The Algerian War 1956

Declaration of Pierre Frank at His Trial

Source: Sylvain Pattieu, Les Camarades des Frères. Syllepse, Paris, 2002;
Translated: for by Mitch Abidor.

My comrade Jacques Privas and myself are being pursued by virtue of Art. 80 of the Penal Code for attacks on the external security of the state, because of articles that appeared in La Verité des Travailleurs.

It’s a question of articles relating to Algeria, in which we defend that country’s right to independence.

Given that it’s a matter of problem number one of current political life in France, we didn’t think it was necessary to call witnesses before you, for all the facts of the problem, all the arguments, are debated every day in front of the whole country.

Before answering any questions the tribunal would like to pose, in order to avoid any confusion we'd like to define in a few words the fundamental principles that determine the position of the PCI (the French section of the 4th International) that we laid out in the articles under accusation.

The Algerian problem is being posed after several others – notably those of Vietnam, Tunisia, and Morocco – for which our movement’s militants have also been pursued by virtue of the same sections of the Penal Code.

It’s that on an international scale the Algerian problem is one of the sectors of the great revolutionary emancipation movement for independence of colonized peoples and people of color. Movements that are developing with great amplitude in this half of the 20th century, movements which, for humanity’s future, have an even greater importance than the movements for national liberation and unification that traversed Europe in the 19th Century.

We have adopted a position of solidarity before these movements of colonized peoples, in conformity with the traditional Marxist-Leninist positions, positions that we are proud to have defended on every occasion since the war in Morocco in 1925.

We revolutionary Marxists support the struggles of colonial peoples against their imperialist masters.

a) Because there can be no democracy for these people if they don’t have their national independence and if they are oppressed by the state of another people.

b) Because the struggle of colonial peoples weakens, undermines, and destroys the positions of our own enemy, metropolitan capitalism

c) Because this struggle of colonial peoples for their national independence – independently of its current forms and leaders – is by its very logic a part of the struggle for the creation of a socialist world.

We have always affirmed our complete solidarity, with no reservations, with all colonized peoples in their struggle for emancipation against our own enemy, French capitalism. We reaffirm this, whatever it might bring, in regard to the Algerian revolution.

As for the accusation against us, on the judicial level we have confidence in our lawyers.

As for the political level, which interests the whole country, if at the moment when the articles in question were written there were still many people who believed the slogan “Algeria is France,” we are already at a point where even in the guiding circles of French capitalism, another solution is being sought. For the Algerian people, through the only democratic means available to it, i.e., through insurrection, has affirmed that it is a nation that aspires to its independence. No force on earth can prevent it from arriving at its goal.

We affirm our complete solidarity, not only against the open supporters of colonialism, but also against its other servants. Against Socialist leaders like Guy Mollet, who just declared that the right of peoples to dispose of themselves appears to him to be a dangerous slogan. Against the minister Deffere who rejects the idea of free elections in Algeria for fear that those thus elected would opt for the independence of their country.

We also combat the policies of the leadership of the PCF because it associated itself with the special powers and because in dodging the problem of independence for Algeria it bears heavy responsibility for the weak actions of French workers against the war in Algeria.

We take full responsibility for the articles we published.

We wrote them to alert the workers of France so they could lend their assistance to the revolution of the Algerian masses. Their combat is our combat. Their liberation will contribute to our liberation.

As has always been the case with political trials, the public power thinks they can reverse the march of history. They can’t even put a brake on it. The Algerian people will free themselves, and in liberating themselves will aid the French proletariat in freeing itself from its own chains.

Note: Frank received a six month suspended sentence.