Algerian Dilemmas

Francis Jeanson

Abstract


The Algerian State is only two years old but already many doctors who are deeply worried over the likely prospects of this very young child, have earnestly submitted it to a variety of searching tests. Is it or is it not a "socialist" state? And if not, does it show promise of becoming one? If the promise does exist, how long will it be before it is fulfilled, and at what price? These are the kind of questions which are being asked about Algeria, and it is certainly right that they should be asked, since they are of obvious concern to us. But we need to be clear about the nature of our concern. It is undoubtedly worth while to look right and left before crossing a road; but one looks rather differently if one has to cross this road and no other, no matter how dangerous the crossing may be. In other words, we should try not to forget that our judgments on the present Algerian regime are always presented from the outside, that our analyses of the Algerian situation remain purely theoretical exercises (one is tempted to say purely rhetorical exercises), and that, according to sound Marxist doctrine, they cannot therefore make claim to genuine objectivity. The praxis of the Algerians may well shed considerable light on their situation for non-Algerian observers, but never as much as it does for the Algerians themselves, who may have to verify their analyses at the cost of their lives. In such matters, only that is true which is capable of realization: the "possible" which fails to achieve this very much resembles the impossible.

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