized by everybody as the only
authentic expression of the movement. As early as the 20th of April , the
delegates of the forty-three villages of Beni Douala daïra (sub prefecture)
organized into coordination and called for a general strike. The following
days, villages' comities and coordination formed in the whole wilaya of
Tizi-Ouzou. May 4th, in the city of Tizi-Ouzou itself, posters are calling
for a six days general strike ; it comes from a neighbourhood temporary
coordination, "according to unknown sources in Tizi-Ouzou", as written in
may 5th edition of the newspaper Liberte. It reveals, the day after, the
anxiety of the parties leadership, caused by these forms of
self-organization. On may 6th is announced for the 10th a meeting in Beni
Douala with assembly delegates of Tizi-Ozou, Bejaïa and Bouira's wilayas,
to create a coordination for the whole Kabylie and to adopt a plat-form of
claims. A delegate declares : "the parties, nobody believes in it anymore
here." (Liberte, may 7th) That meeting in Beni-Douala takes place as
expected, but there's only the delegates (200) of a majority of the
villages of Tizi-Ouzou' wilaya : journalists are attacked, the press
broadcasted a false communiqué announcing the postponement of the meeting
(this is just the beginning of a growing campaign of disinformation and
slanders) ; a mayor, pretending to remind to the assembly the respect of
legality has to leave the meeting : "we don't need a mayor here or any
state representative" declares a delegate. (eight days later in Illoula,
another mayor has to leave the meeting, despite the fact that he is also a
village delegate)

The concern for autonomy of the movement and the will to control closely
its delegates are marking all the decisions ; for example, the decision to
create a committee head-quarter in Tizi-Ouzou to spread the information for
the next delegates meeting : the assembly made sure to forbid to the
committee the right to speak in the name of the movement. (No declaration
to the media etc.)

It is impossible to make a detailed reconstitution of the extension of the
assembly movement to the whole Kabylie and to the rest of Algeria ; firstly
because the lgerian "independent" press (and the French press) insisted on
the need of an urgent "democratic" modernization but mentioned very
partially the activities and declarations of the assemblies, or they
slandered it. We can nevertheless point out the main developments of
self-organization, that progresses as well as riots are spreading
throughout the country. On may 18th in Illoula, a delegates meeting of
Tizi-Ouzou region adopts a first claim plat-form (among the claims, the
immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all gendarmerie brigades) and
calls for a march on Tizi-Ouzou. May 21st, that march brings together
hundreds of thousands of demonstrators ("the black march" was organized by
the coordination of villages committees and political parties had no
visible presence" noted Le Monde in May 23rd edition). Then the succession
of delegates meetings lead to the formation of an interwilayas coordination
(Tizi-Ouzou, Bejaïa, Bouira, Setif, Boumerdes, Bordj-Bou-Arredidj, Algiers,
and the 'Comite collectif des unversites d'Alger') and to the adoption, on
June 11th at El-Kseur, of a plat-form of common claims. The march on
Algiers, on June 14th, was the peak of that first stage of the movement.

The meaning of this march, despite the fact that the organizers didn't have
a full consciousness of that, was to spread subversion in Algiers itself
and to confront the state 'at home' : this was the equivalent of an
attempted insurrection. Indeed, going to the presidency to bring the
plat-form of El-Kseur (the official goal of the march), with hundred of
thousands or millions of demonstrators in the street, it allowed to speak
in front of the State, power to power, and to proclaim to the Algerian
people that the time came to end the oppression going on since 1962. One
more day of agitation in Algiers was needed for the entire population,
seeing the power faltering, to go into the fight. The Power saw clearly
that it had to prevent, at any cost, the subversion to come to Algiers, and
whatever was its state of paralysis, it had enough forces to avoid the
danger, because of the superiority of its defensive position : thus it used
effectively all the repressive tools, splitting up the demonstrators from
Kabylie, blocking most of them ten kilometres from downtown Algiers,
isolating rioters groups and launching provocateurs, recruited among local
gangs, on the crowd. Among the favourable circumstances for the Power,
there was the demoralization and fear among people living in Algiers who
suffered the most during the "dirty war". They just started to get out of
it since the student agitation that started in early may ; and since the
demonstration called by the FFS on the 31, that allowed a first junction
with the insurgents of Kabylie. The declaration of Algerois, reported in
the press, expressed quite fairly the situation at that time, as since one
week spontaneous demos were forming every day in Algiers (and also Oran,
Setif, Boumerdes) with hundreds or thousands of demonstrators :

"We shout "pouvoir assassin" [power=murderer]. We are beaten. Then we go
home and we watch, on French TV, the real riots in Kabylie, just one hour
from here. But today we'll know better what is going on, if we go into the
war or if we stay outside." "We were afraid to get out of the neighbourhood
because of assassinations, policemen, terrorists and all that. Now, I think
'it's our time, we have to go. But I'm very confused."

"Who in Algeria, doesn't feel injustice and deep discontent ? Who doesn't
want to end that ? However, Algiers is not Kabylie. There it is very tough
but they know each other, they are all together, with a culture, strong
structures that resisted despite war. Here, our only political education
comes from Egyptian TV soap. After years of brainwashing, G.I.A (Islamic
Armed Groups) bulletins looking like science fiction, our brains were like
pulp. In a big city, any provocation or dirty trick can happen."
(Liberation , May 31st 2001)


End of the translation

To be continued ...


Personal and subjective notes :

FFS : Front des Forces Socialistes - Authoritarian Socialist Party

FIS : Front Islamique du Salut - Islamic Salvation Front - Islamic
Populist Party. It was the main opposition to the corrupted FLN. They won
local elections and legislative elections in December 1991, the generals
refused the democratic results and organized a coup. FIS leaders and
activists were arrested, many tortured for months, some killed, the
villages and cities who voted for FIS were victim of State Terror : police
and services arrested, killed and tortured, many tortured people who
survived went with the islamist terrorist guerrilla to protect themselves
from the army and/or to get revenge.

FLN : Front de Liberation Nationale - THE Algerian Party for decades.
Supposedly democratic and post-colonial, in fact THE party of the highly
corrupted leninist-nationalist ruling class. The role of the FLN was to
control, at any price, the vital resources of the country (mainly oil) for
its interests and for the interests of Oil and Gas industry.

>From state capitalism to private capitalism...

Historically, the FLN manipulated the memory of the fight against French
occupation. Leaders were Nationalist with Stalinist influences. Now working
for privatization with capitalist global institutions.

RCD : Rassemblement Culture et Democratie - Berberist Authoritarian Party

Presented the Insurrection in Kabylie as a "cultural" insurrection.

GIA : Islamic Armed Groups - Islamo-fascists armed groups who are using 2
types of armed struggle : regular fighting against the army and mainly
terrorism and mass murder of Algerian civilians. Many of the IAG are in
fact manipulated by the Algerian intelligence services and the army
generals-businessmen (who are the real leaders of the country).

In addition, some terror acts who are attributed to the GIA are in fact
committed by army commandos dressed like islamist terrorists. For instance
they go into villages who voted for the FIS (main opposition to the FLN)
and they kill people, they torture, they rape women, they burn babies in
front of their parents etc. Of course western intelligence services
(specially French Services) are aware of the Algerian state terrorism, but
they support it, as a mean of social control and local stability.

With the same logic, one of the GIA strategy is to murder civilians in
false army checkpoints.

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