MANIFESTO ON THE NATIONALIST
MOVEMENT IN FRENCH NORTH AFRICA
May 1922 - Inprekorr, ii, 84, p. 649, 8 June 1922
For the first time since the conquest of North Africa by French capitalism the natives, groaning under the heel of the big planters and the slave-driving officials,
are finding strong and reliable allies among the compatriots of their exploiters, who have made the natives' cause their own and will support it until victory is won; that is the party of the proletariat the Communist Party of France, section of the Communist International. The dawn of emancipation has appeared before the Arab proletarians subjected to the shameful exploitation of the native aristocracy and the French conqueror. The imperialist war awakened a spirit of unrest in Tunis and Algiers just as it did in Egypt and India. And, together with the nationalist demands, class demands are being mingled, ever more frequently and more urgently.
The rising of the Moslem masses, whom English imperialism was unable to intimidate by its punitive measures, and which was renewed more powerfully than before after every attempt at suppression, cannot be kept within the limits of the English area of occupation, and is already threatening French imperialism.
During the great imperialist war the French colonies paid a heavy tribute in blood. Taking advantage of the ignorance of the masses, and imposing their will on them by terror, the alien rulers of the country formed many native regiments which were then sent to shed their blood on the western front and the Balkans in defence of bourgeois money-bags...
In Africa French civilization is expressed in pitiless oppression, intolerable taxes, unspeakable poverty. Algiers was recently afflicted by a catastrophic famine. For forty years Tunis has been enduring a Tsarist form of rule, cynically called a 'protectorate', exercised under the tricolour.
It is even impossible to publish a communist newspaper in Tunis in the Arab language, and French and Tunisian communists, fraternally united in the struggle against the bourgeois dictatorship, are exposed to the same persecution. . . .
The reprisals in Tunis, now increasing in intensity, will not hold up the tide of freedom. On the contrary, they will make the movement spread, and deepen it until it becomes irresistible. The blows aimed at the communists will increase the prestige of communism, double its influence, an present the communist party to the native masses as the only champion of their rights.
The French proletarians understand that the cause of the African proletarians is their own cause, and accordingly they defend it. . . .
The struggle for the liberation of Algiers and Tunis is only beginning. It will end only when the slaves have triumphed.
The Communist International sends greetings to the French and native comrades persecuted and imprisoned by the ruling caste. …
It sends greetings to th Communist League of Tunis and the Communist Party of France who are leading the struggle against oppression, and assures them of the complete solidarity of the international proletariat.
The Communist International calls on all the oppressed and exploited in Algiers and Tunis. . . .
Unite against your exploiters under the flag of the communist party.
Soldiers and sailors of France!
Do not shoot at your Algerian and Tunisian brothers.
Fraternize with the people in their struggle for liberation.
Proletarians of France ! Help the African proletariat.