Anarchists in Algeria? Villa 4? Anyone

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Tojiah
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Dec 26 2006 11:05
Anarchists in Algeria? Villa 4? Anyone

I've been told that one of the few examples of anarchists in revolution is to be found in the Algerian war of independence. But I can't find anything about it on the web. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

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Steven.
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Dec 26 2006 11:51
tojiah wrote:
I've been told that one of the few examples of anarchists in revolution is to be found in the Algerian war of independence. But I can't find anything about it on the web. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

I've not heard anything...

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Dec 26 2006 11:59

http://www.cddc.vt.edu/sionline/si/algeria.html
http://www.cddc.vt.edu/sionline/si/class.html

The SI were later criticised for exaggerating the revolutionary content of the Algerian self-management movement.

si
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Dec 26 2006 15:01

ret: where are/from whom were the criticisms?

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Red Marriott
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Dec 26 2006 15:37

si; Barrot in his "Critique of the SI";

Quote:
It is, for example, incontestable that the article on Watts (#9, 1964) [10] is a brilliant theoretical breakthrough. Taking up in its own way what might have been said about the exchange between Mauss and Bataille, the S.I. posed the question of the modification of the very substance of capitalist society. The article's conclusion even takes up once again Marx's formulation about the link between Man and his generic nature, taken up at the same time by Camatte in the P.C.I. [11] (c.f. #1 of Invariance). But staying at the level of the commodity, the S.I. was incapable of differentiating between the levels of society, and of singling out what makes a revolution. When it writes that

"a revolt against the spectacle situates itself at the level of the totality. . ."

it proves that it is making the spectacle into the totality. In the same way its "management-ist" illusions led it to distort the facts concerning Algeria after Boumedienne's coup d'etat :

"The only program of the Algerians socialist elements is the defense of the self-managed sector, not only as it is, but as it ought to be." (#9, 1964, p. 21).

In other words, without revolution, that is to say, without the destruction of the State and key transformations in society, the S.I. believed that there could be workers' management, and that revolutionaries should work for its extension.

http://www.j12.org/archive/www.geocities.com/~johngray/barsit05.htm

rebelworker
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Dec 30 2006 18:26

There were i think french citizens living in Algeria who were anarchist leaning and supported the rebellion.

Franconphone nefac members have a film about ths they got from comrades in france. Ill look into it.

Manu Garcia
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Jan 22 2007 16:40

French anarchists were involved in the struggle. And there were a strong group of algerian anarchist in the process, with comrades as Mohamed Saïl.

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Jan 24 2007 17:14

There is a book called 'Workers’ Self Management in Algeria' by Ian Clegg. I have it somewhere but havent read it.

Here is what Hitchens had to say about it in 72 - http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/isj/1972/no051/hitchens2.h...

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Jan 26 2007 10:51
Manu Garcia wrote:
French anarchists were involved in the struggle. And there were a strong group of algerian anarchist in the process, with comrades as Mohamed Saïl.

we have his biography here

Battlescarred
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Jan 26 2007 12:06

but hardly mass involvement, and the Federation Anarchiste was highly critical of the national liberation struggle, whilst the quite considerable number of Spanish anarchist exiles in Algeria remained silent.
On the other hand the Fontenis group around the FCL was deeply involved in an anti-colonialism campaign as was the Algerian section that it set up.
But i wouldn't see it as a shining example of anarchist involvement, in particular considering the forces at work there.

Worker Freedom
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Jan 26 2007 12:27

As far as Hhstory goes after the anti-colonial Algerian War of Indepndnece from France in the 1960's and 70's the new NLF(National Liberation Front) government installed a degree of "autogestion" or "self-mangement" in the workplaces.However the plan eventualy lost support and "autogestion" was scraped after a internal party NLF military coo against the President at the time.

Recetly there was something called the Aarch that formed. It was a Paris Comune like stateless direct dmeocracy that was created by the ethnic Berbers in a city in Algeria. Althoug it was supressed by both the NLF goverenment and attaked by the FIS and IGA Fundamentalists as well.

Unfortunately I do not know much about the Aarch as it receved little attention.

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Jan 27 2007 13:50

New text in the library about the struggles of 2001 in Algeria, originating in the Berber region of Kabylie;
here

Cardinal Tourettes
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Jan 27 2007 20:24
Barrot wrote:
When it writes that

"a revolt against the spectacle situates itself at the level of the totality. . ."

it proves that it is making the spectacle into the totality.

Nah, it proves that they think a revolt against the spectacle situates itself at the level of the totality.

Barrot wrote:
In the same way its "management-ist" illusions led it to distort the facts concerning Algeria after Boumedienne's coup d'etat :

"The only program of the Algerians socialist elements is the defense of the self-managed sector, not only as it is, but as it ought to be." (#9, 1964, p. 21).

He might disagree with the SI quote, but how honest is it to characterise it as "distorting the facts"?

Barrot wrote:

In other words, without revolution, that is to say, without the destruction of the State and key transformations in society, the S.I. believed that there could be workers' management, and that revolutionaries should work for its extension.

Well, maybe there can be workers management without revolution. What the SI believed was that without being revolutionary it would just be reformist "recuperation" - managing your own alienation, I think they put it.

The SI could no doubt do with some serious criticism, but its very hard to actually find any. The idea that they were into reformist self-managerialism, without revolution and with the continuing existence of, for example, the state, is just outright shite.

What do you think of Barrot's quotes that you cited, Ret Marut?

Battlescarred
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Jan 29 2007 12:37

see here

http://www.newformulation.org/4schmidt.htm

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Jan 29 2007 19:10

Cardinal Tourettes; I would have to read more about Algeria then and re-read both the SI on Algeria and Barrot's critique of the Situationists to give a more informed answer; but it seems that Barrot claims the SI got a bit too carried away and therefore uncritical about the Algerian movement - the self-management aspects/workplace seizures were a widespread tendency at grass roots level but also consequently part of the ideology of the national liberationists/new rulers and so were integrated/recuperated into the modern post-independence class relations (until swept away by military coup)- as the SI said;here. This is basically what Ben Bella, former President admits, years later; here

The SI also seemed to see self-management via workers councils as the great cure-all/transcendence for the problems of class society, while as you say and Algeria arguably showed, self-management is more easily reformist than revolutionary. Barrot would prob. argue, following Bordiga, that self-management is not communism, but only self-managed capitalism at the level of the enterprise, trading its particular produce with other self-managed enterprises. Some would argue that a kind of self management might be useful as a part of a process of communisation - some things would still have to be produced in a revolutionary period, and if workers have to be in production creating the necessities of life and struggle then they will be self-organising themselves in the process. But that is different from raising self-management of particular enterprises to the level of sacred principle, model economic blueprint of future society and ultimate goal. Have you read the 'LIP and the self-managed counter-revolution' pamphlet? here

CardinalT wrote:
maybe there can be workers management without revolution. What the SI believed was that without being revolutionary it would just be reformist "recuperation" - managing your own alienation, I think they put it.

Yeh - a workers co-op might sometimes be a more pleasant working experience and sometimes the only way of workers saving their jobs - but that's different from claiming it as a revolutionary model. But there can probably also be self-management in a revolution acting as a counter-revolutionary force.The SI seem to say that Algerian self-management was not realising itself sufficiently by abolishing all external power and so was being recuperated.
In the para immediately before the quote Barrot uses, the SI say;

SI wrote:
Radical self-management, the only kind that can endure and conquer, refuses any hierarchy within or outside itself.

Contrasted with what seems to be Barrot's over-simplification of the SI's position

Barrot wrote:
In other words, without revolution, that is to say, without the destruction of the State and key transformations in society, the S.I. believed that there could be workers' management, and that revolutionaries should work for its extension.

This earlier quote from the same SI article also seems to contradict Barrot's claim;

SI wrote:
Such self-management, by the simple fact that it exists, threatens the society's entire hierarchical organization. It must destroy all external control because all the external forces of control will never make peace with it as a living reality, but at most only with its label, with its embalmed corpse. Self-management cannot coexist with any army or police or state.

Maybe Barrot would say that while the big boss of the state remains and commodity relations remain there can be no workers power - but that seems a static view - workplace seizures may or may not, depending on their reasoning and content of activity, be part of a process towards attacking the state and market relations.
Barrot's later 90s critiques of the SI are less harsh, iirc. I think these questions of self-management are still interesting in the light of Argentina etc.