We Are No Longer in France
Communists in Colonial Algeria
Manchester University Press 2014
Allison Drew‘s We Are No Longer in France: Communists in Colonial Algeria (Manchester University Press, 2014) traces the long, complex history of communism in Algeria throughout the colonial period. Rethinking the “narratives of failure” that have hitherto dominated studies of the Communist Party of Algeria (PCA), the book looks at the movement “on its own terms,” rather than as a mere political subsidiary of the French Communist Party (PCF).
Examining the role of the French state in suppressing communism in Algeria prior to 1962, the book also looks closely at the tensions between communism and nationalism as the struggle for independence developed over the course of the twentieth century. Inclusive of both urban and rural populations, and flexible with respect to religious and nationalist beliefs and ideals, the PCA opened up “political space” in ways that other left movements/parties in France and elsewhere were either unwilling or unable to do. Drawing on a range of materials that include archival sources from France and Algeria, as well as the records of the British Consulate, the Comintern, and the South African left, We Are No Longer in France looks at perceptions of Algerian communism within and outside of the French/colonial context. It also makes a contribution to our understanding of the plural nature of the struggle for Algerian independence, a political diversity that was shut down under the one-party state that emerged after 1962.