Contrasting French Anarchist Memoirs of the Algerian National Liberation War

Autumn 2019

While anarchists continue today to debate whether or not to support national liberation movements, discussion of the issue often refers back to French anarchists’ experience during the Algerian war (1954–62). Among the half dozen or so detailed and useful French anarchist memoirs relating to that period, three especially stand out for their self-revelation and retrospective self-critiques. It is their honest admission of questioning, imperfection and vulnerability in the midst of and after the challenging crisis, I believe, that makes such accounts especially accessible. The more forthright the account, resisting the claim of a singular unified self, the greater is its potential relevance for readers’ own engagements as they make history, in their own ways, within the struggles of the present.

Anarchist Studies 27.2