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Communists in Colonial Algeria

This book recovers the lost history of Algeria's communist movement and its complex relationship with Algerian nationalism. The movement's shifting fortunes reflected both Algeria's largely rural class structure and the country's complex national and international dynamics. Algeria's de facto colonial relationship with France was critical. Algeria's Communist movement began in 1920 with a virtually all European membership as a region of the Parti Communiste Franҫais (PCF). The Parti Communiste Algérien (PCA) formed in 1936 remained close to the PCF during the Popular Front and Second World War years. But from the late 1940s growing numbers of Muslims joined the PCA, attracted by its concern with social justice and alienated by the nationalist movement's factionalism. This demographic change compelled the PCA to address the issue of national liberation. With the launch of armed struggle in November 1954, the PCA faced a classic socialist dilemma – organisational autonomy or dissolution and merger into the broader Front de Libération National (FLN). Increasingly independent of the PCF, the PCA maintained its organisational autonomy, while participating fully in the war of independence. Despite suffering severe repression during the war, at independence Algerian Communists refused to disband, seeing themselves as part of a long-term socialist movement that could be rebuilt. While the FLN promoted a one-party socialist state, the PCA promoted a pluralist political system. The PCA's hopes for political pluralism were shattered when it was banned by the one-party state in November 1962. The June 1965 military coup shut down all public political space.

Pressure from the countryside
Allison Drew

guerre d’Algérie (Editions Complexe, 2001), 219–36, p. 29; Pierre-Jean Le Foll-Luciani, ‘Un microcosme de l’Algérie nouvelle? Le Parti communiste algérien en clandestin à Constantine pendant la guerre d’indépendance (1954–1962)’, Atala, 16 (2013), 245–58, pp. 245–7; Harbi, Vie, p. 150

in We are no longer in France
Unity and division in the liberation struggle
Allison Drew

idées de liberté », Manifeste du Parti communiste algérien (12 août 1945), in Collot and Henry (eds), Mouvement national, pp. 208–12; Sivan, Communisme, p. 152; Rey-Goldzeiguer, Origines, p. 359. In 1962 the PCA had still not accepted the depth of European racism, claiming in ‘For a Free Algerian Republic’, p. 35, that the massacre

in We are no longer in France
Communists and nationalists during the Second World War
Allison Drew

. 49 ANOM FM 81F/752, ‘Renseignements - a/s de la situation du parti communiste Algérien’ [date stamp 6 November 1942]; Planche, Sétif, p. 49; Dore-Audibert, Françaises, pp. 89–90; Alleg, Mémoire, p. 66, n. 1; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 580–1; Cantier, L’Algérie, pp. 340–41; Drew

in We are no longer in France
Imagining the future Algeria
Allison Drew

, à la télévision, il faut populariser et mettre en valeur les initiatives, encourager l’échange d’expériences d’un bout à l’autre du pays » (emphasis in original). Programme du Parti communiste algérien pour l’indépendance totale (Algiers: El Houriyya, 18 April 1962 ), p. 17. 33

in We are no longer in France
Abstract only
Imagining socialism and communism in Algeria
Allison Drew

-society, one which sought to reform and eventually overthrow and replace the colonial order. For decades the party’s membership remained predominantly European, imbued with a colonial mentality and easily swayed by the Parti communiste français (French Communist Party, PCF). When Algerians eventually joined the Parti communiste algérien (Algerian Communist Party, PCA) in significant numbers, Sivan contends

in We are no longer in France
To the cities and the prisons
Allison Drew

par la Fédération de France du Parti communiste algérien , 4 (1959). 19 Buono, L’Olivier, p. 26; Alleg, Mémoire, pp. 309–11, 313–15; Réalités algériennes et Marxisme, 1 (January 1957); ANOM ALG 91 3F/75. 20

in We are no longer in France
Robert Gildea

from Oran, and a Hungarian refugee by the name of Gustave Erdos.14 Via began to rebuild the banned Algerian Communist Party (Parti Communiste Algérien, PCA), which again would produce underground publications such as Lutte Sociale and provide assistance to political prisoners, POWs and refugees in the camps and prisons of Algeria.15 The PCA was from the outset composed of various nationalities – French, Spaniards, Italians, Germans and Jews. Cooperation was not always easy to achieve, however, because Via himself only spoke Spanish. Lisette Vincent translated in

in Fighters across frontiers
Historical, geographical and political dynamics
Lee Jarvis
Tim Legrand

socialism. To counter such threats, proscription offered a simple expedience. For example, in the midst of growing popular unrest, France’s colonial authorities banned the Étoile Nord-Africaine, Parti Communiste Algérien, Front de Libération Nationale (FLN), the Organisation Speciale in French Algeria and Le Ressemblement Democratique Africain in French West Africa. Likewise, to head off insurgency in its colonial territories, British authorities banned the Kikuyu Central Association and the Kenya Africa Union and many other organisations including in Rhodesia, India

in Banning them, securing us?
The examples of Algeria and Tunisia
Martin Thomas

-minded nationalists in the neighbouring protectorates, so by 1937 Ben Badis was committed to establish an ulama association spanning the three French North African territories. 99 The Algerian Communist Party (Parti Communiste Algérien, PCA) suffered comparable state repression to the ENA/PPA after 1925, when PCA membership and the party newspaper

in The French empire between the wars