Algeria in the 1960’s

Algeria in the 1960’s

New contacts were made between the French government and the National Liberation Front (FLN) in February 1961, which led to secret negotiations in Évian. The possible compromise worried the European extremist circles in Algiers, which reacted with the formation of a Secret Army Organization (OAS): on April 22, 1961 there was an attempt at revolt in Algeria, which failed because the armed forces remained mostly loyal to the government; the action of the OAS continued with attacks in Algeria and in France. Interrupted several times, the Franco-Algerian negotiations reached a conclusion on March 18, 1962 with the signing, in Évian, of a truce agreement and a declaration on the future of the To. which provided for its independence after a transitional period. Other statements concerned the rights of the French in Algeria and collaboration between the two countries. Based on their base, a provisional government was formed in Algiers on 28 March chaired by ‛Abd er-Raḥmān Fāris and made up of representatives of the FLN, Algerians and French. The signing of the agreement triggered a violent reaction from the OAS, which organized attacks against the Muslim population and the destruction of public buildings, but on April 20 its boss, gen. Salan, was arrested. On 10 July 1962 a referendum, in which 91% of the voters voted for independence, marked the final step, and on 3 July de Gaulle proclaimed the independence of Algeria.

With the seizure of power, discord arose within the FLN. The release (March 18) of the members of the Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic (GPRA) detained in France (Ben Bellā, Moḥammed Kiḍr, Moḥammed Bu Ḍiyāf, Ait Aḥmed, Rabāḥ Biṭāṭ) had weakened the position of the center group led by Ben Kheddah (succeeded Farḥāt ‛Abbās, ousted in 1961); in the liberation army (ALN) the commanders of the base units in Tunisia and Morocco clashed with the politicians, while the commanders of the internal guerrilla units suspected elements operating from the outside. In the meeting of the National Revolutionary Council, held in Tripoli in May 1962, despite the opposition of the Ben Kheddah group, the program proposed by a commission chaired by Ben Bellā was approved as official policy of the FLN, which provided for an agrarian reform with vast expropriations and the creation of agricultural cooperatives and state farms, the state monopoly on foreign trade and, in the international field, neutralism, anti-colonialism and Maghrebi unity. Having proclaimed independence, the Provisional Government moved to Algiers, and Ben Kheddah attempted to assert his authority by resigning the commander-in-chief of the National Liberation Army Hawarī Bū Midyan (Boumedienne). He took refuge in Morocco, where he was joined by Ben Bellā; on 11 July the two returned to Algeria and created a political office in Tlemsen, an executive body of the ALN, which they opposed to the provisional government. A civil war avoided also due to the intervention of the General Union of Algerian Workers (UGTA), on 20 September the elections for the Constituent Assembly took place, which assumed the powers of the provisional government; on 25 September Farḥāt ‛Abbās was elected president, and the following day Ben Bellā formed the new government.

The first serious problem that this had to face was the economic one. Adding to the destruction of the war, the departure of 90% of Europeans had left the country almost completely devoid of administrators, technicians, entrepreneurs, professionals; farms, factories, shops, businesses had gone out of business, and 70% of the population was unemployed. In March 1963 the government issued decrees that legalized the taking of possession, already with the support of the UGTA (whose executive had been controlled by the FLN since January) and carried out by workers’ committees, of the abandoned goods; the system, referred to as “self-management”, was taken as the basis of Algerian socialism. In September a referendum passed a constitution establishing a one-party presidential republic regime, the FLN.

This concentration of powers provoked reactions: Farḥāt ‛Abbās, exponent of the liberalizing tendencies, resigned from the presidency of the Assembly and was expelled from the party; in Kabylia rebelled, relying on Berber particularism, the head of the Front of the Socialist Forces (FFS) Ait Aḥmed and col. Mohand U el-Ḥaǧǧ who however soon agreed with Ben Bellā. The latter, also to gain popularity, in October nationalized and placed the remaining properties of Europeans under self-management. However, his position was strengthened: overcoming a border conflict with Morocco, obtaining aid from the Soviet Union and the World Bank, in April 1964 he had the “Charter of Algiers” approved by the 1st congress of the FLN. foundations of Algerian socialism, founded on self-management. Ait Aḥmed was captured, as was Col. Sha‛bānī revolted in the south; many historical leaders of the Algerian revolution were eliminated from the political scene.

In consecration of his position as undisputed head of the new Algeria, Ben Bellā promoted a new conference of Afro-Asian countries to be held solemnly in Algiers on the twentieth anniversary of Bandung; on the eve of the inauguration (June 19, 1965) a coup led by his old ally Bū Midyan, deputy prime minister, overthrew him. Power was assumed, without opposition, by a council of the revolution, which on 10 July appointed a 20-member government with Bū Midyan as prime minister and defense minister. The new regime affirmed its intention to restore the revolution to its original principles, to remedy the damage caused by the personal regime of Ben Bellā and to create an authentically socialist society. In essence, Bū Midyan essentially set out to strengthen Algeria. In the international field, After the initial isolation, a prudent but efficient policy based on the principles of neutralism and anti-imperialism gradually brought the country to a position of solid prestige, allowing it, among other things, to successfully bear the repercussions of the hiring action by the State, through nationalization, of the control of foreign industrial and commercial interests; the same privileged position of France, recognized by the Évian agreements, ended with new agreements signed in 1971. action of assumption by the State, through nationalization, of the control of foreign industrial and commercial interests; the same privileged position of France, recognized by the Évian agreements, ended with new agreements signed in 1971. action of assumption by the State, through nationalization, of the control of foreign industrial and commercial interests; the same privileged position of France, recognized by the Évian agreements, ended with new agreements signed in 1971. For Algeria 2006, please check

In the internal field, the utmost care was taken to the development of the economy (the new codes of 1966 provided for the death sentence for economic crimes), with the recovery of national wealth and the extension of control and participation of the state in all sectors. . The regime showed less concern in the search for a popular mandate: the National Assembly remained inactive and the only initiative was the composition of elected councils in the municipalities (1967) and in the provinces (1969); less than 70% of those entitled took part in the voting. On the other hand, as early as 1966 there was concern for the development of the single party, the FLN, as an organization of animation and direction, but without too much success: at the beginning of 1975 the problem of popular membership was not yet resolved. Also for this reason, the management of power ended up being centralized in the hands of Bū Midyan and the group of young technocrats with whom he surrounded himself in the administration and in the army, a situation that caused the breakdown of the group that had brought him to power. The crisis came in 1967, and culminated in the refusal of Bū Midyan, who was not sure he had a majority on his side, to reunite the Council of the Revolution.

In December the chief of staff, col. Ṭahar Zbīrī, rebelled, and he was joined by other members of the regime who had gone to the opposition. The attempt was cut short; A wave of arrests and a purge at various levels ensued, but the situation did not calm down. In February 1968, an attempt by the FLN to intervene in the representation of the students of the University of Algiers caused a long strike of students and professors, while the guerrillas in Kabylia and Aures were rekindled by an Organization for Popular Resistance (ORP); on April 25 in Algiers an attempt was made on the life of Bū Midyan. However, from the end of 1968 the government’s position was strengthened, and in 1970 it was possible to adopt measures of leniency towards the opponents of the regime. However, discontent remained alive in student circles, so much so that the government had to intervene with the dissolution of the National Association of Algerian Students (UNEA) (1971), the prohibition of political activities and frequent arrests; a notable contribution to détente then gave the imposition of a civil service which made the students feel their responsibility towards the community.

Algeria in the 1960's

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