Algeria 1960

Declaration of the Michel Pablo and Sal Santen Support Committee

Source: La Vérité des Travailleurs, November 1960;
Translated: for by Mitchell Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2010.

Last June a portion of the French press deliberately presented as a fait divers the “adventure” of two counterfeiters in Holland, the arrest of Michel Raptis, alias Michel Pablo, and Sal Santen, leaders of the Fourth International; men it was quite difficult to liken to vulgar criminals and who, in fact, were guilty only of having developed an active solidarity movement in Holland in support of free Algeria.

Why this disguising of facts, both on the part of the Dutch police and certain newspapers, when not a single false bill was found to support the charge of counterfeiting? Simply because the active sympathy demonstrated by these men for the painful struggle of the Algerian people was not only insufficient to have them condemned by a foreign tribunal, but also because at the moment of the trial it could – it still can – give rise in French and international public opinion to encouragement and support, to a gaining of awareness. And so they disguise an affair that was strictly political as a common crime. And so the tribunal in The Hague is going to issue a decision in a few days based on events which have been proven to be invented by the usual provocateurs, in the first row of which – and to allow us to better situate the discussion – we must obviously place the “Red Hand” [1].

Subjected to an odious and exhausting detention, deprived of the rights of political prisoners, who will defend these men? On the international level many protests have already been sent to the Dutch minister of justice. Four British deputies, members of the Labour Party, Messrs John Baird, Silvermann, Zilliacus, and Mikardo recently declared in a letter addressed to The Hague:

“Sal Santen lost his family in the Hitlerite gas chambers, and both Santen and Raptis actively participated in the struggle against German fascism. Those who are today fighting for the independence of Algeria are carrying on a similar fight. Whether we are in agreement with their political opinions or not, we protest with indignation that they are not criminals and must be immediately released.”

In Brazil Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Jorge Amado for their part affirmed: “Despite possible differences with the political ideas of these militants, what is at stake is the safeguarding of human dignity, the right of men to fight for their ideals, and the right of the Algerian people to count on the active assistance of all left-wing militants.”

A support committee, made up of the following individuals took to heart the task of using all means capable of denouncing this injustice; of in a word attracting the public’s attention to this affair which, as part of a whole, the signatories feel effectively and directly concerns all Frenchmen concerned about freedom.

Adamov – R. Blin – C. Bourdet – J. Cassou – Y. Dechezelles -Y. Joofa – M.Jardot – M. leiris – M. Nadeau – L. Schwartz – P. Stibbe

1. Terrorist group organized by the French intelligence services that carried out killings of pro-independence militants in North Africa.