Review from ROAPE Volume 3 Number 6
Workers' Self-Management in Algeria (Hagel)
This review article assesses the main issues in Algeria's post-Independence development experiences: how much do they owe to an earlier revolutionary upsurge involving the peasantry? how viable has been the strategy of forced industrialisation based on oil and gas revenues? which class(es) control production? These issues of the 1960s have been brought very much to the fore again by the unique exercise carried out in Algeria in recent months. Following a second stage agrarian reform, trying to establish cooperatives not merely on former settler lands, the FLN government allowed extensive public participation for the first time with the discussions around the National Charter. This long and detailed statement of a ‘socialist’ strategy was subject to sustained debate through many thousands of meetings before being amended and passed in a referendum. The exercise seems to have been a response to left criticisms of the drift to a state capitalism dominated by a technocracy. It remains to be seen how far this is the first step toward a more democratic pattern or whether it pre-empts more profound changes. This survey of the earlier trends and debates on development strategy will serve as useful background.