Algeria 1957
Algerian Communist Party

Letter to the Europeans of Algeria

Translated: for by Mitch Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike)

The Algerian Communist Party (PCA), which allied with the FLN in 1956, issued this flyer in the heat of one of the ugliest phases of the war, when torture and ‘disappearances’ were rampant. The line spelled out here differs substantially from that of the French party (PCF), in that they clearly called for independence, while the PCF stressed peace in Algeria. It also makes an effort to explain the wave of FLN bombings of civilian targets. A more striking difference between the two parties was that, while in 1956 the PCF supported the granting of special powers to the French government for the pursuit of the war, the PCA was already involved in armed struggle against that same government.

For the past three years Algeria has been the theatre of an atrocious war. Blood flows profusely, increasing both mourning and hatred. Insecurity reigns throughout the country, and you live in a state of fear. The lies that are poured out every day prevent you from seeing things clearly. Before anything else, you must know the truth that they are trying to hide from you.

No! Force can’t reduce the Algerians at will

Despite the presence of 500,000 French soldiers, despite the horrible repression, Lacoste’s [1] “pacification” has failed.

No! The struggle doesn’t have a racial character

The Algerians aren’t making war on the French people or the Europeans of Algeria, but on FRENCH COLONIALISTS. Besides, isn’t it true that many European Algerians participate in this struggle alongside their Moslem brothers? They are Communists, liberals, Christians.

Some have sacrificed their life to this just cause, like Henri Maillot, Fernand Yveton, Maurice Laban, Raymonde Peschard. [2] Many of them are in prison or in camps.

No! The Algerians don’t want to throw you into the sea!

All of the Algerian national organizations, without exception, have given the strictest assurances that all Algerians, without distinction of origin, will have the same rights and obligations in the Algeria of tomorrow.

As for those Europeans of Algeria who want to keep French citizenship, agreements with France could guarantee their legitimate rights and interests reciprocally with that of Algerians working in France.

Contrary to what colonialist propaganda wants you to believe, the future Algerian Republic will not be theocratic. The different Algerian national organizations have expressed this: it will be democratic and social.

As for relations with France, no Algerian patriot denies its necessity in the interests of Algeria itself.

You ask yourselves:

So why this cruel war?

Who is responsible?

It is those who, after having conquered a land that didn’t belong to them, have spent 127 years enslaving its people, degrading them, ridiculing them, refusing them any kind of dignity, sabotaging the few laws grudgingly granted by Paris, shamefully falsifying elections, refusing the most rudimentary instruction to the majority of Algerian children, denying all official rights to the Arabic language, and keeping the majority of Algerians in the most atrocious poverty.

It is the colonialists, the big bosses, the big landowners like Bourgeaud, shareholders of the big companies or banks, and financiers like Alain de Serigny, director of the newspaper the “Echo d’Alger,” who now lives in Paris.

Those who push for the prolongation of the conflict

Yesterday they served Hitler and Vichy in the name of French Sovereignty. Today, fearing defeat, they are preparing their fall-back position, exporting their capital, buying land in France and South America. This is the proof that your future doesn’t worry them.

They benefit from a privileged regime and exploit you the way they exploit — though even more ferociously — the Muslims. They claim to rule all, forcing merchants to close their stores whenever they want, lynching Muslims on the streets, kidnapping and executing people with impunity. The group that was responsible for the attack on General Salan [3](whose aide-de-camp was killed) has not yet been put on trial.

Hoping to preserve their privileges, they incite the prolongation of the conflict, and respond to the wish for negotiations of the Liberation Movement by

A regime of generalized terror

Bombings of mechtas that decimate the civilian population; doubtful “suicides,” like those of Larbi Ben M’Hidi and Ali Boumendjel; tragic disappearances, like that of Maurice Audin; tortures inflicted on any arrested suspect, the signs of which many Europeans bear on their flesh (from the Communist Gaby Gimenez to the Catholic Evelyne Lavalette, not to mention the editor of “Alger Républicain” Henri Alleg); death sentences and executions without proof of guilt; concentration camps; killing off of the wounded after combat, etc...

This horrible face of colonial war explains the fact that exasperated patriots answer by the bomb and the grenade. And how can we forget that there were several tens of victims of these attacks, while colonialist barbarism has already caused SEVERAL HUNDRED THOUSAND DEAD, among the Algerians?

With the help of the Parachutists (many of whom are former Nazis) and the support of Lacoste, the colonialists have suppressed every vestige of freedom, preparing Algeria for the fascist regime they dream of installing in France. “Espoir,” the only liberal newspaper has been practically forbidden; the UGSA and UGTA unions have been dissolved. All liberals are considered suspect, watched, arrested.

For negotiations

You ask yourselves when will all this end.

By its refusal to negotiate or to apply the recommendation of the UN for a peaceful, democratic and just solution to the Algerian problem, the French government has prolonged the war. Bourgès-Manoury, put in the minority on the project of the loi-cadre, [4]

which was nothing but a pale camouflage for the benefit of the UN, has just resigned from the government.

On this subject, is it not particularly grotesque to note the efforts expended by the settlers to defeat that law or restrict its content? If it were true, as they claim, that all Algerians (“with the exception of a few fanatics”) are with them, why would they fear such a ludicrous law?

In truth, and they know this very well, the entire people is behind the Algerian resistance. Nothing can stop it!


Thanks in particular to the actions of the PCF in defending the right of peoples to self-determination, and its taking in hand the true interests of the French people, the idea of negotiations is gaining ground in France, not only among workers — whose sons are killed here for the big planters and who have to pay two billion francs a day for the war — but also among patriotic individuals of all stripes.

Your place is not at the side of the ultras!

Only a noisy minority of ultras, in France as well as Algeria, opposes a negotiated settlement.

What do you have to do with them? Your future cannot be guaranteed by the current policy of force, or by the presence of 500,000 soldiers who, incidentally, France cannot keep here eternally. Your interests, and those of your children, is to integrate yourselves into the young Algerian republic of tomorrow, which will make room for all of its children

In the near term, it is in your interest to separate yourselves from the racist demonstrations of the ultras, to disapprove of the positions taken by the organizations of fascist trouble-makers, which group together the Federation des Maires, the Comité d’Entente des Anciens Combattants, the Association des Etudiants and other committees which, all together, represent only a small minority of the European population of Algeria.

It is in your interest to firmly support all positive actions for the opening of negotiations, for an end to the war, so that freedom and peace, equality and friendship among all the children of Algeria will finally triumph.

Algiers October 7, 1957
Le Parti Communiste Algerien


1. Minister resident in Algeria, responsible for the running of the colony and the war.

2. Laban and Maillot were killed during guerrilla actions, Yveton (also Iveton) was executed for attempting to bomb the Algerian gas and electric Company, and Peschard died after being tortured.

3. General serving in Algeria, who in 1961 founded the right-wing terrorist group, the OAS.

4. Law passed by the French government June 23, 1956, which promised to “give the overseas peoples a more direct share in their own interests.”