chapter  28
Algerian Contradictions Exposed
(1958)
Pages 17

The Sakhiet massacre has brought into broad daylight the fact that the multiple internal contradictions of the Algerian situation have grown considerably deeper since last summer.

On the one hand, power structures have changed within the National Liberation Front following the recapture of the cities by the French army and police: the link between the resistance and the Europeans, which had been maintained up to that point by the fence-sitting Muslim bourgeoisie and French “liberals” in Algiers, has been broken. Consequently, the bourgeois politicalmilitary apparatus of the Front has devoted all its efforts to the consolidation of the peasant army. During this phase, all Bourguibist overtures have become impossible, both because the French government, intoxicated by its “successes,” is not interested in negotiation and because the young peasantry that has swelled the ranks of the ALN constitutes a deeply intransigent political force. Sakhiet is, in this first sense, the explicit manifestation of the failure of Bourguibism, in Algeria as much as in Tunisia. Thus it marks the victory of the political strategy characteristic of a social group that requires close analyses because it both reveals changes in the internal power structures of the Maghreb nationalist movements and at the same time announces the class structure of these young nations.