Algeria - Algeria after World War I

In 1926, Algerian immigrant workers organised in Paris the North African Star. Communists (Hadj Ali Abd el-Qader, Mohammed Maarouf and others) were among its founders. At first the new organisation maintained contact with the Communist Party and was affiliated with the Anti-Imperialist League. But as far as its nature is concerned, the North African Star was not so much a proletarian as a national democratic organisation, strongly influenced by petty-bourgeois ideology. Most of the workers belonging to it were yesterday's peasants or artisans who ideologically were closer to their former environment than to the working class.

Working in Africa. Social classesThe national and religious isolation of the members of the North African Star from the French workers also made itself felt. Subsequently, when the North African Star led by Messali Hadj conducted its activities in Algeria proper, it was replenished primarily by petty-bourgeois elements. In the mid-1930's it shifted over to purely nationalistic positions and broke with the principles of internationalism.

At first the North African Star set itself the aim chiefly of achieving political and economic reforms. But some of its leaders went further and demanded national independence (in 1933 this demand became the main slogan of the North African Star). Small wonder that it was hounded by the French authorities and banned in 1929.

In Algeria herself, the bulk of the population had no organisations of its own at that time. True, even before the First World War trade unions and a section of the French Socialist Party were set up in the country, but they consisted entirely of Europeans and had no ties with the Arab proletariat, let alone the Algerian national movement.

The situation slowly began to change after the decision to organise the French Communist Party was taken in December 1920 at a congress of the French Socialists in Tours. Most of the Algerian sections voted for this decision and became sections of the French Communist Party. Thus the Communist organisation of Algeria was founded in 1920. Originally it consisted of Europeans only. But since the late 1920's Algerians joined its ranks and it gradually turned into a genuine Algerian organisation, uniting the working people of all the nationalities in the country.