Part 4 of 5
ORGANIZATION AND ACTION
The struggle conducted around the events in Algeria has shown that the “nationals” can contribute to create a favorable situation. But the demonstration is equally clear (without going back to events prior to the Second World War) of their total impotence to transform a popular revolt into a revolution. The embryonic nationalist organization, despite the efforts of the militants, did not keep pace with the spontaneous revolt. Thus, the “national” conceptions prevailed, and the new resistance engaged under favorable political conditions after April 22, 1961, with an abundance of partisans and means, sank into ridicule and dishonor.
However, this period of clandestine struggle and repression has forged revolutionary combatants, mostly young, and the circumstances of the collapse have educated a good number of partisans who placed confidence in “national” methods. This is why Nationalism will find tomorrow the militants and the cadres that it lacked in the past.
French youth will be marked for years by the last fights conducted for the defense of the integrity of the national territory in Algeria. Its best elements participated actively. They risked all, torture, prison, death. The condemnation of terrorist methods does not apply to those who courageously executed orders and who are examples, but to the chiefs who decided to use these harmful methods. The revolt of the Youth against a senile and hostile society is a reality.
Nobody foresaw either the Poujadist tidal wave of 1955 or the peasant revolts of 1961. Despite refrigerators and televisions, men, by the hundreds of thousands, went into the streets. The malfeasance of the régime will create in the future new popular explosions. Disorganized, these revolts will collapse like previous ones. All the action must therefore aim to introduce the yeast into the dough.
The work of organization, of penetration, of popular education, is always slow. It must be remembered that all the revolutionaries of the twentieth century had to fight a long time before they triumphed: Lenin close to thirty years, Hitler thirteen, Mao Zedong thirty-three . . . In the difficulties of the struggle, the masses acquire a revolutionary consciousness, new cadres emerge, the organization is broken in and is reinforced.
The development of the revolutionary action is never progressive and harmonious. Similar to a broken line, it is made up of partial successes, of setbacks, of recoveries, of new falls, of apparent stagnations. All the revolutionary movements have known catastrophic reverses when victory seemed to be within reach: the Bolsheviks in 1905, the National Socialists in 1923, the Chinese Communists in 1927 and 1931. Their success was due to their ability to analyze the causes of these setbacks, to draw the lessons, to correct themselves, and to adapt to the new conditions of the struggle. The Bolsheviks abandoned exclusive illegality in order to explore legal and illegal opportunities. The National Socialists rejected the insurrectional path in order to undertake the legal conquest of power. Mao Zedong left the urban proletariat and directed himself towards guerrilla campaigns. Revolutionary action, like war, obeys imperative laws. The Nationalists must search for them in the light of their own experience and adapt them to the new situation.
NOTABLES OR MILITANTS
For a Man or an Idea?
The voter, the simple partisan, follows the heading on posters, a well-known name, the savior of the day. The “nationals” like that facility. Passive herds, they expect everything from the miracle man. Even the small groups have their idol. The inevitable disappearance of the great man leaves the naïve embittered and discouraged. The Nationalist does not need followers but militants who are defined in relation to a doctrine, not in relation to a man. He does not fight for a pseudo-savior, for the savior is found in himself. Those who assume the direction of the struggle can disappear or make mistakes, the value of the cause is not tainted by this, they are replaced. The militants sacrifice themselves for their ideas, not for a man.
The organization must be a community of militants, not a personal property. It will be managed by officials who will only be temporary spokesmen for Nationalism. The officials will direct the action of the militants, as they will have been proven to be the best qualified to serve the Organization, without which they would be nobody.
Bluff and Effectiveness
The enormous sums of money collected for the cause of French Algeria were absorbed by the notables and the politicians to whom they were entrusted. Some pamphlets, some conferences, some travel, some posters pretended to justify their use. With these colossal means the notables did nothing.
During this time, militants were developing a coherent activity with ridiculous means coming only from their personal contributions. They held public meetings, covered the country with inscriptions, made posters by hand, realised spectacular actions with little money, used Roneos from one end of France to the other. They did a lot with nothing. That is characteristic of the militant.
The Notables and the Rank and File
For the notables who direct the “nationals,” militants are an inferior class. They are only the rank and file to be used for political struggles. They are part of the electoral material. They are the pawns of the perennial plots. Their self-sacrifice serves as a steppingstone for the ambitions of careerists. If the affairs turn out badly, the militants are coolly abandoned.
The Nationalist Organization will push aside the notables. Its members and its leaders will be militants coming, not from the electoral laboratories or the hotbed of plots, but from combat: the nights of billposting, the public speeches, the blows, the stormy meetings, the printing of leaflets at night on a Roneo and their distribution at dawn, the arrests, the interrogations, the brutalities, the prisons, the trials, the disappointments, the insults, the indifference, the setbacks . . . Here, it will be the most tenacious, the most devoted, the most conscious who will be first, here is formed the revolutionary élite.
UNION OF “NATIONALS” OR ORGANIZATION OF REVOLUTIONARIES
The Camouflaged Enemies
A number of politicians, civilian or military, for a long time turned to Algeria as a springboard for their ambitions. Men of the régime by interest and by formation, they remained the sworn enemies of the revolution. They were even more suited to combat it, for they seemed to be partisans for it. The Gaullists, until May 13, certain members of parliament, certain leaders thereafter, are the illustrations of the infiltration of the revolt by the régime.
One of the plotters of May 13, Léon Delbecque, shamelessly explained this method: “I was the organizer of May 13,” he declared on July 6, 1958, at the conference of the Social Republicans. “In the offices I occupied, I was solicited to participate in plots often directed against the Republic and the republican régime, plots the police knew of but were unable to stop. I managed to be at the right place at the right time, to divert towards General de Gaulle the uprising which was to occur.”
The directorate of the OAS was full of such individuals who “managed to be at the right place at the right time” to commit the revolt to a dead end. If the Secret Army could have dethroned de Gaulle, the same ones would have enabled the régime to traverse this crisis without mishap, as on May 13.
They are skillful at using the confusion born of apparently similar goals. They know that the “nationals,” without political education, succumb to the union blackmail and have a culpable penchant for the supposedly repentant adversary.
To accept their game would be to fall into their hands. It would be to become their accomplice to be quiet and not reveal them to the entire people. No union with the men of the régime! They must be denounced with the utmost vigour. At this price, the masses will cease to be misled, the partisans will lose their natural naïveté and will become educated militants.
Zero plus Zero
Zero plus zero always equals zero. The addition of mythomaniacs, plotters, nostalgics, careerists, and “nationals” will never yield a coherent force. Preserving the hope of uniting the incapable is to persevere in error. The few elements of value are paralyzed by the cranks that surround them. Popular opinion is not mistaken here. Also, they do considerable harm to Nationalism, with which they are frequently confused. They make the healthy elements run away and prevent any recruitment of quality.
With them, union is out of the question. It is necessary, on the contrary, to proclaim the fundamental differences that separate them from Nationalism. The cranks must be pitilessly pushed aside. On this condition, it will be possible to attract new elements, effective partisans.
Unions and Committees of Agreement
Even the OAS, with its dynamic action, with its single direction, its enormous means, and an essential common objective, did not succeed in federating in Metropolitan France the partisans of French Algeria. How can one think that this pious dream, as old as the national opposition, can be realized in the future with infinitely less valid conditions?
The unions and the fronts have only one goal: benefiting those who organize or control them. The Popular Front favored the communists, as the national grouping served Soustelle. The other participants were the dupes.
Proposed by the notables, the unions and committees of agreement more often than not have an electoral goal. They procure at a low price billposters and teams of stewards; they are excellent siphons of money. When the electoral period is closed, the union is put to sleep to await a new occasion to exploit the unalterable credulity of the “nationals.”
With the first serious difficulty, for example, a decision to be taken on a controversial event, the front explodes and everybody retakes his liberty. The dream has ended. The political fight, just like a war, demands maneuver: dissimulation, retreat, attack. It necessitates a total discipline and a single direction capable of taking initiative instantaneously, engaging all its forces. The heterogeneous composition and the diversity of the conceptions of its leaders prohibit the unions from applying these laws; they are thus devoted to opportunism and disintegration.
How can it be imagined that an incoherent herd, dominated by blabbermouths, careerists, and weirdos, undermined by the quarrels of clans and individuals, is capable of struggle against the superior organized force of the régime? It is true that this is not a goal of the “national” notables. This form of action is definitively condemned by experience. The tactics of the front cannot be envisaged without a powerful Nationalist organization capable of imparting its élan and imposing its political line.
Monolithic and Disciplined Organization
The work of the last few years was accomplished by small teams, even by isolated militants. This hard core was composed of veritable militants, educated, reliable, competent. With tiny means, but with tenacity and imagination, they were the authors of all the partial successes recorded in the struggle.
The proof is here that five militants are more valuable than fifty weirdos. The quality of combatants is, by far, preferable to their quantity. It is around a small and effective team that the masses will assemble, not the reverse.
That the revolutionary movements are effective minorities evidently does not mean that all minority groups are likewise revolutionary. It is a too easy excuse for the mediocrity of some. The effective minorities are not sterile sects, they are in direct contact with the people.
Destined to fight, the Nationalist Organization must be one, monolithic, and hierarchical. It will be formed by the grouping of all the militants won over to Nationalism, devoted and disciplined. Their age, no more than their milieu, is of no importance. Be they students or peasants, workers or technicians, these militants will be in all milieus the propagandists and the organizers of the revolution.
Depending on the circumstances, their action will be apparent or not. Its aspects will enable them to ensure the generalized penetration of the Nationalist Organization, up to and including the mechanisms of the régime.
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