After confessions extracted under torture and a sham-trial, five militants and contacts of our organisation have just been convicted by the military court at Blida to sentences of three to ten years in prison. They are Mohamed Benssada, Rabah Benkhallat, Abdel-maiek Kendour, Ali Akkache and Mohamed Naaman. We salute these young revolutionaries who, in spite of two years of secret detention by the Algerian military police, did not hesitate to courageously maintain their beliefs before those who where about to condemn them.
This trial is a new episode in the repression which strikes the Algerian working class and impoverished masses daily, while the new ruling class, which resulted from independence, cynically fattens itself by accumulating more and more wealth. Their relentlessness against the Blida militants shows the extent to which the Algerian bourgeoisie fears the spread – particularly within the army, the principal instrument for the defence of its domination and its privileges against the anger of the masses – of revolutionary Marxism, which unmasks all its lies about so-called Algerian «socialism» and shows the oppressed the road of their emancipation. But neither repression, nor bourgeois lies will prevent the distance between classes from growing wider each day, in Algeria and elsewhere, nor will it prevent the working class from seizing the weapon of Marxism to organise the battle against capitalism at the head of the impoverished masses.
We call all revolutionaries, all militants in the cause of proletarian emancipation, to struggle with us for the freedom of the militants of Blida and for their release from the hands of the military police.
As for the Algerian bourgeoisie, their cops and their torturers, we ask from them neither «measures of liberalisation» nor clemency. We have only one thing to say to them: the day when the working class begins the settling of accounts, the punishment that they will undergo at the hands of the masses will be equal to the suffering that they have Inflicted upon them.
The young soldiers and civilians charged with «plotting against the security of the state» and accused of having formed a cell of our organisation were tried and sentenced in one day, December 27, 1980, by the Blida Military Court. Apart from the Algerian lawyers chosen by the accused and the soldiers lining the room, the only audience at the hearing were two French lawyers who succeeded in being admitted in extremis. But to ensure that they would be unable to follow the trial, the chief magistrate decreed, contrary to the usual procedure before this court, that the proceedings would take place in Arabic, and moreover, forbade them to intercede. Thus, it was in a veritable closed court that the «legal» organs of repression accomplished their task.
This closed court was very necessary in order to try to mask the total absence of proof of the alleged «plot against the security of the state» attributed to our comrades and contacts, whose only real «crime» is to have read and diffused our press.
This closed court also had to hide the fact that all the confessions of the accused had been extracted from them under torture after their arrest by the Algerian military police. In order to try to avoid this being mentioned, the chief magistrate declared at the beginning of the trial that only confessions made before the investigating magistrate (that is, after they had passed through the hands of the military police «specialists») would be taken into consideration. Uniformed executioners sometimes have these legal scruples!… This did not prevent our comrade Rabah Benkhallat from courageously denouncing the tortures that he had undergone, despite the presence of members of the military police who must have made him pay for his boldness after the hearing. Our comrade pronounced a genuine indictment against false Algerian «socialism» by denouncing the exploitation and misery which strikes the working masses of Algeria while the bourgeoisie cynically accumulates wealth.
The sentences pronounced against the accused were heavy, in proportion to the dread that the spectre of communism inspires in capitalists and their hirelings.
Mohamed Benssada was sentenced in absentia to 10 years in prison, Rabah Benkhallat was sentenced to 6 years in prison, Abdel-maiek Kendour was sentenced to 6 years in prison. Sid Ali Akkache was sentenced to 5 years in prison, Mohamed Naaman was sentenced to 3 years in prison.
The information that we have gathered above is practically all that has been able to filter through concerning the trial.
We know that after the verdict, the Blida militants remain in the hands of the military police and that they risk deportation to a prison in the south just like at the time of French colonialism.
We call all revolutionaries and all militants in the cause of proletarian emancipation to struggle with us to prevent this deportation to the south, to obtain the transfer of the condemned to a civilian prison with political status and to obtain their complete freedom.
Several weeks ago, following the freeing of Ben Bella, the Algerian bourgeoisie, through its highest representatives, claimed that there were no longer any political prisoners in Algeria. And the militants found guilty of an «attack against the security of the state» and «conspiracy», are they not political prisoners?
It is a good thing that the workers are too used to the deceitful declarations of bourgeois politicians to be fooled into believing this.
The bourgeois repression which is raging in Algeria is too obvious to the exploited masses who are daily bearing the costs of it, for the liberation of Ben Bella to make them forget it.
The burden of the social and political repression weighing on the masses is too heavy for the so-called «springtime» inaugurated by Chadli [Bendjedid] to deceive them as easily as the agents of bourgeois propaganda imagine.
The bourgeois lie, that there are no political prisoners in Algeria, is perfectly in line with a whole series of lies: Algerian society is not a class society and does not experience class struggle; the Algerian state is not a bourgeois state, but rather, a state of the whole «people»; the A.N.P. not an army like all bourgeois armies, but a «popular» army in the service of the masses, etc.
But the bourgeoisie is lying in vain. The brutal reality in which the working masses are living is there to witness the fact that, without mentioning all the defects of the economic and social backwardness, Algerian society, like all bourgeois societies, is being torn apart by a growing antagonism between exploiters and exploited. The exploiters, the bourgeoisie only get richer and consolidate their social base and their political power, while the exploited, the workers and poor peasants, who are buried in growing insecurity, suffer a continuing deterioration of their already tragic situation.
How can such a society be free from class struggle? When the bourgeoisie recognises in the official documents of the Minister of Labour, that for the year 1977 alone there were 332 strikes in Algeria, 129 in the so-called «socialist» sector, is it not acknowledging implicitly that it must face up to a more and more open class struggle?
«Strikes which are caused by the very nature of capitalist society» wrote Lenin in 1899, «mark the beginning of the struggle waged by the working class against this organisation of society».
And how can a society torn apart by class struggle and characterised by the domination of the bourgeoisie over the proletariat and the poor masses be protected from social violence? Class struggle is inseparable from social violence. This can be, depending on the situation, open or hidden, potential or in force, strong or less strong, but it cannot disappear while classes, class antagonisms and class exploitation exist.
This is why bourgeois violence is inseparable from bourgeois domination. This violence is assumed by machinery specially conceived for this purpose: army, police, military police, courts, prisons, not to mention para-legal bands like the «Muslim Brotherhood».
But the class struggle does not only manifest itself through workers’ strikes and struggle of an economic character. The working class, born at the time of the Industrial Revolution, has its own history. It is a history which dates back more than a century and which is made up of struggles, of sacrifices, of rare and glorious victories, but especially of numerous defeats, whose evaluation and lessons are indispensable for tomorrow’s combat and tomorrow’s victory. It was in connection with the first historical struggles of the proletariat that Marxism, the ideological and political weapon of the workers’ movement, took shape in order to give the programmatic, strategic and tactical conclusions which will have to serve the class and the militants who will have to decapitate the monster of capitalism.
Since Marxism emerged in its entirety in the conflict of the struggles and revolutions of 1848, and even in the periods of reflux of the workers’ movement, one of the manifestations of the class struggle has consisted of brandishing the flag of communism, defending revolutionary Marxism against the attacks of the bourgeoisie and revisionist doubt, spreading the ideas of scientific socialism among the vanguard workers and combative youth, and organising around the historical heritage of the working class and the positions of Marx, Engels, and Lenin, all those who are convinced of the correctness of revolutionary communism and the inevitability of its historical triumph over the entire planet.
The bourgeoisie knows perfectly well that the ideological and political struggle, even when its actors are still too weak to articulate it with a constant participation in the economic struggle and organisation of the working class, is a manifestation of the struggle which it seeks to hinder when it is incapable of making it disappear.
The bourgeoisie would like to lead the class struggle itself, i.e. without reactions on the part of the workers and the exploited masses.
Its economic struggle? Exploiting the working class in order to extort from it the greatest possible quantity of surplus value while repressing every workers’ struggle aimed at diminishing labour time and increasing salaries.
Its political struggle? Reinforcing the bourgeois state and its repressive machinery as well as the party and the «mass» organisations which are entirely in its service, forbidding all rights of expression, of meeting, of organisation and of demonstration to proletarians and the exploited.
Its ideological struggle? Spreading among the masses the spirit of submission, nationalism, chauvinism and religious obscurantism, in order to delay the awakening of their class consciousness and their revolutionary consciousness.
In order to control the class struggle as effectively as possible, the bourgeoisie utilises its repressive machinery and a whole arsenal of laws. On the economic terrain, not satisfied with having at its disposal the bureaucratic apparatus of the UGTA whose function is to prevent the workers from fighting, and the institutions of class collaboration of the «socialist» management of enterprises (GSE), the Algerian bourgeoisie has flatly forbidden strikes in the public sector.
The penal code in force, purely and simply classes strikes as an offence, with penalties ranging from 2 months to 5 years, for leading or supporting a work stoppage.
On the political and ideological plane, the bourgeois state prohibits all freedom of movement and autonomous organisation to the masses. The famous freedoms of expression, meeting and association which accompany «socialist democracy» can only be exercised within the framework of bourgeois law and the institutions set up to defend and protect the privileges of the capitalists.
The system of political domination of the Algerian bourgeoisie gives the FLN party alone the right to have a public activity. The neo-Stalinists of the PAGS, tolerated by the bourgeoisie for the services as lackeys that they render it, are content for the moment with a semi-public activity. Thus if we exclude the Stalinists, the «Muslim Brotherhood» and the «Baathists», who are all integrated in one fashion or another into the bourgeoisie’s game, when not into the state apparatus itself, we can say that anyone who moves is quickly repressed by the bourgeois state.
Taken in this general context, the arrest and conviction of our comrades is thus only one instance in the class struggle, even if it is true that today, for objective reasons, it is the bourgeoisie which finds itself on the offensive. More precisely, the imprisonment, the tortures that the Military Police have made our comrades suffer, and their conviction by a Military Court sitting in great haste, is one episode of the systematic violence delivered by the bourgeoisie and its repressive machinery against all those who refuse to submit to the established order.
But the fact that bourgeois justice did not find material proof to support the charge of «plotting)) against the security of the state, clearly shows that the bourgeoisie’s objective is the systematic hunting down of the ideas of revolutionary Marxism. The Blida verdict is an a contrario proof of the international validity of Marxism. More than a century ago, Marx and Engels stated in the «Communist Manifesto» that communism had become the spectre which was haunting all the ruling classes and their representatives.
In 1848, Marx and Engels were speaking especially about Europe. Today, it is only too easy to see that communism is the spectre which haunts the bourgeoisie and the possessing classes of the whole world. Yes, Marxism is a «plant for any climate», as our party has always maintained. The Blida verdict has just given an additional confirmation of this thesis.
If not, what is the Algerian bourgeoisie afraid of? Even a bourgeois daily, whose complaisance vis-à-vis the Algerian bourgeoisie is no secret to anyone, recognises, while speaking of our comrades:
«It is difficult to think that the accused could seriously have threatened the security of the state». («Le Monde», December 30, 1980).
If the Algerian masses are profoundly Muslim and hostile to communism, as the ideologues of the bourgeoisie take pleasure in saying, why does the bourgeoisie resort to the arrest and conviction of those who risk isolating themselves completely from the masses due to the simple fact that they approach communism?
If the Algerian workers really put «the national interest» above everything and reject the class struggle because they find it contrary to the sentiments of Muslim brotherhood, why does the bourgeoisie feel the need to try quickly and in the most complete silence, persons that it accuses of being in contact with a party which does not hide – rather, to the contrary – that its raison d’être is to sharpen the class struggle, to develop it and lead it to its culmination – armed insurrection and the seizure of power in order to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat?
Of course, the Blida verdict is a blow directed against our party. But it is a verdict which must also be put forward by all militants for the workers’ cause, in order to help open the eyes of their class brothers, who are submitted to the daily ideological bludgeoning of the bourgeoisie. This bourgeoisie has made their own all the weapons of psychological warfare inherited from the services of the SAS in the colonial period.
The bourgeoisie has a surprise waiting for them. The comfort in which they exercise their domination today is not as eternal as they imagine. All the possessing classes and their states have tried in the past to resist new ideas which proclaimed their downfall and the necessity of fighting them with violence and repression. But, in the long run, violence which does not go in the direction of history is doomed to failure.
The Algerian bourgeoisie is hounding Marxists in vain; it will not prevent revolutionary communism from spreading and winning the hearts and the spirit of all sincere and honest militants who want to fight in order to put an end to this world of misery and lies.
Trade-union repression will not prevent strikes from spreading and developing, nor will it prevent the workers from co-ordinating their efforts of economic struggle and organisation.
In the same way, ideological and political repression will not prevent the irresistible spread of revolutionary Marxism, the establishment and strengthening of the revolutionary class party which alone is able to give to the working class the unity of goal, will and action that it needs to destroy the bourgeois state, to install its class dictatorship and, in conjunction with the proletariat of all countries, to transform society in the direction of communism.
We call all militants, sympathisers, readers to show their active solidarity with our comrades and contacts who are victims of bourgeois repression in Algeria, by contributing to the fund set up to finance their defence and the campaign for their liberation. Send your contributions in cash or by international money order payable to SARO with the reference: «Solidarité Algerie». Address your contributions to Editions Programme, 20, rue Jean-Bouton, 75012 Paris, France [Accounts and Addresses not anymore valid! (sinistra.net)].