From the War of National Liberation to Gentrification

Conflicting Claims over Property in Algeria

by Robert P. Parks | published August 10, 2018

On December 22, 2013, 40 families living at 11 Boulevard de la Soummam -- the Champs Élysées of the western Algerian city of Oran -- took to the streets brandishing banners and shouting slogans against one of Algeria’s wealthiest businessmen, Djilali Mehri. Mehri had acquired the building when he purchased a Franco-Algerian real-estate holding company, Société Immobilière Française pour la France et l’Afrique du Nord (SIFFAN), nearly twenty years earlier. Having recently completed the renovation of the prestigious art nouveau Royal Hôtel, just up the street, Mehri planned to redevelop the historical boulevard into a high-end market.

Voter Participation and Loud Claim Making in Algeria

by Robert P. Parks
published in MER281

Change looms on the horizon in Algeria—change that could well touch the edifice of the country’s framework of governance. In the short term, given the protracted period of low international oil and gas prices, the state is likely to introduce economic reforms that will modify its expenditures on popular distributional and social welfare programs. And in April 2019, an election will likely usher in a successor to the sitting fourth-term president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who first took office in 1999.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

The Lessons Algeria Can Teach Today's Middle East

by Miriam R. Lowi | published April 22, 2015

As we witness today the escalating horrors across the Middle East—acute insecurity, combined with varying degrees of violence, death and destruction, from Libya and Egypt, to Syria, Iraq and now Yemen, we may want to recall the Algerian experience of the 1990s and consider some lessons to be drawn from it.

Algerians today have certainly not forgotten those “years of lead”: indeed, the absence of an Algerian “Arab spring” in 2011 had much to do with painful memories, weariness and disappointments from that recent past. But for the governments and peoples of the countries of the region currently in turmoil, Algeria, which is so near, appears so very far away. Let’s bring the Algerian experience back into focus.

Algerian Migration Today

by David McMurray
published in MER123

Richard Lawless and Allan and Anne Findlay, Return Migration to the Maghreb: People and Policies, Arab Papers 10 (London: Arab Research Centre, 1982).

Philippe Adair, “Retrospective de la Reforme Agraire en Algerie,” Revue Tiers-Monde 14 (1983).

Jean Bisson, “L’industrie, la ville, la palmeraie au desert,” Maghreb-Machrek 99 (1983).

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

Origins of the Algerian Proletariat

by Mahfoud Bennoune
published in MER94

In the first part of this essay, not included here, Bennoune notes that in pre-colonial Algeria’s rural sector land was the basic factor of production, consisting of four predominant subsistence activities: agriculture, animal husbandry, fruit tree plantations and horticulture. Ecological conditions fostered a broad regional specialization of production. The precolonial rural population consisted of big landowners, peasant producers, and impoverished, landless cultivators. Both the economic structure and legal system regulating the property relations generated differential access to property before the French conquest. All the urban classes -- rulers, merchants, artisans -- depended on the land for their food and primary raw materials.

Postcard from the Algerian Saharan Past

by George R. Trumbull IV
published in MER272

In 1923, a crippling drought pushed the nomads of the Algerian Sahara as far north as Bou-Saada, just 150 miles south of the Mediterranean coast, in search of sustenance. The French colonial authorities worried that fighting would break out between the nomads and locals over scarce water. From their perspective, indeed, nearly every year between the early 1920s and the late 1940s was exceptionally dry.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

Hybrid Loyalties at the World Cup

by David McMurray | published June 15, 2014 - 3:04pm

The World Cup raises nationalist (make that nativist) sentiment to a fever pitch all around the Mediterranean Sea basin. But nowhere does the temperature run higher than in France and Algeria (as Martin Evans discusses at length in this article).

Maxime Rodinson Looks Back

by Joan Mandell , Joe Stork
published in MER269

Maxime Rodinson (1915-2004) was a pioneering scholar of Islam and the Middle East, as well as a prominent Marxian public intellectual. A product of classical Orientalist training, he was professor of Old Ethiopic and South Arabian languages at the Sorbonne. His scholarly sensibility was historical-materialist, a perspective he brought to his famous biography of the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (1961), as well as later publications including Islam and Capitalism (English edition, 1973), Marxism and the Muslim World (English, 1979) and Cult, Ghetto and State: The Persistence of the Jewish Question (1983). Rodinson was a contributing editor of Middle East Report from 1988 to 2000.

Letter from Algiers

by Anthony B. Toth
published in MER145

Walking past the video stores, jewelry shops and fashion boutiques in Riad al-Fetr, the large, modern shopping mall in Algiers, an American could almost feel at home. Local radio, heard over the PA system, plays songs by Phil Collins and Van Morrison. Madonna, Elvis and James Dean posters festoon shop windows and add a touch of American chic. The stores in the mall are privately operated. There is even a thriving fast-food restaurant called Rauli Burger that on first glance could pass for a Burger King -- french fry makers, color-coordinated costumes and all. The fresh-baked pastries, however, are definitely a local touch.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

Ghalem, A Wife for My Son

by Pat Aufderheide
published in MER138

Ali Ghalem, A Wife for My Son (trans. G. Kazolias) (Chicago: Banner Press, 1985).

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.