Allison Drew
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For an Algerian national front
Unity and division in the liberation struggle
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With the prestige of its role in the Resistance, the PCF might have briefly felt close to state power. But the PCA’s relationship to the state was profoundly different. For the PCA, the war’s end raised the prospect of again prioritising the anti-colonial struggle, whose marginalisation had alienated nationalists. The departure of French Communists for France facilitated the PCA’s autonomy, which increased as the PCF became increasingly concerned with Cold War politics. In 1945 the PCA wrongly blamed Algerian nationalist provocations for the Sétif massacre in which French troops and European settlers killed many thousands of Muslims. But from 1946 the PCA pursued an aggressive policy of indigenisation that significantly increased Algerian membership while European membership declined. As prospects for electoral reform proved barren, Communists and nationalists faced the same dilemma: how to fight against colonialism and for democratic rights from within an increasingly authoritarian system. The PCA pursued a multi-pronged campaign for democratic rights. This vision reflected a dual notion − freedom from repression and freedom to develop.

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We are no longer in France

Communists in Colonial Algeria


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