Michel Pablo

XXIst Plenum of the International Executive Committee

The Arab Revolution

(November 1958)

From Fourth International (Amsterdam), No. 6, Spring 1959, pp. 52–58.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Balance Sheet of the Present
Bourgeois Leadership of the Arab Revolution

It is these data [1] that must be taken into account when judging the role played by the bourgeois or petty-bourgeois leadership of the Arab revolution in this post-war period, to draw its trial balance, and to evaluate its prospects.

The outstanding events in the Middle Eastern and Arab revolution in general, in the new stage opened since the end of the Second World War, are: the Mossadegh experiment in Iran; the 1952 Egyptian political revolution and the rise to power of Nasserism; the liberation of Tunisia and Morocco; the Algerian revolution of November 1954; the formation of the UAR; the 1958 Lebanese and Iraqi revolutions.

In all these events a bourgeois or petty-bourgeois leadership of the revolution asserted its authority, heading up the national anti-imperialist struggle. In some cases, the leading political role played by the bourgeois parties and personalities – themselves of bourgeois social origin or definitively attached ideologically to the bourgeoisie – was perfectly clear: Mossadegh in Iran; the Istiqlal in Morocco; the Neo-Destour and Bourguiba in Tunisia; various bourgeois and petty-bourgeois formations in Lebanon and Syria. In other cases, such as those of Egypt and Iraq, the leadership of the revolution was taken over by a Bonapartist officers’ group, whose social essence and orientation should be better grasped. This is more generally the case of Nasserism.

Events have completely demonstrated, it seems to me, the correctness of the essential theses of revolutionary Marxism on the development of the colonial revolution in our time and the role of the native bourgeoisie. They have confirmed the possibility for the bourgeoisie to struggle, up to a certain point, against imperialism, and this in turn confirms the necessity of a national anti-imperialist united front rallying all classes, in the case of colonial and semi-colonial countries.

But events have equally demonstrated the limitations of the native bourgeoisie in all essential fields: real independence from imperialism; national unification; agrarian reform; industrialization, the emancipation of women. Because of the fact that the native bourgeoisie, including the nucleus of the industrial bourgeoisie, is in all these countries both economically weak, too tied up economically with imperialism, with the feudalists, and with the other native exploiting strata (mercantile and usurious bourgeoisie), and afraid to base itself firmly on the peasant and worker masses, events have shown that this bourgeoisie cannot achieve and complete the aforementioned essential tasks of the bourgeois-democratic revolution. [2]

Mossadegh’s failure in the nationalization of oil in Iran; the balance sheets of the Istiqlal regime in Morocco and the Neo-Destour regime in Tunisia; today’s trial balance of the Iraq revolution – all this experience is present to show clearly the limitations of a revolutionary leadership that is in the last analysis bourgeois. (We shall treat separately the case of the present Algerian revolution.)

These limitations are all the more flagrant in that the international conditions of the post-war period have in reality given the national bourgeoisies of the colonial and semi-colonial countries exceptional possibilities and chances, because of the antagonism between the East and West and the quite new possibilities of diplomatic, military, financial, commercial, and technical aid at the disposal of the USSR and the other workers’ states. [3]

Owing to these new circumstances, the national bourgeoisie has the possibility of pushing its relative independence from imperialism much further than in the past, and at the same time to stand up victoriously to possible aggressions by imperialism, as was the case at the time of the Anglo-French 1956 Suez expedition, and again at the time of the events following the 1958 revolution in Iraq.

But the class nature of the national bourgeoisie prevents it from profiting by such an exceptional situation to make radical riddance of the economic consequences of imperialism and the feudalists, whose existence is a major obstacle to the extension of the internal market and to a rapid and large-scale industrialization. The economic positions of imperialism are nowhere completely eliminated in the Arab countries, including Egypt – far from it.

In the case of certain expropriations and statifications, which took place under the drive of the masses and of urgent political and economic needs – such as those of the Suez Canal and other enterprises in Egypt – the imperialists have been given fat compensation, which loads the national economy with burdens which reduce to just that extent the possible resources that could have been devoted to industrialization.

The case of petroleum, which is determinant for the economic future and the industrialization of the Arab countries, is characteristic of the general weakness of the bourgeoisie confronted by imperialism. The new relationship of forces set up between the two might be able to lead the bourgeoisie to negotiate the terms of the contracts with the oil companies in a way more favorable to itself. This process has already started. [4]

But the stage of the statification without indemnization of these companies, a primordial precondition for ensuring the primitive accumulation necessary to get industrialization started on a big scale in the Arab countries, will not be entered without the revolutionary drive of the Arab masses and without a leadership that goes well outside the bourgeois framework.

The task of the unification of the Arab nation is no less compromised under the present bourgeois or petty-bourgeois leadership of the Arab revolution. Arab unification is too progressive a task not to subordinate to it the character of the regime under which it might be able to be brought about.

The unification of the Arab nation would form the most propitious framework for the economic, social, and political flowering of the Arab revolution. From this point of view, the political forms in which this process is carried out are less important than the content itself. If for example Arab unification could be brought about in the framework of a single centralized state, governed by Nasser, however anti-democratic this state might be, one would not be able to be against such a unification. One would be satisfied merely to continue the struggle for democratic freedoms and for socialism within such a state.

But it is in practice improbable that Nasserism unify the Arab nation under the form either of a centralized inter-Arab state, or even of a confederation of Arab republics. All forms of association of the Arab states as transitional forms toward unification in a single centralized state or an effective federative republic [5] must be considered progressive and supported if they tend to be carried out.

The present difficulties within the UAR between Egypt and Syria, as well as the attitude of reserve on both sides between the UAR and Iraq about extending unification also to the latter country; Bourguiba’s hostility toward the UAR; the dissensions even within the Maghreb – these are so many important indications of the organic, and not merely conjunctural, inaptitude of any one of the Arab bourgeoisies – even of the relatively most dynamic among them – to set itself up as the assimilating and unifying element of the Arab countries as a whole.

The different fractions of the Arab feudo-capitalist ruling classes are too heterogeneous from the viewpoint of economic and social structure, each too differently tied up to imperialism, too particularist, to polarize themselves by their own will and movement around a single axis in a single national framework. Only a strong political power endowed with great economic dynamism would be able to break the centrifugal particularist tendencies and bring about unification, which is above all the common revolutionary aspiration of the Arab masses. [6]

Nasserism does not have this scope. Nasser-ism represents par excellence a Bonapartist power which exploits the strength of the mass movement in Egypt and in the Arab countries as well as the antagonism between the East and West, to the final profit of the social stratum – still limited but steadily being reenforced – of the national industrial bourgeoisie. This bourgeoisie, capitalist par excellence, does not at present have sufficient strength to rule through a parliamentary democratic party and government. To impose its rule it needs a strong state able to face both imperialism and the economically backward native feudo-bourgeois strata, without being outflanked on the left by the autonomous revolutionary movement of the masses.

The military power of the “anti-imperialist” “national” officers – offspring mostly of the middle bourgeoisie of the towns and country, sons of medium large landowners, businessmen, or functionaries – who aspire in vague social terms to “modernise” their country, to “catch up with” the West etc – such a power is, for this stratum of the bourgeoisie, a dream come true as a political tool.

Basically Nasserist Bonapartism works in favor of the development of capitalism, both through the fact that part of the state administration, growing wealthy because of its functions, becomes capitalist, i e, an owner of capital, and through state action as a whole, which is trying to make up for primitive capitalist accumulation and is aiding industrial capitalist development [7] against the limitations to this development produced in the past by the omnipotence of imperialism and feudalism.

The inter-Arab policy of Nasserism in trying to create a vaster inter-Arab market from which imperialist and feudal obstacles would be at least partly eliminated, and in trying on such a basis to bring other fractions of the Arab bourgeoisie to tie into this undertaking, is also purely capitalist in its economic essence.


We have just seen the limits of the anti-imperialist struggle of the national bourgeoisie as well as those of its struggle for national unification and industrialization. It remains for us to demonstrate the limits of its struggle against the feudalists, which clearly appear in the extreme timidity of the agrarian reforms undertaken since the war by the national bourgeoisie.

In Egypt, the agrarian reform has to date benefited less than about 10% of the immense mass of the fellahin, while having accorded fat indemnities to the “expropiated” proprietors. [8]

The extension of the agrarian reform now going on in Syria sets the ceiling on private property left to the feudalists at 200 acres of irrigated land, increased by 100 acres in case of children, plus 750 acres of non-irrigated land. For the rest of his land taken over by the state, the owner is indemnified on the basis of a price for the land equal to ten times the average annual rent (which is often, as in Egypt, four times greater than the rent of an equal area in Europe).

As for the land distributed to the peasants, it will be formed of plots of 20 acres of irrigated land or 75 acres of non-irrigated land, payable in 40 years at an interest rate of 1.5%. This reform also will not affect at the end of the five years required for its application, more than an infinitesimal part of the more than three million landless peasants in Syria.

As for the agrarian reform in Iraq, which in a sense precipitated the extension of the agrarian reform in Syria, it is even more moderate “in view of the fact that Iraq possesses three times more cultivatable land than Syria”! – as certain Arab apologists for the reform very paradoxically argue (cf. the Oct 1958 Arab Review, published by the Arab Students’ Union in England).

This reform, also spread over five years, proposes that the upper limit of private property shall be brought down to 618 acres of irrigated land and 1,230 acres of non-irrigated land. In all these cases, the class of former big landowners will be succeeded by a stratum of rich peasants who, sheltered from financial troubles – if only because of state indemnities – will have no difficulty in economically dominating, one way or another, the small peasants who have become owners of tiny plots, in a thankless climate, without suitable material and technical aid from the state.


As for the liberated countries of the Maghreb – Tunisia and Morocco – apart from limited expropriations, with indemnity, of a few settlers’ estates, no serious attempt at agragian reform has yet been undertaken.

Under these conditions it can be affirmed without any exaggeration that the crucial problem, the agrarian problem, remains essentially intact in the Arab countries, and that it is an illusion to expect a radical solution thereof from the present leadership of the Arab revolution.

As for the emancipation of women, whose condition in these countries, as a result of Islamic prescriptions and the feudal past, is among the most anachronistic and grievous in the world, the solution of this task also is tied up with the radical economic and social transformation of these countries, which cannot be accomplished under the present feudo-capitalist regime. [9]

For a New Revolutionary Marxist Arab Leadership

Both to wind up and complete the Arab revolution’s bourgeois-democratic tasks, properly so called, and to tackle the socialist reconstruction of the Arab nation, it is necessary to cause a new leadership of the revolution to arise, representing the proletariat and the poor peasant masses of the, Arab countries. In other words, a revolutionary Marxist leadership.

It must be admitted, however, that this task is running very late as. against history’s timetable, and that it has been terribly complicated, in the Arab countries as elsewhere, by the changing foreign policy of the Soviet bureaucracy. By their thoroughly opportunist and class-collaborationist policy, the Communist Parties, docile instruments in the Arab countries just as elsewhere, have in reality so far sabotaged the creation of autonomous class political parties that stimulate the autonomous organization and action of the proletariat and the poor peasants.

Granted, such a necessary class policy does not mean to minimize in any way whatever the alliance with the national bourgeoisie in the effective struggle against imperialism and the feudalists. But this equally necessary alliance must take the form of a united front among autonomous class organizations with a view to effective action, for precise goals, each of the participants in the front fully safeguarding its own political physiognomy and its full right to criticism of its conjunctural allies. That is the Leninist policy of the united front. In colonial and dependent countries, in view of the dual role of the national bourgeoisie, this policy involves the merciless ideological criticism of the inevitable limitations of the national bourgeoisie, and the no less inevitable class struggle against it, in order to complete the bourgeois-democratic revolution and to tackle the socialist tasks properly so called.

Instead of following such a line, the Communist Parties of the Arab countries were forced by the Kremlin to line up, sometimes with the positions of the metropolitan bourgeoisie, sometimes with those of the national bourgeoisie, thus betraying both the struggle for national independence and the struggle for social liberation.

Every time the Kremlin wagered on the alliance or the neutralization of a metropolitan bourgeoisie, it cynically sacrificed to this goal the interests of the anti-imperialist struggle and of the social revolution in the countries dependent upon this metropolis. Before and during the Second World War, in order to maintain its alliance with Great Britain and France, the Kremlin forced the Arab Communist Parties to tone down their struggle for national independence, and even flatly to sabotage this struggle just so as not to hinder its imperialist allies. After the war, at another stage, when the movement for national independence became in spite of everything irresistible, in order to win the good graces of the national bourgeoisie in its own struggle against the Atlantic powers, the Kremlin forced the Communist Parties here and there to line up completely with the positions of the national bourgeoisie, to tone down and even openly to sabotage the autonomous class struggle for the social revolution in these countries.

Is it necessary to recall the sabotage of the anti-imperialist sruggle in which the Syrian, Iraqi, Egyptian, and other Communist Parties engaged during the war, a struggle sacrificed on the altar of the Kremlin’s alliance with Great Britain, France, and the United States? Is it necessary to recall how, “full of understanding” for the “historical bonds” allegedly existing between their respective countries and France, the Communist Parties of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia in fact long sabotaged the struggle for the national independence of these countries and then were taken into tow by the nationalist leaderships which took the initiative in such a struggle? Is it necessary to recall the almost unconditional support that the CPs of Egypt and Syria gave Nasser from 1955 on, after the big arms agreement between Egypt and Czechoslovakia, a support that went even to the extreme of self-liquidation and open sabotage of any class policy in these countries?

It is true that this unconditional support to Nasserism now seems to have been partially withdrawn from him, in a new turn-about by the CPs of Syria, Egypt, and Iraq, which are criticizing Nasser, taking stands against the extension of the UAR to Iraq, and singing the praises of the sovereignty of each Arab state, now Iraq first of all.

Naturally, what is mainly responsible for this policy, at first sight puzzling, is also the Kremlin itself, which probably considers it dangerous to strengthen Nasser any further, for fear lest he soon do without the Kremlin’s support and swing over to the Western side. This zigzaging and utterly opportunist policy – determined by the changing objectives of the Kremlin’s foreign policy and not by the well understood imperative needs of the anti-imperialist and social revolutions in the colonial and dependent countries – is applied by the Kremlin through a few key men in the Communist Parties, for the majority of their members and even of their cadres have no consciousness of the role of simple pawns that their parties play on the chess-board of the Kremlin’s foreign policy. It well might be, in the case of a very strong revolutionary movement of the masses, that they might drag certain of these parties beyond the limits assigned to their action by the Kremlin, as was the case with the Algerian CP, joining – tardily and against the line of the French CP – the Algerian revolution led by the FLN; and this might tomorrow be the case with the CP in Iraq.

In general, however, these parties, with the exception of the CPs of Iraq and now again of Syria, are at present largely discredited and isolated from the broad Arab masses. This raises the problem of the creation of the new, revolutionary Marxist, leadership in the Arab countries, with prospects of working not essentially in the CPs but by other ways specific to each country.

The primordial task in all the Arab countries currently consists in grouping together, on the integral programme of revolutionary Marxism, i.e., of the Fourth International, a nucleus of Arab cadres who at the same time are inside the real mass movement of their respective countries, and who begin to work up a platform, a transitional programme, that takes into account the peculiarities of their countries. This concrete transitional programme must combine anti-imperialist and national democratic demands with socialist slogans properly so called, in order thus to show in each country the concrete specific road that leads from the present situation to the radical, socialist, solution, within the Arab context. The preparation of such a programme must go hand-in-hand with the definition and propaganda of the transitional party that will work for this programme.

The struggle for the socialist solution is inseparable from the struggle for the formation of the revolutionary Marxist mass party, the indispensable instrument for socialist victory. But the creation of the revolutionary Marxist mass party passes in each case by concrete transitional paths.

In this way it may be that the revolutionary Marxists of countries like Morocco or Tunisia reach the conclusion that the formation of the revolutionary Marxist party takes the path of the creation of a Labor Party based on the trade unions [10], in view of the strength of the trade-union movement and the tendencies to spontaneous politicization it has shown (Tunisia) and currently continues to show (Morocco), This way can, furthermore, turn out to be of a more general interest, for the trade-union movement is called upon to play an identical role, also of a politically pioneer nature, in a whole category of countries.

Such a party will have to work up a general programme as advanced as possible, and especially a transitional action programme, giving a concrete answer to the unsolved problems of genuine independence from imperialism, Arab unification, agrarian reform, economic and industrial development, and the emancipation of women.

In the more special case of Algeria, it is obvious that both the revolutionary Marxist tendency and the essential forces of a mass Labor Party of tomorrow will emerge from the inevitable social and political differentiation within the present FLN. The FLN, at its beginnings an anti-imperialist national united front, is constantly undergoing a differentiation through the deepening, the experience, and even the difficulties, of the revolution. Its base is essentially plebeian, composed of rural laborers of the big colonial estates, of poor peasants from the mountain regions and the oases, of Khammes [11], of nomads from the Sahara, craftsmen, petty traders, and workers from the cities of Algeria and from the proletarian emigration in France. Its leadership is taken by elements who have emerged from these milieux, mixed with intellectual elements and a few rare representatives of middle-bourgeois strata.

The disproportion, much greater than elsewhere, between plebeian elements and petty-bourgeois and especially bourgeois elements, which is in favor of the numerical and social importance of the former, causes the Algerian revolution to be far deeper and harder to “bourgeoisify,” to “Bourgibify,” than the Tunisian or even the Moroccan revolution.

Nevertheless the fact must not be minimized that, for lack of a clear revolutionary Marxist ideology, even the best-intentioned and most pro-plebeian petty-bourgeois elements inevitably fall back into the orbit of a policy which, finally, is bourgeois.

This clanger is always lying in wait for the leadership of the FLN: I am speaking, of course, not of the openly pro-bourgeois if not themselves bourgeois elements, like Ferhat Abbas, but of its left intellectuals and its military leaders of peasant stock. This is all the more the case in that the Algerian revolution is now burdened by the weight of: the de Gaulle regime with its “economic and social overtures,” its ambiguity about Algeria, and also its stepped-up repression; the pressure of the Tunisian and Moroccan bourgeoisies, attracted by the prospect of co-exploiting the riches of the Sahara together with imperialism; the prostration of the French workers’ movement; and also – it must be said – the ineffectiveness of the political programme and general leadership of the Algerian revolution.

It is not a matter of bringing into question the enormous positive accomplishment of the FLN, the initiator of the revolution and the organizer so far of a fierce and nothing less than astonishing resistance to the extraordinarily powerful war effort of an exasperated and savage imperialism. It is rather a matter of understanding that the very deepening of the revolution under the new conditions in which it is put, requires that its social programme be made more specific, and that the structure and functioning of the FLN be made more democratic, so that the plebeian base of the revolution may be more associated with it and therein find the reasons, the prospects, and the justification of its long combat and its immense sacrifices.


The creation of revolutionary Marxist nuclei in each Arab country, inside the real mass movement, must go hand-in-hand with their inter-Arab liaison, in order to form in reality the initial nucleus of the mass Arab revolutionary Marxist party of tomorrow. The Fourth International is disposed and firmly decided to aid, by a great effort in all fields, the accomplishment of such a task. Its militants are collaborating closely and fraternally, without the faintest desire to impose their views bureaucratically, with all Arab comrades who are revolutionary Marxists or who are turning toward revolutionary Marxism, independently of complete agreement on the totality of the positions of the Fourth International, in order to help them to group together organizationally both by countries and on the inter-Arab plane, to work up their platform, both inter-Arab and country by country, and to publish an inter-Arab revolutionary Marxist theoretical organ.

This is a great and urgent task. The future of the Arab revolution depends upon it. From the depths of that revolution there have already emerged admirable and heroic figures seeking more or less confusedly for its socialist future, its only future.

In the lineage of a proletarian like the Egyptian Mustapha Khamis [12] or one of the first glorious moudjahidines of the Algerian revolution, Larbi Ben M’Hidi [13], the Arab revolutionary Marxists will know how to carry the revolution, for which fellahin and proletarians have accepted so many sacrifices, to its victorious goal: the Arab Socialist Republic.

November 1958


1. For the first half of this report, see our last (Winter) issue.

2. That is, the tasks proper to the bourgeois social revolution, which, in the past, in European countries, permitted overthrowing feudalism and installing modern capitalism.

3. Egypt: The volume of trade between Egypt and the USSR increased more than 11 times between 1953 and 1957. For a whole series of goods, the USSR is now Egypt’s main supplier. Thus, in 1957, among Egyptian imports the USSR figured for: 43% of the wheat; 37% of the oil; 37% of the sawn lumber; 50% of the plywood; 27% of the tractors. The USSR, furthermore, is now buying more than 30% of Egyptian cotton, and also rice.

Syria: In 1957 Syria’s imports from the Soviet Union represented, in value:

Machinery and equipment



Petroleum products


Rolled iron


Sawn lumber


Soviet imports coming from Syria were represented mainly by cotton (more than 70%).

The product of the sale of Soviet goods, in the case of both Syria and Egypt, was entirely devoted to the purchase of these countries’ agricultural products.

The credits granted by the USSR to the UAR at present add up to about $450,000,000 (of which about $200,000,000 for construction of the Assuan Dam).

4. In the form of “integrated” companies which are set up with Japanese and Italian capital in certain cases, sharing the profits according to more advantageous formulae than the traditional “fifty-fifty,” and giving a right to share in the profits arising not only from the production, but also from the refining, the transport, and the sale of petroleum. It is in these terms that Saudi Arabia recently wanted to draw up a contract with the Standard Oil of Indiana.

5. Between the United Maghreb Republic and the United Arab Republic of the States of the Middle East, for example.

6. Arab national unification must also include real autonomy and even self-determination for the different ethnic communities that exist in certain states, for example the Kurds in Iraq. It would furthermore have to solve, in the Middle East, the question of the state of Israel and the Arab refugees. These people, 800,000 in number, are still living uprooted and unemployed in camps, generally in tents. The only fair solution for their painful and explosive problem is their reinstallation in Palestine, the Arab country par excellence, the present state of Israel being absorbed as a national minority enjoying a regime of self-government and full cultural freedoms within a United Arab Republic of the Middle East.

7. Empirically Nasserism is finding its vocation as a political regime for the development of the industrial bourgeoisie. Ever since 1952 Egypt’s effort at industrialization has been speeding up, despite still limited practical results (only 200 million Egyptian pounds industrial capital in 1956).

The policy of the Nasserist state is more and more marked by the drive for industrialization: mixed enterprises, with strong participation by the state; a “Committee of Production” given the job of speeding up the development of industry; the “Committee of the Plan” in 1956; a five-year plan in preparation, which should begin in 1959.

This plan is to concern 256 million pounds sterling – a modest sum, after all – of which 36 million granted by the Soviet Union, 44 million by West Germany, 8 million by East Germany, and 10 million by Japan.

Nevertheless, the mobilization of local capital in favor of industry, including that given to landowners in the guise of payment for their lands expropriated by the agrarian reform, has so far been a failure.

8. The law of 1952 limits property in cultivated land to 200 feddans, or to 300 feddans, for the first two children give a right to 50 extra feddans each (300 feddans = 311 acres). Uncultivated properties are not affected by the agrarian reform. Thus 666,000 untilled feddans could be recuperated, plus 180,000 feddans belonging to the royal family. In July 1956, 500,000 individuals divided into 65,000 families had benefited by plots from the 260,000 feddans that had been confiscated. The overall agrarian reform will affect 1,500,000 fellahin in all, out of more than 18,000.000. The indemnity paid to the former owner is set at ten times the rental value of his lands, plus the price of installations, machines, and trees. It is paid in 3% Treasury Bonds payable after 30 years. In July 1956, 5,000 million francs of these bonds had been delivered, and their interest payments honored.

The land sold is payable in 30 years, at a price equal to 30 times the tax rate, plus 3% interest, plus 15% bf the expenses of exploitation. The whole is payable on the annual harvest. In theory, the plots cannot be broken up, even on an inheritance basis.

The fellahin owners cultivate their lands within a collective framework – in obligatory cooperatives – receiving their share of the harvest on an area pro rata basis. The most important aspect of the reform is the authoritarian lowering of the formerly exorbitant rental rate, changed from between 40 and 50 Egyptian pounds per feddan before the reform to between 18 and 21.

9. The participation of women in the Arab revolution in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, and now in Algeria, has partly loosened but nowise broken the mediaeval yoke that still lies upon them.

It is only the Moslem women of the mountain regions or of the nomad tribes who have here and there kept a certain freedom, sometimes possibly the inheritance of the matriarchal institutions of former times (women of Kabylia, but especially women of the Chaouia Berber culture of the Aures, Touareg women of the desert, etc.).

10. Worker, proletarian, in its ideology and programme; Worker and Peasant in popular nomenclature.

11. Share-croppers on a one-fifth basis.

12. Leader of the union workers of the big Kafrel-Dawar textile-mill in the suburbs of Alexandria, who on 12 August 1952 gathered before the offices of the management, demanding a raise in pay and the firing of a member of the company’s secretariat and of the head of the labor bureau, “in the name of Mohammed Naguib and the revolution!” Condemned to death by a court martial and executed, having refused to “denounce those who put him up to it,” to the last minute he shouted “Long live the revolution!” and murmured, “I shall not die.”

13. After several weeks of tortures, Ben M’Hidi, a heroic fighter right from the first hour of the Algerian revolution, still had the strength to spit out his contempt for an imperialist army of executioners, and the courage to proclaim in the faces of his torturers: “We shall win because our cause is just, and because your tortures are impotent against our faith in an independent Algeria.”

Pablo Icon
Michel Pablo
Marx Icon
Marxist Writers’

Updated on: 29 January 2016