Part 1 of 5
THE FLAWS OF THE NATIONAL OPPOSITION
The action undertaken after the failure of April 1961 [the Generals’ Putsch] has made use of new means. It has mobilized a greater number of partisans and has resolutely pursued a violent and clandestine path. This transformation of the forms of struggle, however, has not affected the fundamentals of the methods previously applied. It has remained in conformity to the characteristics of the “national” struggles, marked by acts of courage and by lamentable failures.
In 1917, Lenin ran the risk of a military defeat in order to create the conditions of the Bolshevik revolution. Franco marked his hold over the insurrectional command in 1936 by the execution of his own cousin, who refused to follow him. These are two examples of behavior opposite to that of the “nationals.”
By contrast, the refusal to actually carry the action to Metropolitan France on April 22, 1961, like the bloody and futile Parisian demonstration of February 6, 1934, is typical of the “national” mentality.
The “nationals” who use the word “revolution,” without knowing its meaning, believe in a spontaneous “national awakening”! They also believe that “the army will move.” Trusting in these two unrealizable dreams, considered as the miracle cures, they do not conceive of the necessity of educating partisans by means of a sound doctrine that explains the causes of Western decadence, proposes a solution, and serves as a rudder for thought and action. This is why they wallow in a series of political maladies that are responsible for their failures.
The “nationals” attack the effects of the evil, not its roots. They are anti-communists, but forget that capitalism and the liberal régimes are the principal agents of the propagation of communism. They were hostile to the Algerian policy of the government, but forgot that this policy was the product of a régime, of its ideology, of its interests, of its real financial masters and technocrats, as well as of its political and economic structures. They wanted to save French Algeria against the régime, but they carried into their calculations its principles and its myths. Can you imagine the early Christians worshiping the pagan idols and the communists singing the praises of capitalism?
All the “nationals” have their good Gaullist, their good technocrat, their good minister. Yielding to an old bourgeois reflex, they dread “the adventure” and “chaos.” As soon as a man of the régime waves the flag, they give him their confidence. They prefer the comfort of blindness to lucidity. Sentimentalism and parochialism always prevail over political reasoning. In the vain hope of satisfying everybody, they refuse to take a side and satisfy nobody.
For lack of imagination, the “nationals” continue to blow the bugle of Déroulède, which does not bring out many people. Programs and slogans are fixed to the pre-war tricolor flag. From the army in power to negative anti-communism, through to the counter-revolution and corporatism, the “national formulas” repel more than they charm. This political arsenal dates from half a century. It has no hold on our people.
The reasons that cause the “nationals” to deny the necessity of ideas in the political combat also cause them to deny the necessity of organization. Their action is vitiated by flaws that explain all their collapses.
The “national” notables, members of parliament and others, military and civilian, are opportunists through personal ambition. The pretext generally invoked to camouflage their ambition is that of “ability.” It is in the name of ability that the “nationals” have supported the referendum of 1958 and the enterprises of politicians ever since then. Behind each of these positions, there is the prospect of a medal, a sinecure, or an election. They can feel the wind and can become violent, even seditious, when this appears to be profitable. Their violent speeches do not frighten anybody. They attack a man, a government, but are careful not to attack the principle, which is the régime itself. Algeria was a good springboard and an occasion to make a fortune from the subsidies generously dispensed, whilst the militants had to fight with their bare hands. If the wind turns, they do not hesitate to betray their flag and their comrades. The seat in parliament is not a means but an end in itself: it must be kept at all costs. The simple partisans are opportunists through lack of doctrine and formation. They give their trust to the smooth talker and to superficial impressions rather than to the political analysis of ideas and of facts, they are dedicated to being duped.
The reading of espionage novels, the memories of the Resistance and other special services, the stories of plotters, Gaullists and others, plunge the “nationals” into an atmosphere of permanent dreams. A game of bridge with a retired general, a member of parliament, or a sergeant from the army reserve becomes a dark and powerful conspiracy. If they recruit as few as ten high school students, they think themselves Mussolini. If they boast that they command a group of five thousand organized men, it means they merely have a ragtag mob of several hundred. If, by chance, they receive a letter from a military institution, they display the envelope with the air of conspirators, sighs, and silences ominous with implications. They are partisans for unity and have only bitter reproaches against the sectarianism of militants who refuse to take them seriously. The same “nationals,” in a period of genuine clandestineness, are arrested with lists of addresses and documents, and begin to talk as soon as the police raise their voice.
The faulty analysis of a situation, the absence of doctrine and formation that push some towards opportunism, throw others into counterproductive violence and terrorism. The poor digestion of primitive studies, devoted to certain aspects of the communist subversion of the FLN, has increased this tendency. The detonators set under the concierges’ windows did not bring a single partisan to the cause of French Algeria. Blind terrorism is the best means to cut oneself off from the population. It is a desperate act. As much as clandestine action and the calculated use of force can be indispensable when a nation has no other means of defending itself, in which case the action aims at making the people participate in the struggle, terrorism places those using it outside the popular community and is condemned to failure.
The “nationals” who admire so much discipline in others are, in practice, veritable anarchists. Unable to identify their situation in the struggle, they have a taste for disorderly action. Their vanity pushes them to gratuitous individual acts, even if their cause suffers from it. They ignore their word of honor and nobody can predict where their fantasies will lead them. They rigorously follow a ringleader and blossom in small clans. The absence of a common ideological reference increases their scattering and forbids their unity.
FOR A NEW REVOLUTIONARY THEORY
Before even thinking of defining anything constructive, this critique of the flaws of the “nationals” is indispensable. Some, for lack of political maturity, will not be able to comprehend it. Those who have drawn the lessons of their own experience, on the other hand, will recognize its necessity.
Revolution is not the act of violence that sometimes accompanies a takeover of power. Nor is it a simple change of institutions or a political clan. Revolution is less about the taking of power than its use for the construction of a new society.
This immense task cannot be envisaged amidst disorderly thought and action. It demands a vast apparatus of preparation and formation. The “national” combat is stuck in the old ruts of half a century. Before anything else, a new revolutionary theory must be developed.
THERE ARE NO SPONTANEOUS REVOLUTIONS
It is always possible to act, it is less easy to succeed. This is even more so in a revolutionary struggle, a fight to the death against an all-powerful, cunning, and experienced enemy, which one must fight more by ideas and shrewdness than by force. It is frequent, however, to hear of the opposition of action and thought. This is to believe in the spontaneity of revolutionary action. The example of the Fascist revolution in Italy is cited. One forgets that when the “fascios” were formed in 1919, Mussolini had been fighting for more than twelve years as an agitator and journalist. One forgets especially the conditions of the struggle in Italy after the armistice of 1918, which are nothing like the conditions in France today.
In Italy, like many other European Nations, the power of the State was extremely weak, totally incapable of imposing its law on the armed factions which were fighting over the country. The State had to deal with each of the veritable political armies. In October 1922, the army of the “Black Shirts” was the stronger and so took over the State. Today, the “liberal régimes” of the West are characterized by a large privileged caste, agents of financial groups, who control all the political, administrative, and economic levers, and are united by their close complicity. They can rely on a gigantic administrative apparatus that rigorously manages the population, especially through the social services. They hold a monopoly of political power and economic power. They control most of the media and are the masters of thought. They are defended with the favor of vast police forces. They have transformed the citizens into docile sheep. Only fictitious oppositions are tolerated.
At the end of the First World War, communist revolution was an immediate menace for all of Europe. The danger always determines a movement of defense: the fascist movements took advantage of it. The only force capable of opposing the violence of the Reds, fascism received powerful support and the adherence of a large number of partisans. Today, the factory Soviets, the Chekas, belong to the past. The communists of the West have become bourgeois, they are part of the scenery, they are the firmest defenders of the régime. The man with a knife between his teeth is no longer the communist but the activist. As for Russia, the capitalists see a new market there.
Contrary to the first half of the twentieth century, the satisfaction of elementary material needs is within the reach of all. The soup kitchens, the wildcat strikes, are forgotten. Save for some threatened minorities, the great mass of wage-earners are convinced that they have more to lose than to gain by violently taking what peaceful demands and time will ineluctably give to them. The yoke of social laws and the blackmail of credit make the rest withdraw all combativeness.
Public spirit, civic and political courage, is today limited to a small minority, whose legal means of expression have been systematically reduced. This takes us far away from Italy in the 1920s. The personal genius of Mussolini was sufficient to gather and mobilize a passionate mass and to conquer a State incapable of defending itself. Such is no longer the situation in Europe and in France. As power belongs to the adversary, a superior stratagem is needed. As the “great man” (besides being nonexistent) is depreciated too much, one must rely on the team. Quality of combatants, methodical and reasoned combat, collegial direction demands education, doctrine.
Since 1947, the French army fought to defend overseas territories, was victorious in the field, and forced into successive capitulations by the group of political and economic forces that constitute the régime. It was necessary to wait until the month of April 1961, fourteen years, for a tiny number of cadres to discern their true enemies. An enemy who was not so much in the field, under the guise of a Viet or of a fellagha, but rather in France itself, in the boards of directors, the banks, the editorial offices, the assemblies, and the ministerial offices. This hostile sentiment was against a mythical decadent Metropolitan France rather than the reality of the régime. This limited realization was short-lived.
To conquer, it is necessary to comprehend what the régime is, to discover its methods, to flush out its accomplices, those who are camouflaged as patriots. It is necessary to determine the positive solutions that will allow the construction of the society of tomorrow. This necessitates a thorough self-scrutiny, a thorough review of accepted verities, a revolutionary consciousness.