Algerian FLN October 10, 1961
Letter of the Federal Committee of the French Federation of the FLN
First published: October 10, 1961;
Translated: for marxists.org by Mitch Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists.org.
Just days after calling a halt to armed actions against the police in Paris, the French Federation of the FLN issued the following instructions on the carrying out of mass actions against the repression of the Algerian community.
Received your letter of October 7, 1961
Upon study of the situation created by the new repressive measures (curfew, transfers to Algeria, summary executions of compatriots), and after having read your report of October 7, 1961, the Federal Committee has taken the following decisions:
The measures mentioned above must be energetically fought by an action in three phases:
- Algerians will boycott the curfew. To this effect, starting Saturday October 14, 1961, they are to go out en masse in the company of their wives and children. They are to circulate on Paris’s main arteries: the Champs Elysées, and the Boulevards Saint Michel, Saint Germain, Montmartre, etc.
- Merchants with a fixed establishment are to close up shop for 24 hours as a sign of protest against the racist curfew that has been imposed on our compatriots who own cafes and restaurants. This shutdown will take place the day after the mass boycott, Sunday October 15, 1961.
- You should do everything possible to apply the above points on the indicated dates. In case you don’t have the time needed for this, these actions should be launched no later than Tuesday, October 17, 1961. The merchants’ action should always take place the day after the mass boycott.
- The first two days of the boycott by the entire Algerian colony (women, children, the elderly, young people, men, etc.) must be spectacular. Starting on the third day, all the men should go out as normally as in the past, acting as if the curfew didn’t exist.
- As a security measure, important, full-time cadres who are being sought by the authorities should avoid all of these demonstrations.
- As we can safely predict that there will be arrests or internments, it would be appropriate to prepare the women for a demonstration with the following slogans:
- Down with the racist curfew
- Freedom for our husbands and children
- Negotiate with the Provisional Republican Government
- Total independence for Algeria, etc.
The demonstration will take place in front of the police prefecture the third or fourth day after the launching of the curfew boycott. At that time, do everything possible to have as many Algerian women participate as possible; see to it that the demonstration is guided by experienced militants; avoid all kinds of provocations.
- During all this first phase, the boycott will be supported by an action to enlighten opinion through the massive distribution of leaflets explaining our position, and denouncing the racist curfew and al the repressive measures recently taken by Papon. We remind you that we are waiting for the details necessary for the writing of these leaflets.
We insist on the extremely urgent need to send us all the information possible on the summary executions cited in your last report, as well as the crimes for which the policemen who were shot down were responsible.
According to how the developments of the first phase of action, which will take place in Paris, the extension of these actions to the whole of France is foreseen. To this effect, we foresee the following program:
- Solidarity actions in the form of demonstrations of Algerian women before the prefectures of all the major centers outside of Paris, with the same slogans as above.
- For your information: the other services of the federation will develop an information and enlightenment action for political parties, unions, universities, left-wing figures, etc., to ask for appropriate support.
Launching of a general strike of Algerians. The duration of the strike is 24 hours. We suggest a Monday. Merchants will participate in this strike by closing their stores. For your information: Algerian prisoners in all prisons will go on a hunger strike the same day as the general strike. Students will go on strike by not attending class, if these have begun.
Put in place the first phase, which concerns the Paris region alone. As each action unfolds, keep us apprised via detailed reports.
After the application of the first phase, don’t go on to the second or third until express orders have been given by the Federation.