Parti du Peuple Algérien (PPA)

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algerian nationalist organization that used direct, often violent, action that led to the war of independence.

The Parti du Peuple Algérien (PPA; Party of the Algerian People) was founded early in 1937 by Messali al-Hadj, widely viewed as the father of the Algerian nationalist movement. An extension onto Algerian soil of the Etoile Nord-Africaine (ENA; Star of North Africa), whose constituency was principally among the émigré community in Paris, it was remarkably successful in mobilizing urban working classes, lower middle-class Algerians, as well as the sons of some of the more affluent Algerians behind the nationalist cause. Messali al-Hadj and five of the PPA's directors were imprisoned in August 1937, and the party itself was banned in September 1939. During World War II, it functioned underground at reduced levels both in Algeria and France.

In 1943, leaders of the party approved the drafting of the Manifesto of the Algerian Muslim People and the more radical additif that followed it. When, in March 1944, the moderate Ferhat Abbas decided to organize a coalition of forces called the Amis du Manifeste et de la Liberté (Friends of the Manifesto and of Liberty), members of the underground PPA flocked to it in such numbers that they eventually came to dominate it in all but name. It was PPA elements that helped turn the V-E Day celebrations of 8 May 1945 into a series of bloody confrontations between nationalists and the colonial authorities that are considered a direct precursor of the Algerian revolution.

When he was released from prison in 1946, Messali al-Hadj made an abrupt decision to reenter the political process by creating the Mouvement pour le Triomphe des Libertés Démocratiques (MTLD; Movement for the Triumph of Democratic Liberties) as a front for the outlawed PPA. From then on, until the war of independence, the MTLD ran candidates in most elections. But the PPA continued at a secret level in order to retain within the fold the growing group of militants who favored direct action. The party's detractors considered this dual approach one of its major weaknesses.

see also hadj, messali al-; manifesto of the algerian muslim people; mouvement pour le triomphe des libertés démocratiques; star of north africa.


Ruedy, John. Modern Algeria: The Origins and Development of a Nation. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992.

john ruedy